Just before the Exodus of His people from Egypt, God commanded in Exodus 13 that when they came to the land of promise, they were to devote every first born thing to the Lord as a sacrifice. There was one exception: verse 15 says, “but every firstborn of my sons I redeem.”
Can you imagine being a firstborn son in the land of Israel, and thinking how you should have been sacrificed to the Lord, but instead were redeemed? Each time he saw one of the animals sacrificed, he might have thought: “That should have been my fate, had I not been redeemed!” It must have fostered an attitude of great humility and gratitude in the thoughtful person, for the grace of having been redeemed.
And of course it should be that same way with each of us today who has been redeemed! All of us deserve to perish, not because we are a firstborn in Israel, but because we are sinners by nature and by choice. We have broken God’s laws and deserve His punishment. But instead we have been redeemed by our loving Father, who sent His Son Jesus to die in our place! I Peter 1:18-19 says: “You were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold … but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” In the same spirit of the thoughtful firstborn Israelite of long ago, each of us who knows Jesus as Savior should ponder what our fate would have been without His redeeming sacrifice. We should live with that same spirit of humility and gratitude for the grace God has shown us. We have been redeemed!