A LIVING HOPE
1 Peter 1
According To His Great Mercy
Peter identifies himself as an apostle reminding the reader that Jesus chose twelve disciples, and he named them apostles (Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13). Other people were called apostles, but Peter clarifies what he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. These men were given authority because they spoke and wrote God's very words. Peter reminds the reader that these words are God's words and they should be received as such. The office of apostle has ceased because there are no more eyewitnesses of the resurrection (Acts 1:21-22). This letter is not written to one specific church to address specific issues. Instead, it is written to the church in Asia Minor for encouragement when facing various trials. Peter writes to these sojourners who were God's chosen people that he knew before the world began. Salvation comes from God. The Father decrees, the Son accomplishes, and the Spirit applies. The Christian pattern is a growing obedience and an increasing freedom from sin through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. Peter blesses his readers and prays that God's grace and peace would be multiplied as they experience God's blessings. Peter blesses God rejoicing in what he has done. The merciful God did not abandon the children of wrath. Instead, he intervened on their behalf and interposed Christ's precious blood. Christians have a living hope because Christ conquered sin and death and by his resurrection believers have a guaranteed hope, an inheritance to share with their elder brother Christ that cannot diminish in any way. The hope of heaven and the resurrection to eternal life is reserved and kept for every believer. Salvation is God's work, and he who saves is able to keep all that he rescues, preserving them to the end by his power. It is faith that keeps the believer and saving faith saves to the uttermost.
The Outcome Of Your Faith
Peter moves quickly from rejoicing to grief and trials because sometimes life is hard. Grief and joy are a normal experience in the Christian life, and they may even be concurrent. Faith gives the child of God something to look to beyond our brief earthly sojourn. Trials demonstrate genuine faith and as fire burns away impurities, so to trials show true faith. When Christ is revealed, faith will be to the praise of Christ. The believers Peter addresses had never seen Jesus, and yet they rejoice with inexpressible joy because of the fellowship experienced with the unseen Christ. The realization of faith comes at Christ's appearing, the goal of our faith. God's plan of salvation was prophesied by the prophets of old, but the types and shadows were clarified by Jesus, the zenith of God's revelation. Christians enjoy the profound benefit of God's word and the benefit of the promised Holy Spirit. Peter includes an interesting statement about the curiosity of the angels concerning the recipients of God's grace.
Peter moves from the indicative of salvation to the imperatives of Christian living. The reality of redemption is accompanied by the call to obedience. The Christian life is to be lived out. Believers should prepare their minds for action, spiritually alert, and looking at the life to come. God's children are not to live as they once did in their former sinful passions which sought to please the flesh. Holiness is necessary if one is to see God and one must remember that he is a righteous judge. As God's children, disobedience will not be unnoticed, nor will it go undisciplined. Christians have been ransomed from what was the sinful patterns of humanity by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ satisfied the wrath of God through his obedience and the sacrificial giving of his life. Salvation has always been God's plan and God's purpose even before creation was that Christ would die and rise again for those chosen in him. All of history centers around the person and work of Christ who is the object of hope and faith for all who believe. Those who have been redeemed from sin love God and must love the people of God as well. God's word is creative and powerful. God uses his word as a means to bring new life to the sinner. The word of God that has given us life is unchanging and eternal. Physical life is not permanent, but God gives eternal life. Peter cites the prophecy of Isaiah to contrast our mortality with the eternity of God’s word, and it is this gospel that was preached to these believers.
Things To Consider:
- How were we saved? How are we being saved? When is salvation complete?
- What is justification?
- What is sanctification?
- What is glorification?
- Why is the resurrection of Jesus necessary for salvation?
- How should a Christian face trials?
- How can you prepare your mind?
- Why is obedience a part of the Christian life?
- Why is God's word living?
- Why do we proclaim the gospel?