Wisconsin Lutheran Chapel logo

God’s Word for You

1 Peter 1:18-20 The precious blood of Christ

by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, March 1, 2022

18 because you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, not with things that pass away, such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was chosen before the foundation of the world but revealed in these last times for your sake.

When Peter speaks about the empty ways of life handed down from your forefathers, the argument is futile and profitless to wonder whether he is talking primarily to the emptiness of the Jews who ended up in captivity because of their idolatry (Jeremiah 25:6-7) or the empty ways of those Gentile readers whose forefathers embraced the Greek gods with their wanton ways. In this instance it doesn’t matter, because the sense of the verse is not affected either way. What we must do is consider how to apply this to ourselves and the sinful ways passed down from our own parents, no matter how pious and Christian they were. There are still matters to be considered. You may have had a grandfather who was mean and miserly, or a grandmother who was an alcoholic, or a father who obsessed about his horoscope, or a mother who threw salt over her shoulder. If they were not Christians at all, then it is their unbelief Peter is addressing. If they were in fact Christians, then the errors of their sins are being addressed. These applications still leave each of us with sins to be confessed, and redemption to be thankful for.

This redemption was not a ransom the world would understand. It was not a bag of money to be picked up by thugs in the night. It was not gold or silver at all. Luther quotes Peter in his explanation of the Second Article: “He has redeemed me, a lost and condemned creature, purchased and won me from all sins, from death, and from the power of the devil, not with gold or silver but with his holy, precious blood and with his innocent suffering and death.”

Just how much of the blood of Christ was required for our sins? How many drops of blood needed to fall to the ground? When the high priest slaughtered the goat for the sins of the whole nation on the Day of Atonement, a little of the blood was smeared on the horns of the altar, a little was sprinkled or spattered on the altar, on the cover of the Ark of the Covenant, and a little on the ground in the front of the Ark (Leviticus 16:14-15). In the case of Jesus, “just one drop of this innocent blood would have been more than enough for the sin of the world” (Luther), yet the Father permitted his one and only Son to suffer all the way to death, to give up the entire treasury of his holy life, so that we would not think little of the sacrifice. It is not that his finger was pricked by the tip of a knife to produce a single ruby of blood, but “the blood is the life” (Deuteronomy 12:23), and the real cost was not only some of the blood of the Son of God, but his life, forfeited for ours.

The great sin of the world is rejecting Christ. Consider the terrible doctrine now accepted by the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and others, that anyone is able to enter into eternal life, from any religion, so long as they are true to their beliefs. This is the same as shouting, “No, not Jesus! Give us Barabbas!” (John 18:40). Consider: The Aztecs are known for their various horrors, human sacrifice, bloody wars, and so on. But which was more horrifying and damning? Their bloody treatment of human beings, or worshiping the sun god? It is their doctrine of worshiping the sun (the creation rather than the Creator) that condemns them before God. “When you look up to the sky and see the sun, the moon and the stars—all the heavenly array—do not be enticed into bowing down to them and worship things the Lord your God has apportioned to all the nations under heaven” (Deuteronomy 4:19; also Zephaniah 1:5).

In the same way, the sins that will torment most of the Nazis in hell (especially their leaders) are not the atrocities they committed, things so horrific that one must go back in time many centuries to find anything that is nearly so hideous, but rather that they rejected Christ. If it were not so, if it were true that they could expect to enter into heaven if only they were true to their convictions and beliefs, then we should expect to see Nazis by the millions in heaven, the blood still on their hands, and the Aztecs, too, the blood still running down their lips, at least according to the theology of the Catholic Church and their new little puppy, the ELCA, that wags its tail at the morsels the Pope tosses down.

God demands worship of all mankind to him and to him alone, understanding who he is, the Triune God, who does not go by the names of the pagan gods, not Buddha, or Shiva, or Molech, or Vishnu, or the Queen of Heaven. He says, using his holy name, the LORD, “‘All mankind will come and bow down before me,’ says the LORD, ‘And they will go out and look upon the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me; their worm will not die, nor will their fire be quenched, and they will be loathsome to all mankind” (Isaiah 66:23-24). Anyone who rejects Christ Jesus the Son of God will be condemned forever in hell. But everyone who looks to Jesus with faith and trusts in him for forgiveness and salvation will be forgiven everything, every mistake, every sin, every trespass. Everyone who calls on the name of Jesus our Savior will be saved, and will, in the words of God the Father himself, “live forever” (Genesis 3:22).

In Christ,
Pastor Timothy Smith

Pastor Tim Smith
About Pastor Timothy Smith
Pastor Smith serves St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in New Ulm, Minnesota. To receive God’s Word for You via e-mail, please visit the St. Paul’s Lutheran Church website.


Browse Devotion Archive