Updated: Jul 26, 2019
Psalm 49:7–9 … “Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice, that he should live on forever and never see the pit.”
The redemption of our soul is costly. There is a cost, and Psalm 49:15 says that God will pay that cost, “but God will ransom my soul from the power of Sheol, for he will receive me.” This means that if a soul is costly (49:8), then God is willing to pay the cost. How did God pay the cost? He paid the cost by sending His own Son to die for our sins on Calvary.
What does this cost of redemption intel? John Phillips tells us …
a. What We Cannot Purchase (49:7)
“Truly no man can ransom another or give to God the price of his life.”
The salvation of a soul is far beyond the reach of worldly wealth. “We are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold … but with the precious blood of Christ.” The rich man forgets that. He thinks that by giving a donation to charity he can buy off God. He confuses truth with error; his wealth produces spiritual blindness.
b. What We Cannot Perceive (49:8)
“For the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice.” Under the Mosaic law, under certain conditions, a man could purchase his own life. If a man neglected to keep a dangerous ox under proper restraint and it gored another man to death, the owner of that ox was liable to the death penalty (Exodus 21:28–29). However, he could have the sentence reduced to a fine. The sum assessed against him was no doubt proportionate to his neglect and to his means. Such cases, where wealth could deliver from death, applied only where man was dealing with man. When it was a case of man dealing with God, when God claimed the life, there was no such legal loophole. There was no financial way of purchasing life forfeited to God.
c. What We Cannot Prevent (49:9)
“That he should live on forever and never see the pit.” The rich man cannot prevent death from seizing him in the end. He may be able to bribe a judge, but he cannot bribe death. Because his money is able to purchase so much else, however, the rich man confuses truth with error. He is so used to buying immunity from life’s ordinary inconveniences that he thinks he can buy immunity from death.