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You were ransomed with a costly, precious blood of the Lamb.

You were ransomed with a costly, precious blood of the Lamb.

FEBRUARY 1, 2024

/ Programs / Key Life / You were ransomed with a costly, precious blood of the Lamb.

Justin Holcomb:
You were ransomed with the costly, precious blood of the Lamb. Let’s talk about it, on Key Life.

Matthew Porter:
This is Key Life. We are here to let you know that because of what Jesus has done, God will never be angry at you again. Justin Holcomb has been teaching us all this week. Justin is an Episcopal priest, an author, and he teaches at Reformed Theological Seminary.

Justin Holcomb:
Thank you Matthew. My name is Justin Holcomb and I am enjoying teaching lessons from Peter on being a recipient of grace. And we’ve been doing this all week. And this week we’ve been focusing on the impulsive disciple and the promises he’s made and not kept and God’s response to him of kindness and reinstating him. Today we’re going to do something a little bit different. Not so much a story about Peter, but we’re going to look at the letter that he wrote. He wrote I and II Peter. And he preached his first sermon in Acts 2 at Pentecost, about a third of the book of Acts consists of speeches. And most of those are speeches from Peter and Paul proclaiming the gospel. And then before his martyrdom, he wrote I and II Peter. So, we’re going to look at I Peter 1:18 through 21.

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. He was foreknown from the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake who through him all our believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

There’s a phrase from Dietrich Bonhoeffer about cheap grace and we joke around here. There’s no such thing as cheap grace because it’s really costly and Bonhoeffer is famous for warning against a version of grace that’s not big enough, he says.

That the weak understanding of grace comes from two things, the failure to take seriously the depth of our sin.

You end up with cheap grace if you don’t think that your sins an affronting cosmic treason against a holy God.

And second, our disregard of what it cost God to redeem us.

A weak understanding of grace comes from either thinking that we aren’t that bad, or thinking that grace is just a nice word that a nice God says the nice people. But I Peter is blaring to us two things that Bonhoeffer points out. This passage of I Peter 1:18 through 21 points out our dire situation and the cost of our redemption. And these two are together in verse 18 when it says that we were ransomed, which means deliverance from slavery upon payment. A slave would only see freedom if their master set them free, or if somebody paid the price for their freedom. So, this is the context for when Peter says that we were ransomed when Jesus paid for our freedom. In the one word ransom, we see that, one, we needed to be redeemed because we were slaves to sin. And two, Jesus Christ redeemed us with his death. That’s a grace that is big enough. And it includes the depth and ubiquity of our need and God’s costly response to our need. So, first let’s look at this. We needed to be ransomed because we were slaves. Peter’s use of ransom easily would have caused the Gentiles to think of slavery. And for the Jews who heard this, he referred to the Passover lamb in verse 19, which would have triggered images of Israelite slavery in Egypt. So, Peter is really underlining the point of our helpless situation for both the Jews and the Gentiles, he’s using very intense imagery to describe how bad off we are. And it has a tragic nature to it. We aren’t off in a wrong direction and we just need a little bit of guidance to get back on our journey. It’s not that everyone makes mistakes and we just need to follow our hearts. Our problem is that we are slaves to sin and we need freedom. We’re guilty and we need forgiveness. We’re shameful and naked and we need covering and healing. Peter is not alone with this slavery talk either. John, in John 8:34, says.

Whoever sins, is a slave to sin.

Romans 6, Paul says.

Don’t you know that when you sin you’re offering yourselves as slaves to sin?

Proverbs 26:11 says.

And when we sin it’s like a dog returning to its vomit, a fool to its folly.

B.F. Skinner said.

Would you like to know the difference between rats and humans? Rats learn from their mistakes.

That’s eerily true. Nobody likes to think of themselves as a slave. I don’t. I prefer my illusions of my autonomy and strength. But if we’re honest, we can see how our relationship to sin is compulsive and more like slavery than just making a few mistakes here and there. And this isn’t just a theoretical concept, is it? You experience this in your life with addiction to food, or lust, substance, alcohol, pills, gambling. Ways you just kind of numb pain, or whatever. Patterns of dysfunctional relationships. Maintaining our image of success. Putting our best foot forward. Our emotional impulses that just erupt from our heart like evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual morality, theft, false testimony, slander, greed, malice, deceit, envy, and arrogance. And that’s Jesus’ list of what emerges from the heart, not mine. Think of that place where you feel caught or stuck, you’re not in control, but rather controlled by your impulses, that’s the slavery that is in mind here. You don’t master your weaknesses, they master you. And sin and death are cruel taskmasters that cause pain and despair and destruction. And if that’s not bad enough, the price of our slavery is death. Because of our need, God, this is the second part. God’s response is for Jesus Christ to lay down his life to redeem us with his blood and death. Peter was very intense regarding our situation being slavery. And he is equally intense about God’s response to our need and the price of it. Our salvation costs God the precious blood of Christ. Bonhoeffer says.

True grace is costly grace because it costs God the life of his Son. God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life.

True grace is costly grace because it costs God the life of his Son. God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life.

That’s why we enjoy reading Bonhoeffer on costly versus cheap grace. God accomplished all he intended through his Son. God gave everything in Jesus. This is why Jesus said.

The Son of Man came to give his life as a ransom for many.

And Paul uses the language of ransom.

You were bought with a price.

I Corinthians 7:23

Ransom with the precious blood of Christ like that of a Lamb without defect or blemish.

Peter has the Passover lamb in mind when he writes that, when he says without defect. That’s straight from Exodus 12 and Leviticus 22.

Jesus is the Passover Lamb that was sacrificed for us.

Being ransomed by the blood of Christ is all about substitution. Jesus took on the consequences of the sins we’ve committed and died in our place for our sins. But the point about without defect or blemish highlights the perfect life as purity. The fact that he was not deserving of death. That’s why he was a sacrifice in our place. The spotless lamb without defect died for the blemish, spotted, and scarred. Many of the marks we bear are from our cruel slave master who abused us. Some of these blemishes are scars that are physical, or emotional, psychological, and spiritual, from our own hands, from the hands of others. He died for all those blemishes, spots, and scars. In verse 20 of our reading says.

All of this was done for your sake.

That blows us away. Jesus is God for you, redeeming you, forgiving you. God saying, I want you. Charles Wesley’s hymn tells us this.

And can it be that I should gain an interest in my Savior’s blood. Died he for me who caused his pain. For me, for him to death pursued. Amazing love, how can it be that thou, my God, should die for me.

It is amazing that we’re talking about the infinitely powerful and holy God and his one and only Son. And we’re talking about their plan from eternity before the creation of the world for your sake. The four units of the gospel should never be missed or forgotten. This is why Paul asked in Romans 8.

If God is for us, who can be against us?

Who will bring a charge against those whom God has chosen? And this is why at Communion many churches say this is the body and blood of Christ that was given for you. At Communion, we say.

The gifts of God for the people of God. Take this in remembrance that Christ died for you.

This message of for your sake is all throughout the Scriptures. Jesus died for your sins, and that’s why the rest of Wesley’s hymn says.

Along my imprisoned spirit lay. Fast bound in sin and nature’s night. Thine eye diffused a quickening ray. I woke, the dungeon flamed with light. My chains fell off, my heart was free. I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

You go where you’re loved. And we only love God because He first loved us. You don’t need to be exhorted and told to follow God. If you’ve been ransomed, how could you not? Our ransom is why verse 22 says.

You have sincere love for your brothers, and there is mutual love from the heart.

And that’s a miracle. God’s love and freedom to us creates love for God and for others. Hear this benediction.

May grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his glory and excellence.

II Peter 1:2 through 3.

Matthew Porter:
Wow, thank you Justin. What a beautiful close to this week of teaching on the life of Peter, the patron saint of failures. Remember, if you missed any episode or maybe you’d just like to read some more content from Justin, stop by our digital tree house at and Steve will be back tomorrow with Pete Alwinson for Friday Q&A. Don’t miss it. Well, here’s a fun fact. Decades ago, I was a professional actor for one day. Went to an audition, booked a national commercial, and that was it. I, I never really pursued it after that. And yet the acting does continue. Like when I act as if I’m okay and everything is fine. You ever do that kind of acting? Well, in Steve’s book, Hidden Agendas, he invites us to drop our masks and remember that we are forgiven, redeemed, accepted, and loved. We took sections of that book and created a special booklet. Get your free copy right now by calling us at 1-800-KEY-LIFE that’s 1-800-539-5433. You can also e-mail [email protected] to ask for that booklet. To mail your request, go to to find our mailing addresses. Again, just ask for your free copy of the booklet called Hidden Agendas. Finally, if you value the work of Key Life, would you join us in that work through your financial support? You could charge a gift on your credit card or include a gift in your envelope. Or simply pick up your phone and text Key Life to 28950 that’s Key Life, one word, two words. It doesn’t matter. Text that to 28950. Key Life is a member of ECFA in the States and CCCC in Canada. And we are a listener supported production of Key Life Network.

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