Sermon on 1 Peter 1:18-21 | Our Ransom

Jesus Christ

Our Ransom (1 Peter 1:18-21)

If we were to have a loved one who had been kidnapped, I dare say that there would not be a price too high to release that family member. In essence, that’s the same thing Jesus did for us; he stepped forward and offered himself to be our ransom, to redeem us from sin.

Peter talks about that ransom in some detail. Tonight, we want to think about the ransom we have from sin.

Christ, Our Ransom, vv 18-20

You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your fathers. These Christians had been ransomed. “Ransom” means to free someone by paying a price, just like the ransom paid to free someone from kidnapping. The idea of ransom comes from the Old Testament; if a poor Israelite sold himself to a stranger or sojourner, one of the slave’s relatives could redeem (ransom) him (Lev. 25:47-49).

These Christians had been freed from the futile ways they received from their fathers. “Way” refers to the Christians’ ethical behavior, their way of life; these ways were futile, they were meaningless, they led to nothing. They had received this behavior from their fathers. Sinful conduct had been passed on from generation to generation. There is a lesson for us parents here: we pass on our behavior to our children. One generation learns how to act, how to behave, from previous generations. Thus, we need to be absolutely certain that we model proper conduct, so that future generations do not receive “futile ways” from us!

I think there’s a lesson here for young people, as well. Just because your parents do something doesn’t make it right. In this passage, we see one generation passing its sin on to another generation. No one ever stopped to examine what they were doing and whether or not it was right. We need to examine for ourselves what previous generations have done to make sure that we are doing right.

These Christians had not been ransomed with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. Peter discussed perishable things throughout this chapter. Christians have been born again “to an inheritance which is imperishable” (v. 4). Gold is perishable (v. 7). We have been born again “not of perishable seed but of imperishable” (v. 23).

Peter’s point seems to be to contrast the perishable nature of the things of this world with the imperishable nature of eternity. All the things in this world will perish and will come to nothing, but there are things that will last forever. The things that will be burned up when Jesus comes again were not sufficient to purchase eternal salvation; it took the blood of Jesus, One who is eternal.

We have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. Jesus gave his blood in order to save us from sin. Of the fruit of the vine, Jesus said, “This is my blood of the [new] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins” (Matt. 26:28). To the Ephesian elders, Paul said, “Take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God which he obtained with the blood of his own Son” (Acts 20:28).

Jesus was like a lamb without blemish or spot. The image here is obviously one of Jesus’ serving as our Passover Lamb. After the Lamb had been killed, some of its blood was to be placed on the two doorposts and the lintel of the houses in order to protect the firstborn (Lev. 12).

Jesus was our lamb without blemish or spot. Under the Mosaical Code, sacrifices were not to have any blemishes. “If he brings a lamb as his offering for a sin offering, he shall bring a female without blemish” (Lev. 4:32). “At the beginning of your months you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD: two young bulls, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish” (Num. 28:11).

Jesus was without blemish. “The blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, [will] purify your conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb. 9:14). Jesus “committed no sin; no guile was found on his lips” (1 Pet. 2:22).

Because Jesus lived without sin, he could offer himself as that perfect sacrifice to God. We could not offer ourselves because we have sinned. Jesus stepped forward, without sin, and gave himself for our redemption.

Jesus was destined before the foundation of the world but was made manifest at the end of the times for your sake. Before the world was ever created, God decided to give Jesus for our sins. Had God known before the foundation of the world that he could not have given Jesus for our sins, would he have created the world and created man? Was it not precisely because God knew that man could be redeemed that he went ahead and created man?

Think of the love evident in this verse – God decided before you ever were created to send Jesus to die for you!

Even though Jesus was destined from eternity, he was manifest at the end of the times for your sake. God waited until things were just right to send his Son into the world. “When the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law” (Gal. 4:4-5). Your redemption was planned – it’s not as though God just had to throw things together, but he planned things to work out this way.

Jesus was manifested “for your sake.” Jesus came to this world and died for us; had you been the only person on this planet, God would have sent Jesus to die for you. When Jesus gave unleavened bread to the disciples at the Last Supper, he said to them, “This is my body which is given for you” (Lk. 22:19). Jesus’ body was not just given for the masses of humanity, but it was given for you. Jesus bled and died for you, so that you could be redeemed, so that you could have an eternity in heaven.

If we would truly grasp the concepts taught in this passage, our lives would never be the same. How can we live however we want, when Jesus came and died to redeem us from sin? In a context of sexual immorality, Paul wrote, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Cor. 6:19-20).

Christ, Our Confidence, v 21

Through Jesus, we have confidence in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory. Through Jesus, we have every reason to have confidence in God. Jesus has come and died and forgiven us of every sin; we can, therefore, have confidence in God. We can have confidence in God that he will forgive us of our sin and save us.

God raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory. This is the basis of our confidence in God – he showed his approval of Jesus’ actions by raising him from the dead and bestowing glory on him. God did raise Jesus from the dead. The Jews “killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead” (Acts 3:15). God “raised [Jesus] from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Eph. 1:20).

God did give Jesus glory. “God also has high exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9). After Jesus “purged our sins, [he] sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:3).

Here’s the point: we can have confidence in God because he raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory. God did not forget Jesus when he died at Calvary; God will not forget us when we die! God rewarded Jesus for his faithfulness; God will reward us for our faithfulness!

Our faith and our hope are set on God. We can put our faith and hope in God because he is faithful. We can put our faith and hope in God because he will redeem us from sin; he will forgive us. We can put our faith and hope in God because he raised Jesus from the dead and gave him glory. Is your faith and hope set on God?

This sermon was originally preached by Dr. Justin Imel, Sr., at the Alum Creek church of Christ in Alum Creek, West Virginia.

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