"18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" 1 Peter 1:18-19.
These familiar verses are a part of Peter's first letter, a letter written to those described as exiles scattered throughout various regions. The terminology used here indicates the recipients of the letter were people who had suffered because of their faith, they had encountered mistreatment and perhaps in some cases punishment because they chose to belong to the Lord.
The first segment of Peter's letter reminds Christians how blessed they are to have such a strong hope, and Peter uses some power language to show them their importance to God. He mentions their new birth, and the spiritual inheritance that belongs to them, and the protection provided by the power of God. All of these terms describing the blessings of faithful Christians, lead into the two verses printed above. Peter is emphasizing the point that their redemption source isn't found in earthly things.
Notice first, they are told they weren't redeemed by perishable things like silver or gold. You would probably fail if you searched for someone that would say they were depending on their wealth and possessions to save them. We all know better. Yet in the actions of some, and even among the ranks of Christians, their lifestyle is such that they are showing a complete dependence on their success in their bank accounts, their fancy homes, cars, boats, prestige, position.......you name it, and they have probably been successful at it. Simply because they are, by the standards of our society, extremely successful, there is a tendency to place all confidence and trust in "things."
Peter wants them to know none of these things can bring about the redemption of a single soul. Let's also notice there is no condemnation of anyone because of wealth or societal position. They simply needed to understand, as do we, that our salvation can never be tied to these things.
Secondly, in the words of the next part of the verse, they were told their redemption is in no way tied to the "empty way of life handed from their ancestors." That is actually saying, you cannot be saved on the basis of your traditions. Remember how much the traditions of the Pharisees were often more important than the written law. We can make the same mistake by holding our traditional beliefs as more significant than the truth of the gospel.
Here again Peter makes it clear that no matter how good our traditions may be, and we all have traditional things which are important to us, but those traditions are not the source of our eternal life.
Instead of our dependence on these perishable, temporary things, Peter says our redemption is on the basis of "the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect." That's where we find redemption. Look now at the next two verses, giving more proof of God's power to save.
"20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God" 1 Peter 1:20-21.