This journey of Truth starts with our studying of the Bible…
Peter’s first epistle examines the Believer’s Privileges and Duties…
Book Profile: 1 Peter
• A circulating letter to first-century Christians scattered over the northern part of modern Turkey
• Delivered or recorded by Silas (5:12), a friend and coworker of the apostle Peter
• Sent from Rome identified by the code name Babylon (5:13)
• Written shortly before the outbreak of the Neronian persecution in A.D. 64
• Addressed an audience made up of both Jewish and Gentile Christians, with the majority Gentile Written during a time of political, social, and personal persecution
• Emphasizes the reality of suffering in the lives of Christians, but also offers words of encouragement and challenge
Has suffering as a primary theme, mentioning it sixteen times by using eight different Greek terms
1 Peter 1:1-25
In verse 2
“See how Peter says that he was called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ by the foreknowledge of God the Father.
Furthermore, he explains what his apostleship is like by saying that it is in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ.
Moreover, we who believe in [Jesus] have also been sanctified by the Spirit, and he sprinkles us too with his blood in order to cleanse us.
For how can we not know that God sanctifies us by his own Spirit and cleanses us believers with his own blood?
For Christ was God in human flesh.”
(Andreas of Caesarea – AD 563–614)
Peter’s initial desire was to give the believers a lift, an encouraging word.
His emphasis in the first two verses should most likely be translated:
“To the chosen ones who are strangers in the world, scattered. . . according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”
Peter linked their scattering to the foreknowledge of God.
In other words, the difficulties God’s people face do not surprise God.
God the Father knows about everything His chosen people face.
He works it all out as part of His plan.
According to the foreknowledge of God the Father also suggests that all we go through is “according to God’s fatherly care.”
God knew our circumstances of pain before the world began and cares for us in accordance with His fatherly care.
This occurs through the sanctifying work of the Spirit.
Even in the midst of pain, the Holy Spirit is molding, shaping, and growing believers.
The Holy Spirit is turning every circumstance, every sorrow, every hardship into a tool of spiritual maturing.
In the same sentence Peter spoke of being obedient to Jesus Christ.
Obedience conveys the idea of listening and submitting to what is heard.
It involves a change of attitude in the believer.
In the midst of pain, it is difficult to listen to God, let alone obey Him.
Yet, since we are chosen of God and are objects of His fatherly care, we are never out of His plan.
He is designing our sanctification, our spiritual growth. Knowing that, we can continue, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, to obey the commands of Jesus Christ.
That obedience begins with accepting Jesus as personal Lord and Savior and continues by living life each day just as Jesus told us and leads us to live it.
We obey the call of Jesus to salvation, the word of Jesus in the Bible, and the encouragement of Jesus found in personal relationship with Him each day.
Sprinkling by His blood reflects the language of Numbers 19 and the red heifer purification rites (cf. Exod. 24:4-8; Heb. 9:13-21; 10:22,29).
For Christians, the blood of Christ on the cross covers our sins and brings us salvation.
To people sprinkled with Christ’s blood and obedient to Christ, Peter gave the typical Christian greeting.
Peace reflects the Hebrew greeting shalom, wishing wholeness and meaningful life.
Grace is the explicitly Christian greeting, placing believers under the blood of Christ to receive God’s free, undeserved grace and hope for living each day.
God the Father has given us who believe a living hope as a result of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Peter piled up expressions in verses 3-5 to talk about a believer’s relationship with God through salvation.
His opening words are those of worship and praise, reminding us that salvation did not come because of who we are or because of what we have accomplished.
Salvation came as a gift of mercy.
Salvation represents a new birth (see John 1:13), a changing of who we are.
Salvation makes us dead to sin and alive to righteousness in Christ.
Peter linked our salvation relationship to what he termed “a living hope.”
Peter is without question the apostle of hope.
The hope that he had in mind is the eager, confident expectation of life to come in eternity.
Hope in the New Testament always relates to a future good!
Amid present and difficult dangers we are justified in viewing the future with optimism because we are securely attached to the God who deals in futures.
Furthermore, our hope is a living hope because it finds its focus in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our living hope comes from a living, resurrected Christ.
Do you need encouragement?
Peter’s words offer joy and hope in times of trouble, and he bases his confidence on what God has done for us through Christ Jesus.
We live with the wonderful expectation of eternal life (1:3).
Even more, our inheritance—eternal life—begins immediately when we trust Christ and join God’s family.
God will help us remain true to our faith through whatever difficult times we must face.
The “last day” is the Judgment Day of Christ described in Romans 14:10 and Revelation 20:11-15.
No matter what trials or persecution you may face, your soul cannot be harmed if you have accepted Christ’s gift of salvation.
You will be protected by His power and receive the promised rewards.
The term born again refers to spiritual birth (regeneration)—the Holy Spirit’s act of bringing believers into God’s family.
Jesus used this concept of new birth when He explained salvation to Nicodemus (see John 3).
This term is a wonderful metaphor of new life from God.
A person cannot be a Christian without a fresh beginning based on the salvation Christ brings.
When we receive God’s magnificent gift, He brings us new freedom, a new identity, and a new family.
The Jews had looked forward to an inheritance in the Promised Land of Canaan (Numbers 32:19; Deuteronomy 2:12; 19:8).
Although the nation had received that right of inheritance, eventually they defiled their faith under the influence of foreign nations.
The people’s sins had caused the promise to become only a fading memory.
Christians now look forward to another inheritance, a priceless inheritance—eternal life in the eternal city of God.
God has reserved the inheritance; it will never fade or decay; it will be unstained by sin.
The great news is that you have this inheritance now if you have trusted Christ as your Savior.
How many times during the last week have you praised God because of the new life and inheritance He has promised you?
SELAH (let us pause and calmly think about these things)
Monday, March 20
TURN THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN!
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
— 1 Peter 1:3-5
Watching Yeshua (Jesus) lay down His life to die on the cross was not what His disciples were expecting, but rather a shocking, perplexing, and apparently hopeless ending to what had seemed like a promising fulfillment of Messianic hope.
The shattering ordeal of Yeshua’s trials, torture, and horrific death must have left them all feeling bereft, miserable, and uncertain of the future.
What would they do now? What would their future hold?
As deep and depressing as their shock was, Yeshua’s disciples had only to wait three days for the restoration of their vision, hope, and joy.
A massive inversion of their reality, exactly what He had predicted, His bodily resurrection, was another shock, but this time…indescribable joy, wonder, and phenomenal relief; and a restoration of meaning, purpose, and vision which carried them the rest of their lives.
As His disciples, our life often follows this pattern: trial, testing, perplexity, suffering, despair, etc…..which then yields to the opposite feelings and experiences of hope, healing, restoration, relief, and the faith and character which emerge along with vision and renewed purpose.
As our Lord knew before He died that He would rise again, He also knows the good things which He portends for the future of His disciples, that is, us, who have been passing through a season of stress and uncertainty.
He really, truly wants us to believe in the rest of this wild story; to really and truly accept the fact that He will, again, turn the world upside down as “all things work together for good for them that love God and are the called according to His purpose”!
Witnessing and being exposed to the serious and nasty things that are happening around us now, how can we imagine that anything good can emerge from it all?
The future seems bleak and downright frightening. But let us remember the Lord’s cross — His disciples’ shock and despair…and the predicted, inevitable resurrection which followed!
Be at peace, remembering the unalterable pattern God has given us in the revelation of His Son.
Enter the new year assured in your faith foundation —and the secure expectation that once again, with Him, as the Apostles did 2000 years ago…..we too, will “turn the world upside down”.
Your family in the Lord with much agape love,
George, Baht Rivka, Obadiah and Elianna (Going to Christian College in Dallas, Texas)