… to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
we send dogs to obedience school. We think of obedience as a negative thing. Wives have successfully removed ‘to love and obey’ from the wedding vows. We bow the knee to no-one. In our approach to God, we no longer really obey, we acquiesce or we agree. We look to God in sermons or Bible reading to see if he has any good ideas that we haven’t thought of yet. When those ideas are fresh, original, and palatable we will adopt them. However, this is not fully compatible with what it means to obey in faith. Our relationship with Jesus has too inflated a view of self. Our humanism has made us the ultimate judge of all things. We have diminished trust. We have diminished faith.
The biblical view is firmly rooted in the holiness of God. God is completely worthy of all trust and obedience. He is not like your fallible father or mother. He is not trying to get one over on you. God is eternally good and eternally wise. His will is not easily understood and if we want to know what the end of the road is before we agree to travel it, we will not be obedient. We must relinquish control. We must acknowledge our finite perspectives. We must, just as faithful Christians have through the ages, submit ourselves to a transcendent God without knowing how things will turn out.
A dog who has been through training school looks to his master with complete trust. They have a positive view of their master and will even sacrifice themselves for their master. This is right because a good human has more capacity for understanding and knowledge than a dog does. God transcends mankind in ways far more humbling than man transcends a dog. We must learn to dismiss our fear, we must sacrifice our precious thoughts and dreams and see if God revives them or builds a life in Christ far more worthy of what it means to truly be human.
Help us to overcome the world’s negative view of obedience. Help us to willingly submit ourselves to your plans and dreams for us which are far higher than the dreams that we have for ourselves. I want to know your will and to live it. My desire for experiencing you has surpassed my desire to protect myself and be in control. At least for today, because I realise its futility and pettiness.
- To whom does the passage say to be obedient?
- How is obedience related to being sprinkled with blood?
- How are grace and peace withheld from those who continue to struggle with realising their identity as obedient Christ followers?
- What is your view of obedience?
- How can you increase your obedience to Jesus?
I, who was sprinkled with His blood, am to be obedient to Jesus Christ. I cannot be obedient to Him without His bloodshed on my behalf – because I would continue to be hopelessly in rebellion against Him.
This blog post has brought much conviction in my own life. This past weekend, I have been stressing and deciding how God’s plan for my life will allow me to have enough money to get through each day. I absolutely dread the idea that the rest of my life will be asking people to financially support me. It’s interesting how I would rather find peace from a stable income from a regular job than through being obedient to Christ and proclaiming His name to the nations. I am reminded in this moment that my identity is being obedient to Him, and I am not given the opportunity to see the whole road ahead of me. I must trust Him as my loving Master who knows what I need and whose plans exceed my own.
We are chosen to the end that we would obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood. This is interesting. If I were reading this letter for the first time, I wouldn’t expect “and be sprinkled with His blood” to be so important that it is linked with fulfilling the purpose for which God has chosen us! But then perhaps this illustrates how little I value Jesus’ atoning death, which is what “and be sprinkled with His blood” is pointing to. This begs the question in my mind, why would Peter mention obedience to Christ first before being “sprinkled with His blood”? Is he saying we’ve been chosen both to live in service to Jesus the Messiah and to continually rely on what He’s done for us- in dying, cancelling out our past, present and future sins?
I believe in the Hebrew context when something was sprinkled with blood it was deemed to have been “made holy.” Perhaps what this part of the verse is saying is that we’ve been chosen for holiness- which is obedience to Jesus the Messiah and is only possible through being cleansed by the blood of Jesus the Messiah. It would be ridiculous to try and obey Jesus, while at the same time, refuse to receive what He’s done for us as sufficient. How can we dare to believe that our obedience is acceptable worship to Him if it’s not on the basis of the atonement He provided?
In this verse we see obedience and grace side by side in harmony, who would’ve thought?
This morning I spent some time looking at Psalm 2. The basic idea of this Psalm seems to be that “All the rulers of the earth are to submit to and worship the sovereign Messiah.” And of course, although rulers are specifically addressed, ordinary people are not exempt either. Verses 7-9 of this song tell us that God’s Son will rule the whole earth in the future and that He’ll administer justice. This picture of the Messiah being blessed by God as the supreme King is supposed to terrify the rebellious rulers of the earth. The last verse talks about Jesus (the Son) being angry if rulers do not submit to Him and perishing as a result. Jesus’ wrath is described in such a way that it is implied one does not want to consider it as a small matter, nor that Jesus is Someone to dismiss. If the supreme King says “submit,” we should do it and do it right away, instead of testing His patience, insulting Him by showing we either don’t believe He’s truthful or faithful to what He says He’s going to do, and/or that He’s not that important. We often quote the verses on how God is “slow to anger,” but perhaps sometimes we should quote verses that say how “His wrath may soon be kindled” to represent the full picture.
Anyway, I share this because I think it’s interesting to think of this pic of Jesus in light of 1st Peter 1:3. We are called to obey this Jesus. This holy Ruler, who is fierce both in love and wrath, zealous for justice and to honor His Father. And yet we are sprinkled with the blood of this same Jesus. This Jesus who will “rule the nations with a rod of iron” and “shatter His enemies like earthenware.” This same Jesus came as a “suffering servant” and willfully gave up His body to be “shattered” for us. Wow. Now that’s crazy love!
As a Christian I should be obedient to Jesus Christ who is also God and part of the trinity. So, I should be as a Christian obedient to God. I believe sprinkled with blood is a reference to those who trust and believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. This is not for the unsaved. To have a grace and peace, you need to be saved through Jesus Christ. I don’t know about grace being withheld, but peace can definitely flee us when we are not confessing our sin and continuing to go back to our sin and live in disobedience.
Obedience is not just through our actions, but it starts in the heart. I can stay seated when told to, but being standing up in my heart. Obedience starts in the heart and works its way into our actions. To be more obedient to Christ, I can not ignore the Spirits prompting.
Disciples of Christ are to be obedient to Him. It is because we are sprinkled with Jesus’ blood that we are to be obedient to Him. We were brought into the kingdom of God through the redemption of our sins by Jesus’ blood. Being part of this kingdom requires change in allegiance and authority which manifests itself through our actions. To live according to the kingdom of darkness from which we have been rescued is to be torn in two directions. Because we are now God’s, we have His Spirit and a renewed relationship with God. Therefore we are convicted, challenged, and pushed towards Christ’s likeness. When living in disobedience we will often feel an emptiness, anxiety, or a sense of distant ambivalence because our lifestyle is not in step with what the Spirit is sanctifying us towards. To be in healthy relationship with someone requires respecting and loving the other person. This is impossible if one acts in consideration only of himself. We tell God two different things when we sing songs about how we love and worship Him and then live our lives in opposition to Him. Recognizing and embracing our faith as a relationship and not just a system of beliefs is very important for having a felt reason for obedience.
God to see you getting back in the saddle.