Guarded Christian Living: A Strong Faith at the Right Time
1 Peter 18-25
In our study thus far in 1 peter, we have been learning how that God has called you and me, (vs 3) “according to His great mercy.” He then gives to us a living hope, that changes not only the outlook of our future but also impacts our present. Is this not true? That you and I live with every reason to rejoice. And though God does allow trials to come into our lives, yet they are not just random trials, but they are trials with a divine purpose, to complete us, to perfect us. And this whole process which is called our sanctification is making us more and more like Christ. And it is positioned between our justification and our glorification. Our justification, the day we received Christ as Saviour and Lord. Therefore, our being “born again,” the day that God declared us righteous, not on the basis of our own goodness, but based upon the righteousness of Jesus Christ. And our glorification, is when God completes this process. The day when Christ will present us before the Father perfect. So there is our justification, sanctification, and glorification. And as we studied a few weeks ago, God considers this whole refining process precious, more precious than gold! You know, what a work that God is doing in us who know Him, amen? This work of change and transformation.
So the question that I need to be asking myself and that you need be asking yourself is this, how do I properly answer that call? How do I properly respond to all this that God is doing in me? Well Peter goes on to say there is a great need as a believer to be prepared, to think, and to focus. And the need for this thinking is because many will call themselves Christians, yet will not deeply contemplate their faith. And let us admit, that sometimes this thinking of what God is going to allow in my life, may be a bit of a scary thought. That we would say, Lord whatever You send, I am committed to trust and obey You.
Now this morning, Peter closes out chapter one, and what Peter is going to tell us in vs 18-25 is of tremendous importance in understanding the Christian’s life. Because sometimes we need a wake-up call. When I was in grade nine at CCI in Chatham, we were outside in gym class doing long jump. And I was cheering on my friend Stem, probably being a bit overzealous. And as I was jumping, cheering him on by the sand pit, I stepped directly on a rake with the prongs up. This is complete cartoon here! And within a split second that rake handle struck me between the eyes. Instant stars! That was a wake-up call. Stunned! Went from fun to stunned in a millisecond! And really what Peter is going to share with us is a wake-up call, reminding us of the seriousness of the Christian life.
So look how he begins our text this morning (vs 18) “knowing.” As what Peter is going to tell us this morning and for that matter anything that the Scriptures tell, anything we read in God’s word, is this “knowing” for you? In other words, is this the defining line for you? What God’s Word says. May we never lose the amazement of every word that the Lord has privileged to give us, that we are searchers of the Word, and know it to be true. Because we live in a culture that basically lives now as if God is dead, as if we have no information from the eternal God. That man rules, that man decides. As the changing culture lives as if God does not exist. Rick Baker said that a vast majority today of those who are between 20-38 years of age either don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe that God exists. And he said that this kind of thinking is “driving the culture.” Yet those who are in the church of Jesus Christ must be convinced of God and convinced of what he says, so that we would know, so that the Christian would know, that you would know.
And vs 18 is going to present to us the theme for the balance of this chapter and it is the focus on the word “redeemed.”
“[K]nowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things like silver or gold from your futile conduct inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood … the blood of Christ.”
1 Pet 1:18-19 (LSB)
I want you to get these two points, One, what it was that did not redeem you, corruptible things; two, what it was that it did not redeem you from, the futile conduct inherited from your forefathers. Now why would we need redeeming from the futile conduct inherited from your forefathers? Why would Peter say that? The futile conduct of your forefathers. That’s not right for me, for I had a great Dad. He was extremely generous, caring, gentle, humble, and yet a great leader, who was involved in ministry his whole life. So why would Peter say that my father’s way was futile? Well as great to me as my Dad was, my Dad was infected by something, sin; which was ultimately inherited through Adam. See through Adam much damage has been done to all people, for all people have descended from Adam, every person who ever lived can be traced back to Adam through Noah, no exception. Romans 5 teaches that sin came into the world through one man. The damage caused through Adam was sin, not just a particular sin, but man became a sinner, and Adam’s sin nature is now passed to everyone. Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Sin has hindered you and me from any chance of fulfilling anything of any spiritual value. For God’s design for us was here and we have come so completely short of that. And this has happened through one man, Adam. Now sin did not originate with Adam, sin originated with Satan. 1 John 3:8 says, “the devil sins from the beginning.” But sin entered into the human race through Adam. By the way, the problem with the human race is not that everybody does various sins, and we do; but the root problem is this, that we are all connected with each other by sin.
This has been the worldwide pandemic ever since Adam. Interesting that this worldwide pandemic does not get the same attention as the present pandemic. Why? Because the concerns of the world involve health and economics and climate. It is always about those things, as these have become the gods of the culture, For the culture worships health, the economy, the climate, and that conditions would be right. Therefore, sin is not a major issue. And I wish to be fair here, as we still see within families, even many unbelieving families, a desire to do what is right, and to be fair, and to work hard. But that message is being taken away from our culture and this is not the message being broadcasted throughout the media. No, rightness has dropped a ways down the ladder. And sin is not just a problem in some parts of the world, it’s a problem here, even in the little towns of Arkona, Forest, Port Franks, and Wyoming. And sin is not just a problem in that government over there, it is a problem in our government. It’s also not just a problem in your family, it’s a problem in my family. It’s not just a problem with you, it’s a problem with me. And now Peter says to us, you have been redeemed from that, you have been redeemed from that bondage to Adam. So #1 in your notes:
- Redeemed from Sin (vs 18)
The word here “redeemed,” means to be “bought back” or “to purchase release by paying a ransom.” See you and I were purchased back from the way we used to be. You and I who know Christ have been ransomed from our “futile conduct,” from all the meaningless stuff that we do and all our sin. John MacArthur said, “Even the greatest accomplishments unbelievers seem to achieve are pointless from an eternal perspective.” Remember Jesus said, what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and yet lose his own soul? Ecclesiastes tells us that it is all meaningless, for without God the fool ends up in hell, and without God, the wise end up in hell. But Peter says we have been redeemed from that, redeemed from self. We have been redeemed from what we have inherited from our forefathers and ultimately been redeemed from our connection through Adam. And let us not get this mixed up with what many in Christianity would view as “redemption,” as redemption is not being all that I can be. Redemption is not fulfilling my dreams as a human being. No, for look at vs 19:
“[B]ut with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.”
- Redeemed by Christ (vs 19)
What does that mean? Well understand that a slave is purchased by someone, and the spiritual analogy is that the Christian has been purchased by Christ. I become a slave of Christ. In other words, this is my freedom, a slave of Jesus Christ, for this was our original design that we would be slaves, not “servants” as sometimes translated, but slaves. And Christ, redeems us, brings us back to this original position. The Greek word “agorazo” translated redemption means, “to purchase in the market place.” We have been purchased. Paul Enns states this perfectly saying:
“Because the believer has been bought by Christ, he belongs to Christ and is Christ’s slave.”
Paul Enns, The Moody Handbook of Theology 337
See, the person who believes that Christianity is freedom to serve self basically goes back to the original sin of Satan, that decided he wished to exalt himself above God. No, the Christian life is about giving up self and becoming a slave of Christ and fulfilling His desires, fulfilling His will. That’s true freedom, as true freedom is found in nothing less than becoming a slave of Jesus Christ. Christ who lived a perfect life, who was the unblemished and spotless Lamb, took my sin and I received His righteousness. The perfect and sinless God, dies, for sinful man. As He did for us what we could not do. As you and I were destined for hell, were bought back by Christ. Puritan Thomas Watson said this:
“Great was the work of creation, but greater the work of redemption; it cost more to redeem us than to make us; in the one there was but the speaking of a word, but in the other the shedding of blood.”
Redeemed by Christ!
“He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but appeared in these last times for the sake of you.”
1 Pet 1:20 (LSB)
Peter uses the word “foreknown.” This means that there is both the intention by God and the certainty of that intention happening. In other words, this is what God has decreed. Therefore, there is nothing that can stop what God had decided to do! It’s all planned by God. For who? Back at the beginning of the book (vs 1) those He chose. Therefore in your notes:
- Redeemed for your Sake (vs 20)
That Christ would come and He would secure His chosen. “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.” Do you see the responsibility given with this call? How much responsibility it places on us? You are not just a believer that doesn’t matter, for God has chosen you. He has done, what He has done, Peter says, for your sake and He is doing a work in your life. He did what He did, for you. There is no running from that. This is very personal call by God to each of us. Do you understand the massive responsibility this is to us? That only a very few are chosen. Remember if you are a believer this morning, your life was dead, and God has redeemed you, bought you back. 2 Tim 1:8-9 says:
“Therefore do not be ashamed of either the witness about our Lord or me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity.“
Christ shed His blood for your sake, but:
- Redeemed for His Glory (vs 21)
“[W]ho 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.”
Why has all this been done? So that you and I could sit on the clouds in heaven? So that I am able to buy a nicer car? So that we can go on that dream vacation? No, why was it done? For His glory. This is all about the glory of God! Philippians 2:9-11 says:
“Therefore, God also 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, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Our life, our redemption, this church, this service is about the glory of God. And our God will not share His glory with anyone or anything. The Bible says that He is a jealous God and to Him belongs all glory. Redeemed for His glory, fifthly:
- Redeemed for Obedience (vs 22)
“Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a love of the brothers without hypocrisy, fervently love one another from the heart” (vs 22).
Someone has said that this is the definition of faith right here found in vs 22, “obedience to the truth purified your souls.” Ultimately that is your faith test, am I obedient to the truth? Your test of faith, is my soul being purified? The confirmation of the reality of our faith, our obedience, is the purification of our souls, because there is a reason why we were redeemed. Now Peter touches on an important aspect of our obedience, brotherly love. Question, how much do I love my brothers and sisters in Christ? Because it says here in vs 22 to love those brothers and sisters in Christ who: don’t bother you, who never correct you, who see eye to eye with you. No, it doesn’t say that, it says to love one another fervently, from the heart. This seems to be talking about a deep love. And that is not always easy. Because a lot of people are like you, they are very hard to like. And a lot of people are like me, they are very hard to like. You know it’s great being new here because everybody still thinks Anne and I are nice. It’s wonderful! Seriously, what is it at times that keeps us from loving our brothers and sisters. Maybe it’s our pride, maybe our own insecurities, maybe our shallow character. 1 John 4:20-21 says:
“If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.”
In other words, John says, if you claim to love Christ, but you don’t love your Christian brother, that doesn’t make any sense biblically. For in the days in which we live it can become easy to shake our heads at the world. Wow! Look what they are doing. But the real test is not out there. For the church has flourished in all kinds of cultures. No, the test is really here, what is the church doing? How obedient is the church to its Master?
When we get to heaven, I do not believe that we will be accountable for changing the world. No, we will be accountable for how we lived within the world as Christians who have been chosen by God. Finally:
- Redeemed through the Word (vs 23-25)
“[F]or you have been born again not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, that is, through the living and enduring word of God. For, ‘All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, But the word of the Lord endures forever.’ And this is the word which was proclaimed to you as good news” (vs 23-25).
Anne and I were camping last week while on holidays. And we were in a tent, Larry, by the way. I watched Larry’s message from last week, excellent! But the first I did when I got home was to check my roses. I found a few Japanese beetles, but nothing bad at all. But what I did find when we have been away for 5-6 days is the amount of faded, dead flowers, as when a bud first opens on a rose, it is so fresh, vibrant, and tight. But then it grows limp and loses its glamour. And Peter here, quoting Isaiah, does not even compare humans to a beautiful rose, but grass. That’s a little humbling, isn’t it? “All flesh is like grass!” And if it grows long enough will produce fruit or flower, but the grass withers and the flowers fall off. That’s it, that is the description of human beings, old, dead grass. Quite becoming, old, dead grass. But what is continues? Verse 23, the living and eternal word of God, verse 25, it endures forever.
We have now gone full circle, back to “knowing.” For we do know don’t we, for we have His word. As I was thinking about this, I thought of another time when the followers of Christ were a little uncertain of what to do, a time when Jesus was going to leave His disciples. And so He gives them His instructions and commissions them. Turn to Acts 1:6-11:
“So when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, ‘Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?’ But He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has set by His own authority; but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the end of the earth.’ And after He had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. They also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking toward heaven? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.’”
This is the same Jesus we represent. This is the same Father that you pray to. This is the same Spirit that is in your heart. Maybe there are things going on in your life, where you might be wondering what the Lord would have for you, or maybe you need some direction or some help in a very difficult situation. And sometimes God, as in this passage, might be silent in giving you all the details. But this is what we are to “know” as Christians: you have been redeemed as His chosen; redeemed to be a slave of Christ, so serve Him; and it was done for you, specifically; and for His glory, so obey Him; and we know this because it is in His word. Let’s pray. Lord, would You be with Your people? Might we serve You well in days of uncertainty, that You would be glorified in us? And all God’s people said, amen.