1 Peter 1:17-21
17 Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear. 18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
No More Emptiness in Life
Every summer when I was in college, I worked for a concrete company that built foundation walls and driveways and that sort of thing. It was a great summer job. I got to work outside in the sun. It helped me stay in decent shape anyway. It helped me pay for school, and made me want to go back to school with the hard work that it was. And there were a lot of other things I enjoyed about it too. I worked with one of my best friends from college and we met a lot of interesting people there. And there was a lot that was fun about it. Especially when I was doing the basement walls and I spent my time setting up for the forms for pouring the concrete, it was kind of like a huge puzzle when you would look at the blueprint and look at the forms and see how you could make what the builders wanted you to construct.
But there were some times when we were spending time driving in the trucks to the next job site that sometimes we would get talking about the downside to a lot of the jobs. And one of the downsides was that we would discuss how the work left us feeling – unfulfilled – so to speak.
One of the most disheartening things for me was that we never got to see the houses completed. There were maybe two houses out of the hundreds that I poured the basements for that I got to see finished. Usually it was just that we would be these concrete walls that we would leave in a hole only to see it get buried with the ground again. And once we packed up and headed to the next job, it was in a lot of ways, doing the same thing over and over and over. Move the forms just to get to the next hole, where you’ll do the same thing all over again. And in the end it left you feeling a little empty.
And I know it was silly to feel that way. That’s the whole point of specialized labor so that you get good at one job so that things are done more efficiently and quickly. I’m sure I’m not alone in having this kind of feeling from time to time. There have probably been times in your life whether it’s with a job you had or even the life of a student, you can be left feeling this way – that you are just repeating the same things over and over, almost in a monotonous way.
This is not just a new phenomenon since the industrial age. Peter addresses this very mentality in the verses that we are focused on this morning. But because of Christ and what he has done for you, there is no more emptiness in life. Jesus has come to give life and he gives it to the full.
We have to realize that all ways of life that come from our human nature, all of those are inherently empty. Whether life is lived to try to gain more wealth, more possessions for this life – that’s a life that is destined to be empty with the mentality that nothing is ever enough or that your hope is placed on things that disappear or go bad. Or the mentality of trying to make life better for those who come after you, whether family or other people in the world – ultimately the real results of that kind of life can only be seen when people are already dead and gone.
And ultimately that emptiness is only emphasized by the fact that Peter says here the Father judges everyone’s work impartially. God doesn’t play favorites when it comes to his demands – perfect obedience to the Law, to his will. And so in the magnifying glass of God’s law we realize that we find ourselves in the same position as every other person who has existed – left hopelessly wanting when it comes to what God wants – and that our fate should be worse than empty – but eternal punishment. And it’s because of this truth that Peter says we should live our lives in reverent fear – in awe of God’s demands, and rightly fearful of the punishment that we deserve.
But that is not where Peter ends – talking about the reverent fear we should have. Instead here is what he emphasizes – instead you were redeemed from that empty way of life. You have been purchased by God – bought back from your sin and from any empty way of life. You have been given life itself – and a full life at that.
You were bought with the precious blood of Christ – far more precious than all the silver or gold that can be accumulated with any sort of empty way of life, running after riches. You were bought with the blood of Christ, the Lamb without blemish or defect. You see, Jesus didn’t live his life in an empty way. Everything he did while he was here, every single thing was done for a purpose. He lived his entire life fulfilling the Law of God and its demands. And then like the Lamb of God he sacrificed himself so that you could have life – life eternal.
Pastor Nick Schmoller