Sunday, June 08, 2014

Conduct yourselves with fear, knowing that you were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:17-19)

"And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one's deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot."  (1 Peter 1:17-19; ESV)
What you think about a thing determines what you do with it.

If I showed you a cup that had become a family heirloom, which I explained to you had both intense nostalgic value, and which after becoming lost, my grandfather paid thousands of dollars to retrieve it, and I presented it to you to handle, what would you do with it? I think the way you handled it would be vastly different than if you thought that cup was simply bought for a dollar at the local supermarket. You would handle that cup with carefulness, with reverence, and with fear, knowing how much value it had been given, because of the price that was paid for it.

In 1 Peter 1:17 we are told to "conduct yourselves with fear", and following immediately after speaking of our Father who "judges impartially according to one's deeds", we might assume Peter is speaking of that kind of terror of judgement, that trembling of appearing in the holy court room, which we have commonly heard about. However, Peter's sentence doesn't stop at verse 17, but he further explains why we are to conduct ourselves with fear, because we know God has ransomed us with the precious blood of Christ. I think it is the kind of fear which is more like the handling of that cup given a value beyond obvious comprehension. We do not flee in terror, but are drawn to it in marvel and awe, and yet very carefully, very hesitantly. As we think about our lives, redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, we handle ourselves with great care. Because we know that if God would judge us only on our own merits, we would suffer deservedly his terrible wrath. And yet, nevertheless, he gave his one and only Son, that Christ's death--his precious blood--was the ransom-price to redeem as from our slavery in sin.

If that is what we think about our life, what will we do with it?

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