The Precious Blood of Christ
July 17th, 1960 @ 10:50 AM
1 Peter 1:18-19
THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 1:18-19
7-17-60 10:50 am
You who are watching the service on television and you who are sharing with us the service on the radio are listening to the worship hour of the First Baptist Church in Dallas. This is the pastor bringing the 11:00 o’clock morning message entitled The Precious Blood of Christ. For fifteen years we have been preaching through the Bible. Where we leave off in the evening, we begin in the morning. Where we leave off in the morning, we begin in the evening. Last Sunday evening we closed with the seventeenth verse of the first chapter of 1 Peter [1 Peter 1:17]. This morning we begin at the eighteenth verse; and the sermon follows through the text, through verse 21. This is the reading of the Word:
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as sliver and gold, from your empty manner of life received by tradition from your fathers;
But ye were redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times unto you,
You who by Him do believe in God, God who raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and your hope might abide in God.
[1 Peter 1:18-21]
The heart of the text is this: “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…but with the precious blood of Christ” [1 Peter 1:18-19].
It is very easy to fall into the habit of preaching about the gospel, and not the gospel itself. It is easy to fall into the habit of preaching about the Bible, but not the Holy Scriptures themselves. It is easy to fall into the habit of preaching about salvation, but not salvation itself. This text brings us back to the very heart and to the very soul of the message of the hope and grace we have in Christ Jesus; we who are redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb [1 Peter 1:18-19]. Blood has always been counted precious in the sight of God. Following through these Scriptures for just this moment, we speak of the blood of beasts in the sight of God; of the blood of man in the sight of God; and finally, of the blood of Christ.
In the beginning, when God first gave man the liberty to eat flesh, He said, in the Book of Genesis, “Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But the flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, thou shalt not eat” [Genesis 9:3-4]. It was not only interdicted in the beginning to mankind as a whole, it was also especially interdicted in the Leviticus sacrifices: nothing strangled, nothing with blood in it, which is life in it, nothing that has the coursing of the crimson red in its veins must ever be eaten by man; nor is it to become a part of those sacrificial communal meals that were prescribed in the Levitical law. The life of the beast was in the blood. And when the blood was poured out on the sacred altar, it was the life that was sacrificed; and it was taken in lieu of the life of a man for the atonement of his soul [Leviticus 17:10-14]. The blood of the beast was precious in the sight of God.
The blood of the man is precious in the sight of God. In the beginning, in the Book of Genesis, the Lord wrote clear on the sacred page, “Surely your blood of your lives will I require . . . [Genesis 9:5], at the hand of man [Genesis 9:5]; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require it [Genesis 9:5]. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made He man” [Genesis 9:5-6]. The life of the man is in the blood [Leviticus 17:11]. And when a man’s blood is shed, the man’s life is poured out [Genesis 4:8-10]; and that life is precious in the sight of God [Psalm 139:13-16; Romans 5:8]. And he that would shed man’s blood destroys man’s life [Genesis 9:5]; and of his hand shall that blood be required [Genesis 9:6].
As the law expatiated upon that great fundamental mandate of heaven, it said in plain delineation: “Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death. . . Ye shall take no satisfaction for the life of a murderer, which is guilty of death; he shall be surely put to death” [Numbers 35:30-31]. There was no satisfaction that could be offered in exchange for a man’s life and the shedding of a man’s blood. All his wealth, all his property, all that he owned or possessed could not make satisfaction for the destruction of a man’s life and the shedding of a man’s blood. And the Lord said in His law that blood, shed blood, “defileth the land; and the land cannot be cleansed but by the blood of him that shed it” [Numbers 35:33]. That again is one of the anomalous things in the character and personality of God. The thing that defiled the land was blood; and the thing that cleansed the land was blood [Numbers 35:33].
All through the Book and all through the revelation of God will you find that strange mystery of atonement and the washing away of sin. The thing that destroyed the people of Israel were little tenuous, viperous, fiery serpents that bit the people, and they died. And the thing that saved them in healing power from the strike of the adder and the asp was a serpent raised up, hanging on a pole [Numbers 21:4-9]. Strange, this mystery of atonement in the sight of God. And the land is defiled with blood, and cannot be cleansed except by blood [Hebrews 9:22]. How precious therefore in the sight of God, if we speak of the blood of a beast, and the blood of a man, and where could the pastor find words to describe the preciousness in the sight of God of the blood of Jesus?
In the twentieth chapter of the Book of Acts and the twenty-eighth verse, the apostle Paul describes that blood as the blood of God: “Take heed therefore,” he says to the pastors who shepherd the church at Ephesus, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to the flock, over the which the Holy Spirit hath made you overseers, to shepherd, to care for the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood” [Acts 20:28]. Out of all of the preciousness in this world, Calvary, the sacrifice of Christ, is the most defiant in its description:
For none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night that the Lord passed through,
Ere he found the sheep that was lost.
[from “The Ninety and Nine,” Elizabeth C. Clephane, 1868]
As Peter says in the next chapter, “Unto you therefore who believe He is precious” [1 Peter 2:7].
“Forasmuch as ye know ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold . . . but with the precious blood of Christ” [1 Peter 1:18-19]. We were redeemed, we were delivered, we were ransomed—from what; from the debt that we owed in breaking the commandments of God; from the slavery under which we were captive to the law? For the law says, “This do and thou shalt live” [Deuteronomy 4:1]. There’s no enigma, there’s no mystery, there’s nothing inexplicable or unfathomable about that: “This do and live.” Perfect in life, and obedience, without spot and stain in character, indeed; “This do and thou shalt live.” But no man who ever sought to obey the perfect mandates of God found all else in his life but a ceaseless un-wearying despair and failure. And as he came back to God to make atonement and expiation for his sin, then he had to do it over again and still again. For this day he fell into error, and the next day he fell into mistake, and the next day he fell into sin, and his life was the same sordid repetition over and over and over again. When he brought a bullock in order to satisfy the law for his sin, then he had to bring another bullock; he was back again. When he offered a lamb as an atonement for the sins of his soul in the morning; then in the evening he offered another lamb. When the high priest with blood of expiation entered into the Holy of Holies there to make peace with God for the sins of the people [Hebrews 9:7], back again did he return, over and over and over again [Hebrews 10:1]. “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to all who believe in Him” [Romans 10:4]. “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law” [Galatians 3:13]. We were slaves, and He ransomed us [Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45]. We were in debt, and He paid our debt. We were judged unworthy and condemned, lost sinners in His sight. And He forgave us in the blood of His wounds, in the sobs of His heart, in the pouring out of His life unto death [Matthew 27:32-50]. Christ is the end of the law [Romans 10:4]. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law [Galatians 3:13]. “Redeemed not with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ” [1 Peter 1:18-19]. And to the poor soul that shelters beneath the cross of Jesus, there’s no more fear and no more condemnation [Romans 8:1]; when the lightning flashes, no need to cringe in terror; when the thunder roars, no need to fear its fury. As the Ten Commandments were placed in the ark and covered over with the mercy seat and blood of atonement and expiation [Leviticus 16:14; Deuteronomy 10:5], so these who hide in Jesus, all their sins are washed away [Revelation 1:5]; and no longer do we fear the fury of the judgment of God upon our souls; “Redeemed not with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ” [1 Peter 1:18-19].
“Not with corruptible things, as silver and gold.” There’s no man who would deny that corruptible things can redeem some things. Silver and gold can redeem a pawn ticket; but it can’t redeem a doomed soul. Silver and gold can redeem a lien or a note or a mortgage; but it can’t redeem a wrecked life. Silver and gold can buy farms and lands and mines and properties; it can’t buy character, and virtue, and grace, and love. Silver and gold can redeem corruptible things, being corruptible itself. But as you can’t weigh spirit by the pound or measure love by the yard, neither can corruptible things as silver and gold redeem a man’s soul. You can’t buy the favor of God any more than you can buy the love of somebody whom you might seek for your own. It comes in grace, and in adoration, and in love; it is given away.
Man says, “By my wealth, by my power”; but God says, “By My grace, and by My love” [Ephesians 2:8]. Man says, “We will buy with money and with price”; God says, “Without money, and without price” [Isaiah 55:1]. Man says, “by Dunn and Bradstreet”; God says, “By the Lamb’s Book of Life” [Revelation 20:12, 15, 21:27]. Man says, “By virtue, and by resolution, and by social uplift, and by legislative amelioration, and by social reform, and by the golden deed, and by good works”; God says, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you” [Exodus 12:13, 23].
Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
Are you fully trusting in His grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?
[“Are You Washing In the Blood of the Lamb?” Elisha Hoffman]
“Not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” [1 Peter 1:18-19].
May I speak of the preciousness? “Unto you therefore who believe, He is precious” [1 Peter 2:7]. By fiat God made the worlds [Hebrews 11:3]. With the breath of His lips did He speak the starry hemispheres into existence [Genesis 1:14-19], but when He redeemed the man whom He made, He offered the blood of the cross [1 Peter 1:18-19]. Not by His birth, virgin and miraculous, did He buy us [Matthew 1:23-25]; not by His sinless, spotless life did He redeem us [Hebrews 4:15]; not by His marvelous words and preaching and teaching, though “never a man spake like that Man” [John 7:46], not by His miraculous powerful works that could stop the fury and course of nature did He deliver us [Mark 4:37-41]; but by the blood of the cross [1 Peter 1:18-19]. And His death [Matthew 27:32-50] was not by example and inspiration; and it was not for purposes of instruction and teaching; and it was not adventitious and circumstantial and opportunistic; it was not an accident in history—“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world” [1 Peter 1:20]—it was according to the offering of the love and mercy and plan of God for us, that we might be saved from the stain of our sin, and presented someday without spot and without blemish in His glorious presence [Ephesians 5:25-27].
By the blood of the Lamb we are redeemed from the curse of the law, according to the third chapter of Galatians [Galatians 3:13]. By the blood of the Lamb we are redeemed from all iniquity, according to the second chapter of Titus [Titus 2:14]. By the blood of the Lamb we are justified, declared righteous before God, according to the fourth chapter of the Book of Romans [Romans 4:5, 25]. By the blood of the Lamb we are purchased as a people and a church, according to the twentieth chapter of the Book of Acts [Acts 20:28]. By the blood of the Lamb we have the answer to the riddle of all history, according to the fourth chapter of the Revelation [Revelation 4:1]. And by the blood of the Lamb, He, our Lord, is described worthy to receive honor, and glory, and dominion, and power forever and forever, because He washed us and loosed us from our sins in His own blood [Revelation 1:5-6].
In the blood of Christ were quenched all the altar fires of all the world. When He died, sacrifices ceased unto God. Wherever the gospel of Christ has been preached, sacrifices have ceased to be offered. In the death of Christ all of the Levitical requirements were completely fulfilled; nothing more to be added, nothing more to be done. In the blood of Christ there is written finis on all of the priestly orders of the world. In the blood of Christ we are justified [Romans 5:9], declared righteous unto God. Living He fulfilled all the demands of the holy and righteous law [Matthew 5:17]. Dying He paid the penalty of our iniquities and our transgressions [Colossians 2:13-14]. Buried [Matthew 27:59-60] He was the scapegoat bearing our sins far away [Leviticus 16:20-22]. And rising He authenticated His claim to deity [Romans 1:4], justified us in the presence of God [Hebrews 7:25]. “Redeemed not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ” [1 Peter 1:18-19].
Now for just a little moment that remains, may I speak from the Scriptures of the power, the efficacy, of that atoning sacrifice? First: “For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul” [Leviticus 17:11]. Its atoning efficacy, power. “I have given it to you to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul.” When they struck Christ [Isaiah 53:4], they struck the Rock from whence flows the fountain of life [Numbers 20:11]. When they nailed His hands to the cross [John 20:25], they opened the wounds that brought blessing and mercy and forgiveness to humankind [Zechariah 13:1]. And when they pierced His heart [John 19:34], they penetrated the mystery of the depths of the grace and forgiveness of God [Ephesians 1:7]. As in the Levitical sacrifices, the blood was poured out at the base of the altar [Leviticus 5:9]; had one stood at the cross that day and had seen the blood of the Lamb of God flowing down [John 19:34], he would have seen the preciousness of the love of God for us. For in the wounds of Jesus were the open doors of forgiveness, and mercy, and redemption, and salvation to all who believe in Him [John 3:16]. Its atoning efficacy, its cleansing power; “And the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin” [1 John 1:7], washes the stain out of our souls. “Come,” says the Lord, “Come, let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as [snow]; though they be red as crimson, they shall be as [wool] [Isaiah 1:18] . . .These are they who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb [Revelation 7:14] . . . And the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanseth us from all sin” [1 John 1:7].
May I speak of its protecting grace? “And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you” [Exodus 12:7, 13]. That angel of death, with noiseless wings, seeking out every home and every life; but when he came to the house where the blood was sprinkled on the lintels and on the doorposts, in the sign of the cross, on the lintels and on the doorposts, he sheathed his sword, and the angel passed over: “When I see the blood” [Exodus 12:22-23], its protecting grace—when the mountains tremble, and the heavens are ablaze, and the earth is on fire, God’s people sheltering beneath the arms of the cross. “To you who believe, He is precious” [1 Peter 2:7].
And may I speak of its overcoming power? Revelation 12:11, “And they overcame him,” our great adversary that accuses the brethren before God day and night [Revelation 12:10], “and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 12:11] . . . “Speaketh better things than that of Abel?” [Hebrews 12:24]. Our accuser, as he stands before God and says, “Look at that Christian, look at him, look at her,” and he accuses us day and night. But the blood of Jesus pleads forgiveness, and grace, and mercy [1 John 1:7]. And we are sealed in His able, omnipotent hands by the blood of His testimony [John 10:28]; for according to the author of the Hebrews, when a man writes a testament, it is in force only in the death of the testator [Hebrews 9:16-17]. And the Lord wrote in His book our names, and bequeathed to us an eternal inheritance [Hebrews 9:15]. And when He died, He sealed that testament forever and forever and forever [Matthew 26:28]; unto us who are kept by the power of God [1 Peter 1:5], unto us who are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb [1 Peter 1:18-19]. “And they overcame him,” our arch enemy, our adversary and accuser, “and they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” [Revelation 12:11].
In my hands no price I bring,
Simply to Thy cross I cling.
[“Rock of Ages,” Augustus Toplady, 1763]
No other hope, no other plea, just, “Lord, I’m a sinner, trusting in the grace [Ephesians 2:8] and mercy of Jesus” [Titus 3:5].
Just as I am, without a plea;
But that Thy blood was shed for me. . .
[“Just As I Am,” Charlotte Elliot, 1835]
That’s all. Just looking unto Jesus [John 3:14-17]. “And unto you who believe, He is precious” [1 Peter 2:7].
We’re going to sing a song that has meant to my soul beyond any other song that I have ever heard sung in the congregation of the Lord. While they were singing this song, I was converted; I gave my heart to Jesus. It’s a song that has been purged from the books of liberal theology. It has been taken out from the books of liberal churches. They say it’s a bloody gospel, and they say we are too sensitive to be reminded of such gory things. But God says it’s the blood. And God says, “When I see the blood” [Exodus 12:13]; and the text said, “We are redeemed by the blood” [1 Peter 1:18-19]. And this song of invitation is a song written by one of the great poets of all time, who found Jesus precious to his soul.
And while we sing that song—you wouldn’t even need a book to sing it, not we here in this church—while we sing that song, somebody you give his heart to Jesus [Romans 10:9-10]. A family you, put your life with us in the church. In this balcony, coming down one of these stairways, in this lower floor, into the aisle, down to the front; while we sing this song and while we make appeal, will you make it now? “Here I am, pastor, and here I come,” while we stand and while we sing.
THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 1:18-21
A. It is easy to fall into habit of preaching about the gospel, but not the gospel itself
1. Passage brings us back to the very heart of the gospel
B. Blood from the beginning regarded by God as most precious
1. Of beast (Genesis 9:3-4, Leviticus 17:10-14)
2. Of man (Genesis 9:5-6, Numbers 21:4-9, 35:30-31, 33)
3. Of Jesus (Acts 20:28, 1 Peter 2:7)II. The blood of Christ brings to us God’s atoning grace
A. The law says “Do this and live” (Leviticus 18:5, Luke 10:28)
1. But how does a man keep the law – every effort falls short
B. What the blood of Christ does for us(Romans 5:9, 10:4)
1. Outside of Christ we are slaves to the tyrant of the law(Galatians 3:13)
C. Redemption achieved not with corruptible things, but with incorruptible(Isaiah 55:1, Revelation 20:15, Exodus 12:13, 23)III. The blood of Christ brings forgiveness of sins
A. The preciousness of the blood – God created the world by fiat, but to redeem man He offered the blood, the life of Christ(John 7:46)
B. His death not to teach us an example, or give inspiration, but for our sins
1. No accident, but was ordained in heaven (1 Peter 1:20)
C. Redeemed from curse of the law(Galatians 3:13, Titus 2:14, Romans 4:5, 25, Acts 20:28, Revelation 1:5-6, 4:1)
D. Christ’s blood quenched all of the altar fires of the earth(Romans 5:9)IV. All the Scriptures speak of the preciousness of the blood
B. Cleansing power(1 John 1:9, Isaiah 1:18, Revelation 7:14)
C. Protecting grace (Exodus 12:13, 23)
D. Overcoming power (Revelation 12:11, Hebrews 9:17, 12:24)