A Gospel Hermeneutic and the New Inheritance

1 Peter 1:18-19

“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.”

On our way to becoming gospel scholars, we have heard over and over some of the key doctrines entailed in the gospel:

1) The gospel is for cultural renewal in Christ

2) We are totally unmerited beneficiaries of the gospel

3) Jesus’ (once for all) death is effective for every sin you ever have, are, or will commit

Now, we get a hermeneutic (framework of interpretation) for reading the Old Testament in light of the gospel.   The apostle Peter gives a blatant allusion to the passover lamb.  What happened in Exodus  12 is that the nation of Israel was enslaved under Egypt. God raised up Moses to lead the exodus of Israel out of Egyptian custody.  Then we have the 10 plagues, the tenth of which required a “lamb…without blemish” to be killed and its blood painted on the doors of the Israelites so that God would not kill them.  In effect, the blood of these lambs protected the Israelites from the wrath of God which was laying it out on all of the Egyptian firstborn sons.  The lambs died so that the Israelites wouldn’t. Here we have what theologians refer to as a substitutionary sacrifice.  This then becomes a regular custom for the Israelites.  In commemoration of that day when God “passed over” the houses painted with blood of spotless lambs, the Jews would hold a feast of lamb and unleavened bread.  Not only that, but sacrificing animals to appease God’s wrath became a regular thing for the Jews.  In this way, the blood of Jesus is “like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”  Instead of the blood of lambs, Christians are now protected and forgiven by the blood of Jesus.  When one reads about the Old Testament sacrifices in light of this gospel hermeneutic, it makes a lot more sense.

In addition to seeing the gospel in the Old Testament, Peter says you were ransomed (the blood of Jesus for your freedom from captivity to sin) “from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers”.  I think that this is particularly good news to you with family baggage.  Popular statistics would have you believe that if your parents were divorced then you are at higher risk, or since you were exposed to pornography at a young age then you are hopelessly addicted.  Scripture acknowledges that “futile ways” are indeed inherited; but, in Christ they are not applicable.   At least they don’t have to be.  When Jesus saves you, you are adopted into the family of the triune God.  This means that the ways you now inherit are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, [and] self-control” (Gal. 5:22-23).  That be good news.

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