1 Peter 1:1-12

1 Peter 1:1-12

Past, Present, and Future of God’s mercy

 

1 Peter was written to believers in Christ in various towns in what is now Turkey. It was written about 64-67 AD. And it was written to encourage believers in what were very difficult times – they were suffering persecution and many were trying to find jobs or even food. With that short introduction, let me begin with the text of the Bible. (The bold letters are the text in the Bible.)

 

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, 

            Peter was sent By and For Christ

 

To God’s elect,

               God’s chosen people are those who hear the truth of Christ and accept Him as savior. If you believe in Christ as the only way to heaven, then you are a chosen person. God chose you. God did it. Oh, you had to accept Him, but HE gave you the faith to do so. John 6:37  “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away”

 

               strangers in the world, 

               We are to NOT be citizens of the world. Our citizenship is in heaven, not here on earth. As such, we need to live here as if we are strangers. We might take an interest in what is going on here, but it should not affect us as much as people who are not looking forward to going home.

 

              scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,

              These people, like you and I, are scattered like seed – we are all planted to grow where God wants us to grow. We are where God wants us to be.,

 

              2 who have been chosen

              Notice, the elect are people who have been CHOSEN – they did not do the choosing. God did it. Not you. Everything is about God, not you.

 

In the next part of this verse, we see the explicit mention of the Trinity – Father, Spirit, Christ, as well as the four steps of salvation:

                                           according to the foreknowledge of God the Father,

                                          Step 1: Ephesians 1:4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love” God chose us – before the world was created. Before he had even made the world, he chose YOU to be one of his adopted children – to believe in Him.

 

                                          through the sanctifying work of the Spirit,

                                          Step 2: 2 Thessalonians 2:13 “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you[a] to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.” And God chose you to be saved through the work of the Holy Spirit and belief in the truth – that Christ is the son of God, sent by God to live a perfect life, suffer and die to pay for your sins, and be resurrected again to demonstrate he was God.

 

                                          for obedience to Jesus Christ and

                                          Step 3: Obey the truth, the Gospel, which means change (or repent) from following your own ways, to following God; trust Christ as Savior; exercise faith – believe and act like it. In John 14:15, Jesus Christ said, “If you love me, you will obey what I command.” In Deuteronomy 5:9-10 and Exodus 20:5-6, God said, “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.” God love those who love Him and do what He says. Trust God and do what He said.

 

                                                sprinkling by his blood:

                                          Step 4: we see the benefits of faith. In John 3:16, Jesus said, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” GOD LOVED THE WORLD so much that he sent His one and only son so that whoever believes in Him (as savior sent by God for our sins) will not die, but have eternal life. THAT Is the benefit of faith – eternal life. Without faith, we are doomed to never enter heaven. In John 14:6, Jesus said “…I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

3 Praise be to the God and

                             Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!

                             Peter was praying peace and grace to the believers and praising God. Grace, in this case, is something that is bestowed upon you that by  someone of higher status – that which is needed to gain entrance into heaven – God’s love and faith and patience.

 

                            In his great mercy

                            Notice the word “mercy”.  This is us receiving something we do not deserve. Romans 3:23 states, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in[a] Christ Jesus our Lord.” We all deserve to die, because we are all sinners – we are all people who can not do everything perfect – we miss the mark of perfection (which is what sin means).  As such, we deserve death. But God is merciful.

 

                                          he has given us new birth

                                          Note the past tense of ‘given’. This has already happened. It happened before we came to believe in Him. It happened before God created the world. John 3:1-5 reads, “1Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him.”   3In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” 4“How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely he cannot enter a second time into his mother’s womb to be born!”  5Jesus answered, “I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”  Being born of water does not speak of baptism. Jesus is talking about being born physically. But when he talks about being born of the Spirit, he is speaking about accepting Jesus as being sent by God to save us. The Holy Spirit works in us to be able to believe and accept what God has done. And Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9 that what God has done is a gift, and we can not earn it, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– 9not by works, so that no one can boast.”

 

                                                                      into a living hope

                                                                    This “hope” is not wishfullness. It is knowledge – expecting something to happen. We expect God to keep his promise – we expect God to take us into heave, having forgiven our sins because of the suffering and death Christ endured for our sakes.

 

                                                                      through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

                                                                    And this is how we got that living hope: Christ was resurrected from the dead. It is only through his suffering, death, and resurrection that we can hope to gain entrance into heaven. Any other way is us trying to earn our way in. Since we are not, and never will be perfect, it is impossible to gain entrance into heaven without what Christ did for us.

 

                                                                                                                4 and into an inheritance

                                                                    Notice the future tense – we expect to receive an inheritance from our parents, in the future. When we accept what Christ has done for us, we are adopted into the family of God. Before that, we were creations of God, not not children of God in the sense that we could expect any inheritance.

 

                                                                                    that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you,

                                                                                  We know that our inheritance, eternal life with God in heaven, will never de destroyed. It is imperishable – it can not be taken from us, it can not be lost, it can not be denied us – IF we  TRUST God. I am not speaking of belief as in having an idea that something is true. I am speaking of having faith – confidence – that what God has done for us is true. If we believe something is true, we might say that we believe it, but we will never act on that belief. If we have confidence, if we TRUST in something, then we will act on that trust we have. For instance, if we might say, “I believe this 30 year old car will be able to be driven from Miami to Los Angeles.” But if we do not trust the car, we will let someone else drive it. If we trust the car, we will get into it and make the drive ourselves. THAT is trust, a belief, plus an action. And we need to TRUST Christ.

 

 

                                                                                                                                                          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.

                                                                                                Here is our assurance that we are saved when we trust Christ. We are shielded through faith by God’s power. This is the God who created the universe. This is the God who created you. This is the God who CHOSE you before he created the universe. If he can do that, he can certainly guard your inheritance so that you never lose it and it is never destroyed or taken from you.

 

                                                                                                                                                          6 In this you greatly rejoice,

                                                                                                                                            though now

                                                                                                                                                          for a little while

                                                                                                                                                          you may have had to suffer grief

                                                                                                                                                                                                     in all kinds of trials.

                                                                                                We might suffer in this life, but it is only temporary suffering. We will have all of eternity to not suffer and to be with God. Look to the future, not the past or even the present.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  7 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.

                                                                                                                                                                                    True faith does not go away. Truth faith does not perish. Our faith is worth greater than anything. Gold is refined through fire. The impurities are removed that way. We suffer in life, but it helps us to mature in our faith. As we suffer, if our faith does not go away, if we rely on God, then it is real.

 

                                                        8 Though you have not seen him,

                                                    you love him; and

                                       even though you do not see him now,

                                                     you believe in him and

John 20:29 says, “Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Thomas had faith because he saw. WE are more blessed than Thomas, because we have faith without having seen Christ. Hebrews 11:1 reads, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We are sure of what we hope for.

 

                                                                      are filled with

                                                                                    an inexpressible and

                                                                                    glorious joy,

Faith leads to joy. If we are not joyous that we are going to be with Christ, then we are not sure of what we have.

 

                                                                                                                9 for you are receiving

                                                                                                  the goal of your faith,

                                                                                                  the salvation of your souls.

            Notice the present tense. We ARE RECEIVING the goal of our faith – the salvation of our souls. It is a process, an ongoing process. It will be finished when we are in heaven with God.

 

                                                                                                                                                                        10 Concerning this salvation,

                                                                                                                          the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you,

            Faith comes through knowledge. If we do not know about something, how can we believe in it, let alone trust it? The prophets wrote of the grace, the free gift of salvation that would come to us.

                                                                                                                              searched intently and

                                                                                                                                            with the greatest care,

                                                                                                                                                                                                    11 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.

Notice that it was GOD doing the work. GOD gave them the prophecies. God said in Isaiah 53:5 that Jesus would suffer for our sins, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” If Christ suffered for our sins, then why do so many people keep trying to earn their way into heaven? I am not saying that we should not do good things, such as go to church, give money to those who need it, give to the church, feed the poor, etc.. I am saying that we can do all the good things in the world, but those things will not get us into heaven. There are some really great and wonderful people who do not believe in Christ who do those things. They are still going to go to hell. There are many people who go to church who will still be in hell because they do NOT TRUST Christ. We must TRUST Christ to enter heaven. Nothing else can do it.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                    12 It was revealed to them

                                                                                                                                            that they were not serving themselves

                                                                                                                                                                        but you,

            The prophets KNEW they were speaking for the good of the people to come – for our good. They were not speaking for their health; they did it because God gave them the words.

                                                                                                                                                                     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.

            See, even though the prophets preached, it was the Holy Spirit who spoke. Even the apostles were guided and given words by the Holy Spirit. That is how WE should live, guided by the Holy Spirit and letting HIM speak through us.

Even angels long to look into these things.

            The wonderful things the prophets of the Old and New Testaments spoke of, the thing we look forward to, is sooo great that the Angels want to see it. This thing called salvation, where we accept the gift of God – the fact that His SON died in our place so we could be with God in heaven – this is what the prophets spoke of. And this is what the angels want to see. And this is what we, if we trust God through trusting his son, have to look forward to!

            Remember, even though we may suffer in this life, it is a temporary thing. What we have our hope set on is eternal life with the one true God of the universe – the creator of everything. We know we are looking forward to life with God in heaven, so we should not be discouraged by the suffering we see and deal with in this life. We are strangers here, not citizens of this world. We might live here for a time, but we are citizens of heaven. As such, we need to live like we are citizens of heaven. If you believe what Christ has done for you, then ask God to remind you when things are difficult that you are not a citizen of this life, or of this world, but a citizen of heaven and you look forward to life with Him. If you have not asked God to guide your life, to take control of your life, if you are still trying to control your life, then I urge you to change and recognize you are not perfect. God is perfect. Ask HIM to take over your life, and then you will also have your hope in the future – to a time when you are living in heaven with God.

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