Summary: Sermon 5 in a study in 1 & 2 Peter
“…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.”
The Psalmist wrote:
“No man can by any means redeem his brother Or give to God a ransom for him— For the redemption of his soul is costly, And he should cease trying forever— “ Psalm 49:7-8
In the verses prior to today’s text Peter admonished his readers to reject entirely their former life of evil desires and ignorance of what is good.
As he continues, here in verse 18, he cites as our incentive for submission to the Holy Spirit and the exercise of Godly conduct, our knowledge of certain things. So let’s look at what we know today.
First, let’s talk about…
THE NEGATIVE THING WE KNOW
Like the Psalmist said, no amount of worldly wealth can be amassed to purchase back a soul. In fact the very idea is so ludicrous that it hardly merits mention.
Unfortunately though, there seems to be a lot of people who have never recognized the absurdity of trying to ‘buy God off’.
I think they exist fundamentally in two camps. The irreligious think to make their heaven here in this life with their wealth and what they can accumulate to themselves.
I don’t know who said it first but most of us have heard the foolish utterance that the winner is the guy who dies with the most toys.
This made me think of something I thought I had heard about Frank Sinatra so I went to the web to research it. In the meantime I ran across a site that talked about a gangster named Willy the Wimp who died in 1984 and was buried in a ‘Cadillac coffin’. Not actually a Cadillac, but a coffin designed to look like an old Deville one-seater. There was a picture of him all laid out in his Cadillac coffin, dressed in a pink suit topped with grey fedora, looking spiffy and going nowhere.
So I came to the Wikipedia site about Sinatra and found that the legend is, Frank was buried in a blue suit with a flask of Jack Daniel’s, a roll of ten dimes, a Zippo lighter and a pack of Camel cigarettes. On his tombstone are the words, ‘The best is yet to come’.
I beg to differ.
The other camp consists of the religious who think that their alms and their good deeds will earn them the same sort of deference at the gates of the Celestial City that they enjoy from the apartment house doorman or the desk clerk at the Hilton.
Jesus asked: “…what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” Matt 16:26
What indeed? Men go through life deliberately shutting their ears to the gospel, closing their hearts to the call of God, cursing His name and mocking His people, and then with a prideful audacity that only the foolish and ignorant are not ashamed to display, they go to their grave boasting that they are heaven-bound and the best is yet to come.
But God’s declaration to them is ‘You fool, this very night your soul is required of you…’ Lk 12:20
The religious dead play at a façade of piety while trusting that the big check they dropped in the plate today will cover for their indulgence in the lusts of the flesh yesterday.
They take a week or two to travel to a third world country and pass out rice and Bibles and that washes away any stain of indifference to the plight of their unsaved neighbor or their disdainful treatment of the unwed mother in the pew behind them.
Redemption is not purchased with any of these things; not big checks and not good deeds.
God could make the stars into diamonds. He could speak and turn the planets into gold and silver and you would sell your own soul for paltry penance?
Would you think to buy His favor with that which you would not have apart from His grace?
Nevertheless, Peter says redemption is not purchased with those things; neither that which man can gather nor all that God could make.
Never mind the billions upon billions who have passed through this world; if Adam and Eve had remained childless the cost to redeem their two souls would have remained the same, and Eden itself could not have measured out a down payment.