Mike McElroy

I’ve been bought and paid for. How about you? All Christians have been ransomed, purchased and redeemed with the blood of Christ. Peter put it like this: “And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear through the time of your exile, knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Peter 1:18-19).

Knowing that we are bought with blood should make a big difference in our lives. Children of the heavenly Father are supposed to live here on earth with a reverent respect for God and life-changing awareness of what he has done for you. As Eugene Peterson put this text in The Message, “Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.”

An old Puritan prayer helped me think about the difference being bought with Christ’s blood should make in our lives. Here’s part of it: “May his shed blood make me more thankful for thy mercies, more humble under thy correction, more zealous in thy service, more watchful against temptation, more contented in my circumstances, more useful to others.” Because we’ve been bought with blood, we should be more. In the six phrases of the prayer, I see three pair for our consideration.

I should be more thankful for God’s mercy and more watchful against temptation when I remember I’m blood-bought. God’s great love that accomplished our salvation could not contradict his perfect justice. Our sin is an offense to his holiness and cannot be ignored. Our redemption is by the blood of Christ, “whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood to be received by faith” (Romans 3:25). The Father sacrificed his Son so he could be both “just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Christ” (Romans 3:26). Grace is free, but not cheap. We received mercy instead of wrath because of the shed blood of Christ. Our cavalier attitude toward temptation and callous indifference to willful sin is an insult to God’s mercy and the blood of Christ.

We should be more humble under God’s correction and more contented in our circumstances when we remember that we’re bought with blood. The same Father’s love that saved us by the blood of his Son would spare us from the disastrous consequences of following our selfish wills. So he revealed his will and called us to conform. When corrective discipline is necessary to mold us, we should humbly accept it, “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives” (Hebrews 12:8). If we think God has neglected to give us something we need, let’s remember: “He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). God has already proved that he is not stingy. When loving discipline is necessary, a little child sometimes accuses Mommy or Daddy, saying, “You’re mean!” I hope we are more mature than that when we’re disciplined and gifted by the same Father’s hand that redeemed us with the blood of Christ.

And remembering the blood of Christ should make us more zealous in God’s service and more useful to others. Awareness of grace makes us “zealous for good works” (Titus 2:14). When we realize that “one died for all.” we who live should “no longer live for themselves, but for him who for their sake died and was raised” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15). Christ shed his blood in the ultimate example of self-denial. His example gives us holy incentive to serve one another and share the gospel with others.

How will a greater awareness and deeper appreciation for the blood affect you today? In what ways will the blood of Jesus Christ make you more?