[K]nowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:18-19
Peter was the most outspoken of Jesus’s followers. He was a blue-collar guy. Hard working, but rough-hewn. So when a guy like that tells you something is precious, it’s worth stopping and considering his words. In his first letter, Peter quickly mentions several things that precious. (Or of great value or great worth, depending on your translation.)
Last week we looked at the genuineness of your faith which is even more precious than gold. Just a few verses later, Peter reminds us that gold doesn’t last forever. However, there is something far more valuable, far more costly than gold or silver.
The precious blood of Christ.
It is rare. The Old Testament sacrificial system required that lambs be spotless and without blemish. Think about that. I have two cats and a dog. None of them are spotless. Granted, they are all rescues. But even when we had purebred dogs, they weren’t spotless. One had a knot in his tail. One was missing a tooth. One black dog had a white patch. Jesus Christ’s spotlessness was even more rare.
Jesus Christ was morally spotless. This is so familiar to us, the implications are blunted, but consider this. He was completely innocent. No sin. None whatsoever. For His entire life. Not a word, not a thought, not an attitude was dishonoring to God the Father. Try to go a couple of hours without ONE thought or attitude that is self-centered rather than God-centered.
It is costly. For a farmer, every new healthy lamb was important, considering it would grow up to be breeding stock for the herd. For a small farmer, strong healthy lambs were critical. It was an act of faith to give God a healthy lamb. Besides dealing with your sin, it meant you were trusting God to keep your flocks safe until new lambs were born.
The blood of Christ was ultimately costly. As the only begotten Son of the Father, there would be no replacement. But it was more than equal to the weight of mankind’s sin, both the acts we commit and the very nature within us.
It is necessary. Psalm 49:7-8 No man can by any means redeem his brother, Or give to God a ransom for him– For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever– We have no other recourse. There is not enough blood, or money, not enough work we could do, not even if we could live a thousand lifetimes to pay off ransom our sins require. We cannot purchase our freedom. We cannot mark the debt paid. We sometimes delude ourselves into thinking that debt is not that great. Like we have ten dollars and we need eleven. God stepped in with the extra dollar and saved us from having to dig through the couch cushions. We undercut the holiness of God with that kind of thinking.
Only Christ could have accomplished our redemption. Not only was His blood enough to ransom us, but His willingness makes it all the more precious. He was motivated not by the demands of the Father or by His own sense of duty and obligation, but by His boundless, immeasurable love for us, for me.
The more we understand our need, the more we understand how precious that blood is. Peter understood. Gold, for all its value, can’t be compared with the blood of Christ. Gold can’t redeem us. The precious blood of Christ did.