Repeatedly we have called attention in these series of the apostle that the Church, the believers in Christ Jesus stand in a new Status Quo to Christ, and therefore to all things. Old things are passed away and all things have become new for us.

The “golden-chain” of elective love and grace are the beginning and end of our great and sure salvation. The elective love of God is the cor ecclesia, the heartbeat of the church. This elective love of God is the very heartbeat of our only and solid comfort in life and death! And such is the clear teaching of the apostle here in this section of Scripture we are discussing.

For let it be clearly understood: we are not under law, but we are under grace!

All attempts at trying to mingle these two inevitably leads to a devaluation of grace. Grace is then no more grace. Our glorying in the Lord our righteousness dies upon our lips. We have no Soli Deo Gloria left! We have no incentive to perfect sanctification in the fear of God, for then all hope of seeing God has died in our breast. Once more we have turned unto “dead works” instead of standing in covenant fellowship with God, serving the living God in great and true joy of heart. Then we can chant the doleful chants of the ascetics, and we have the de profundis of the Jews at their walls of wailing, or have the pride of Pharisaic accomplishment, but then we do not have the real spiritual joy of heart that counts all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord!

Wherefore let us lift up the feeble hands and strengthen the weak knees and stand in the grace into which we have been called!

For we are no longer “slaves” but we are “free-born sons” of Sarah, the Jerusalem above, the mother of all the elect believers.

Such is the clear teaching of holy writ here in I Peter 1:18, 19. We wish to call attention to the following elements:

In the first place, we should notice that Peter teaches us that our redemption is an accomplished fact, once and for all. We have been redeemed with a great and precious price. That we have been redeemed means that we once were the slaves of sin under the righteous wrath of God; sin ruled in our hearts and lives. The sense of guilt pursued us, and there was no satisfaction in our mind and heart except that we perpetrated evil. We could not liberate ourselves from the dominion of sin, because legally sin had a rightful claim upon us. We belonged to the realm where the power (authority) of darkness reigns. We could not deliver ourselves, we might not run away, and we could not will to run away from sin. Legal chains of darkness bound us. We were held in the chains of God’s wrath! We were in the prison house of sin’s bondage in Egypt. And the prison bars would not be opened. Powerless we were and unwilling.

But that is now past!

We have been redeemed. A great price was paid for us by our redeemer God, in the flesh. He came not to be ministered to, but to minister to our needs, to give His soul a ransom for many. We are not our own any more, but we belong to our Savior God, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of peace. And the government is upon His shoulders. He will save us to the very end and finally set us with Himself in heaven’s glories and perfections above, and that, too, forever!

It was a very precious price that was paid! This means, that the price is high on the scale of real values, that it is outside of anything “under the sun,” as this world is apart from redemption. It is so great in value that it could never rise in the hearts of man. It simply cannot “be touched” by anything that any mortal can offer. It is nothing less than the perfect obedience of the Son of God in the flesh, learning obedience from what He suffers. It is perfect obedience under the wrath of God, in the inexpressible anguish and pains of hell!

(And this he suffered that in our greatest assaults we should have a strong and abiding consolation in God. We must sing: unto Him that loveth us and loosed (washed) us from our sins by His blood, and made us to be a Kingdom, and made us to be priests unto His God and Father, to Him be glory and dominion, forever and ever. Amen! Rev. 1:5, 6.

There was nothing lacking in the redemption price. It was the full price, and it was of the right kind. It could touch our redemption. It was the proper kind of redemption coin. It was the blood of the Lamb, slain from the foundation of the earth. It is the blood of whom angels and saints chant in glad strains of heavenly music, singing a new song saying: Worthy is the Lamb! He is the Lion out of Judah’s tribe, the root of David. The Lamb of God is He. He is worthy to lift up our sins and bear them away on His mighty shoulders outside the camp of Israel, so that they are no more. And we sing: Thank, God! my sins are gone…

It is the blood of Him who, was led as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep is dumb before its shearers, so he opened not His mouth! Through the eternal Spirit He offered Himself without “blemish” to cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God in spirit and in truth. He fulfilled the just demands of the law. The Mediator of a new covenant is He, so that we might receive the promise of the eternal inheritance.

Such is the glad tidings of the gospel.

God has reconciled us unto Himself in Christ Jesus. We need not fear, for herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son a propitiation for our sins. We have been redeemed! It is finished and nothing can ever be added.

And this redemption price is not an afterthought on the part of God. The redemption price is the great price wherewith the predestinated Church must be redeemed. God so loved the world. He never loved us in any other way. Sophists may dispute about what would have happened if Adam had not sinned, and they may write “learned dissertations” about the “moment” and many dabble in such inquires as to the “ultimacy” of that which belongs to that which is past finding out, but the godly saints whose hope and faith is ever more into (eis) God, find “solid comfort” in the assurance of holy writ, that the Christ “was foreknown” as the Lamb to be slain from before the foundation of the world! For such is the clear teaching here of Scripture. They do not speculate about the contents of the glory of the gospel, but they drink its message in faith, and put it in their mouth and eat it as the bread of life!

Yes, the saints eat the full counsel of God as the bread of life!

What we eat is not simply the “whosoever will” gospel, but the full-orbed gospel, which is anchored in the foreknowledge of God the Father, who worketh all things according to the counsel of His will. No, we do then not try to put this “foreknowledge” on the background, but it is the “heartbeat” of the gospel! Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His foreknown Son a propitiation for our sins. And He blesses us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places, even as He elected us, from before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love. Then we do not segregate Canons II, 5 as a mere aphorism (een brokstuk) from the strong consolation given in the elective love of God. We rightly divide the word of truth, being workman that need not be ashamed!

For always Christ was in a complete state of being foreknown, (notice the perfect passive participle in Greek: pro-egnoosmenou) yet in these last times, of which prophets through the Spirit of Christ spoke, he has been manifested once and for all as the Lamb that pays the ransom price, our mighty and faithful Redeemer. This is manifestly set forth before the eyes of the entire world in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ. There stands that cross, towering o’er the wrecks of time. It towers over all the cultural developments of man. These all crumble into wreck and ruins. Their speech is in their mute evidence that all is corruptible here below; that we, the redeemed elect, look for the inheritance incorruptible, and that fadeth not away. We look for that incorruptible ransom price of the blood of Christ. Such is the manifested love of God in Christ in these last times for us, whose hope and trust is more and more into this electing and redeeming God!

Peter says: Knowing all this! And this knowledge is the incentive to a godly walk of conversion. And there is no other incentive. For the law works wrath!

But someone may inquire: what if I do not know this grand truth of the gospel with such conscious faith. What must I do then? I answer: the Scriptures teach us that God gives this faith to all His saints, and that the assurance is wrought in our hearts in His own time.

Surely the doctrine of election, of the enmity which God has caused to be present between the “seed of the serpent,” and the “seed of the woman” is justly terrible to the wicked. It is justly terrible as long as we do not seriously turn to God in spiritual sobriety, girding up the loins of our minds. It is terrible for the hypocrites, who Pharisaically try to make a vain show of piety before God. And as long as they walk in such sins it must be told them that they do not inherit the Kingdom of God. Thus the preaching of the word is the key of the kingdom of heaven. For we do not enter the way of thinking in godliness by speculating about it, and curiously inquiring into the secret things of God, but by observing in ourselves with holy joy the fruits of faith and election.

But if we do not yet experience a lively faith in Christ, an assured confidence of soul, peace of conscience, and do persist earnestly in the use of the means which God hath appointed for working these graces in us, we ought not to account ourselves with the reprobate, but with ardent desires humbly and devoutly wait for a season of richer grace. For God finishes His own work. Be not terrified! And if you earnestly desire to live a more holy life, and cannot reach that measure of holiness after which you aspire, believe that God will not quench the smoking flax, but press forward with renewed vigor, knowing who has redeemed you!

—George C. Lubbers