By the Precious Blood
1 Peter 1:19
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot…
We were not redeemed by silver or gold, but by the precious blood of Christ! What gives the blood of Christ its worth? It is sinless. But it isn’t simply sinless by nature; it is also sinless by proof. Matthew informs us that after His baptism, the Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. I have never met anyone aside from Jesus who has been tempted by a personal and concrete revelation of the devil. Has the reader ever been taken by the devil and shown all the kingdoms of the world and been tempted with their ownership? What temptation have we had that has not been surpassed by the temptations that He endured?
This is how the Lord began His campaign: a One-on-one encounter with the devil in the full anointing of the Holy Spirit. And He defeated him in absolute weakness, dejection, and death. Jesus was tempted in the context of the full spectrum of life, from the highest high to the lowest low. In the wilderness, the devil tempted Him not long after He had heard “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” On the cross, the devil tormented Him after He had uttered “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” In measure and respect, there is no temptation that we have undergone that He has not endured, and that without sin! We have never been so empowered that He was not more powerful still. We have never been so low that He had not been brought lower. As the Scripture says, He that ascended descended first into the lower parts of the earth. What a God we serve! What a High Priest serves us!
The Purpose of the Law
The Law and the tabernacle system given to Israel left them with a constant cultural reminder of their debt of sin and the consequences of that debt. Day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year cattle, sheep, goats, and doves beyond measure were slaughtered for the sins of the people. Wherever they camped and the worship center was set up, the ground became soaked with blood. The message was clear: sin brings death and without blood, there is no remission of sins.
The message of the Law is the same to us: without blood there is no remission of sins. And the purpose of the Law is to establish our guilt before God. It informs us unequivocally that no one is righteous and that we have all fallen short of His glory.
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
God doesn’t just point out our problem, He offers the solution. He set forth Christ Jesus as the propitiation for our sins. What does propitiation mean? I always thought it meant “payment,” but it doesn’t mean payment. Propitiation is the noun form of propitiate, which means to conciliate an offended power, to appease. To conciliate means to overcome the distrust or animosity of someone.
Who had distrust and animosity toward us? God did. I thought God is love, you might say. He is. That doesn’t mean He has to trust us. As a matter of fact, He knows us to be untrustworthy, which is why He swore by Himself! God was the offended power. The offense toward us had to be appeased. This is exactly what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.
12 Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
14 In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins…
We were bought from the impound lot, the power of darkness. It didn’t own us, but it did have possession of us. There was a fine that had to be paid to redeem us. Jesus paid that price. Through the blood of Jesus Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins, which is the very definition of redemption.
The Ransomed Soul
7 No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him–
8 the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough–
9 that he should live on forever and not see decay. NIV
We can’t pay for our own sins. We can only receive the just penalty for our sin which is death. Think of death as a negative spiritual net worth caused by sin, and life as a positive spiritual net worth granted by God. In and of ourselves, we have a negative net worth. If we die without Christ, the bank account of heaven shows us to be worse than paupers–it shows us to be debtors. And one can’t pay off a debt with less than what is owed.
Adam sinned and defiled his holy blood. He died in spiritual suicide. All his progeny inherited from him a life that was indebted to a holy God. There was no life left on earth that could pay the price–the penalty owed to God for the life he had lost. It would take a Life more powerful than that.
So, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross, that by His blood He might pay the fine needed by an offended God to appease, to atone, to bring back into fellowship that which was lost.