Let's open our Bibles to 1 Peter chapter 1. We look again at verses 18 through 21...1 Peter chapter 1 verses 18 through 21. We have been reminding ourselves as we look at this section that there is no word in our Christian vocabulary that should be considered more lovely than the word Redeemer. For even more than Savior, it reminds the child of God that his salvation has been purchased at a great and personal cost. Jesus Christ is not only Savior, He is Redeemer. He is not only the one who saved us but who saved us at great cost. And we have noted that He has given His very life as a ransom price to redeem sinners.
We have been saying that to redeem simply means to buy back someone from bondage by the payment of a price...to buy back someone from bondage by the payment of a price...to ransom someone. And Peter here is writing of the costly ransom price that was paid to buy us back. Let's look again at verse 18 and read down through verse 21, "Knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ, for He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory so that your faith and hope are in God."
Now in looking at this rich and deep passage of Scripture, we have been fixing our attention basically on four questions...four questions that unfold for us the truth of redemption. The truth of redemption, obviously, is introduced in verse 18 when it says, "We were not redeemed with perishable things," then in verse 19, "But with precious blood, even the blood of Christ." The theme then is redemption.
And we have been asking some very important questions. Question number one, what were we redeemed from? What were we redeemed from? The answer is sin. But we looked a little more deeply into that and saw that there were four aspects of our sinful condition which Peter pointed out. Back in verse 14 the first thing he noted was former lusts. That is an identifying and characteristic mark of an unredeemed person. He is driven by, compelled by lust, evil desire.
Also in verse 14 we noted that Peter defines our unredeemed state as a state of ignorance...ignorance, without the knowledge of God, without the knowledge of saving truth. And then down in verse 18 he added two more dimensions that help us understand the sinful lost condition of unredeemed people. The first is the word futile. There is futility in unredeemed life. That is to say it is pointless, valueless, useless, worthless. And the second term out of that verse and the fourth in this little list is tradition. In verse 18 he says we were redeemed from a way of life inherited from our forefathers, a tradition.
The condition then of unredeemed man is a condition of being driven by lust, being engulfed in ignorance, having a life that is absolutely useless and that is simply the product of a tradition rather than divine truth. These things then describe the condition of the unredeemed and are not unlike Ephesians chapter 2 verses 1 to 3 which we compared to this passage as well.
The second question then that we have been dealing with is this, what were we redeemed with? Not only what were we redeemed from, namely sin, but what were we redeemed with? And what's the answer? We were redeemed with what? Blood...blood. Verse 18 says it, "Not with perishable things like silver or gold." Verse 19, "But with precious blood." We have been redeemed with blood. What is that to say? It is to say through death, through some death we have been redeemed. The price was death. The price that had to be paid to satisfy God is death. The price cannot be paid through a corruptible earthly commodity, even a valuable one like silver or more valuable than that, gold. The price is higher than that. The price is blood.
The third question and the one that we want to focus on tonight is this, who were we redeemed by? Who were we redeemed by? Whose blood, whose death? Verse 19 says, "The blood of Christ, for He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you who through Him are believers in God who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory."
The focus of all of that really is on the person and work of Christ. From what were we redeemed? Sin. By what were we redeemed? Blood. And now through whom? Christ. Look at the end of verse 19 where it says Christ, implied there the blood of Christ. He is that perfect lamb, that spotless lamb, that unblemished sacrifice for sin. Verse 19 says that the price was blood, not just blood but precious blood. Precious because it belonged to a lamb unblemished and spotless and when that farmer gave up his lamb in the sacrifices of the Old Testament economy, he was to give the most spotless and unblemished lamb he had which was precious to him, more precious than any other lamb because it was the one that would breed the best generation of sheep. And that's the one the Lord wanted. And so he had to give the precious lamb. The blood was precious because the lamb was precious. But the most precious lamb of all is the Lamb of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. His blood is most precious because He is most precious. He the most valuable person who ever walked on the face of this earth, He of whom it is said in Hebrews chapter 4 and verse 15, "We do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses but one who has been tempted in all things as we are yet without sin." The spotless one, the unblemished one, the most precious because He was the most perfect.
In Hebrews chapter 9 and verse 11 the writer of Hebrews again says, "But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is to say not of this creation, and not through the blood of goats and calves but through His own blood He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption, for if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, that is outwardly, how much more will the blood of Christ who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God? Cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God." And the writer says He was without blemish, 4:15, "without sin." Chapter 9 and verse 14, "Without blemish, for this reason...verse 15 says...He is the mediator of a new covenant...a new covenant."
He is the most precious lamb because He is the most perfect lamb and therefore His blood is the most precious blood. This is the testimony of the writers of the New Testament in many many cases. First Peter chapter 2 comes to mind as we look together at a little Bible study along these lines. We read in verse 4 that the Lord Jesus is a living stone, rejected by men...listen to this...but choice and precious in the sight of God. The precious Son of God, precious because He was perfect, the precious Son of God.
Verse 6 says that He is a choice stone, a precious cornerstone and he who believes in Him shall not be disappointed. This precious value then is for you who believe. Three times it notes that He is precious.
Chapter 3 of 1 Peter and verse 18, it says, "Christ also died for sins once for all...and I love this...the just for...what?...the unjust." The perfect Lamb of God, sinless, without blemish, without spot, without stain and He gave His precious blood, His precious life for us.
In Acts 20:28 Paul says that we who minister in the church are to shepherd the church of God which He, being Christ, purchased with His own blood. He paid the price. He is the perfect lamb.
In Romans 3:24 it says that we have been justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus whom God displayed publicly as a covering in His blood. The New Testament goes on from there to emphasize that the Lord Jesus Christ purchased our redemption through the shedding of His blood, through His death...He is the redeemer. In 1 Corinthians do you remember chapter 1 verse 30? It says, "That He became to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption." The Lord Jesus, none other than He is the Redeemer. Galatians 3:13, "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law." Again, He is the Redeemer. Chapter 4 of Galatians, you know these verses, verse 4 and 5, "When the fullness of time came God sent forth His Son born of a woman, born unto the law in order that He might redeem those who were under the law that we might receive the adoption of sons." He again is stated clearly to be the redeemer. In Ephesians chapter 1 verse 7, speaking of Christ, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our tresspasses." Paul can't resist saying the same thing to the Colossians in chapter 1 verse 14 where he speaks of God's beloved Son in whom we have redemption and again says the forgiveness of sins. That wonderful passage in Titus 2:14 says, "Christ Jesus gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself a people for His own possession."
And all this wonderful teaching about redemption culminates in the book of Revelation, will you look with me to Revelation for a moment? Chapter 1 and verse 5, and Revelation in many ways presents the most glorious portraits of Christ, but Revelation 1:5 says, "Jesus Christ the faithful witness, the prototokosof the dead, the preeminent one out of the dead, the rulers of the kings of the earth, to Him who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood." He is the one who redeemed us, who released us.
Go to Revelation chapter 5 and how can we resist looking at the wonderful heavenly scene? And there we see the four living creatures in verse 8 and the 24 elders and it says in verse 9, "They sang a new song saying, Worthy art Thou to take the book and to break its seals for Thou wast slain and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation." Who did that? The one in verse 6 called the Lamb...the Lamb of God, none other than Jesus Christ.
Verse 12 of that same chapter says, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing." Again, He is praised because He is the Redeemer.
Over in chapter 14 it speaks of those who have not been defiled and it says, "These are the ones who follow the Lamb," verse 4, "wherever He goes, these have been purchased from among men as firstfruits to God and to the Lamb."
And so all of those Scriptures, and I don't hesitate to give them to you because I want you to see the sweeping testimony of New Testament writing to this great truth, Jesus Christ is the Redeemer. John the Baptist said it early on in John 1:29 when he saw Jesus and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world."
So we ask the question...who were we redeemed by? By the Lord Jesus Christ. It was blood not money, death not silver and gold, costly Jesus Christ had to give His life. Think about it. It is really little wonder that the blood of Christ is here called precious or costly. Precious it is to the Father for it is the blood of His dear Son. Precious it is to the Savior Himself for it represented His life poured out and offered up through the eternal spirit. Precious it is to the saints for it is the price of their redemption and will be the theme of heavenly song. Precious it is because it is the only acceptable ransom price. Precious because it is alone able to cleanse the sinner of his sins. Precious because its mighty power and infinite value are undiminished by the passing centuries and its efficacy is still available for sinners. Precious...precious.
May I note for you that when the Scripture says the blood is precious, it has in mind the death of Christ and His whole redemptive work, not just the fluid? When you see the blood, it refers to the whole atoning redeeming sacrificial death of Christ. It has the inherent idea of death, sacrificial death. We see that from the way it is used in the New Testament. In Acts chapter 5 and verse 28 the high priest says, "We give you strict orders, we gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name...he says this to the Apostles...and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us." What did they mean by that? You intend to make us responsible for His...what?...for His death. Blood there is a synonym for death.
In Romans chapter 5 verse 9, "Much more than having now been justified by His blood...verse 10...we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son." Blood and death refer to the same thing. What I want you to remember, folks, is that there's nothing magical about the fluid. It refers to His whole atoning work...the whole work.
In Ephesians 2 verse 13 it says, "Now in Christ Jesus you who were formerly far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ." Now follow this, verse 15, "By abolishing in His flesh the enmity," verse 16, "We have been reconciled through the cross." First he says it's through the blood, then he says it's through the flesh, then he says it's through the cross, they all mean the same thing, they all relate to the atoning work of Christ. Blood is the most commonly used word because it's the most vivid one and it emphasizes the sacrificial nature. Colossians 1:20 even talks about the blood of His cross, emphasizing, of course, the whole of His atoning work, not just the fluid.
So when you say we are saved by the blood of Christ you mean by the whole atoning work of Christ in which He shed His blood. When it says, for example, in Revelation 7:14 that people were washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb, that is a metaphorical way of saying their sins were forgiven through His atoning death, His sacrificial atonement on the cross of Christ.
Revelation 12:10 talks about overcoming by the blood of the Lamb, it means again His atoning work, His sacrifice. And we read a little earlier from Hebrews chapter 9 and I just would take you back just for a final look at this, verses 16 to 18, it says, "For where a covenant is there must have necessity be the death of the one who made it." When you have a will somebody has to die to activate it. "For a covenant is valid only when men are dead for it is never enforced while the one who made it lives, therefore even the first covenant was not inaugurated without blood." What does that mean? Without death, he's just said that. Men must be dead, dead and blood meaning the same thing.
Now why do I emphasize it? Because there's so much confusion...so much confusion. And I want you to understand that whenever you see the blood of Christ you are seeing inherent in that term the whole atoning work of Christ. Now let's go back to 1 Peter and let me expand on what Peter says. Christ is precious and Peter opens up to us some beautiful features of the preciousness of Christ. Please notice the first thing in verse 20. The first thing that we could look at and say it makes Christ precious is that He was predestined...predestined. Verse 20 says He was foreknown before the foundation of the world. Literally it says, "Having been foreknown." This has to mean planned. In other words, Christ and His redeeming work was planned before the foundation of the world, before creation. God did not react to the Fall with a last-minute plan. He planned it before creation. The atoning work was the eternal plan which God had put in motion. The people stood by in Luke 23:35 looking on at the cross and the rulers were sneering at Him saying, "He saved others, let Him save Himself if this is the Christ of God, His chosen One." They knew that God had a predetermined chosen one. What they probably didn't know was that He was chosen before the foundation of the world to be the sacrifice for sin.
Is it Isaiah 42, I think it's verse 1? "Behold My servant whom I uphold, My chosen One." Isn't it in Acts where Peter says in verse 23 of chapter 2 in the great Pentecost sermon, he says that the people had killed Christ but they had done so by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, all in the plan...all in the plan. Before the foundation of the world, what does that mean? Before creation. So again note what we want you to see. Man's Fall was not a shock, man's Fall was not a surprise, God wasn't caught off guard when Eve sinned and Adam sinned. Why? Because before they had sinned in eternity past, before He had begun the creation, He had planned the redemption.
And He not only chose who would be the redeemer, but He chose who would be the redeemed. Do you remember chapter 1 verse 1, the end of the verse? "Who are chosen." Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. God chose the redeemer before the world began and God chose the redeemed before the world began. At the same time He chose redeemer and redeemed. You say, "When was that?" In eternity. When in eternity? There is no when in eternity. There is no when. You remember Ephesians 1? He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, verse 4, same phrase. He chose us in eternity past just as He chose the redeemer in eternity past. It was an eternal purpose. So the redeemer is precious because He is predestined.
And then we see His preciousness unfold in the second thought that Peter has here, He is incarnated. Look at verse 20 again. He has appeared in these last times. This speaks of His incarnation. This was the historical event. The verb here, phaneroomeans basically to make plain, to make clear, to manifest, to reveal. It's in a form that seems to indicate an historical event, a moment in time and space and history. Chosen in eternity past, revealed in time, Peter says He has literally been made manifest in these last times. And this, I believe, refers to the incarnation, to the virgin birth. It refers to Philippians 2 where it says that Christ Jesus emptied Himself, took the form of a bondservant, being made in the likeness of men being found in appearance as a man, humbled Himself...the incarnation, God becoming man. It's what we read a moment ago in Galatians chapter 4 when the fullness of time came, verse 4, God sent forth His Son born of a woman is coming into the world. The Word, John 1:14, was made...what?...flesh and we beheld his glory. The Word made flesh.
What about the last times? What does that mean? In these last times? I think that's the entire period from the birth of Christ to the Second Coming. The last times are the times of Messiah. We have gone over that many times in our studies of God's Word and we won't take the time to repeat it again. But I believe that the last days began when the Messiah arrived. Certainly this is the tone of Scripture from Acts 2 where Peter quotes out of Joel, "And it shall be in the last days that I will pour forth My Spirit," and describes there at least a portion of the Pentecost experience. It is obvious that the last days had begun.
In 1 Timothy 4:1 the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith. What times are those? Those are the times that we now live in from the first coming of Christ till His Second Coming. The Apostle John says, "My little children, it is the last time," 1 John 2:18. The writer of Hebrews says, "Christ has appeared once in the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." So we are already in the last times, they began when Christ came. And so, predestined and chosen in eternity and revealed in time, He is precious.
Then Peter takes us a step further, if you'll notice, into verse 21. He mentions the resurrection. The third feature he mentions regarding Christ is that God raised Him from the dead. This was a divine affirmation of who He was and of the accomplishment of His work. It validates how precious. How precious is He? So precious He was chosen in eternity past. How precious is He? So precious He was revealed in time and history in order that He might be the precious Lamb. How precious is He? So precious that God raised Him from the dead. Precious because perfect and it was in the perfection of His work and person that He was affirmed and approved by God through the resurrection. Note this that it is repeated over and over in the New Testament that the resurrection of Christ by the Father was the Father's approval of the work of the Son. God raised Him up, it says. It says it also, by the way, in Acts 2:24, "God raised Him up." It says it in Acts 2:32, "This Jesus whom God has raised up." God raised Him up to accredit what He had done. By the way, it says it again in chapter 3 verse 15 and I think over in chapter 4...yes, verse 10, "God raised Him up." Four times in the early chapters of Acts God raised Him up.
Why? To validate His perfection, perfect work, perfect sacrifice and God raised Him up in order that He might be exalted to the right hand of God. Romans 1:4 sums it up. It says, "He was declared to be the Son of God by power by the resurrection from the dead." How precious? So precious He was chosen in eternity past for His perfection. So precious He was revealed in time in order that He might be the only fitting sacrifice. How precious? So precious that He was raised by the Father because of His perfect work and perfect person.
And then the fourth thing Peter says about Him is that God not only raised Him from the dead but verse 21, God gave Him glory. What does that point to? I think His ascension...predestined, incarnated, resurrected, ascended. That's really the chronology of the Lamb, isn't it? Predestined, incarnated, resurrected, ascended...He gave Him glory, He returned Him to the glory that He had with the Father before the world began, to put it in His own words from John 17:4 and 5. To see it in the terms of Philippians again, that marvelous passage, chapter 2 verses 9 to 11, after His humiliation and death it says God also highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name. God lifted Him up. God took Him to glory.
You know it as well as I, if you study the New Testament, that after Jesus Christ had risen from the dead, according to Acts chapter 1, He spent 40 days with His disciples. At the end of that time He ascended into heaven, chapter 1 of Acts beginning in verse 8 running down through verse 11, He was lifted up, carried back to heaven. That was the Father exalting Him, giving Him glory. Hebrews 1:1, God after He spoke long ago to the fathers and the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son whom He appointed heir of all things. And verse 3 says, "When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high. God exalted Him and He was ascended back into the presence of God.
Chapter 2 of Hebrews verse 9 says, "We do see Him who has been made for a little while lower than the angels, namely Jesus, because of the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor." That's His ascension, taken back to glory, the glory which He knew with the Father before the world began. It says in Hebrews 12:2, you remember this? That He is the author and perfecter of faith who for the joy set before Him endured the cross despising the shame and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. How precious is the Lamb? Oh so precious...predestined, incarnated, resurrected and ascended. Why? For our redemption...for our redemption. Do you remember the song "Precious Lamb of glory, love's most wondrous story, heart of God's redemption of man, worship the Lamb of glory?"
I was reading this week something that just really grieved my heart in the context of this passage. It was in some Roman Catholic literature. There was a quote from Pope Benedict XV who was Pope in the year 1918. This is what he wrote, "Mary suffered with Christ and nearly died with Him when He died, thus she may rightly be said to have redeemed the human race along with Christ." And then there was Pope Pius XI in 1923 who wrote, "The Virgin of Sorrows shared the work of redemption with Jesus Christ." And then there was Pope Leo XIII way back at the end of the nineteenth century, 1891 who said, "No one can approach Christ except through His Mother." The catechism in a Catholic book called "The Sunday Missal" says, "My salvation depends upon Mary's meditation in union with Christ because of her exalted position as mediatrix of all grace." And Vatican II Council used the title and said, "Mary's...quote...`intercession' continues to win for us gifts of eternal salvation."
Is that true? How many redeemers do we need? We have enough in the precious blood of Christ. Amen?
The last question, from what were we redeemed? Sin. By what were we redeemed? Death. Through whom were we redeemed? Christ. For what were we redeemed? Why were we redeemed? What were we redeemed for? That's the fourth question. Are you ready for this? Look at verse 20, would you notice the end of the verse that the blood of Christ as the precious Lamb was foreknown before the foundation of the world and has appeared in these last times for the sake of...whom?...you, for your sake. So this redemptive work was for us. That's right. For the sake of you who through Him are believers in God. What a tremendously profound theological statement that is. Through Him, that is through Christ, we have become believers in God.
So the first thing I want you to notice as we answer the last question is that it is clear that the work of redemption is for us. He did it for us. That's what it says...for the sake of you...for you, that He was rich, 2 Corinthians 8:9, but for...what?...your sakes He became...what?...poor that you through His poverty might be made rich. It's for you that He did this.
The second thing that I want you to notice is that this work is appropriated by faith. It says, "For the sake of you who through Him are believers in God." I like the note there that it's not believers in Christ only but believers in God through Christ. This emphasizes not only faith but it emphasizes, I think, the source of faith, Christ Himself. Not only did He provide the redemption but I believe He provides the grace that grants the faith. So the first thing to note is that redemption is for us. Secondly it is appropriated by faith. It comes to those who are believers in God. With all that is implied there, don't strip that phrase naked of all of its other biblical significance. Don't come up with something as simple as "Well I believe in God," that's not its intent. In the term "Believers in God" is all that is inherent in saving faith.
And what is the purpose? That's the third thing I want you to note and really answers the question. Redemption is for us, it is for us who are believers in God by the grace of Christ. The end of verse 21, "So that your faith and hope are in God." Oh what a great statement...what a great statement. Redemption is for us, redemption is through Christ, applied to us, received by faith so that we become believers in God. And what for? What were we redeemed for? So that your faith and hope are in God.
Beloved, if you've been with us through this whole series, that takes us all the way back to where we started in verse 13. And we won't take the time to do that but the reason we've been redeemed is to give us a relationship to the living God...now listen...in which we can trust Him in the present--faith, and trust Him for the future...what's that?...hope. We have been redeemed in order that we might have a living vital confidence in God in the present--faith, and in the future--hope. That's God's provision. Literally the Greek says "So that your faith and hope are into God...into God." Deep relationship.
We have been redeemed so that God could give to us a relationship with Himself in which we can trust Him for the present and hope in Him for the future. Look, those are the dimensions of life in which we need confidence...to be able to trust in the present, the circumstances, the vicissitudes, struggles, anxieties of life, and to believe in the future in hope that all is secure and all is well. The past is the past. We can do nothing about that. We live in the present. The only way to live is with confident trust in God. We will live in the future. The only way to look at it is with hope in God.
And as I told you early on in the study, faith and hope are really the same thing. One believes God for now and another believes God for when. And so, what were we redeemed for? That we might enter into a living vital relationship with the true God in which we can trust in Him in the present and hope for His glorious promise in the future that we might live in faith and hope.
That's how a Christian is supposed to live, looking to the future. Not citizens of this world but looking to that One which is to come. Do you remember Psalm 49:15? "But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol, for He will receive me." That's hope...that's hope. I may go into Sheol, the grave, but God will bring me right back up and receive me. We have that hope and we have that faith, we have that confidence. Romans 8:23 says we have redemption of the soul now already as we've seen through the book of Romans, but Romans 8:23 says that we are waiting the redemption of...what?...the body. That's our hope. We trust God in the present that...to enjoy the redemption of the soul. We believe God in hope in the future to experience the redemption of the body. So we are redeemed.
What is the setting here? Why is he discussing this? It's motivation. You remember three key words we gave you when we started in verse 13...hope, holiness and honor? He called us to hope in God very clearly back in verse 13, to fix your hope. Then he called us to holiness, verse 15. And then he called us to honoring God when he said, "Conduct yourselves in fear. And he said the motive for hope and the motive for holiness and the motive for honoring God is all that He has done for you and then he unfolded this tremendous text on redemption. Can we accept such a gift of redemption and not give back to God that which He asks...hope, holiness and honor? If we have been bought with such a high price, can we not faithfully serve the One who purchased us from sin?
And so, Peter lays it again at our feet. God wants you to live in hope. God wants you to live in holiness. God wants you to conduct yourselves in reverential awe and fear and honor to His name. And the motive for doing that is to understand what He has done for you in providing redemption. Let's bow together in prayer.
Father, so much more that could be said and should be said. Feeble lips are not adequate to express the great truths of redemption. Lord God, how thankful we are that You have redeemed us and that You have unfolded for us this majestic plan and it is ours even though we don't fully understand it and it is ours even though we cannot fully thank You for it. And we feel so inadequate to express our gratitude so inadequate, even to grasp the full understanding and yet, Lord, as much as we do understand overwhelms us. Thank You, dear God, for redeeming us. Thank You for the plan to send the perfect Lamb, predestined, incarnated, resurrected and ascended. And, Lord, we thank You that through Jesus Christ we have been made Your people, Your church, Your redeemed. And, Lord, we desire that we might live as redeemed that we might live as those who have been freed from sin. We thank You in Christ's name. Amen.