1 Peter 1:17-21
17 And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence. 18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for 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.
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For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
—1 Peter 1:18-19
Although this hasn’t happened to me personally, here’s what I’ve observed in people I’ve known.
I’ve known friends whose fathers or mothers have unexpectedly passed away and been taken up to be with Christ at a time that was unforeseen. I’ve witnessed the sorrow and the shock of these moments, as the children left behind learn to trust in the sovereignty of a loving God rather than what they’d planned or expected.
Some of these fathers and mothers left behind legacies or inheritances. Some of them left behind things of monetary value—and many of those substantial.
But what I’ve seen is there is never an inheritance large enough to quench or satisfy the loss of one you love. The inheritance isn’t the point. It’s the presence of the person they cherished. It’s the life they lived that most of them wish they could get back somehow.
Understanding the person who gave the inheritance is what means the world to those who are left behind to steward it. The monetary security is a gift, for sure, but it came with such a high price.
All of these emotions are present in the dynamic of the human relationship between parents and children. But how much more should these emotions be present when regarding the dynamic of the Trinity and the Son given to die for us so we can become adopted children of God?
Jesus’ death provided us with an eternal inheritance, but it came with such a high price. It’s a price that so few of us, I believe, truly ever understand or have understood.
Peter expressed this same belief to the churches around him when he reminded them they need to live their lives in reverent fear of God their Father (verse 17). He reminded them their inheritance wasn’t one that was biologically deserved or warranted (verses 14, 23).
An earthly inheritance often passes along from parent to child because God designed the human race to continue on, reproduce, and grow. Blessings are sometimes passed on to future generations to help support the continuity and quality of life while on this earth.
But the divine inheritance we’re offered with salvation is one that’s entirely undeserved, unprecedented, and unpurchasable. It can only be given by One who’s chosen to claim then redeem us (verses 2, 19). It was paid for with a high price (verse 19)—redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. He was the perfect Lamb, without blemish or defect, offered for us who didn’t deserve Him.
Our redemption was a holy adoption, motivated by the glory of God, made possible by the love of God, and made perfect by the holiness of God. We did nothing to deserve this inheritance provided us (verse 23).
As Peter reminded his own culture in these verses, our lives should profess an understanding of this undeserved inheritance. We should be holy as God is holy (verse16). We shouldn’t act as the children we were before our rebirth and adoption (verses 14-15).
We should live lives that are worthy of the inheritance our Father has given us—that the world would see our love and longing for the One who provided us with this gift, at the expense of His life. That the inheritance itself wouldn’t be the thing that warrants our worship, stewardship, or honor, but rather the One who provided that inheritance for us—the One who loved us enough to die that we might live.
- Have you been given a gift before that you knew was attained, purchased, or made possible by the sacrifice of the person who gave it to you? How did it make you feel to receive that gift—grateful, humbled, guilty?
- Read verses 20 and 21 again. Why does it say that God chose to send His Son for us? Love compelled Him, but what did God hope to accomplish by sending Jesus?
- As you think about your day, and all the things you have planned or scheduled, what are some ways you can make sure to be holy as God is holy? How can you live your life today in gratefulness? Think about the blessings you have around you today. How is it that they have come into your life? Who do you give the credit to for those blessings, by the way you act and talk?