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Ransomed with the Precious Blood of Christ - 1 Peter 1:17-21

If 1 Peter 1:13-16 taught you to be holy because of what God did in the past by making you His children, v.17 tells you to be holy based on what God your Father will do in the future. God is not only Your Father, He is also your Judge. And so Peter tells you to conduct yourselves with fear in light of that coming judgment.

He goes on to point out two aspects of God’s judgment that have direct implications for how you live. First, the nature of judgment: God judges impartially. No bribes, no deals, no special treatment. This means that even though you call Him “Father”, it would be a a mistake to think that He’ll take it easy on you. The second aspect is the basis of judgment: God judges your deeds. The final judgment will not be rendered according to your plea; it will be conducted on the basis of evidence that will either prove or disprove your plea.

This teaching (that God judges you according to your deeds) would be terrifying if not for what Peter says next: “knowing that you were ransomed from a life of foolish behavior.” This idea of being ransomed or redeemed is incredibly important, because it explains how the new birth and new life are made possible. To be ransomed to is have your freedom purchased. A ransom costs something, and it results in deliverance.

This ransom was necessary, because your old way of life was a form of slavery, which meant that you were not free to obey God and walk in holiness. Under those conditions, hearing that God will judge you by your deeds is truly terrifying. You will be measured against God’s standard of holiness, and because you are enslaved to sin, you will fall short. You are doomed under those conditions!

But the good news that underlies Peter’s exhortation to holiness is this: you’re not under those conditions anymore! You’ve been set free, ransomed, redeemed! That is exactly what Jesus has done for those of you who are believers in God. God planned this rescue mission before the foundation of the world, and then for your sake, Jesus was made manifest, coming as a spotless lamb to shed His precious blood in order to redeem you!

Here’s how Peter is applying that great truth: not only did Jesus change your condition – you were a slave, now you are free – but by changing your condition, He’s given you the ability you need to face God’s judgment, the ability to do good deeds! You’re ransomed from an empty lifestyle and set free to live a holy life.

Further, Peter wants you to know two things about this redemption, two truths that should add fuel to the fire of holiness that he hopes to kindle. He wants you to know what you were redeemed with, and who you were redeemed by.

You weren’t ransomed with perishable things like silver or gold; you were ransomed with something of eternal value, the precious blood of Christ. God isn’t interested in money; He demands a life, and a perfect life at that. Without it, you’ll never be free to live a life that pleases God the impartial judge. But Christ’s blood was poured out on the cross to ransom the lives of all those who through Him are believers in God, and since that blood is exactly the redemption payment that God requires, it is the most precious commodity in all the world.

And not only were you redeemed with precious blood instead of perishable gold, but because it’s Christ’s blood, you were redeemed by God! This is something that no other religion ever imagined: not only is God the redeemer, but God gives Himself as the redemption! This is good news: God the Father sent the Redeemer, God the Son shed His own blood as the redemption payment, and then God the Father showed everyone that He accepted the redemption payment by raising Jesus from the dead and giving Him glory.

And so Peter’s call to reverent conduct stands on a powerful basis: Christian obedience is a response to a blood-bought redemption made by God Himself, which frees you from a futile life so that you can live a life of true holiness. Through faith-powered obedience and trial-tested holiness, your deeds will be the kind that your Father the judge will reward with everlasting glory. So since you call God your Father, walk in reverent fear and honor your Father in all your conduct.

Posted on Wednesday, July 06, 2016 by CJ Bowen