Friday, October 26, 2007

Freiday Devotional

1 Peter 1:17-21
Scripture: If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who 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. (NASB)

Exposition: Peter begins this section with an "if" clause. Now, if I may get a little technical on you, this is a first class conditional clause, which basically means that the premise (You address as Father...) is assumed to be true for the sake of argument. So, he's basically stating that his audience does address "as Father the One who impartially judges...." Here we get a glimpse of God's character as one who judges. And unlike human judges, who may be influenced by prejudices, bribes, religion, politics, etc, God is not influenced by such things. Instead, He is impartial in his judgments. This means that our works will be judged on their merit alone. We are unable to persuade in any fashion the judgment that God will bestow. It is up to His own judgment what the reward/punishment of our work will be.

The reasonable conclusion of this "if" clause is that we will conduct ourselves in "fear during the time of your stay on earth." Peter is basically saying, "If you believe the premise (which you do!), then do the following." The "fear" that Peter speaks of is not just an emotion of being afraid, but a holy reverence and trembling that comes from being in the presence of God. Our conduct should be such that we are ever concious of God's coming judgment, and with regard to that, our behaviour should be of the utmost quality (see v. 16). Our stay on earth is only temporary, so we must make the best of the time that God has given us.

The fact that God judges should not be the only factor influencing our conduct, but our knowledge of redemption should be a factor as well. Our conduct should also be based on our "knowing" that redemption was paid, not by gold and silver, but by the blood of Christ. The term "redemeemed" has the force of "ransom" or "paying a ransom to someone." In this sense, our redemption was paid for by Christ. Christ's blood is by far more precious than the metals of silver and gold. Just like today, these precious metals had monetary value in the biblical times, but Peter reminds us that the blood of Christ far suprasses the value of these metals. These metals will perish over time, but the blood of Christ never loses its value. The redemption paid for by Christ's blood bought us out of our "futile way of life." We were powerless living in a state of sin, but Christ's blood bought us out of a state of sin that was inherited from previous generations (all the way back to Adam).

Peter ends this section with a statement concerning the theology of Christ (Christology). He affirms the eternality of Christ in that He was before the world began. Christ has always existed as part of the Trinity. There never was a time when He was not. But, He made Himself physically known to the world at His incarnation and following ministry. This manifestation of Christ was for our sake, and the disciples', and all believers' every where. We are able to "trust in God" because of what Christ did for us. He died on a tree and shed is own blood in order that we may have eternal life. In return for such obedience, God raised Christ "from the dead and gave Him glory." Because of what Christ did for us (redeeming us), and what God did for Christ (resurrecting him), we can put our hope and trust in God. God was faithful to Christ, therefore, our hope and trust are not futile since He will be faithful to us as well.

Application: Salvation is secure in God because of what Christ did for us. However, our conduct should reflect the price that was paid for our redemption. Does your behaviour show your appreciation for Christ's payment? Do you take seriously the blood of Christ? Or do you use it as an excuse to sin all the more?

Prayer: Most holy Father, you deserve our reverence, worship, and praise because You have redeemed us by the blood of Your Son, who is far more precious than gold or silver. Help us in our faith, that we may look up on Jesus' blood as being more precious than these metals. Help us in our unbelief and insecurity. God, we desire to do good and live in righteousness, but we need Your help and grace and doing so. Our conduct is so unbecoming at times it is a disgrace to even be considered part of Your family. But, we have faith that you will judge us according to Your good will, and that our salvation is secured in Christ who redeemed us from sin. God help us to love You and one another. It is in Jesus name and by the Spirit we pray. Amen.