1 Peter, A Letter Of Hope
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!
1 Peter 1:1
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
1 Peter 1:2
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
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.
1 Peter 1:3
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!
1 Peter 1:4
'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.
1 Peter 1:5
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?
1 Peter 1:6 & 7
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.
1 Peter 1:8 & 9
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.
1 Peter 1:10 & 11
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.
1 Peter 1:12
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.
1 Peter 1:13
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
1 Peter 1:14 - 16
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.
1 Peter 1:17
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.
1 Peter 1:18
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
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.
1 Peter 1:19
but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or
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.
1 Peter 1:20
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.
1 Peter 1:21
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.
1 Peter 1:22
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.
1 Peter 1:23 - 25
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
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.