Torchbearers for Christ
Monday, December 10, 2018
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If you were to ask the average person that question, it is likely that you would receive a variety of answers. Some would probably tell you that their most precious possession was a close human relationship such as family or an intimate friendship. What is more precious to a mother than a new born baby? Others might tell you that their health was their most precious possession, particularly if they had experienced a critical illness. Then, some would feel that a valuable piece of jewellery or art work, or even a home or a career was their most precious possession.
But when we turn to the Word of God, the Bible, we find that many things defined as “precious”, have a spiritual and eternal value. This is not to say that Christians do not value life’s most treasured temporal possessions, but it would be true to say that their affections are primarily set on more durable and spiritual treasures.
The word precious occurs several times in the apostle Peter’s letters and in this message we will be looking at two such occurrences. In our next message we will think about two more precious items. The first precious occurs in 1 Peter 2;7, where he tells us concerning the Lord Jesus, “Unto you therefore which believe He is precious”. To the believer who enjoys a living, loving relationship with the Lord Jesus, no one thing or person is as precious as He on whom his hopes of eternity depend. Well might the Christian sing, “Lord, You are more precious than silver, Lord You are more costly than gold, Lord You are more beautiful than diamonds, and nothing I desire compares with You”. Paul, when describing the beauty of the Saviour, seems almost at a loss for words to express himself when he exclaims, “Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable gift” (2 Corinthians 9:15). In Galatians 2:20, Paul sums up his relationship with Jesus in these words, “He loved me and gave Himself for me”. Surely, as believers, we should experience a profound sense of gratitude when we think of the One who “bore our sins in His own body on the tree” (1 Peter 2:24). We read in Acts 26:18, “ turn them from darkness to light and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and inheritance among them which are sanctified....” The New Testament abounds with spiritual blessings which the believer can enjoy because of what the Lord Jesus has done for him and these are the more amazing when it is remembered that life’s greatest treasures are given so freely to the believer by a bountiful God to people who are totally undeserving. In 1 John 4:10 we read, “Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent His Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins”.
The next precious occurs in 1 Peter 1:18,19, where we read “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed.....but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect”. What does it mean to be “redeemed with the precious blood of Christ”? From earliest times in human history, we learn that God decreed that “it is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul” (Leviticus 17:11). We also know that when the children of Israel were to be delivered from their slavery in Egypt, they were required to keep the feast of the Passover. This involved sprinkling the blood of a lamb on the two side posts and on the upper door post of their houses. This blood, when applied, assured their security and God said, “When I see the blood I will pass over you and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you” (Exodus 12:7,13). When the Lord Jesus first appeared among us, John the Baptist, when beholding the Saviour, exclaimed “Behold the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world”. In Paul’s letter to the Romans, where he makes constant reference to the saving work of Jesus, he tells us “God presented Him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in His blood” (Romans 3:25). In the book of the Revelation 1:5,6), we have a delightful outburst of praise to the Lord Jesus “....unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood and has made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen”.
We end with another picture from the book of the Revelation, where John sees a great multitude which could not be numbered from all nations, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. One of the elders explained to John who these people were, saying “....these are they which came out of great tribulation and have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Rev.7:9, 13,14). Thanks be to God for the precious “blood of Jesus that cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  Since 1983 he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.