On Christ the Solid Rock (Chapter 1 Verses 13-21)
There is a right kind of fear (v17), the fear of reverence. And this especially in reference to invoking this holy God whom we serve. Why? Because of his impartiality. Yes, he is our Father, we are his children, but if we want his gifts and blessings to be flowing in our lives, we must live as obedient children. Jesus told the Pharisees, who claimed God as their Father (John 8.3), that they never knew the Father (John 8.19), and that this was evident by their conduct. In fact he said they belonged to another father (John 8.42-44). They had never heard God’s voice, never mind obeyed it (John 8.47). Yes, says Peter, he is our Father, and very loving Father, but a holy and incorruptible Father (Acts 10.34; Romans 2.11; Ephesians 6.9; Colossians 3.25; James 2.1). The thing that provokes this fear is not some awful terror, but something very, very precious (vv18-21). The price that was paid to redeem us from our former way of living. It is the immensity of the price paid that should keep us in holiness, not some legal fear, or terror of offending a set of rules. The way you used to live, your ancestral heritage? That is original sin! In all the extent of its guilt, its power, its presence in the entire human race, passed on, one generation to the next, from the day of Adam and Eve. This has only one cure, the atonement made by Jesus on the cross (v19), his precious blood.
It is precious because it is spotless, it is flawless, like the Lamb himself (John 1.29; Isaiah 53), the Son of God whose blood indeed is precious. It is precious because it was in God’s plan way back, before the world began (v20), to deliver his Son up to death (Acts 2.23). Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13.8). Now put these things together, God’s eternal plan of redemption, the Son’s willingness to suffer and give himself, and you have the total price, as well as your reason, your motivation for holiness of living. These two gospel facts are the anchor for our trust and our hope. The death and resurrection of Jesus (v21), both planned and executed by God. So our hope is a living hope because it is based on the living God who raised his Son from the dead. Our trust is well founded too, because it is in God through Jesus. Now that is a very important point, where exactly do our hopes lie, are they in God? Because hope based in anything, or anyone else, is one day, sooner or later going to be shaken, even confounded, “all other ground is sinking sand”.
(© James R Hamilton, written May, 1998)