I Peter 1:18-19 – knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.

Although silver and gold are valued commodities in our culture, they are ‘perishable’ or corrupt.  As such, the only power they posses is the ability to pervert or defile your walk with God by acting as a snare, a temptation or a hindrance to you.  Things that are corrupt do not have the power to purchase or redeem an incorruptible, immortal soul, like yours.

The only commodity that is incorruptible and that has the power to redeem your soul is the sinless blood of Christ.  Knowing and meditating on the fact that God paid such a high price to buy us back should provide powerful motivation for us to live holy lives, revering Father God.

Today, we like to exchange money electronically.  When we are paid, our wages are directly deposited into a bank account.  When we pay our bills, we log onto a computer, push some buttons and move the money around.  We buy things using credit cards.  Many people very seldom, if ever, handle money anymore.  What about you?  Do you still consider money as a real commodity that you touch and handle, or is it just numbers on a screen to you?

In light of this, we need to remind ourselves that the debt we owed and the price God paid for us are not just metaphorical; they are not just entries in some cosmic accounting system.  The debt of our sin was real.  That debt was going to be placed on our backs, and would have resulted in eternal death.  Imagine being dead but never being able to actually die and find relief from pain, sorrow and torment.  Imagine enduring those things (and much worse) forever without ceasing.  This is not just some idea or theory; eternal death because of sin is a reality.

The price that Jesus paid for our forgiveness is also a reality.  God didn’t just ‘write off’ our sin like a bad debt.  The full punishment of our transgression was laid upon our Redeemer.  Jesus, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish, suffered a very real and hideous death to pay the full price of our sin.  

In light of the innocent blood and horrendous suffering that bought our salvation, shouldn’t we willingly and eagerly live holy lives to God?  Shouldn’t we honor Jesus’ sacrifice by turning our backs on sin?  Why would we want to cling to death?

I Peter 1:20 – He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you…

Peter now circles back to his original thoughts in verse 2, specifically, that before the foundation of the world God chose to put in motion a plan where Jesus would be born in the flesh.  He would suffer, die and be raised to life again on the third day.  His blood would atone for the sin of anyone who accepted his sacrifice.  (Peter’s Jewish readers recognized that Passover was a foreshadowing of the sacrificial death of Jesus.  This meant that Christianity was not some new religion, but a fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises.)    

The atonement of Christ was not some spur-of-the-moment idea or an afterthought on the part of God.  It was his purpose from eternity, before the foundation of the world and before sin was even a thing!   

Likewise, the timing of this event was perfect in every regard. The birth of Jesus into a body of flesh came at a fixed, appointed time.  So did his death and resurrection.  They mark the final dispensation of time. 

What about you?  Regardless of the circumstances surrounding your birth, you arrived on this plant on the exact day that God ordained for you.  Regardless of what your parents may say, you are not an accident.  You are not a mistake or an afterthought.  God knew you before he knit you together in your mother’s womb.  He has purposely placed YOU in the very last dispensation of time – the age of grace.  He has chosen to give you full access to all of the riches of the gift of grace. 

Even now, your spirit should be rising up in praise and worship to God.  What a blessing we have in Jesus!  

I Peter 1:21 – …who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

There is only one way to faith in God.  That way is Jesus Christ who was raised from the dead and glorified by the Father. Without Jesus, we would dread and fear God.  With him, we can approach the Father with confidence, hope and love.

I Peter 1:22 – Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,

How does one purify their soul?  It is a combined effort between each individual and Holy Spirit. 

Each of us has a part to play in our own holiness.  It is a task that will require purpose and effort. 

This is not really mysterious in any way; this is exactly what we encounter in the natural world.  If you want to be a great golfer, you must study golf, obtain the proper equipment and most importantly of all, you have to put forth effort and practice!  There is no ‘magical’ effortless way to become a golf pro.  

Holiness and Christian obedience are much the same.  They don’t happen ‘magically’.  We have to renew our minds with the word of God and apply the truth to our actions.  We must take control over/crucify our flesh and its desires.  We must resist the temptations of Satan. 

However, this process is effective only through the agency of Holy Spirit.  He applies the truth to our minds and makes it alive so that it produces results in our lives.  Every seed has the capacity in itself to produce a harvest.  But without sun and moisture and nutrients, the potential of the seed will not be realized.  In the same way, we have the potential to be holy, obedient people of God, but without Holy Spirit, we will never bring about a spiritual harvest.  

The effect of this influence of Holy Spirit in our lives is to produce love in us, towards all who are Christians.  This love for our Christian family springs up in the soul of every person who has truly been converted; it is certain evidence of salvation.

John 13:35 – By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one to another.

It is likely that Christian love was an issue in the churches of Asia Minor.  The Christian Jews and Christian Gentiles clearly came from vastly different cultural backgrounds.  The Jewish Christians still retained an affection for outward manifestations of religion like dietary laws and circumcision.  These rituals were not necessary for salvation, but many Jews still practiced them because they were a part of their heritage.

Speaking of heritage, consider this:  For hundreds and hundreds of years Jews had been taught that Gentiles were heathen dogs, who had no part in the things of God.  You can see how it would be difficult for this generation to change their thinking and begin to love and accept their Gentile brothers and sisters as equal partners in the kingdom of heaven.   

Meanwhile, the Gentiles Christians would have no patience for what seemed to them to be empty rituals.  They didn’t understand why their Jewish brothers were making such a big fuss about things like eating meat sacrificed to idols.  Also, they may have felt that their Jewish brothers looked down upon them, considering them ‘step children’ of God. 

Only genuine brotherly love, brought about by Holy Spirit could truly take these two vastly different groups of people and meld them together into a single united church under Christ.    Without this love, the church would be divided. And a house divided against itself will fall (Mark 3:4-26).

Where does this truth leave the church today?  Do we find divisions in the world-wide church of God?  Are the Baptists and the Pentecostals enemies or brothers?  Can the Lutherans and the Anglicans and the Evangelicals and the Methodists love one another and work together for the spread of the gospel?  What about the Protestants and the Catholics?   What role do you play in brotherly love? 

I Peter 1:23 – …since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God;

Those who have been born again have good reason to love one another.  We are part of the same kingdom, under the authority of the same king, partakers of the same privileges, with the same goal in mind – to be more and more like Christ and to bring others into the kingdom.  These things are all produced by the incorruptible seed of the word of God which has sprouted up in the life of every Christian.

I Peter 1:24-25 – for “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.  The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.”  And this word is the good news that was preached to you.

Here, Peter quotes from the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 40:6-8).  While the incorruptible seed of God produces eternal life, the corruptible seed of the flesh can only result in death.  

The seed of flesh produces life that is similar to flowers and grass.  For a time, they seem vibrant and healthy, displaying beauty, wealth, and strength.  But these have no hope of lasting.  In a very short time, they will simply wither and fade.  Nothing can make them eternal.

Psalms 103:15-16 – As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.

If we look at the history of the world, we find kingdoms that have risen and fallen.  Ideas that have found favor are subsequently discarded.  Trends in all areas of life come and go.  Youth gives way to the frailty of old age.  Nothing in this world lasts forever. 

But by contrast, that which is produced by the incorruptible seed of the word of God, has eternal DNA.  It will never die or fade away; it is everlasting, fixed and permanent with a glory that will never fade. 

The ‘Easter story’ – the doctrine of the crucified and risen Christ – is a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles, yet it alone is the incorruptible seed of the power of God for salvation to every soul that believes.   

The gospel never changes.  The blood of Jesus never loses its power.  The redemptive work of Jesus is forever “finished”.  The word of the Lord will stand forever.  Life in Jesus is eternal. 

Thus, the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament apostles agree:  Life in Christ, though it come with trials in this world, is the only sure hope for mankind.  Everlasting life comes only through him.  The word of the Lord is a strong foundation that we should greatly desire and diligently seek.   

Let me offer you some encouragement and some relief:

Scripture tells us that God as determined the day of your birth and the day of your death (Psalms 139).  He did this because he as a purpose for your life.  You may or may not know what that purpose is at this point.

If you do know, then I strongly encourage you to pursue that calling and purposes will all your heart and strength. 

If you do not yet know what your purpose in life is, then I encourage you to strongly seek the will of God through the Holy Spirit.  He will reveal to you the plans God has for your life.   

Let me offer you some strength:

The world ebbs and flows; fads come and go, just like flowers bloom and fade. 

But the life that you possess as a child of God is permanent and lasting.  God is a firm foundation, a solid rock upon which you can build every aspect of your life.  When the rains of hardship begin beating down, your life will not falter or fail, because you have built upon Jesus!   

 

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