In I Peter 1:18, we read: ''Foreasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.''
Peter was an old man when he wrote those words. I suppose the blood of Jesus grew more precious to him as the years went by.
Now, why is it precious? First, because it redeems us. Not only from the hands of the devil, but from the hands of the law. It redeems me from the curse of the law; it brings me out from under the law. The law condemns me, but Christ has satisfied the claims of the law. He tasted death for every man, and He has made it possible for every man to be saved. Paul says, God gave Him up freely for us all, and what we want to do is to take Him.
Silver and gold could not redeem our souls. Our life had been forfeited. Death had come into the world by sin, and nothing but blood could atone for the soul. If gold and silver could have redeemed us, do you not think that God would have created millions of worlds full of gold? It would have been an easy matter for Him. But we are not redeemed by such corruptible things, but by the precious blood of Christ. Redemption means ''buying back''; we had sold ourselves for naught, and Christ redeemed us and bought us back.
A friend in Ireland once met a little Irish boy who had caught a sparrow. The poor little bird was trembling in his hand, and seemed very anxious to escape. The gentleman begged the boy to let it go, as the bird could not do him any good; but the boy said he would not, for he had chased it three hours before he could catch it. He tried to reason it out with the boy, but in vain. At last he offered to buy the bird. The boy agreed to the price, and it was paid. Then the gentleman took the poor little thing, and held it out in his hand. The boy had been holding it very fast, for the boy was stronger than the bird, just as Satan is stronger than we; and there it sat for a time scarcely able to realize the fact that it had got liberty; but in a little while it flew away chirping, as if to say to the gentleman: ''Thank you! thank you! you have redeemed me.''
This is what redemption is — buying back and setting free. Christ came to break the fetters of sin, to open the prison doors and set the sinner free.
IT BLOTS OUT SIN
It is precious, because it blots out sin. Thank God for that! You see a cloud, and it is gone soon into vapor and disappears; can it ever be found in the history of the world? Never. There may be other clouds, but that cloud will never appear again. A child writes on his slate, and then rubs the writing out. Where is it gone? It cannot be found. Can any of your modern philosophers find it? And so does the blood of Jesus Christ blot out sin. There was a woman in Ireland they were telling about when I was over there, that had a little class in school; and she asked if there was anything that God couldn't do. And one little child said, ''Yes, He can't see my sins through the blood of Jesus Christ.'' That is what He cannot do. The blood just blots out.
I believe that when we get to heaven we will find men whom we have known to be thieves and drunkards and murderers, men as black and vile as any men that ever trod this earth, as pure as the Son of God, because the blood of Jesus Christ has made them clean. And so any man or woman in this wide world who is steeped in the blackest kind of sin, can be as white as a lily by the blood of Jesus Christ.
IT BRINGS US NIGH
Another thing: the blood brings us nigh.
''But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ'' (Eph. 2:13).
It not only brings us near to God, but brings us near to one another. I can go to any community where I am an entire stranger, and preach this doctrine of atonement, and get better acquainted in twenty-four hours than I could if I talked about Socrates and Plato for twenty-four years. The blood brings us nigh; we realize that we are ''blood relatives''. The tie is stronger than any natural tie. If a church got divided and I wanted to bring them together, what I would do is to preach Christ. Hold up the cross, and you will get the true believers around it in a little while; but go to preaching science and botany and astronomy and metaphysics, and you will get them all quarreling. The cross is the drawing power. The cross is the center. Bring people nigh to it and you bring them nigh to each other.
Let some one die, and see how quickly the family will come together. So we gather around the cross where Christ died for me and for you. That brings us nigh; I am a blood relative of yours.
IT MAKES PEACE
The blood is precious because it makes peace. ''Having made peace through the blood of the cross'' (Col. 1:20).
You can look for peace the world over, and you will never find it until you get to the cross. You haven't got to make it; it is already made. Did you ever think, when Christ died He made out His will? Perhaps you thought you had never been mentioned in any will. Well, you have, if you are a child of God. When Christ was on the cross, He made out His will. He willed His spirit back to His Father; He willed His body to Joseph of Arimathea; He willed His mother to John the son of Zebedee ; and then to His disciples He said, Peace I leave with you; My peace I give unto you.'' Joy and peace were His legacies. Pretty good legacies, weren't they? You can have them if you will.
They say now-a-days that they can't make a will that is so sure that some keen lawyer can't smash it all to pieces; but I challenge any man to break Christ's will. He rose to execute His own will. Neither man or devil can break it. He made peace by His blood on the cross.
I want to say very emphatically that I do not believe there is a man or woman on this earth who knows what peace of conscience and peace of mind and peace of soul are who doesn't know the doctrine of the atonement. I do not believe there is a spot where peace can be found except under the shadow of the cross. The billows may come surging and rolling up against us, but if we find refuge and shelter under the cross of Jesus Christ we have peace.
Do you want peace? Is your soul tossed on the waves of trouble and sorrow and persecution? If you do, my friends, just get hold of this doctrine.
During the last days of the civil war, when many men were deserting from the South, Secretary Stanton sent out a notice from the War Department that no more refugees be taken into the Union army. A Southern soldier hadn't seen that, and he came into the Union lines and they read the order to him. He didn't know what to do. If he went back into the Southern army he would be shot as a deserter, and the Northern army wouldn't have him. So he went into the woods between the armies and stayed until he got starved out. He saw an officer going by, and he rushed out of the woods and told this officer that if he didn't help him he would have to take his life. The officer asked what was the trouble. He told him. The officer said:
''Haven't you heard the news?''
''Why, the war is over. Lee has surrendered. Peace is declared. Go to the first town, and get all the food you want.''
The man waved his hat and went to the town as quick as he could.
I want to say that peace is declared, the war is over. Be ye reconciled to God, and the whole thing is settled. The trouble is on your side. The blood is on the mercy seat, and as long as it is there the vilest sinner can enter and be saved for time and eternity.
It is precious, because it justifies me. ''Being now justified by His blood we shall be saved from wrath through Him'' (Rom. 5:9).
I haven't been able to climb up to the height of that word ''justified''. Do you know what it means? It is better than pardon. Justification means that there isn't a charge against you. Your sins are completely wiped out; they are not to be remembered; they are not to be mentioned. Think of it! God says He puts them out of His memory. In other words, I have been running up an account down at the grocery store for some years, and I haven't any money to pay. I go down there and the storekeeper says:
''Mr. Moody, I have good news for you. A friend of yours came here today and paid the whole bill; it is all settled.''
That is justification.'' Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? God that justifieth?'' He won't do it; He would be a strange judge if He justified a man and then brought a charge against him.'' Who is he that condemneth? Christ that died, yea, rather that is risen again?'' Thank God for the precious blood which justifies me. No wonder when that truth dawned on Martin Luther, he rose and shook all Europe.
It is precious because it cleanses me.''If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin ''(1 John 1:7).
The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin. Think of it. Not a part of our sin, but ALL. We Christians ought to be the happiest people in the world.
IT GIVES BOLDNESS
And it is precious because it is going to give me boldness in the day of judgment. Isn't that good?
Do you know I pity these people who live all their life-time under the bondage of death. If I am behind the blood of the Son of God, judgment is already passed; it is behind me; it is not before me. Know ye not that ye shall judge the world? People live in constant dread of the great white throne judgment. When that comes, I am going to be with Christ on the throne, I am not going to be judged! That day is passed to the true child of God. ''He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities,'' and is God going to demand payment twice? I am going to have boldness in the day of judgment.
There is a story of a man who was going to be tried for his life, and if found guilty there was no hope for him unless the king would intercede. They went to the king, and he finally consented to give a pardon, but he said:
''Let it be secret, and if the man isn't condemned, do not say anything about it'; if he is condemned, he can use the pardon.''
The man went into court with the pardon in his pocket, and he was quite cheerful about his trial. It went against him, and then the judge pronounced the sentence upon him, he took pains to say that he and the whole court were shocked to think that a man could be on trial for his life and be so unconcerned.
When the judge got through, the man stepped up and laid the king's pardon on the judge's desk, and walked out bold as a lion.
You have a charge against me. What do I care? God has justified me. He comes and says, ''Moody, you are a saved man." Yes, saved by grace, saved for time and for eternity.