1 Peter 1:19
But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(19) With the precious blood of Christ.—“Precious” means, not “much prized by us,” but costly, precious in itself; opposed to the perishableness of gold and silver. Notice that it is not “Jesus,” but “Christ,” i.e., the Messiah. No price short of the “blood,” i.e., the death, of the Messiah could free the Jews from the thraldom of their “vain conversation.” (Comp. 1Peter 1:2 and Note.) How Christ’s death freed them from it is not explained here; but we may give a twofold explanation, as we did of His resurrection being our regeneration, in 1Peter 1:3. Historically it did so, because when they came to realise that their Messiah could only reach His glories through suffering it gave them a new insight into the whole meaning of the system under which they had been brought up. It did also, however, doubtless, in a more mysterious way, such as we cannot imagine, procure in God’s sight their emancipation; and the following verses show that again St. Peter is thinking more of the theological than of the phenomenal side of the occurrence.

As of a lamb without blemish and without spot.—We might roughly paraphrase it by, “as of a sacrificial victim, to the sufficiency of whose offering no exception can be taken.” The word “as” shows that in St. Peter’s mind the notion of a “sacrifice,” in reference to the atonement, was only a simile, or metaphor, just as it was with the notion of “ransom.” Once more observe that the sacrifice was offered to effect a redemption which for the readers had already taken place. (Comp. Hebrews 9:14.) The primary thought in mentioning a “lamb” is, of course, that of sacrifice; but when we come to consider why that particular sacrificial animal was named rather than another, it is, no doubt, for two reasons. First, because of the whiteness, the helplessness, the youth, the innocence, and patience, which make it a natural symbol of our Lord. (Comp. Ecce Homo, p. 6, ed. 3.) The second reason is to be found in St. Peter’s own life. The first thing that we know in his history was a putting together of those two words—Messiah, and the Lamb (John 1:36; John 1:40-41). Neither he nor St. John (see Revelation 5:6, et al.) ever forgot that cry of the Baptist. They, no doubt, understood that cry to refer, not primarily to the Paschal, or any other sacrifice, but to Isaiah 53:7, and perhaps to Genesis 22:8. A word in the next verse will make it clearer that St. Peter really had the Baptist consciously before his mind when he thus wrote.

1:17-25 Holy confidence in God as a Father, and awful fear of him as a Judge, agree together; and to regard God always as a Judge, makes him dear to us as a Father. If believers do evil, God will visit them with corrections. Then, let Christians not doubt God's faithfulness to his promises, nor give way to enslaving dread of his wrath, but let them reverence his holiness. The fearless professor is defenceless, and Satan takes him captive at his will; the desponding professor has no heart to avail himself of his advantages, and is easily brought to surrender. The price paid for man's redemption was the precious blood of Christ. Not only openly wicked, but unprofitable conversation is highly dangerous, though it may plead custom. It is folly to resolve, I will live and die in such a way, because my forefathers did so. God had purposes of special favour toward his people, long before he made manifest such grace unto them. But the clearness of light, the supports of faith, the power of ordinances, are all much greater since Christ came upon earth, than they were before. The comfort is, that being by faith made one with Christ, his present glory is an assurance that where he is we shall be also, Joh 14:3. The soul must be purified, before it can give up its own desires and indulgences. And the word of God planted in the heart by the Holy Ghost, is a means of spiritual life, stirring up to our duty, working a total change in the dispositions and affections of the soul, till it brings to eternal life. In contrast with the excellence of the renewed spiritual man, as born again, observe the vanity of the natural man. In his life, and in his fall, he is like grass, the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. We should hear, and thus receive and love, the holy, living word, and rather hazard all than lose it; and we must banish all other things from the place due to it. We should lodge it in our hearts as our only treasures here, and the certain pledge of the treasure of glory laid up for believers in heaven.But with the precious blood of Christ - On the use of the word blood, and the reason why the efficacy of the atonement is said to be in the blood, see the notes at Romans 3:25. The word "precious" (τίμιος timios) is a word which would be applied to that which is worth much; which is costly. Compare for the use of the noun (τιμή timē) in this sense, Matthew 27:6, "The price of blood;" Acts 4:34; Acts 5:2-3; Acts 7:16. See also for the use of the adjective, (τίμιος timios,) Revelation 17:4, "gold and precious stones" Revelation 18:12, "vessels of most precious wood." Revelation 21:11, "a stone most precious." The meaning here is, that the blood of Christ had a value above silver and gold; it was worth more, to wit:

(1) in itself - being a more valuable thing - and,

(2) in effecting our redemption. It accomplished what silver and gold could not do. The universe had nothing more valuable to offer, of which we can conceive, than the blood of the Son of God.

As of a lamb - That is, of Christ regarded as a lamb offered for sacrifice. See the notes at John 1:29.

Without blemish and without spot - Such a lamb only was allowed to be offered in sacrifice, Leviticus 22:20-24; Malachi 1:8. This was required:

(1) because it was proper that man should offer that which was regarded as perfect in its kind; and,

(2) because only that would be a proper symbol of the great sacrifice which was to be made by the Son of God. The idea was thus kept up from age to age that he, of whom all these victims were the emblems, would be perfectly pure.

19. precious—of inestimable value. The Greek order is, "With precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish (in itself) and without spot (contracted by contact with others), (even the blood) of Christ." Though very man, He remained pure in Himself ("without blemish"), and uninfected by any impression of sin from without ("without spot"), which would have unfitted Him for being our atoning Redeemer: so the passover lamb, and every sacrificial victim; so too, the Church, the Bride, by her union with Him. As Israel's redemption from Egypt required the blood of the paschal lamb, so our redemption from sin and the curse required the blood of Christ; "foreordained" (1Pe 1:20) from eternity, as the passover lamb was taken up on the tenth day of the month. Precious; because the blood not only of an innocent person, but of the Son of God, Acts 20:28.

As of a lamb; i.e. who was a Lamb.

A lamb; the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world, John 1:29: not only like a lamb, for his innocence and gentleness, Isaiah 53:7, but the Antitype of the lambs which under the law were offered in the daily sacrifices, and more especially of the paschal lamb; whatever was shadowed out in that, and those other sacrifices, having its accomplishment in Christ.

Without blemish; without fault, without defect, in which nothing was wanting that was requisite to its perfection; or, in which nothing could be blamed. The Greek word seems to be derived from the Hebrew Mum, so often used for a blemish; see Leviticus 24:19,20.

And without spot; without any other deformity. The lamb might have no defect, but yet might have some spot; and it was to be perfect, Exodus 12:5, which implied its having neither the one nor the other. Christ was such a Lamb, perfect in holiness, and free from all sin, John 8:29,46 Heb 7:26 1 Peter 2:22. But with the precious blood of Christ,.... Christ was prophesied of as a Redeemer under the Old Testament, Isaiah 59:20 and the Jews frequently ascribe redemption to the word of the Lord God (f); and which the apostle here attributes to the blood of Christ; whose blood is the same with ours, only not tainted with sin; the blood of an innocent person, and of one who is God, as well as man, and was freely shed in the room and stead of his people, and so a sufficient price for their redemption: and it may truly be said to be "precious": as it is to God, to whom it is a sweet smelling sacrifice, and with which he is well pleased; not that he takes delight in the mere effusion of his blood, but as this is the ransom price, and the atonement of his chosen ones; and so it is to all them that believe, since by it they are justified; through it they have the forgiveness of their sins; their peace and reconciliation with God is made by it; and by it they are sanctified, and have boldness to enter into the holiest of all: and this blood of Christ, by which they are redeemed,

is of a lamb without spot and blemish; Christ is comparable to any lamb, for the innocence of his nature, the meekness of his disposition and deportment, and for his patience under sufferings and in death; and to the lambs of the daily sacrifice, which were typical of the continual and constant virtue and efficacy of his sacrifice to take away sin; and particularly to the paschal lamb, he being the true passover sacrificed for us; and which, as also the lambs of the daily sacrifice, and all others, were to be without spot and blemish: and in which they prefigured Christ, who is without the stain of original, and the spot and blemish of actual sin; and so was a very fit person to be a sacrifice for sin, and a Redeemer of his people. The Jews have a notion, that the redemption of the Israelites out of Egypt, when a lamb without blemish was taken, and sacrificed and eaten, had a respect to the future redemption by the Messiah; and which, they say (g), was to be in the same time of the year; that as they were redeemed in Nisan, the month in which the passover was kept, so they were to be redeemed in the same month: and indeed at that time, and in that month, was redemption obtained by the blood of Christ. Of the former, the Targumist in Hosea 3:2 says,

"I have redeemed them by my word, on the fifteenth day of the month Nisan, and have given silver shekels, the atonement of their souls.

It is observable that the Hebrew word signifies both "blood" and "money", or price; whether some reference may not be had to this here, since both are included here, may be considered,

(f) Targum in Hos. i. 7. & iii. 2. & in Joel ii. 17. (g) Zohar in Numb. fol. 102. 3.

But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1 Peter 1:19. ἀλλὰ τιμίῳ αἵματι] τιμίῳ forms the antithesis to φθαρτοῖς, in so far as the perishable is destitute of true worth.

αἵματι] refers not only to the death, but to the bloody death of Christ; cf. Hebrews 9:22.

ὡςἀμνοῦ ἀμώμου καὶ ἀσπίλου Χριστοῦ] ὡςἀσπίλου is in antecedent apposition to Χριστοῦ (Wiesinger, de Wette-Brückner), as in chap. 1 Peter 2:7, where likewise ὡς ἀσθενεστέρῳ σκεύει is in similar apposition to τῷ γυναικείῳ (sc. σκεύει). It is incorrect to supply, with Steiger, Schott, and others, “αἵματι” before ἀμνοῦ, taking Χριστοῦ either as an explanatory adjunct (Steiger), or connecting it directly with αἵματι (Schott, Hofmann).

ὡς] is also here not merely comparative, as, among others, Schott and Hofmann hold, maintaining that “by ἀμνοῦ only an actual lamb is meant,” but it emphasizes that Christ is a blameless and spotless lamb (Gerhard, de Wette-Brückner).[91]

ἈΜΝΌς is, as Brückner also assumes, to be understood of a sacrificial lamb. This is clear both from the connection—since the ransom by the αἷμα of Christ (Leviticus 17:11) is here in question—and from the attributes ἌΜΩΜΟς and ἌΣΠΙΛΟς, of which the former is used in the O. T. expressly to denote the faultlessness of animals taken for sacrifice (תָּמִים, LXX.: ἌΜΩΜΟς),—to this class lambs also belonged. The precise designation: a lamb, was probably suggested to Peter by Isaiah 53:7 (cf. chap. 1 Peter 2:22 ff.); from this it must not, however, be inferred, with Weiss (p. 227 ff.) and Schott, that there is nowhere here any reference to the idea of sacrifice. For although the passage in Isaiah compares the servant of God to a lamb simply on account of the patience he exhibited in the midst of his sufferings, still it is based so wholly on the idea of sacrifice, and the sufferings of Christ are so expressly presented as propitiatory, that it is easily explainable how, with this passage applied to Him, Christ could have been thought of precisely as a sacrificial lamb. Doubtless it is not Peter’s intention to give special prominence to the fact that Christ is the sacrificial lamb designated by Isaiah’s prophecy; for in that case the definite article would not have been wanting (cf. John 1:29, and Meyer in loc.); but alluding to the above passage, Peter styles Him generally a lamb,—which, however, he conceives as a sacrificial lamb. There is no direct allusion (Wiesinger) here to the paschal lamb (de Wette-Brückner, Schott); the want of the article forbids it. Hofmann, though he has justly recognised this, still firmly holds by the reference to the paschal lamb;—only in thus far, however, that he terms the slaying of it “the occurrence” which “was here present to the apostle’s mind.”[92] But the fact that the blood of this lamb did not serve to ransom Israel out of Egypt, but to preserve them from the destroying angel, is opposed to any such allusion. Further, it must not be left unnoticed that in the N. T. the paschal lamb is always styled ΤῸ ΠΆΣΧΑ; and in the passage treating of it in Exodus 12 in the LXX., the expression ΠΡΌΒΑΤΟΝ only, and never ἈΜΝΌς, is employed.

The adjunct: ὩςἈΣΠΊΛΟΥ, serves to specify particularly the blood of Christ as sacrificial, and not merely to give a nearer definition of its preciousness (the τίμιον), inasmuch as, “according to Petrine conceptions, it is precisely the innocence (denoted here by the two attributes) and the patience (conveyed by ἀμνός) which give to the suffering its ΤΙΜΉ” (as opposed to Weiss, p. 281 f.). The preciousness of the blood lies in this, that it is the blood of Christ; its redemptive power in this, that He shed it as a sacrificial lamb without blemish and fault.[93]

With ἄμωμος, cf. in addition to Leviticus 22:18 ff., especially Hebrews 9:14.

ἄσπιλος] is not to be found in the LXX. and in the N. T. only metaphorically; the two expressions here conjoined are a reproduction of the חָּמִים כָּל־מוּם לֹא יִהְיֶה־בּוֹ, Leviticus 22:18 ff. (Wiesinger). All the commentators construe Χριστοῦ with what precedes, Hofmann only excepted, who separates it therefrom, and connects it with what follows, taking Χριστοῦ προεγνωσμένου κ.τ.λ. as an absolute genitive (i.e. “in that … Christ … was foreordained,” etc.). But this construction does not specify by whose blood the redemption was accomplished, nor does it give a clear logical connection between the thought of the participial and that of the principal clause.

[91] If ὡς be taken as instituting a comparison, there then arises the singular thought, that the blood of Christ is as precious as that of a lamb without blemish. Hofmann, indeed, avoids this conclusion by supplying to ὡς not τιμίῳ αἵματι, but αἵματι only, and observes that the shedding of blood alone (not the shedding of precious blood) is compared to the slaying of a spotless lamb; but there is not the slightest justification for thus separating τιμίῳ from αἵματι. The apostle would in some way hare indicated it by prefixing at least a simple αἵματι to ἀμνοῦ.

[92] Hofmann says: “The meaning is not, that the same was done to Christ as to the paschal lamb, but the recollection of the paschal lamb explains only how Peter came to compare the shedding of Christ’s blood with the shedding of the blood of a spotless lamb.”—As to whether the paschal lamb should be considered as a sacrificial lamb (Keil on Genesis 12.) or not, is a matter of dispute, which cannot be decided here.

[93] Schott, in opposition to this, asserts: “this blood can redeem because it is that of the divine Mediator (Χριστός), but it is valuable in that it is the blood of an innocent Saint.” This is, however, erroneous, since this blood has power to redeem only, because Christ shed it as a sacrifice for propitiation. But it is not clear why this blood should not even have its full worth from the fact that it is the blood of the Mediator.

REMARK.

It must be observed that whilst the power of propitiation, i.e. of blotting out sin, is attributed to the blood of the sacrifice, Leviticus 16:11, the blood of Christ is here specified as the means by which we are redeemed from the ματαία ἀναστροφή. From this it must not be concluded, with Weiss (p. 279), that the blood of Christ is not regarded here as the blood of offering, inasmuch “as the sacrifice can have an expiatory, but not a redemptory worth;”—for the two are in no way opposed to each other. The expiation is nothing different from the redemption, i.e. ransom from the guilt by the blood freely shed. The redemption, however, which is here spoken of, though doubtless not identical with expiation, is yet a necessary condition of it,—a circumstance which Pfleiderer also fails to observe, when he says that the passage has reference only “to the putting away of a life of sin, to moral improvement, not to expiation of the guilt of sin.”1 Peter 1:19. The blood of Christ, the true paschal lamb, was the (means or) agent of your redemption. The type contemplated is composite; the lamb is the yearling sheep (שה πρόβατον, but Targum-Onkelos has אמר lamb and שה is rendered ἀμνός in Leviticus 12:8; Numbers 15:11; Deuteronomy 14:4) prescribed for the Passover (Exodus 12:5). But the description perfect (τέλειον תמים) is glossed by ἀμώμου (cf. Hebrews 12:14), which is the common translation of תמים in this connection, and ἀσπίλου which summarises the description of sacrificial victims generally (v. Leviticus 22:22, etc.). ἀμωμος would be unintelligible to the Gentile, because it has acquired a peculiar meaning from the Hebrew מום blemish. ἄσπιλος is used by Symmachus in Job 15:15, for זכך. Hesychius treats ἄσπιλος. ἄμωμος and καθαρός as synonyms.—τιμίῳ is set over against φθαρτοῖς as πολυτιμ. against ἀπολλυμένου; cf. Psalm 116:15, τίμιος ἐναντίον Κυρίου ὁ θάνατος τῶν ὁσίων and λίθοςἔντιμον (1 Peter 2:4).19. but with the precious blood of Christ] The order of the Greek, and the absence of the article before “blood,” somewhat modify the meaning. Better, with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, [even that] of Christ. That blood, the life which it represented, poured out upon the cross, took its place among the things that were not corruptible, and is contrasted accordingly with the “silver” and the “gold.” With the exception of the substitution of the “blood which is the life” for the life itself, the thought is identical with that of the two passages (Matthew 20:28, Mark 10:45) already referred to. The minds of the disciples had been directed to the “blood” thus understood, as connected with remission of sins, in what we know as the words of institution at the Last Supper (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20). In the blood being that of a “lamb,” we trace the impression made on the mind of the Apostle by the words which the Baptist had spoken in the hearing of St John (John 1:29), and which are reproduced with so much vividness in the Apocalypse (Revelation 5:6; Revelation 5:12). The question meets us, and is not easy to answer, To what special sacrifice ordained in the law of Moses do they refer? The epithet “without blemish” seems to point to the Paschal lamb (Exodus 12:5), but neither of the adjectives which St Peter uses is found in the LXX. version in connexion with the Passover. As connected with the deliverance of Israel both from the angel of death and from their bondage in Egypt, the blood so shed might well come to be thought of as the instrument of redemption. Had a lamb been sacrificed on the day of Atonement, that would have seemed the natural type of the death of Christ, but there the victim was a goat (Leviticus 16:7); the daily morning and evening sacrifice of a lamb (Exodus 29:38) fails as being unconnected with any special act of redeeming love. On the whole, perhaps, it is best to think of the comparison, suggested originally by the Baptist’s words, as pointing to the fact that whatever typical significance had attached to the lamb in any part of the complex ritual of the law had now been realised in Christ.1 Peter 1:19. Τιμίῳ, precious) The blood of Christ is incorruptible, 1 Peter 1:18.—ὡς, as) This explains the reason[11] for his use of the word precious.—ἀμώμου, without blemish) Jesus Christ had in Himself (ἀμώμου) no taint of evil.—ἀσπίλου, without spot) Nor did He contract any stain from without (ἀσπίλου).

[11] This is an instance of the figure Ætiologia, which is used to express the reason why we make use of any particular proposition or assertion.Verse 19. - But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot; rather, as in the Revised Version, but with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, (even the blood) of Christ. Precious, as opposed to the "corruptible things" of ver. 18; it is precious, because it is the blood of Christ. Christ's holy body saw not corruption; gold and silver must perish at last; the precious blood in its virtue and efficacy abideth evermore. The blood of Christ is compared with that of a lamb. The lambs and other animals offered as sacrifices were to be without blemish (Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 22:19, 20, 21); Christ was without sin, pure, harmless, undefiled. The blood of animals could never take away sin; yet it is written, "The life of the flesh is in the blood: and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls: for it is the blood that maketh atonement for the soul" (Leviticus 17:11). That blood prefigured the precious blood of Christ, which cleanseth from all sin. The sacrifices of the Law directed the faith of the pious Israelite to the one great Sacrifice, the Propitiation for the sins of the whole world. Probably St. Peter derived the comparison from the well-remembered words of the Baptist, reported by his brother Andrew, "Behold the Lamb of God!" The reference may be to the Paschal lamb ("Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us," 1 Corinthians 5:7) - the blood of that lamb cannot, indeed, be regarded as a ransom from Egyptian bondage, but it saved the Israelites from the destroying angel - or to any sacrificial lamb. The apostle seems to be passing from the idea of ransom or price to that of expiation. The verb "ye were redeemed," the silver and gold, direct the thoughts to price; the blood and the lamb, to expiation. The two ideas are closely connected; the two illustrations combined give a fuller view of the blessed meaning of the Savior's death than either of them alone could do. But with the precious blood of Christ

The word Χριστοῦ, of Christ, stands at the end of the sentence, and is emphatic. Render, as Rev., with precious blood as of a lamb, etc., even the blood of Christ.

Lamb

Peculiarly appropriate from Peter. See John 1:35-42. The reference is to a sacrificial lamb.

Without blemish (ἀμώμου)

Representing the Old-Testament phrase for absence of physical defect (Exodus 12:5; Leviticus 22:20, Compare Hebrews 9:14).

Without spot (ἀσπίλου)

Compare 1 Timothy 6:14; James 1:27; 2 Peter 3:14. In each case in a moral sense.

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