“Knowing that you were ransomed (or redeemed) from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).
J.H. Jowett made these comments:
The apostle now turns to another expression of the holiness of the Father, and finds it in the character of our redemption. Now, link to this the previous word which forms a vital part of the apostle’s reasoning. “I am holy.” He immediately unites the concept of holiness with the ministry of redemption. To keep that holiness in mind I am to reflect upon the character of redemption. I am to gaze into the mysterious depths of redemption, and I shall behold the holiness of my Father. Now, that is not our common inclination. We look into redemption for mercy, forgiveness, condescension, love. We look for the genial flame of love; have we been blind to the dazzling blaze of holiness? We have felt the warm, yearning intimacy of love, inclining towards the sinner; have we felt the fierce, burning heat where holiness touches sin?
Redemption is more than the search of Father for child; it is a tremendous wrestle of holiness with sin. Have we felt only the tenderness of the search, and partially over looked the terribleness of the conflict? The fear is that we may feel the geniality of the one without experiencing the other. I proclaim it as a modern peril. We do not open our eyes to the holiness that battles in our redemption, and so we gain only an enervated conception of redemptive love. Is not this characteristic of many of the popular hymns which gather round about the facts of redemption? They are sweet, sentimental, almost gushing; the light, lilting songs of a thoughtless courtship: deep in their depths I discern no sense of a bloody conflict, nor do I taste any tang of the bitter cup which made our Saviour shrink. And so, because we do not discern the majestic crusade of holiness, we do not realize the enormity of sin. If we look into the mystery of redemption, and do not see the august holiness of God, we can never see the blackness of the sovereignty of sin. Dim your sense of holiness, and you lighten the color of sin. Now see what follows. Obscure the holiness and you relieve the blackness of sin. Relieve the blackness of sin and you impoverish the glory of redemption. The more we lighten sin the more we uncrown our Redeemer. If sin be a light thing, the Redeemer was superfluous. And so, with holiness hidden and sin relieved, we come to hold a cheap redemption, and it is against the conception of a cheap redemption that the apostle raises and eager and urgent warning – “There was nothing cheap about your redemption. It was not a light ministry which cost a mere trifle. Ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with precious blood, sen the blood of Christ.” Reason from the cost of redemption to the nature of the conflict; reason from the nature of the conflict to the black enormity of sin; reason from the enormity of sin to the glory of holiness! A lax God could have given us license and so redeemed us cheaply! A cheap redemption might have made us feel easy; it would never have made us good. A cheap forgiveness would only have confirmed the sin it forgave. If we are to see sin we must behold holiness, unveiled for us as in “a lamb without blemish and without spot.” And so in the sacrifice of Christ, the apostle discerns something of the holiness of the Father, and thus apprehends the unspeakable antagonism of holiness and sin. To him redemption is more than a search; it is a conflict. It is more than a tender yearning; it is the mighty bearing of an appalling load. Between the Incarnation, when Christ was manifested, and the Resurrection, when God raised Him from the dead, the powers and holiness of sin met face to face in mighty combat, and in the appalling darkness of Gethsemane and Calvary sin was overthrown and holiness was glorified. When I move amid the mysteries of redemption, I never want to become deaf to My Saviour’s words, “If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me.” I never want His cry to go out of my life, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” So long as that cry sounds through the rooms of my life I can never have a cheap Redeemer, and I shall be kept from the enervating influence of a cheap redemption.”