“but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” (1 Peter 1:19)
Here in 1 Peter 1:19 we are told that the blood of Christ is precious. I trust that it is one of the better things that I can draw your attention to. The word translated here as “precious” means just that, precious or valuable. It is used of gems in 1 Cor. 3.12 and of fruit in James 5.7. It is used to describe the rare and therefore precious jewels of the heavenly city in Rev. 21. Putting it together then the blood of Christ is precious because it’s inherently valuable and unique.
But to whom is it precious, and why is it unique?
1. To whom is the blood of Christ precious?
Put simply, the blood of Christ is precious to God and to Christians. Both God and believers find the blood of the Savior to be exceedingly valuable.
2. Why is the blood of Christ precious?
The blood of Christ is precious to God because it is the blood of his own dear Son. There is none more precious to the Father than his beloved Jesus. United together throughout eternity, enveloped in perfect intra-Trinitarian love, the Father has joyfully beheld the perfect reflection and expression of the glory of God. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have been united together in the community of the God-head. Then upon the cross this precious Son shed his precious blood. There are none who hold the Father’s heart like Jesus. Indeed, if any know of God’s love themselves, then it is mediated by and through Christ. Christ himself is the most precious to God. Characterizing this we read in the Gospel narratives, “This is my beloved Son with whom I am well pleased…” (Mt. 3:17).
The blood of Christ is precious to God because it demonstrates the weight of divine righteousness. How do we know what justice really is and what it costs to satisfy it? We look at the cross. The apostle Paul tells us that the cross demonstrates God’s righteousness (Rom. 3:21-26). How costly is sin that God must bleed to cure it? How righteous is God that Immanuel must die to satisfy him? God could have created and destroyed a million worlds to showcase his divine justice, but it would pale in comparison to the crushing of our Lord Jesus. For at the cross, Christ, the innocent and pure lamb poured out his blood to meet the unyielding demands of justice. The only currency that the high king of heaven takes is the crimson payment of Jesus.
Tell me, ye who hear Him groaning,
Was there ever grief like His?
Friends through fear His cause disowning,
Foes insulting His distress;
Many hands were raised to wound Him,
None would interpose to save;
But the deepest stroke that pierced Him
Was the stroke that Justice gave. (source)
The blood of Christ is precious to God because it expresses the beauty of his love. How do we know we are loved? We know often by what we are given and what it costs the other party. Sacrifice, thoughtfulness, service, and care characterize love. Never before has love been shown in such vivid brushstrokes then upon the blood-stained wood of Calvary. The whole life and death of Jesus was ordered by his love. He loves his Father, and he loves his sheep. What unfailing, unbroken, unfathomable love is this? Christ Jesus perfectly loving his Father with full obedience and delight; this displays the love of God in the largest font available.
But the blood of Christ is also precious to those who believe. Put simply, it is precious to us because it is powerful and purposeful.
The blood of Christ is precious to us because it earns. When God created our first parents he required perfect obedience (Gen. 2:15-17). Failure to do so not only brings the penalty of death but also the exposure of a lack of perfection. Sin makes us unrighteous. But the blood of Christ is basis for our justification; it is the culminated earning of our righteousness. We have been justified (or declared righteous) by his blood (Rom. 5:9). How can you have any expectation to stand before God, not as a guilty law-breaker but rather as a perfect law-keeper? The answer is found in the precious blood of Christ. You have been declared righteous on the basis of his blood. “His oath, his covenant, his blood support me in the over-whelming flood.”
The blood of Christ is precious to us because it pays. Not only does the blood of Christ earn righteousness but it also pays the debt of our unrighteousness. The Scriptures universally declare that the wages of sin is death (Rom. 3:23). In 1 Peter we are reminded that the payment for sin was blood. In fact we were “ransomed” by the blood of Christ. This calls to mind the Exodus narrative in Egypt where the Israelites were ransomed from death and slavery by means of the blood of the lamb applied to the doorposts. We see here that this payment of Christ, this blood of Christ was not unlike the Exodus in terms of theme but it was quite unlike it in terms of value. The blood of Christ was infinitely more valuable than the blood of animals. It ransoms sinners like us not simply from the captivity of foreign leaders but also from the slavery of sin and the tyranny of the Devil. Christ’s blood pays the debt our sin owes to God. How precious is this blood that ransomed people to God from every tribe, nation, people, and tongue? How precious is this blood to you?
The blood of Christ is precious to us because it cleanses.The writer of Hebrews draws a sharp contrast between the blood of animals under the Old Covenant and the blood of Christ in the New Covenant. Put simply, the blood of animals cold cleanse people outwardly and for a short period, but the blood of Christ cleanses us internally and that once for all! Instead of simply cleansing the flesh the blood of Jesus purifies our conscience and enables us to serve God. Octavius Winslow writes, “The blood of Christ is the divine bath for the soul.” The justifying, sin-atoning, wrath-satisfying blood is also the soul-cleansing blood! How precious indeed is this blood?
The blood of Christ is precious to us because it speaks. In Hebrews we read that Jesus blood speaks a better word than the blood of Abel (Heb. 12:24). How does the blood speak? It speaks not a cry of vengeance from the ground but upon acceptance in the heavens. It speaks of the unshakeable kingdom and unfading blessings secured in Christ. It also speaks of the supremacy of Christ’s blood. It is better than the best we could do (cf. Abel). Furthermore, this blood continues to speak as Jesus our High Priest pleads the merits of his perfect sacrifice. Jesus intercedes for us before the throne of God above. And what is he pleading? Is he asking for mercy? No. He is pleading the infinite merit of his blood. As our high priest Jesus prays for us and pleads his blood and righteousness.
Be still my soul and know this peace
The merits of your great high priest
Have bought your liberty
Rely then on His precious blood
Don’t fear your banishment from God (source)
Oh, this precious blood of Christ!
He ever lives above,
for me to intercede;
His all redeeming love,
His precious blood, to plead;
His blood atoned for every race,
His blood atoned for every race,
And sprinkles now the throne of grace. (source)
Indeed, this blood is powerful and purposeful—and most certainly precious!