The Blood and Some Money

Bible Book: 1 Peter  1 : 18-19
Subject: Atonement; Blood of Jesus; Redemption

The Blood and Some Money

Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, www.pastorlife.com
Introduction

1 Peter 1:18-19 and Exodus 30:11-16

Our subject today concerns the Old Testament atonement, which involved the blood and some money. The money was specifically a half-shekel coin. I want us to see what this has to do with our New Testament atonement and its fulfillment in the blood of Christ. If you don’t know what the two have to do with each other, be assured that you are probably not alone.

Our passage from 1 Peter makes a statement that the saved person is not redeemed and does not receive atonement through perishable things such as silver and gold, but rather is saved through the precious blood of Jesus. Now here is the question: Who said we could be saved, redeemed through silver and gold? You might answer that no one said we could be redeemed with money, but you need to realize that the Old Testament Scriptures had some things to say on  this subject.

Peter, being an adherent to the Jewish Law before he became a Christian, knew very well what the Old Testament taught and was using an Old Testament Law to reveal a New Testament truth regarding the price of our redemption from sin. Always remember that the Old Testament is the New Testament concealed and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.

Look with me at Exodus 30:11-16:

11 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: 12 “When you take the census of the children of Israel for their number, then every man shall give a ransom for himself to the Lord, when you number them, that there may be no plague among them when you number them. 13 This is what everyone among those who are numbered shall give: half a shekel according to the shekel of the sanctuary (a shekel is twenty gerahs). The half-shekel shall be an offering to the Lord. 14 Everyone included among those who are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering to the Lord. 15 The rich shall not give more and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when you give an offering to the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves. 16 And you shall take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of meeting, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for yourselves.”

Here we see a record of the half-shekel requirement for atonement mentioned in the Old Testament Law. The Law required that each male in the community of Israel above twenty years of age to pay an annual atonement offering of a half-shekel. This was to be a gift for the atonement of one’s life. A person who refused to pay was to be excommunicated (thrown out) of the community of faith. So, each year the males would publicly gather and be counted. They would pass by and place their half-shekel into the offering. The gift was said to be a gift to the Lord and was to be used for the Tabernacle and the work of God. What does all this mean to us today?

The shekel gift was a pre-figuring, or foreshadowing, of our Lord Jesus and His sacrifice at the cross. The coin did not save a person, but rather it was to point to a payment that would one day be made for sin. This truth is seen in the fact that it had to be repeated year after year. A gift of money could not possibly pay for sin, any more than the blood of a bull or lamb could atone for sin. The requirement to do these things was to point to a greater gift and a more wonderful Lamb that would be given for sin in the future - that gift and that Lamb was Jesus, our Lord.

Let us turn our attention today to the great subject of redemption and atonement for sin. Let us think about the blood of Jesus and the great sacrifice He made for us. Look with me at four important elements of atonement and redemption for sinners.

I. The Centrality of Atonement

The central subject in the Bible is the blood of Christ. Some years ago Dr. W.A. Criswell preached a sermon entitled “The Scarlet Thread Through The Bible.” He began the message on New Year’s Eve and preached until midnight. His entire message, lasting several hours, dealt with one subject - the blood of atonement from Genesis through Revelation. That sermon has been printed into a book and makes for some interesting reading. That a man could preach for hours on one single subject tells you that this is a very prominent theme throughout the Bible.

A. The Record of it in the Word

The atonement is mentioned in the Bible about 1,300 times. Think about that - 1,300 times! The love of God is only mentioned around 300 times. Atonement is recorded around 1,300 times. This tells you the importance that God places upon the blood of His Son.

B. The Requirement of it the Word

This subject is so important because it is the only way for a person to be made right with God. There is no other way to come to God other than through the blood sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some have tried to destroy this idea because it is repugnant to them - let me assure you that this truth is repugnant to the devil too. Those who find the blood of Jesus to be objectionable need to read the Bible carefully and discover what the Father in Heaven thinks about it. The blood is required in order to have a relationship with God.

Now, notice …

II. The Cost in Atonement

The cost of atonement is more than the blood of animals or the money which one may give. Peter calls silver and gold perishable, though we think of these two elements as being two of the most imperishable things on earth. Yet, Peter says they are perishable. Why? He said that because silver and gold fail in so many ways. They perish when it comes to meeting our real needs.

  • Money can buy you a house but not a home.
  • Money you buy you a hospital but not health.
  • Money can buy you things but not happiness.
  • Money can buy you a church building but not salvation.

What is required to be redeemed?

A. The Precious Blood

The precious blood of Jesus is the only thing that will save anyone. This is very plainly spoken many times in Scripture. Birth, wealth, position, education, etc., mean nothing in matters relating to peronsal atonement for sin. Hebrews 9:22 states that without the shedding of blood a person cannot be saved. A person has to be spiritually blind and biblically ignorant not to know that this is true.

Romans 5:8-10 states, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through him. For if, when we were God's enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life.”

1 Peter 2:24 states that He, Jesus, died for our sins.

Revelation 1:5-6 reads, “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth. To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father-- to him be glory and power for ever and ever! Amen.”

1 John 4:10 “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”

How many people know their blood type (show of hands)? Is anyone AB negative? AB negative blood is the most rare blood on earth. It is therefore the most precious, the most "valuable", since it is hard to come by. But as rare and precious as AB negative blood is, which has the potential to save a person's physical life, Christ's blood is even more rare, and it can save a person's spiritual (eternal) life.

Jesus himself declared that the atoning work of shedding his blood for sinners was His purpose on earth. He says of himself in Matthew 20:28, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Now let’s notice how Peter described Jesus as …

B. The Pure Lamb

Jesus is the pure, precious Lamb given as a sacrifice for us. Do you recall when the people came out of Egypt how they escaped? Remember that the blood of a Lamb had to be placed on the door post of each home as a sign of faith in God’s mercy. Every home that had the blood on the door was passed over by the death angel, but those without the blood had death visit their household. When the people got out into the wilderness, while Moses was on the mountain meeting with God, they made a golden calf and said that the calf had brought them out of Egypt. Peter is saying to them in 1 Peter 1:18-19 that just as the shekel possessed no real means of obtaining forgiveness and the golden calf was no real means of escaping Egypt, silver and gold in no way can help you to escape your sins or the judgment that is to come upon us because of those sins.

We all need a Savior and thanks be unto God we have what you need in Christ. He shed His precious blood that you and I might be redeemed. Every Lamb sacrificed in Israel was a mere foreshadowing of the One great Lamb of whom John said, “Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.”

Also, notice …

III. The Call to Atonement

In Exodus note that the people were called to a time of atonement. In fact, God is always calling people to atonement, forgiveness and redemption. Note how He calls.

A. The Personal Call

Each male, 20 years of age and older, had to appear personally to pay his atonement price. No one else could pay it for him. None was to pay more than another. The rich and poor alike paid the same price. No one was so rich as to be exempt, and no one was so poor as to be excluded. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Caleb, all had to pay the same. Like everyone else, all have come short of the glory of God. Christ is not too much for the good person, nor too little for the evil person. The ransom was and is the same for all.

Now you may wonder why only the males were to pay to atonement price. Actually, the male represented the entire family. Think of this in a spiritual way. Jesus came to pay the price for the entire family of humankind. His blood was the only blood fit to pay such a price as was needed to redeem us.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 reads, “For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all men - the testimony given in its proper time.” There is One Way – One Savior – One price paid – it is the price paid with the blood of Jesus.

As see as well …

B. The Public Call

The call concerning atonement was also public. There could be no secret believers regarding the issue of atonement. Each person had to step forward and identify himself. It is the same today. To be saved and redeemed, you have to step forward and boldly stand for and with the Lord. Jesus saves those who are not ashamed to admit that they need Him as Lord and Savior. The redemption available is only for those who admit their sin, accept the Son who paid the price and declare Him to be Lord.

Lastly, note …

IV. The Consequences of Atonement

The atoning blood of Christ brings about great results and consequences for those who truly trust Him. Think of three of them.

A. The Freedom

The word “redeemed” means “set free.” The question has to be answered, “From what are we set free and to whom is the payment made to set us free?”

Jesus did not die to pay the devil; no, He died to defeat the devil and meet God’s demand for a perfect life for sinners. In order to have a relationship with God, we must present Him with a perfect life. Since we are all sinners, there is no one among us who can accomplish this task. We are hopeless – but not so fast! Jesus came and lived that perfect life that we cannot live. He then gave that life as a sacrifice for us on the cross. He rose from the dead to show that He is able to save those who believe in Him. Only Jesus can set us free from the sinful life we have lived.

From what are we set free? We are set free from death and sin. Paul called it being a slave to sin. Sin is a disease of the soul and it separates a person from God. The only way to be brought into a right relationship with God is to come by way of the blood. Sin to a lost person is like a man in the water with a hundred pounds strapped to his body. He is going down, down, down! Jesus, who walks on water, can lift you up, remove that weight and put you in the good ship of salvation where you are secure and safe. To be saved is to say:

“Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty, I am free at last.”

Look at that word "redeemed." That is a very important word. It is the Greek word lutroo (loo-tro'-o), which means "to have been released on receipt of ransom." It is a passive past tense verb signifying that we were captive (to our sinful nature) and were set free through a ransom payment. We didn't escape through our own wise scheme, plan or negotiation with our captor. We were removed from captivity through no action of our own. It was done for us, but there was a price.

B. The Forgiveness

Atonement is also forgiveness. It means that you are clean, pure and free of debt. The old account is settled.

Isaiah 40:2, “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and proclaim to her that her hard service has been completed, that her sin has been paid for, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins.” This does not speak of double payment for sin, because no suffering or work can pay for sin. It is not by works lest any should boast. So why did Isaiah use the term “double payment” regarding sin?  This refers to a practice along ago when a person in bankruptcy had to face a most embarrassing situation.

When a person was bankrupt in the ancient days an official would go to the city gate, and nail the debt to the wall at the city gate. The person whose name appeared on the bankruptcy statement would be excommunicated from Israel till the debt was paid. In essence, the debtor became something of a non-citizen, a slave. When the debt was paid, an official would go to the city gate, withdraw the nail, double the paper over and drive the nail back through it. You see, for all of us who are saved, God paid our debt and He doubled over our spiritual bankruptcy claim and drove the nails into it, the nails were the ones that pierced the hands of Jesus. He holds them up and says, “See, here is the nail print, your debt has been paid.” No doubt Paul had this in mind when he penned Colossians 2:13-16, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the written code, with its regulations, that was against us and that stood opposed to us; he took it away, nailing it to the cross. And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.

C. The Faithfulness

Peter clearly states that we should be faithful in our lives due to the redemption made possible to us through His blood. He gave His life for us; let us live our life for Him.

The wife of a man came before Napoleon begging for his freedom. Napoleon called for the charges. She read them and realized he was guilty. She pleaded for mercy. Napoleon said, “You have the charges in your hand. Do with them what you will. She ran to the fire and through them in.” Her husband was released. Our salvation, to a degree, is in our own hands. We can accept the price paid through the blood of Jesus and be redeemed, or we can proudly walk away and die in our sins.

A dying Scot left great sums of money and property in his will. His lawyer said, “Do you have this much money to leave these people?” He said, “No, but I want to show the people my good will.” Friend, good will is not money. You can have good intentions and arrive in hell – as it has been wisely said, “To road to hell is paved with good intentions.” No, you must have the price to pay and the only price worthy is the blood of Jesus.

Have you ever seen a case where a person is being held for ransom? If you have not seen that in real life or the news maybe you have seen it in a movie or on TV. Have you ever stopped to think what your life might be worth if you had been held for ransom? I can just image the kidnappers holding me for, say, $100.00 ransom and fearing they might not get that much. I can’t imagine anyone paying a million dollars to ransom me. O friend, I know someone who paid for more than that to ransom this poor sinner – the precious Lamb of God paid it at Calvary. How could He die for someone like me? I assure you that I will spend my life here and my life in eternity praising the Lamb who died in my place.

Conclusion

Max Lucado relates an amazing sight a friend of his saw at Disney World. He was visiting Cinderella's castle and the place was filled with kids and parents. All of a sudden, all the children rushed over to one side of the big hall. Someone had come in. It was Cinderella herself.

The young lady in the costume was perfect for the part -- beautiful features, long flowing blonde hair, and a radiant smile. The kids all crowded around her, each one wanting to touch her, to somehow get her attention. Over on the other side of the room stood a small boy of maybe six or seven, but it was hard to tell how old he was because his little body was so deformed. He just stood there, looking longingly toward the lovely princess. You could tell he wanted to go over and talk to her like all the other kids, but he remained transfixed, holding tightly to the hand of his older brother.

It was fear that kept him there - fear of yet another rejection, of being mocked or rudely pushed aside. But above all the hubbub Cinderella noticed the boy and started walking toward him. Gently but firmly, she extricated herself from the clutching hands of the other children and made her way across the room. She dropped to her knees in front of him and placed a kiss on his forehead.

Lucado likens this vignette to the story of God's love for us: Instead of a princess of Disney, we have the Prince of Peace. Rather than a handicapped boy, we are the thief on the cross. Both received a gift, but Jesus gave so much more than Cinderella. What if she'd taken upon herself the little boy's disfigurement and given him her beauty? That's what Jesus did for us.[i]

Now is the time for you to come to Jesus. He is the only path to the forgiveness of your sins. He will accept you – will you accept Him?

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[i] Max Lucado, A Gentle Thunder, Word Publishing, 1995. Pages 86-87.