Third Sunday of Easter (April 30, 2017)
1 Peter 1:17-23 | New Living Translation (NLT)
And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but now in these last days he has been revealed for your sake.
Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.
You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.
For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
This morning’s text takes me back a year to when we came to McCrae Brook. This is the text that I preached from that morning. My message that morning was called “Empty.” This passage tells us that we were saved from the empty life that we inherited from our ancestors. Peter is primarily writing to Jewish Christians, but when you think about it, our faith is needs to be our own. While our parents and grandparents can be great examples of what it means to live a godly life, we cannot simply inherit their faith. We must make our own choice to follow Christ. I am thankful for my godly heritage. I am thankful to parents and grandparents and many others who lived a godly faith. But they don’t save us.
It is Christ who saves us through his sacrifice on the cross – the precious blood of Christ that paid our ransom. And this was the plan from the very beginning. Peter tells us that God chose Jesus before the world began. God loved us so much that he knew what was going to happen and had a plan in place from the very beginning.
As I mentioned during last week’s devotional, the cross by itself does not complete the work and here again, Peter reminds us of that, “Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead…”
Through the death and resurrection of Jesus we have been cleansed of sin because we obeyed the truth. Interesting choice of words – First Peter uses the word truth and as this passage wraps up he uses “the eternal, living word of God.” Both of these words describe Jesus. We often think of the eternal, living word of God to be the Bible, but as we are reminded in John…”In the beginning was the Word…and the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
This is the truth and because we obeyed the truth, we are reminded to show sincere love. I like that…sincere love…not a love that is fake…or superficial…but a real love…to each other…to those who are part of the faith…to those who are outside the faith. We are to love each other deeply with all of our heart. After all, “Jesus reminded us that the second greatest commandment was to love your neighbor as yourself.” We are reminded that all people are our neighbors.
As this passage concludes we are reminded of the hope that we have because of the risen Christ – the eternal, living word of God. We are reminded that this new life that we have because of Christ, will last forever.