In our study of 1 Peter chapter one, we look at the hope that we have through Jesus Christ. The letter can help to remind us of who we are in Christ and prepare us for our journey in this world. The journey through this world can be really tough but, because of the hope that we have, we know that it is a journey from here to our real home. We are merely passing through on our way to a much better place!
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Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,
This introduction is just packed with teaching. First, Peter introduces himself as an apostle so they would know who he was and so we know who wrote it. This is the same Peter who denied Jesus three times and at one point was called Satan and told to get behind Jesus. He has been restored and in fact Jesus told him that he was a rock and on him Jesus would build the church. This should give us hope in that Jesus forgave and restored him to a position of authority and Jesus will do the same for us. Because of our relationship with Jesus, we do not have to let anyone beat us down or tell us we are unworthy of anything. Peter preaches out of the experience of suffering so when we look at what he says about suffering we can remember that he's been there and done that. (It's easy to tell someone else to stand up for Jesus when you are sitting down on the job but it is more effective to say it when you are actually standing up yourself.) The letter is written to Christians in what were parts of Asia Minor and today would be the country of Turkey. We find out much about their identity in Christ (as well as ours) in this introduction. First they were referred to as "God's elect" and we are the same if we are in Christ. That is we are chosen by God to be able to receive and accept the message of salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ. If you are in Christ, you are chosen but you cannot be the elect without Jesus Christ as there is no other way by which we can be saved. Peter also refers to them as "strangers in the world" another word for that would be sojourners or travelers as this is not our home and we are just passing through. (If you are at home in this world, you need to take a look at your faith.) The third reference was to the "scattered" this applied to the Jewish people that had been scattered in this area as they fled persecution. They are also known as the diaspora.
who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
For those who deny the concept of the Trinity, (three parts of God), this verse should settle the issue. We clearly can see, here, that not only do they exist but how they function in our salvation. God the Father knew and chose us from the beginning of time to be His children. For too long we, as Christians, have tried to water this down but the simple fact of the matter is that God, in His infinite wisdom, knew those that would accept His gift of grace and mercy even before the world was created. He then sent the Spirit to call on our hearts and to set us apart (sanctify) us for Him. We see too that, after we are called by the Spirit and set apart, it is for obedience to Jesus. God has made Him Lord of all and that includes us as well. He shed His blood to purchase us and the "sprinkling by his blood" is a picture of salvation and holiness just as the blood was put on the doorposts of the Israelites while they were in Egypt to save their firstborn sons from the plague of death. Just as the sprinkling of blood was used in the Old Testament to cleanse and prepare things for God's use, He has done the same for us. The things that were sprinkled were never again to be used for anything but service to God and it is the same for us when we come to Christ. The final part of the greeting is the granting of grace and peace in abundance. Grace is simply God giving us what we do not deserve and that is to have a close relationship with Him. Because of our sin, there was no way that we could draw close to Him on our own but He took care of that through Jesus Christ. Peace can only come through that right relationship with God. It does not matter whether it is an individual or a nation of millions of people, peace can only come through the Prince of Peace which is Jesus Christ and that peace is between us and God.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
The last verse looked at grace while here we look at mercy and they are closely linked. Grace was God giving us what we don't deserve where mercy is God NOT giving us what we deserve. The result of both is the same as Peter goes on to say and that is our hope that we will be resurrected just as Jesus was and be with God forever. As the opening to this verse says, the praise goes to God because it is simply from Him and not something that we have done. The praise comes from gratitude for what God has done for us!
'and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade-kept in heaven for you,'
We see from this verse that not only are we given a new birth into hope but also an inheritance. When we are born again, we have a new father and with that new Father come the rights as a child which means we become an heir to what the Father owns. Since our true Father created and owns everything then we do as well. We all need to let this soak in and start walking in victory as the royal heirs that we are. Stop looking at our current situation and remember that we are a new creation. (Frustration = trying to fit a new creation into an old situation) We see from this verse that the inheritance is forever and kept by God for us.
who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
This verse can serve to comfort us no matter what our situation is like. We are told that we "are shielded by God's power" which is another way of saying that God takes care of His children and that includes us. He is our protector so who or what should we fear?
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
We rejoice in the hope that we have seen but now Peter tells us that we are going to have grief and trials here on earth. He goes on to tell us that all of these trials have a purpose and that is to prove our faith and to praise Jesus. It is easy to walk in faith when there are no trials but when things get tough people really see what you cling to and what your hope is in. Remember, Peter is talking here from experience as he failed miserably at times but he also has been restored and is focused as never before on Jesus.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Our joy comes from the Lord and does not depend on anything except our relationship with God. We have joy because we have a right relationship with God and we are and will be saved from the coming judgment. That cannot be taken away and we can't slip and lose our salvation. We have been given the Holy Spirit which testifies that we are God's.
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
There are many who basically set half of the Bible (the Old Testament) aside and say that it doesn't have anything to do with us today but this passage shows us the truth. We see that God had told the prophets of old about the grace that was coming and they tried to find out the time. We see that God used the Spirit to let them know of these things. God uses that same Spirit in us today and when we look back through history (through the Old Testament) we can grow in our faith as we see what God has done and what He has promised to do.
It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
The prophets of the Old testament told of the coming of Jesus Christ and they knew that it was for a time in the future. They were serving us in helping us to understand more about God and His plan.
Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.
When you see "therefore" in any part of the Bible, it is always good to go back and review what you have just read. In this case, it is telling us that, because of the salvation that we have, we are to be prepared to act differently. Peter says we are to be "self-controlled" which we are told, (in Galatians 5 by Paul), is a fruit of the Spirit. That tells us that it is from God and that we cannot do it on our own but through the Spirit we can overcome. Peter also reminds us to focus ("set your hope") on the gift of a new life in Christ that we have today (where we can be self-controlled) and a new life when Jesus returns (a life for eternity with Him). We must always remember that it is a gift (that's what grace is).
As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: 'Be holy, because I am holy.'
We hear and even speak the word "holy" often but do we stop to remember its meaning? In Exodus and Leviticus, God called His people out of bondage and into freedom and a right relationship with Him. They were to be set apart by God and for God. The same is true of us today and that is what this passage is talking about. Just as the Israelites were called out and told to do some things while not doing others we are as well and that is what Peter is talking about in not conforming to our evil desires. He says that we did so when we were ignorant but we are no longer ignorant since we have been made new and have the Holy Spirit inside us. Have you personally got the Spirit? If you do, then you have the power to be holy.
Since you call on a Father who judges each man's work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.
We, as Christians, will be judged on the last day not for salvation but for rewards. In Revelation 20:12 & 13, we see different books opened and then the book of life was opened and we are told that each person was judged according to what they had done. We are secure in our salvation but what we do with it will affect our rewards in heaven.
For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from our forefathers,
We are all familiar with the phrase "been there, done that" well Peter is sorta saying that here. He reminds us that we were once in the world and experienced what it had to offer. He also reminds us that there was nothing else that could fill our lives and make us whole except for the relationship we now have with the Father through Jesus Christ. The final part of this verse should cause all of us who are parents to pause because it says that the empty way of life (life in the world instead of life in the Spirit) was handed down by "our forefathers". We, as Christian parents, have a huge responsibility to children and that is telling them about Jesus and walking in the power of the Holy Spirit instead of walking in the ways of the world. It has to be more than talk in our lives as the kids must see an example of walking in the Spirit from our lives.
but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.
Peter reminds us that it was the shedding of Jesus' blood that redeemed us and that nothing else could do it. This refers back to the plague of the firstborn in Egypt and how God had the Israelites put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts so that the angel of death would pass over their homes and spare their firstborn sons. The blood had to come from their best lamb and that refers to the fact that Christ knew no sin and yet became sin to purchase us.
He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.
Jesus' sacrifice for us did not catch God by surprise and Jesus wasn't His plan B. We see here that, even before the creation of the world, God's plan for saving us involved Jesus dying in our place.
Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.
Jesus' coming to the earth, dying for our sins, and being raised again demonstrates the Father's love and power. Our hope is that the Father will do the same for us just as Jesus promised and, as we have already seen, He gave us the Spirit to testify to our spirits that we are His.
Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
A pure heart comes from knowing the Word of God and putting it in action. The Spirit tells us when our actions and words do not match what God's Word says. The Spirit will also give us the power to conform our lives to that Word. The more we are transformed by the Word (Jesus Christ), the more we will show love to others and it will be from the heart.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. For, 'All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.' And this is the word that was preached to you.
Peter ends this chapter with a quote from Isaiah 40. He uses it to let us see that all of the earthly stuff will die and that is why it is important that we be born again. In the previous passage, Peter called us to love our brothers and that is not possible on our own but only through the power of God. To receive that power, we must be born again by accepting Jesus as our savior. Then we are no longer perishable seed but now are imperishable and have the power to love.