Messages from Pastor Raddatz

1 Peter 1:17-25, Mount Olive Lutheran Church, Houston TX April 23, 2023


1 Peter 1:17-19, “If you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each ones deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”

Dear Christian Friends,

CHRIST HAS RISEN, he has risen indeed, alleluia!

            I was taught EVERYTHING WEARS OUT and EVERYTHING WILL NEED TO BE REPAIRED.  It’s just like the batteries you never seem to have enough of or maybe you don’t have the right size at the right time?  I experienced this as a Dad and as a Grandpa; you know the situation; a child gets interested in a toy and they find it doesn’t work.  Why doesn’t it work?  It doesn’t work because the batteries have died, or they were stolen to be used in another thing that needed batteries, or they exploded, and you have the innards of a battery all over the connectors inside the toy.

            This mornings Bible verse reminds us that our faith in Christ will never die.   Our faith relies on Christ who rose from the dead and now lives and reigns to all eternity.


            The only way people will know what we know about Jesus is based upon our actions.   

            In both ancient Greece and Rome deviant sexual practices were so commonplace that they came to be looked upon as completely natural or normal.  Yes indeed, the aim in that ancient pagan world was to find ever new and wild ways to gratify one’s lusts and desires.  Does that sound familiar?  It should, because it is exactly the way more and more people think in our own society today.  Any suggestion that anyone should curb their lust or control their behavior is met with scorn and derision. “Who do you think you are? You can’t tell me what to do!”   They proclaim like spoiled children.   I like the way one neighboring pastor put it when I was serving a congregation in New York, “They are having fun to death, and you had better not get in their way.”  Societies that compromise their morals or do not have a moral compass destroy themselves.  Rev. Skelton

            This is why the first verse of our reading for today tells us to “conduct yourselves with reverent fear.”  To fear something means to hold it in respect and honor.

            "Call" means "pray to call on, invoke, address." In verse 15 we were told that God called us. It is a fruit of faith that the Christian calls on the Father, which implies that the Christian is a son, free from sin, death and the power of the devil. But when he calls upon the Father he must remind himself that his Father is an impartial Judge. That pertains to the Father's dealings with the individual in the areas of Law and Gospel. The LAW SHOWS OUR SIN.   The GOSPEL SHOWS OUR SAVIOR.  They are both an SOS.  It saves us by showing us our sins and showing us the good news that our savior has paid for our sins. The Father is impartial to ALL human beings. Only Christians truly know and believe it. -Dr. Harold Buls

Luther: There is no faith where there are no good works. Therefore link faith and good works together in such a way that both make up the sum total of the Christian life. As you live, you will fare. God will judge you according to this . . . Works are the evidence of our belief or unbelief . . . They show whether you have believed or have not believed. . . The works are fruits and signs of faith and that God judges people according to these fruits, which certainly have to follow, in order that one may see publicly where belief or unbelief is in the heart.



            Our conduct comes from our knowledge and follows from our decisions.  See verse 18, “…knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, …”

            Ransoming out of vain conduct and out of guilt always go together . . . He is writing to Christians who for the most part, have come out of paganism and its dreadful bondage. No two versions render this phrase exactly alike. Compare these translations: "From your aimless conduct, from the futile ways, from the worthless manner of life, from the empty way of life, from the futile way of life." In each case, it was inherited from the fathers, dead in their trespasses and sin. Apart from the redemption in Christ Jesus life is aimless, futile, worthless, empty. Is it any wonder that so many commit suicide? Is it any wonder that so many consider abortion of no consequence? Is it any wonder that so many hold marriage in contempt? -Buls

            We must remember that our measure of our behavior is not found in comparison with other humans.   The end of our actions does not justify our way of behaving.  God wants us to be holy, just as he is holy (See 1 Peter 1:16).   Perfection is God’s expectation.  You cannot buy perfection and you cannot become perfect.  

Luther: Just one drop of this innocent blood would have been more than enough for the sin of the entire world.

            To ransom means to buy from and to release.  The Oxford dictionary defines it as a sum of money or other payment demanded or paid for the release of a prisoner.  This is like "the kidnappers demanded a ransom".


            Many years ago I was able to witness a person’s desire for a better life.  I had a young couple who wanted to get married.  He was a member, but she was not a member of the church I served.  I met with them to get to know them better.  In the midst of pre-marital counseling she voiced a fervent desire to have a spiritual basis for their marriage.  She said to me, “You probably remember the flower children, like the hippies…peace and love…that was my parents, but there were no boundaries…there were not guiding habits, like a moral code.  I want something more.  I want to have a strong spiritual basis for my marriage.” Remember: she was not the member, but she knew she wanted something stronger than what she was given.



            You and I have an inheritance that is imperishable.  We have been loved by God’s pure heart.  We have been bought from a meaningless way of life, not with gold or silver, but with his holy and precious blood of Jesus Christ.  What God has for us will never fade or die, it will never wither or rust, but God’s love will endure forever.

            St. Paul put it best through God’s inspiration, in Romans 8: And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

God has also given us his Word, in the Bible.  It remains forever our guide and our comfort.

Verse 24 reads, “All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.  The grass withers and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

            Unlike batteries that do not last long, and wear out; your faith will never wear out for it is based on your risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!  His love endures forever.  Can you say that with me?  “HIS LOVE ENDURES FOREVER.  His love endures forever.”  It will keep going when we can’t.  It will keep us until we are resurrected with all flesh and our souls and body are united before the throne of God.  Pastor John Raddatz

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