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The Meaning of Life (Psalm 49)

Reading: Psalm 49

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… But God will ransom my soul from the power of the grave, for he will receive me.

(Psalm 49:7-9,15)


What is life really about? It’s not a question that we stop and ask very often. But it’s one of the most important questions that you can ask.

I think for most people in America today, the answer was one that evangelical scholar Francis Schaeffer gave some 40 or 50 years ago: personal peace and affluence. Life is about feeling comfortable in your own skin and in your own house.

I find that interesting because it seems like we’re not asking for very much when we cast life that way. It’s not as though we’re asking to really be rich. We just want to be comfortable and secure, without worries in the world.

But this focus in life—doesn’t it simply put off the inevitable? Both the rich and the poor go to the grave. All die. None can escape it. All the wealth in the world won’t buy your way out of death, only forestall it.

But more than that, your wealth and comfort will not change your relationship with God. The psalmist says that it is to God that you must pay the ransom. But what man, even if he gave his own life, could ransom another man? For all are guilty and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

That’s what makes v. 15 so remarkable. Because the people of God will indeed be ransomed. They will be set free from the original penalty for sin: death. Only it won’t be by any other man. Instead it will be by the life of the Son of Man.

Jesus said, “For the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45). God will do for us what no man could do for himself.

And that returns us to the question, What is life really about? Is it about attaining things and circumstances that cannot last and have no purchasing power with the One who matters? Or is it about glorifying the one who gave his life for yours, and enjoying him forever?


My Father, you sent your Son, Jesus to die in my place. You ransomed me from my captivity to your just judgment and set me free from the power of sin and death! Teach me to live for you, according to your grace and mercy. Teach me worship at your feet and to enjoy your glorious love.


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