If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, then you have been redeemed. That’s a biblical word that means “bought with a price.” In ancient times, redemption meant paying off a debt or buying a slave’s freedom. The price could be expensive, usually a lot of silver or gold. But the cost of redeeming our souls was infinitely higher. Only one thing could pay the astronomical debt of our offenses against God. Only one thing could buy our freedom from slavery to sin. Only the precious blood of God’s own Son Jesus Christ could redeem you and me. An old hymn asks, “What can wash away my sin? What can make me whole again?” It answers: “Nothing but the blood of Jesus.” It is only by trusting in Jesus’ death and resurrection that we become the redeemed of God, bought back from the pointless (“aimless”), hopeless life that we live before we know the Lord.
When we remember the precious blood our Jesus shed for us, then Peter’s challenge in today’s passage for us to live “in fear” during this life makes sense. Once we have accepted Christ’s sacrifice for us, we no longer fear God as our Judge and Executioner, but we fear Him as children respect their loving Father. We think about our Father killing His Own Son that we might live and become His adopted sons and daughters. Wow! Our only response to that kind of love can be to bow our knees in humility before that Father, knowing that He deserves our love and worship and obedience.
The Text (1 Peter 1:17-21)
17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Background and Observations
• Most ancient religions had animal or blood sacrifices, and some cultures like the Canaanites, Maya, and Aztecs had human sacrifices. Mankind has always intuitively understood the biblical concept that “without shedding of blood there can be no remission (forgiveness of sin)” (Hebrews 9:22). Unfortunately, these false religions did not point people to the only saving sacrifice, which happened when God offered up His Son Jesus on the cross. Only Jesus was the “spotless” or perfectly sinless Lamb who had the power to pay the penalty for our sins.
• According to verse 20, God planned to send Jesus to die for our sins even before He created the world. God obviously knew that mankind would rebel in the Garden of Eden and need salvation. Yet Adam and Eve were still guilty of their sin and made a real choice to disobey God by eating the forbidden fruit. God does not require us to understand how His control and planning works together with our choices. He simply calls us to trust and obey the commands that He has revealed to us in His Word.
Questions to Think About
1. Have you ever taken communion / the Lord’s Supper? What did you think about the last time you took or watched communion? Every time the church eats the bread and drinks the “fruit of the vine” (probably grape juice for most of us), it is supposed to help us remember again the sacrifice that Jesus made for us. But you can think about Jesus’ blood that was shed for you at other times, too. We can actually never spend too much time thinking about the precious blood of Christ!
2. If you have accepted Christ, how can thinking about God as your Father rather than your Judge affect how you live?
3. If you have accepted Christ, in what ways was your life “aimless” before you became a Christian?