Redemption--Our Motive For Holiness | 1 Peter 1:18-21 | Dr. David Harrell
Redemption--Our Motive For Holiness
1 Peter 1:18-21
Dr. David Harrell | Bio
September, 10 2006
Redemption--Our Motive For Holiness
Each transcript is a rough approximation of the message preached and may occasionally misstate certain portions of the sermon and even misspell certain words. It should in no way be considered an edited document ready for print. Moreover, as in any transcription of the spoken word, the full intention and passion of the speaker cannot be fully captured and will in no way reflect the same style of a written document.
We come to that time in our worship service when we have the wonderful privilege and responsibility to open up the Word of God, the infallible record. We do so by looking at 1 Peter 1:18-21. I come to you again feeling the gravity, as well as the gladness, of preaching. Certainly there is a dreadful seriousness about eternity whenever we come to a time when we open up the Word of God and reflect upon its great truths. It is my prayer that you will all have a solemn consciousness of the presence of God as we look into His Word. Before we look at the text, think with me. I believe every true Christian, if he or she is honest, will admit that there are certain areas in their life in which they struggle with some form of sin. Only the hypocrite would claim spiritual superiority and perfect purity of life.
Perhaps because of what I have endured over the last three or four weeks with the lives of some of you, and some people outside the church, I’ve watched the consequences of sin destroy families. I believe that, combined with the text before us, is the reason that my heart is a bit heavy this morning. In that heaviness, I want to have you think about your own heart and your own walk with Christ. I fear that all too often, even in this church, we have a cavalier attitude toward sin. Somehow we lack a deep and passionate desire to walk with God in a close way, to really please Him. I fear that at times there is a lack of a real sense of commitment to do more than choose between good and evil, but to choose between good and excellent.
Somehow there is a common thinking among Christians today that there is nothing off limits; that we can do and think whatever we choose. I see this from attire to entertainment. There seems to be very little hatred of the flesh, very little hatred of the world, very little hatred of sin. But rather, a naïve and even a joyful embracing of it. I fear many of us have been infected by the virus of carnality that was described in the apostate, compromising church of Ladodicea. I believe we are living in that Laodicean Church Age in which many people profess Christ but very few people possess Him. Because there are so many tares amongst the wheat in so many churches today, there is really very little sense of living for the glory of God, living separately from the world and truly wanting to do all that we can to demonstrate Christ-likeness in our life. I fear that we live in a Church Age that knows very little of the saving and the purifying power of the gospel of Christ. My friend, Dr. H.T. Spence, wrote along these lines.
“The Lord Himself described this Church Age and its boast: ‘Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing’ (Revelation 3:17). This Church Age no longer hates the flesh, the world, and sin. To the contrary it hates spirituality, poverty, godly living, suffering, persecution, and all such things that were part of the character that marked the godly in previous generations. This is the ‘Hour of Power,’ when rock and roll has become the theme music of the Church, when the Church revels in being ‘in the world’ as well as ‘of the world.’ It is neither seeking nor desiring a spiritual kingdom within or a spiritual heaven later. It is satisfied with a physical, materialistic kingdom on earth, purchased by the bread of the earth (money) as it rejects the Bread of Heaven.”
I fear that in most cases, if you were to ask people who professed to know Christ to list some areas of carnality in their life, they would be at a loss. Therefore they would not see the things that they need to be fleeing from. Many Christians are content to merely enter the gate of the kingdom of Christ, but they have no real desire to go deep within the realm of holiness and explore the riches of God and walk closely with Him and experience Him in ways that they have heretofore never done. Few seem to be asking, “Am I truly walking in the newness of life? Am I truly walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lusts of the flesh? Do I have a longing to truly be more consecrated to Christ because of my deep love for Him? Do I really have a craving for a more intensified experience of the presence of God in my life?”
Frequently throughout Scripture God calls His people to come out and be separate from the world. That’s almost laughable in Christian circles today. We read about this in 2 Corinthians 6:17 for example. We’re to come out and be separate. In Hebrews 7:26 we’re told to be like Christ, who was “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners.” In 2 Corinthians 6 God again warns His people of the danger of being “unequally yoked” with non-believers in any kind of a close relationship, like marriage, or any kind of a spiritual enterprise. Yet people ignore that. The text goes on to say that if you refuse to do that, you’ll forfeit manifold blessings available to you as a child of God, but people ignore it. People attend apostate churches that teach false doctrine and still call themselves Christians. There is a total disregard for being separate from the world. They read books written by false teachers and watch television shows of false teachers.
Many Christian people will literally hand the education of their children over to non-believers and apostate Christians who will systematically and imperceptibly infect them with a godless worldview that dishonors God, and it doesn’t seem to bother them. Christian families spend hours each week allowing Hollywood to influence their minds and hearts. The music and dance of the world gradually squeeze our young people into its mold, along with all of the messages of rebellion against divine authority, like immorality and narcissism. Music where rhythm, not lyrics, dominate the song, fanning the flames of carnal desires, sexual passions and vulgarity. And yet Christians don’t seem to be bothered by that.
It’s not at all uncommon to see Christians going out and covering themselves with tattoos and body piercing—something that is clearly prohibited in the Old Testament as a form of paganism and idolatry. We can look around and, despite the numerous admonitions and commands in the Word of God for women to dress modestly, we see females—even many of them who claim to be Christians—dress like trollops. We can go into the bedrooms of our young girls and we see posters of these kinds of people. We see young men dressed like rappers or carrying on themselves the appearance of a godless group of people that they admire. You see it in hairstyles, clothing and vocabulary. It is obvious that even people who call themselves Christians have a deliberate desire to try to be identified with people who hate the God that we claim to love. Churches even cater to these ungodly practices by offering services that not only condone wickedness but exalt it and call it “worship.” Unfortunately, calling Christians to live holy lives and be separate from the world tends to conjure up visions of Amish legalism or something like that, rather than calling people back to the very clear commands and admonitions that the Lord has given us for our good and His glory.
As we think about these wonderful admonitions that God gives us, we are reminded of texts such as 1 Thessalonians 4:7-8, where the apostle Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, says to us, “For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification.” Remember, sanctification is being set apart from sin unto God. “So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.” The bottom line is that I fear all too often we as Christians fail to admit there are just some things that absolutely ought to be off-limits for our families and for ourselves.
Compare the mindset of this modern age to Paul’s words in Ephesians 5:1-12. “Be imitators of God.” That right there is enough to rule out much of what we do and think. He goes on to say, “…but immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.”
The Holy Spirit dealt with these very things in the first century, as He continues to deal with them today in our world, issues of carnality. We learn more of the Spirit of God’s exhortations with respect to these issues as we come to 1 Peter. By way of review, the first twelve verses are a passionate doxology of praise for all that God has given us in our salvation, therefore the rightful obligations that we have as Christians: that we are to live in light of eternity, we are to live separate from the world and we are to live with reverential awe. Now in verses 18-21, which will be our focus here, he continues to summon us all to holy living by reminding us of a crucial and a sobering element of our salvation, namely our redemption. Let’s get a running start at this and begin back in verse 14.
“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy for I am holy.’ And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth;” and it continues in verses 18-21 where we’re going to focus, “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 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.”
This text should stir our hearts to humble obedience. It should cause us to reexamine our commitment to consecrate ourselves completely to Christ and to become more like Him, rather than finding ourselves becoming more and more like the world that hates Him, and frankly hates us. Here Peter emphasizes four marvelous truths, four marvelous aspects of our redemption that should motivate us to holy living. We will see:
- The Deliverance of Redemption
- The Cost of Redemption
- The Transcendence of Redemption
- The Blessings of Redemption
As we revisit this sacred doctrine of redemption, my desire is to lovingly yet forthrightly call every believer to reexamine your lifestyle to see if indeed you are walking in holiness, that you have set yourself apart from sin unto God. I might also add that if you find yourself thinking, “Oh brother, here we go,” or if you find yourself feeling a seething resentment in your heart to what God is saying to you, saying in essence, “Pastor, would you please just get off of this. Just leave me alone. There’s nothing wrong with _____,” fill in the blank, if that is you, then I would ask that you do not silence your conscience with ridiculous justifications and rationalizations that are indicative of our sinful hearts. Rather, that you will say, “Spirit of God, speak to me. Speak to those areas in my heart and life that perhaps right now my flesh is railing against.”
The first motive for holy living that Peter reminds us of in this text is because of our deliverance of redemption. This truth is inherent in the meaning of the word redeemed that we see in verse 18. To redeem means “to buy back” or “to purchase by paying a ransom.” Redemption, as many of you already know, involves a redeemer who purchases someone he loves, who buys him or her back out of a situation of bondage and danger. Herein is the problem with most Christian living: we do not remember the bondage and the danger from which we have been redeemed. Therefore, we are all too quick to go back and wallow in it once again.
This concept of redemption is rooted in the Old Testament in God’s redemption of Israel from Egypt, an affirmation of the love of a divine Kinsman who redeemed His covenant people from their helpless and desperate condition of slavery. The blood of the Passover lamb that was put on the doorposts and lintels was a symbol of an innocent substitute that would someday come and be our Redeemer, none other than the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. The Psalmist speaks of this in Psalm 78:42-43 where he reminds the Israelites of the power of God on “the day when He redeemed them from the adversary, when he performed His signs in Egypt and His marvels in the field of Zoan.” It goes on in that text to rehearse the plagues and the miracles of the exodus from Egypt that demonstrated the wrath of God against the wicked and His covenantal love for His own.
The Gentiles also understood redemption. They did it frequently. This was a picture of a slave whose freedom was purchased by someone that loved that slave, many times a family member. They purchased that person back with a price. You must understand that in the Word of God redemption carries with it the idea of the deepest love and loyalty among a family member. Can you imagine for one moment if one of your children, or grandchildren, or someone that you love, is taken from you. Imagine, parent, if it is a child, and your child is taken to some other country and is now in slavery. You would do anything you possibly could to redeem that child back to yourself. That is the notion that we have here.
We see the full impact of this redeeming love of God for His children in this and other passages, where the very life of the Lord Jesus Christ paid for our release. We look at Matthew 20:28, where Jesus said, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” In other words, to be a ransom in place of many, emphasizing His substitutionary atonement. He was a ransom. He was the price that was required to redeem that slave, that prisoner. I want you to understand that while it’s crucial for us to remember and see the love of our Redeemer, we must not forget the context of this passage, and that is Peter’s cry for holy living. Therefore we must underscore the severity and the bondage from which we have been redeemed. That is my heart’s cry, to somehow get you to reflect upon that. This is utterly essential in motivating us to holy living.
We must begin by seeing the deliverance of our redemption. Look at the latter part of verse 17 through 19. He says, “conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold…but with the precious blood…of Christ.” From what have we been redeemed? Dear friends, it was from the bondage of sin, the consequences, the tragedy of sin. In Titus 2:14 it says, “He gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
The reason so many Christians tend to fall back into conformity with the world is that we forget our former condition. The Word of God tells us that before we were redeemed, we were held captive by Satan, by the fear of death and by sin. We agonized over sin’s pollution in our life and the guilt of sin. We stood condemned before God, violators of His law, children of wrath the Word tells us. We were unable to free ourselves from sin’s dominion and curse. Because of sin, our lives were going nowhere fast. Every relationship was affected by sin. Our health, our worldview, everything was rancid and toxic because of our sin. From this we have been redeemed. I pray that somehow the full force of this unspeakably horrific condition will grip your heart so that you will say, “My goodness, if that is what I’ve been redeemed from, why in the world would I want to go back to that? Why would I want my children to be around that? Why would I want that garbage to infect my mind and pollute me and conform me into the very world from which I’ve been delivered?” How idiotic. How blasphemous.
You see, before we were redeemed, we were slaves to sin. The sad thing is that we were deserving of eternal punishment and yet we enjoyed our slavery. We were too ignorant to even see it. My, how we would resent the very idea that we were in bondage to sin or Satan. If you don’t believe that, talk to a non-believer and tell them that they’re in bondage to sin and to Satan and see their reaction. Like all who refuse to be saved, once upon a time we loved our sin. We loved it. We didn’t even see it as sin. We would exhaust ourselves to do everything we possibly could to satisfy the lusts of our flesh.
In verse 18, Peter further describes the unregenerate past of the Jews by stating that they were redeemed, “from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers.” A futile life. What does futile mean? It means vain, frivolous, senseless, trivial, worthless, a life that is empty, useless, without value. You watch people today. All they want to do is chase after material things, chase after some fleeting pleasure of life. They can’t wait to watch the next football game or whatever. Now, I’m all for watching football, I watched a game yesterday, so don’t hear me talking against that. My point is, so often, especially with non-believers, they pursue things that are absolutely insignificant in the grand scope of eternity. Their whole life is that way until they die. A futile way of life. This is a perfect description of a life that is lived with no commitment to love and to serve Christ. Regardless of the accomplishments of that particular life, those accomplishments are worth no more than the dirt that will be thrown upon their casket when they die. For this reason we are exhorted in Ephesians 4:17 to, “walk no longer just as the Gentiles also walk, in the futility of their mind.” What Peter is saying is that you’ve been redeemed from all that.
Moreover, the meaningless and mindless religion and secular philosophies were, “a way of life inherited from your forefathers,” he says in verse 18. This is a profound indictment of the apostate Jews of that day, as well as the pagans, because of the religious tradition they had inherited. Even with the pagans today, not to mention apostate Judaism, we continue to see how those futile ways of thinking that they have inherited from their forefathers incarcerates millions of people in prisons of sin and deception from which they desperately need to be redeemed. Look at the deceptions of Islam, of Mormonism, of Hinduism, of Buddhism, of Roman Catholicism, of Jehovah’s Witnesses. People are trapped in these prisons. We can rejoice because God, in His infinite love, purchased our redemption from the wretchedness. He delivered us from the hopelessness of that condition. In light of such a marvelous redemption, the point is this: Why would we want to go back and live that way?
In 1 Peter 1:14-16, he goes on to say, “do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy for I am holy.’” Imagine being enslaved in the drug culture of the inner city ghetto. You are enslaved by the drugs and the alcohol and the physical consequences of all that. You are living in poverty and disease, and you’re blaming everybody but yourself for your problem. You are walking around with hatred in your heart, and yet at some level you are enjoying all the immorality and all the bravado that is indicative of that culture. You are so ignorant of your own condition that you’re oblivious to the even worse state that will be yours when you die, lest you repent and place your faith in Christ. Imagine somehow, One comes along and gives Himself as a ransom to buy you out of that bondage, and to give you the hope of heaven and purity of life. You begin to get a glimpse of all of the glories that can be yours. But then, in a supreme act of unthankfulness and rebellion and even stupidity, you say, “You know what? Thanks for all of that. I’m glad I’ve got all that, but I want to go back and live that way. I want to go back to the ghetto of sin. I enjoy all of that corruption.”
In 2 Peter 2:22, Peter compares such insanity to, “a dog that returns to its own vomit, and a sow, after washing, returns to wallowing in the mire.” Why would anyone who now has a new heart and a new mind choose to go back and associate with the former way of life? To even let their children be influenced by that? We read in 1 Corinthians 15:33, “Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’” Yet Christians seem to have no compunction whatsoever with letting their children spend vast amounts of time with unsaved children. I don’t understand it.
It’s interesting if you consider something. In the first eighteen verses of 1 Peter he describes our former condition in three ways. In verse 14 he describes it as, “the former lusts.” Again, lusts refers to the passions of the flesh with a natural bent to selfishness and the pursuit of all manner of evil things that dishonor God. In James 1:14-15 we read, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.”
Let me give you an example of this to show you how this works. Let’s say you have the lust to draw attention to yourself. Because of your pride you have the lust of self-aggrandizement. Therefore, because of that lust, in your imagination, in the secret recesses of your mind, you begin to visualize yourself with certain clothes, or with a certain body image, or with certain material possessions, or a certain title or some accolade of praise, etc. All of those things are motivated to bring glory to yourself, not to bring glory to God. Now your lust is being pandered within the secret recesses of your imagination. That begins to fuel the passions of your flesh. It begins to ignite your emotions and your emotions begin to rule your mind. You begin to set your mind, not on things above, but on the things of the world. You begin to come up with any way possible to satisfy that lust so that you can draw attention to yourself in some special way. So care and discretion are thrown to the wind, and like a sexually aroused stallion after a mare, you will go through every obstacle to satisfy your desire to be noticed. You will attack anyone that gets in your way or tries to stop you. That is the bondage of sin. That’s the former lusts from which we have been redeemed. We’re no longer a slave to those types of things like those without Christ. The point is, why go back and live that way?
He also talks about our former unredeemed condition as being a slavery to “ignorance” in verse 14. This is our utter inability to understand, much less live, spiritual truth. This is again indicative of people without Christ. It’s interesting, what Paul describes in Ephesians 4:17-19 about the unredeemed. He says they walk, “in the futility of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, excluded from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of heart; and they, having become callous, have given themselves over to sensuality for the practice of every kind of impurity with greediness.”
This is a source of constant frustration for me as a pastor. I’ve talked with other pastors who share this. To see people living in some kind of spiritual ignorance, and you explain to them that theologically, 2+2=4 on a particular issue. But they say, “No, I think it’s 5.” And you watch them go and run into the same wall they’ve been running into their whole life. Again, we’ve been redeemed from that. We don’t have to be slaves to those ignorant things.
Not only former lusts in ignorance, but thirdly we’ve been redeemed from “your futile way of life, ” or the worthless, meaningless, vain ways of life. Indeed, people tend to believe whatever their parents have taught them. That’s why Peter says, “your futile way of life inherited by our forefathers.” That can also work to our advantage if we teach our children the truth. I hope you can see that the pit from which we’ve been redeemed is a terrible thing. The deliverance that we have should therefore motivate us to holy living. That’s Peter’s point.
So not only are we motivated by the deliverance of our redemption but we should also be motivated by the cost of it. In verse 18 he says, “knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile ways of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” There is nothing on earth that compares to the value of the blood of Christ. Nothing on earth. Our obligation as redeemed people is to love our benefactor in proportion to the price that was paid for our ransom. Does that make sense to you? That is our obligation. There is no sacrifice too great for us to give in light of what we have received. Some say, “But I don’t want to give up this, and this, and this, because I think that these things are worth more to me than the ransom price of the blood of Christ for my redemption.”
The Psalmist says in 130:7, “…with the Lord there is lovingkindness, and with Him is abundant redemption.” The King James says plenteous, it means bounteous, luxuriant redemption. What a magnificent truth! To know that somehow the rivers of redemption overflow with more than enough water of grace to cleanse any sinner who will come, like Naaman, and dip themselves into the cleansing flow. Our obligation should therefore be obvious: we should love our God with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength; to be willing to be a living sacrifice and give up anything that might put us in the pathway of the world; to deny ourselves and flee from the very appearance of evil. Our ransom was paid, and it was paid with the “precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
It’s important for us to understand theologically that God cannot be merciful at the expense of justice. Something had to be done. God is holy, we are not. All sin must be punished, and since we have violated His holy Law, we are indebted to Him. That is the theme all through Scripture. He alone is the Creditor who has the right to establish the price of our ransom. Of course, the only way He could possibly satisfy and appease His justice is through the propitiation of the Lord Jesus Christ, through His blood. So the price had to be His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, Christ became our substitute and paid the penalty of sin.
As 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” And in Galatians 4:4-5 we read, “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” Indeed, as 1 John 1:7 says, “The blood of Christ Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” So here’s the good news. When a sinner places his faith in the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, the accumulated sins of that person’s life are forever forgiven, having been paid for by Christ. That’s the glorious news of the gospel! That’s redemption. What a tragedy when we have friends and loved ones who refuse to see the blackness of their sins, who refuse to see the filth of their current condition before a holy God, who somehow are unable to see a need for cleansing, and they don’t experience guilt as they should. They feel no weight of conscience and therefore they have no longing for pardon. How we pray that God in His mercy will bring conviction to them. I pray for misery of body and soul for those people. I pray that misery will be their only companion until they awaken from the slumber of their pride and ignorance and run to the foot of the cross and cry out for undeserved mercy. If that is truly a person’s heart cry, they will receive that mercy. For indeed never is a man closer to grace than when he is absolutely convinced that he cannot have it, nor does he deserve it. Child of God, this is the infinite cost of our redemption: the blood of Christ. I pray that will stir you to holiness.
We see not only should we be motivated by the deliverance of our redemption, the cost of our redemption, but by the transcendence of it. Notice four supernatural qualities here of the nature of our Redeemer. We see:
- His predetermination
- His incarnation
- His resurrection
- His glorification
We see His predetermination in verse 20, “For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world.” To think that God’s plan for sending His Son as our Redeemer, as the incarnate Christ, was ordained before creation, imagine that! It’s incomprehensible that our Redeemer and our redemption was set into motion before time even began, before we were created. In Revelation 13:8 it says that our names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world. It’s interesting that God describes His predetermined plan and His love for His Son in Isaiah 42:1. It says, “Behold, My servant, upon whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.”
Paul said in 2 Timothy 1:9 that, “His purpose and grace was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.” Literally in the Greek, before time began. Indeed, the undeniable and repeated theme throughout Scripture is that God’s plan of salvation is a predetermined plan ordained by a sovereign God.
So Peter reminds us of the predetermination of our redeemer, but also secondly, the incarnation of our redeemer. At the end of verse 20-21 he talks about, “but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God.” He speaks of the incarnation, and we know that, as Paul said in Philippians 2:6-8, “although He,” referring to Jesus, “existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” It’s for this reason that Paul said in Titus 2:11 that, “the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”
We see the transcendence of redemption here in the predetermination of our redeemer, and in the incarnation of our redeemer, and also in verse 21, thirdly, of the resurrection of our redeemer. It says that he “…who raised Him from the dead.” His resurrection was God’s way of certifying, or validating that indeed the work of redemption was perfectly accomplished. We also see the transcendence of redemption, fourthly, in His glorification. At the end of verse 21 it says, “…and gave Him glory.” He reminds us of this as well in Philippians 2:9, “For this reason also, God highly exalted him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow.” What an amazing description of the transcendence, the supernatural nature of our redeemer. All the more reason for us to live lives of purity and holiness.
Finally, we’re exhorted to holy living as we look at the blessing of redemption. At the end of verses 20-21 he talks about, “for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God…so that your faith and hope are in God.” I want you to understand this. It is by the blood of Christ that we have been redeemed. It is by the power of Christ that we were able to believe the gospel. What an enormous and often neglected blessing is ours, this blessing of therefore having faith and hope in God, the blessing of redemption. What would it be like if we had no faith? What would it be like if we had no hope? If that was me I’d be like everybody else—give me a beer. Let’s just go have a big time because this whole thing is just meaningless. Let’s party.
We don’t have that. Instead, we have a trust in the unfailing love and the sovereign rule of a holy God that therefore assures us that all of His promises to us will come to fruition. What a blessing we have in our redemption. Our redemption has purchased these marvelous gifts of faith and hope. All the more reason for us to live lives that are consecrated to Him, and to take seriously our role in sanctification. Child of God, please hear me. Even as the blood on the doorposts of the Israelites set them apart from the Egyptians, so too the blood of Christ should set us apart from all other people in the world. Even as the blood of the Lamb will set us apart on the day of judgment, so too it should set us apart from the world as we live out our lives. To come out and be separate from them in how we dress, and what we watch on television, what we subject our children to, how we think, what we hear on the radio and what we read.
Spurgeon said it so well. He said, “Let us never forget the purifying power of Jesus in the heart. Wherever He is trusted in to take away the guilt of sin, we must seek next the water which flowed with the blood to take away the power of sin, and we must ask to see Him sit as the refiner to purify, yea, it must be our prayer that He would take His fan in His hand and purge our hearts as He doth His floor.”
May we make this the focus of our prayer, even as the Psalmist said in Psalm 139:23-24, Lord, purify my heart. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” I challenge you to examine your heart and to decisively commit yourself and your family to walk on a higher road of holiness. May this be your heart’s desire. May your hearts be motivated as you contemplate the marvels of our redemption. I close with these thoughts put to meter and rhyme.
In sin’s dread bondage once I toiled,
Consumed by lust, my flesh to spoil
Hopeless, lost, depraved.
Dead in sin I pulled my oar,
The Devil’s galley slave.
Destined for that ghastly shore
Of Hell for sins to pay.
Unable to redeem myself
The price for sin too high.
No one save the Lord Himself,
Could my salvation buy.
Yet with His blood my ransom paid
And set this captive free.
His sinless life for mine the trade,
Oh soul how can it be?
Praise be to our Redeemer King
Whose love has paid the price.
And now with all the saints I sing
Of His sweet sacrifice.
With joy my life, I sacrifice,
For nothing can compare,
To my Redeemer’s ransom price,
And glory someday shared.