Redemption by Christ – 1 Peter 1:17-21

You Are Redeemed With The Precious Blood Of Christ

17 Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. 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. 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.

Reason for Redemption

God does nothing without purpose.  He is sovereign in all things, whether we can see and understand the purpose or not.  God had redeemed us to live a life of holiness in communion with Him, as He had originally intended the lives of Adam and Eve.  It is to gather us back to Him in holiness and righteousness that God allowed the sinless blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, to be spilled and offered as a final sacrifice for our sin.  We rejoice at the thought of our salvation and redemption.  Do we spend time reflecting upon the true price that was paid so that we could be free from the bondage of sin?

Worldly Wealth

Peter reminds us that we were not redeemed with the perishable wealth of this world.  Gold and silver has value among men, but God owns it all:

The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the Lord Almighty.

We have not been redeemed with the perishable, but with the imperishable.  The material wealth of this world will be consumed by fire and redeemed.  If we were redeemed with the perishable, our redemption would be perilous at best.  That which can change is not worthy of eternal praise or worth.

Precious Price

We are instead redeemed with the imperishable, perfect, sinless blood of the Son of God, shed by The Lord Jesus Christ Himself for our sins.  No other payment is worthy, for there is life in the blood:

11 For the life of a creature is in the blood, and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves on the altar; it is the blood that makes atonement for one’s life. 12 Therefore I say to the Israelites, “None of you may eat blood, nor may any foreigner residing among you eat blood.”

13 “Any Israelite or any foreigner residing among you who hunts any animal or bird that may be eaten must drain out the blood and cover it with earth, 14 because the life of every creature is its blood. That is why I have said to the Israelites, ‘You must not eat the blood of any creature, because the life of every creature is its blood; anyone who eats it must be cut off.'”

It is only the blood of Jesus, who is perfect and eternal, that can give us eternal life, for life is in the blood.  And what a terrible price was paid by God for our sins, that the lifeblood of the Son of God was shed for us.  He died that we might live.

Salvation and redemption are provided to us freely by God.  But let us never forget the steep price that was paid by God to secure and obtain that freedom that we have received.  Though we freely receive it, the cost was immeasurably high.  Since the cost was so high, we should honor the One who secured our freedom with gratitude.

Redeemed in Righteousness

God did not redeem us merely to set us free.  He redeemed us so that we could once again be reconciled to Him in righteousness.  Sin chains us in its prison, keeping us from the freedom that lies in holiness.  Let us not forget that His grace and mercy are to woo us back to Him, to a life of righteousness, in submission to The Lord God Almighty.  Our free-will has given us the false impression that we can do as we please.  We are created for the pleasure and purpose of God.

There is an old expression that rightly embodies this (attributed to multiple authors, summarized below):

If you love someone, set them free.  If they return, they are yours.  If they do not, they never were.

God has set us free with the priceless blood of Christ.  We now have a choice – will we return to God, and live in obedience, or will we go our own way?  We have been given the choice.  Let us choose wisely.

Flourishing Faith

Since we have been purchased with such a great price, let us place our hope in Him who has set us free.  Let us lay our foundation of hope upon the Son of God who has redeemed us.  Let us glorify in His goodness, mercy and grace.  Let us rejoice that He desires that all people come to Him.  Let our faith prosper and grow in God, for our foundation is secure, and no one can snatch us from our Father’s handNeither can anyone snatch us out of the hand of the Son of God.  For eternal life has been purchased for you through the blood of the eternal God, which cannot tarnish or be destroyed.  His blood will last through eternity with the surety that the Son of God is immortal, free from the effects decay, and that His blood will forever ensure our freedom.

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question: For what purpose in His plan has God redeemed my life?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, please help me to understand and realize just how steep a price was required to secure my freedom from sin through the blood of Your One and Only Son, Jesus Christ.  Help me to always remember the price that was paid to liberate me from the bondage that I was born into, and provide the great freedom that I now enjoy.  Father, please call me to my purpose, then equip me so that I may fulfill Your desire.  Grant me grace and mercy as I fail on a daily basis to live up to Your perfect standard, and help me to remember my failings that I may continually lean upon You for the strength to live and do Your will.  Work Your will through my life, that You would bring honor and glory to yourself.  Keep me far from pride, for the world, the flesh, and the devil will try to constantly place the desire in my heart to think that what You are doing through me is of my own ability.  Grant me the wisdom to see with spiritual eyes, that I may not be easily fooled as I walk in this wicked world.  Come, Lord Jesus, and redeem what is rightfully Yours.  This I ask in Jesus’ Holy Name, Amen.

Want more? Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?

The Star of Jacob – Numbers 24:17-19

And A Prophesied Star Arose In The Sky

17 “I see him, but not now;
I behold him, but not near.
A star will come out of Jacob;
a scepter will rise out of Israel.
He will crush the foreheads of Moab,
the skulls of all the people of Sheth.
18 Edom will be conquered;
Seir, his enemy, will be conquered,
but Israel will grow strong.
19 A ruler will come out of Jacob
and destroy the survivors of the city.”

Royal Ruler

It is ironic that Balaam, a man of divination sought out by Balak, would be used by God to bless, rather than curse, the people he was told to curse.  Not only did he bless Israel (much to the consternation of Balak, who was paying him good money to pronounce a curse), he prophesied about the coming King of kings and Lord of lords.  His reference to The Lord Jesus Christ was to name Him as a star, and as a scepter.  The wise men took star as a literal star, indicating that a sign in heaven would precede his birth.

In Genesis 1:14-15, God declared that the lights in the sky (sun, moon, and stars) would serve as signs to mark sacred times as well as days and years:

14 And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15 and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so.

How fitting then that a star would rise in the night to point to the most blessed of events – the arrival of the Son of God, beautiful and perfect, in the most humble and ignoble of circumstances.  And not only did the star stay in the sky for his birth, but it led the wise men to Jesus:

1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

(Just an interesting aside – note that the Magi (wise men) arrived at a HOUSE to find Jesus, not a stable/barn/cave.  They were led to the home of Joseph and Mary, where they worshiped the King of kings and Lord of lords, and gave their gifts.  These gifts were of special significance, not only for their symbolic value, but possibly necessary to enable Joseph to take his family and flee to Egypt to escape the murderous hatred of Herod after Joseph was warned by an angel in a dream.)

Lamb and Lion

The prophecy shows that the coming ruler would destroy His enemies.  And Christ did exactly that – for the last two thousand years, The Lord Jesus Christ, King of kings and Lord of lords, has been destroying His enemies by turning them into His friends.  Every time that a person gives their life to Christ, they have been destroyed as an enemy, and received as a child of God, a brother or sister, princes and princesses.

The reference to crushing their foreheads is interesting.  While grisly in detail, the forehead has been used elsewhere in scripture to indicate thought:

“This observance will be for you like a sign on your hand and a reminder on your forehead that this law of the Lord is to be on your lips. For the Lord brought you out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”

“And it will be like a sign on your hand and a symbol on your forehead that the Lord brought us out of Egypt with his mighty hand.”

The use is these cases are that our thoughts (foreheads) and actions (hands) are to be governed by the law.  And when we give our lives to Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells us, and through sanctification He aligns our thoughts and our actions with the express will of God through His word.We are thus now governed by a greater power than the law (which only points our our sin) – The Lord God Almighty Himself.  What better way to destroy your enemies than to lead them in such a way that they become your willing subjects (let alone adopted family members!)?

But that was when Jesus came as a lamb.  He came as the sacrifice to end all sacrifices, and to win the hearts of men from Satan to God.  He will next be coming as the Lion of Judah, ready to destroy all who refuse to bend the knee after His gracious invitation to join Him as his friend and brother/sister.

Approaching Apantesis

The up and coming battle prophesied by Balaam will be a bit different.  In the Greek, apantesis is a term used to describe a very unique event.  When the conquering hero returns from war, the people of his city would rush out of the city gates and meet him far away.  Then, with the conquering hero, they would join him on his return to the city, with great fanfare and rejoicing:

16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

36 “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. 37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; 39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. 40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.  42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. 43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into. 44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

It is imperative that we be like the wise men, ready for the journey, prepared for the sign, eagerly awaiting the time that is to come, rather than Herod, mass-murderer of children, ignorant of his Savior’s birth and hating His very existence.  Be prepared!

A Qualifying Question

Let’s ask a question:  Am I taking the time and effort to make the necessary preparations for the imminent return of my Savior?

A short prayer of preparation:

Father in Heaven, Your mercy, compassion, grace, and love abound in all that You say and do.  You are a jealous God, insofar as You show Your loving desire to protect me from evil.  Help me to be prepared for the return of Your Son, Jesus Christ.  He will come like a thief in the night.  And You, Father God, have warned us that He is coming.  Help me to be prepared so that I will be like the virgins who brought oil with them, waiting for the bridegroom to return.  Sanctify me in Your word.  Help me to do all that You want me to do here on Earth.  Let my life be the beacon of light on a hill, and fill my mouth and thoughts with the desire to tell everyone I meet about You.  Remove the barriers in my heart that would prevent me from being the person that You desire me to be.  This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Want more?  Why not try A. B. Simpson or A. W. Tozer?