Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 1
Seventeenth-century evangelist John Wesley was returning home from a service one night when he was robbed. Unfortunately for the thief, Wesley had only very little money and some Christian literature. As the robber turned to leave, Wesley said, “Stop! I have something more to give you.” The surprised robber paused. “My friend,” said Wesley, “you may live to regret this sort of life. If you ever do, here’s something to remember: ‘The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin!’” The thief hurried away, and Wesley prayed for the man.
Years later, after a Sunday service, a man approached him. It was the robber! Only now, he was a believer in Christ and a successful businessman. “I owe it all to you,” said the man. “Oh no, my friend,” Wesley said. “Not to me, but to the precious blood of Christ that cleanses us from all sin!”
The word precious is not used in common things. We use it today when we are dealing with metals and stones. We refer to diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds as precious stones. And gold, platinum, and silver are our precious metals. They are precious because they are rare.
The Bible uses this word precious sparingly. There are only four things called precious in the Bible, and we find all of them in Peter’s epistles: precious cornerstone (1 Peter 2:6); precious blood of Jesus (1 Peter 1:19); precious faith (2 Peter 1:1); and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4).
In today’s chapter, we focus on the precious blood of Jesus. Here are Peter’s words to remind us of the power of the blood of Jesus and why it is precious to us as believers:
“You know that your lives were ransomed once and for all from the empty and futile way of life handed down from generation to generation. It was not a ransom payment of silver and gold, which eventually perishes, but the precious blood of Christ—who, like a spotless, unblemished lamb, was sacrificed for us.
“This was part of God’s plan, for he was chosen and destined for this before the foundation of the earth was laid, but he has been made manifest in these last days for you. It is through him that you now believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him so that you would fasten your faith and hope in God alone.” (1 Peter 1:18-21, TPT)
The blood of Jesus does two things—and these are two big theological words—expiation and propitiation.
Sometimes called atonement, expiation is what the blood does for us (it washes away our sin). Whereas propitiation, sometimes called satisfaction, is what the blood does for God (it turns away His wrath from us because the blood of His Son satisfies His justice).
R. T. Kendall explains it well: “Charles Spurgeon used to say there are two words you need in your theological vocabulary: “substitution” and “satisfaction.” There is no gospel apart from these two concepts.” Jesus acted as our substitute. Substitution is that Jesus literally did everything on our behalf by His keeping the law for us and dying for us. This is why we put all our hope on Jesus and His death. And satisfaction means that God’s justice has been completely and eternally satisfied by what Jesus did for us when He shed His blood.
Why is the blood of Jesus precious to us? “Eternally speaking, there are two ways whereby God punishes sin: the fires of hell and the blood of Jesus,” R. T. Kendall says. “It’s not a question of whether your sin will be punished; it’s a question of how.” The blood of Jesus redeems you and me—not our hard work, not our tears, not our promises. The blood of Jesus is what God sees over our lives.
The story goes that reformer Martin Luther had a dream one night in which Satan visited him and began attacking him. Satan unrolled a long scroll, which held a list of Luther’s sins and showed it to him. Luther looked over the list, got to the end, and said, “Is that all?”
“No,” said the devil and produced a second scroll. And then a third.
After looking over all of his sins, Luther said, “You’ve forgotten something. Quickly write on each of them, ‘The blood of Jesus Christ God’s Son cleanses us from all sins!’” Satan, defeated, howled in protest and disappeared.
When you are wondering if you have really been forgiven of your sin, you always have to go back to the blood of Jesus. His blood was enough to satisfy God. When you doubt your salvation, you are putting the blood on trial.
Consider this powerful story about putting the blood on trial:
One night in a church service, a young woman felt the tug of God at her heart. She responded to God’s call and accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. The young woman had a very rough past involving alcohol, drugs, and prostitution. But, the change in her was evident. As time went on, she became a faithful member of the church. She eventually became involved in the ministry, teaching young children. It was not very long until this faithful young woman had caught the eye and heart of the pastor’s son. The relationship grew, and they began to make wedding plans. This was when the problems began.
You see, about one-half of the church did not think that a woman with a past such as hers was suitable for a pastor’s son. The church began to argue and fight about the matter. So they decided to have a meeting. As the people made their arguments and tensions increased, the meeting was getting completely out of hand. The young woman became very upset about all the things being brought up about her past.
As she began to cry, the pastor’s son stood to speak. He could not bear the pain it was causing his wife to be. He began to speak, and his statement was this: “My fiancée’s past is not what is on trial here. What you are questioning is the ability of the blood of Jesus to wash away sin. Today you have put the blood of Jesus on trial. So, does it wash away sin or not?” The whole church began to weep as they realized that they had been slandering the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . If the blood of Jesus does not cleanse the other person completely, then it cannot cleanse us completely. If that is the case, then we are all in a lot of trouble.
What can wash away our sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. End of case!