Summary: Exposition of 1 Peter 1:17-21
A. Opening illustration: the moor played by Morgan Freeman in the Costner Robin Hood film. Or the black brigades in the Civil War giving absolute loyalty to the nation vying for their freedom.
B. Background to passage: Have you ever asked yourself “why obey?” “Why order my life around the bible?” Peter deals with this question. After giving lesser, but practical motivations for our obedience, he turns our attention toward the wonders of redemption as our primary motivation. Our obedience in the Christian life is not best motivated by the holiness of God, nor from our fear of Him (although these things are present and right), but it is best motivated by gratitude for what He has done in redemption. Redemption is the purchasing back of a slave or captive by means of a ransom.
C. Main thought: We will see four aspects of redemption that make it the ultimate motivating factor in our lives.
A. Redeemed from futility (v. 18)
1. Peter reminds these suffering Christians that they have been purchased out of their former lives. This particular Greek word for redemption emphasizes freedom from bondage. Earlier in the letter he spoke of former lusts, now he speaks of empty, useless lives. In the eternal perspective, they were of little value. The word he uses speaks of empty pagan religious traditions. Notice he uses the word “inherited.”
2. Rom 1:21-32, 3:10-18,
3. Illustration: Leadville, CO, 1895, The palace, costing more than $40,000 and measuring 450 feet long by 320 feet deep, covered more than three acres. The towers that flanked the entrance were 90 feet high. Inside was a 16,000-square-foot skating rink. But there was no pot of gold at the end of this rainbow. The thousands of visitors who came to see the spectacle spent very little money. The town that put its hope in an ice palace saw that hope melt away, tell about the Hindus and Buddhists offering food to their idols each day. Muslims and their pilgrimage to Mecca. Roman Catholics and their church attendance and baptism. Baptists and their church membership. Americans with their horoscopes, pop psychology, self-help books, and some kind of quasi-Christian heritage.
4. Unbelievers come up with some great ways to get to heaven. Morality, spirituality, goodness, charity, love for others, religious compliance and various other things ease the conscience of men, but not the wrath of God. Most of these, we have learned from our parents, directly or indirectly. We are all born in sin, and need a remedy for it. We all lack righteousness, and need a remedy for it. We live in obedience because Jesus has delivered us from past sins, bondage to sin, empty tradition, and useless religious practices.
B. Redeemed with the blood (v. 18-19)
1. The purchase price for your redemption was the blood of Christ. The word used here means that it was costly, highly valued, and honored. The blood represents death, which was always the price for sin. The blood of Christ was precious because of its perfection—spotless, sinless, internal and external divine perfection embodied in flesh.