1 Peter 1:17-21
And if you call on the Father, who without respect of persons judges according to every man's work…
I. Consider WHAT LIGHT IS SHED UPON THE INSTANCE OF CHRIST SHEDDING HIS BLOOD FOR US BY THE EXPERIENCE OF THE MANY ILLUSTRIOUS SAINTS AND HEROES "IN THE NOBLE ARMY OF MARTYRS," WHO IN ALL LANDS AND AGES HAVE LAID DOWN THEIR LIVES FOE THE SAKE OF THEIR COUNTRY, OR ON BEHALF OF TRUTH, OF SCIENCE, AND RELIGION. Would the blood in any single instance have had the slightest moral or meritorious value apart from the character of the person, apart from the fidelity, the endurance, the self-sacrifice of the person? True, there are senses in which we say, "The blood of a living thing is the life thereof," senses in which we say, with the great Harvey, "the blood is the fountain of life, the first to live, and the last to die, and the primary seat of the animal soul." But then, do we not always, in deeper senses, distinguish between the blood and the life; do we not feel always that the blood which can be seen is but the outward sign and symbol of the inward life which cannot be seen; do we not feel that though the blood is the seat, the centre, the channel of the life, the life itself is as superior to the blood as the mind is to the brain which is its centre, or the soul to the body which is its shell or form? Equally so, when we speak of a man shedding his blood on the altar of his country or his religion, we think not of the form or the sign, but of that which is beneath and within; the extent to which the sufferer manfully endured, the degree to which he spared not himself, the spirit in which for the truth, or the cause, or the monarch, or the land, or the Lord he loved, he willingly, resolutely gave the whole force of his moral nature, the whole wealth of his heart, his character, and his soul. In like manner we should think of the blood of Jesus Christ, which cleanseth us from all sin, not as deriving its worth or its efficacy from anything that was outward or physical or material, not as being vested in the blood itself as blood. Should we not rather a thousand times say the preciousness of the blood of Christ was in the inward and personal, the spiritual and Divine life which dwelt and throbbed in that blood?
II. IN THE MINDS AND HEARTS OF THE EARLY CHRISTIANS THE BLOOD OF CHRIST WAS REGARDED AS BUT A SYMBOL OF, OR BUT ANOTHER NAME FOR, THE LOVE OF CHRIST. "What is the blood of Christ?" asked Livingstone of his own solitary soul in the last months of his African wanderings. "It is Himself. It is the inherent and everlasting mercy of God made apparent to human eyes and ears. The everlasting love was disclosed by our Lord's life and death. It showed that God forgives, because He loves to forgive." Does not St. Paul tell us that love is the highest virtue and grace of man? Does not St. John tell us that the very essence of the name and nature of God is love? Well, then, did the early Christians reason when they declared that the blood is but the symbol of that which is the most precious, perfect, and potent force in the whole universe — whether it be affirmed of either God or man — love, unspeakable, all blessed, eternal love.
(J. T. Stannard.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: