Introduction to First Peter
1 Peter 1:1-25
Compiled by Cooper Abrams
THE THEME OF 1 PETER: “God’s grace and assurance in the face of suffering.”
Peter identifies himself as the Apostle to the “strangers” referring to the Jews who were of the Diaspora that were located in Asia Minor “. . . throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”
However, Peter is also writing to Gentile believers as shown in 1 Peter 2:10, “Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” This could not be a reference to Jews as they had always been a people or nation. Christians of all nations are truly strangers and sojourners in this world and be a mixed audience. OUTLINE OF THE BOOK OF 1 PETER:
II. Chapter 1-10-25 Suffering and the Scriptures produces holiness
III. Suffering and the suffering of Christ. Chapters 2 - 4
A. Produces service and hope. vs. 1-4
B. Produces humility and patience. vs. 5-14
1 Peter 1:1-9
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia “ (1 Pet. 1:1).
First note his name: Peter, is Petros, a stone. He is now the rock-man after denying the Lord in the Gospels. The Day of Pentecost is behind him, and he knows what it is to take a stand for Christ. He has been arrested and put in jail. He has been threatened, and he realizes that there is crucifixion on a cross ahead of him. Peter is a man who walked with the Lord daily, being taught of Him for three years. Peter also bore both the rebukes, instructions, and commissions from the Lord.
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.” The Apostles were the men God called and discipled Himself who He used to give us He word. These twelve men were the Lord's disciples. To the group He also added the Apostle Paul called of God to be the Apostle to the Gentiles. (Acts 26:12-18; Rom.11:13; 1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim 1:11) To be a true Apostle one must have been personally called by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we do not have apostles. After the Apostles of the Lord Jesus died, there were no more. The three qualifications of apostleship are below and since the Apostles whom Jesus called none fit these requirements:
Other than the twelve men named Apostles in the Gospels, the Bible never calls anyone else an apostle. In Ephesians 4:11 we find the last lists of those called and given talents to be leaders in the early churches. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)
Apostles are mentioned in this passage because at the time Ephesians was written a number of Apostles still were living and working in the early churches. There were also prophets as the New Testament was still being revealed which ended with John who prophesied of the end times. Today we have evangelists whom we refer to as missionaries and men who visited the churches and preached the Gospel. Today the overseer of a local church is the pastor-teacher mentioned above in Ephesians 4:11.
The Apostles were given special talents and abilities which were important in the early church because God gave them special powers. They preformed miracles to which God used to authenticate the Gospel message that Jesus was the Messiah. The Holy Spirit inspired them to write God's word the New Testament. The mirages were sign gifts directed at the unbelieving Jews a 1 Corinthians 14:22 explains. 1 Corinthians 1:22 show us why as the verse tells us. “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom.”
However, after the Jews had rejected Jesus as their Messiah Paul turned to reaching the Gentiles and the miracles or sign gifts ceased. Luke records this in Acts 18:5-6 “And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.”
We do not need Apostles today as we have the written and inspired word of God from their hands. What those men wrote was verbal inspired of God is without error. It is infallible and God’s very word. God has never since inspired any man since the Apostle John to write scripture. Yet, many claim to apostles, and without question, every church that claims to have apostles today is a group that believes, teachings and practices false doctrine.
Peter is an apostle of Jesus Christ—that is all he claimed to be. He is never referred to as first among the other apostles and he claimed no pre-eminent place in the early church. Peter was never the Bishop of Rome, nor a pope. In fact the New Testament knows nothing of a pope, or even a universal world wide church. The New Testament called His assembly, an ”ekklesia,” or local assembly.
The Epistle is addressed to ". . . to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." A stranger is a pilgrim and where they were dispersed to was not their home. Of course the scriptures tell us that Christians are pilgrims and sojourners on this earth. (See Heb. 11:13, 2 Peter 2:11)
All these were provinces of Asia Minor and places where those to whom the Epistle was written to resided. In these provinces were both Christian Jews and Gentiles. The letter is written as a general epistle to all believers and not to a specific group. Note that in 1 Peter 5:14, he says, "Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus." In the Epistle there are terms that would be familiar to Jews and Gentiles. In 1 Peter 2:9 he used language that was commonly used by the Jews addressing their own countrymen as the people of God and would seem to imply that to some of those at least to whom the Epistle was addressed. In 1 Peter 2:10, Peter said, said of them, ". . . which in time past was not a people, but are now the people of God." This reference would not be applied to those who had been Jews. Peter uses the term strangers recognizing these believers as Jews and proselyted Gentiles that were dispersed into other countries who were exiled and banished from their homes for the sake of Christ.
In interesting note is that Peter mentions Bithynia. Paul on his second missionary journey had plans to go to Bithynia, but was not allowed to by the Holy Spirit. “After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.” (Acts 16:7) It may be that Peter had ministered there and that is why Paul was redirected. Paul writing to the Romans explained, “Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation. ” (Romans 15:20)
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied” (1 Pet. 1:2).
J. Vernon McGee says here the Apostle Peter immediately plunges into deep doctrinal waters. For instance and presents the doctrine of the Trinity. The Trinity is clearly in his statements that refer to the foreknowledge of God the Father, sanctification of the Spirit; and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
This verse certainly attests to the Trinity as God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are referred to in reference to the elect of God. Peter specifically states the strangers are the “elect” according to the foreknowledge of God. The statement is clear that their election was due to God’s knowing before that they would believe and be saved. The word “foreknowledge” is the word “prognosis” which simply means to “know ahead of time.” Without question, more than sixty times in the New Testament God says salvation is obtained by belief and faith in Jesus Christ. Thus the foreknowledge of God means God knew in the past who would believe and receive the Gospel and those are the ones He elected to receive salvation and the benefit of His grace and mercy.
The election of God refers to God’s plan as to what salvation would mean and what it would accomplish in the life of believers. Election does not refer to be “elected” as to who would be saved or who would not. Rather election is to the essence, nature and features of salvation and what salvation brings to the believer. God preordained or elected His plan for the believer to become a child of God, forgiven of their sins, to become a joint heir with Christ, to have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, to live a Godly life, and bring glory to God.
Nowhere in God’s word does the Bible teach that God elected some to salvation and thus rejected the rest electing them to eternal damnation as the Calvinists purport. Jesus explains the basis of his reject of those who rejected Him as His Savior in John 3:19-20. Paul also states why the unbeliever is condemned in Romans 1:18-23. It is the Holy Spirit that brings conviction to every man and enables him to believe and be saved or reject the Lord and be damned. This passage shows conclusively that the man who is condemned is guilty and is the one responsible for his damnation.
Peter also states these believers were elected to God’s plan “. . . through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and the sprinking of the blood of Jesus Christ.” Note that Peter states believers are elect according to foreknowledge and through sanctification which is the work of the Holy Spirit when a person believers. Sanctification means that God has separated the believer unto the Lord and this is the visible sign that identifies one being a believer. Being sanctified by the Holy Spirt enables the believer to be obedient to subsequent ability to live a godly life that Jesus Christ’s shed blood has made possible. This statement recognizes the frailty of the flesh being subject to the old nature and the need of willingly obedience to Christ.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Pet. 1:3)
There word 'blessed' used here, is the word eu lo ge tos from which we derive our word eu-logy. It means “to speak well of or to praise and celebrate with praises” This is different than the “blessed” used by Christ in Matthew 5 which is the word “ and means to be happy. In the New Testament the word eulogetos is never used in reference to man, but only to God. God does not praise man, but man is to praise God, and He is the Father. Here Peter reveals his heart felt love and thankfulness to God for his salvation. Christ is to be praised for suffering and dying for our sins and conquering sin and death through His resurrection. The focus of our praise is Christ and the realization of “lively hope” of our salvation and resurrection. A lively hope is one that is full of life and action that rests in the assurance of our eternal home in heaven. A lively hope is not a passive one, but a vibrant continual uplifting consciousness of being a child of God.,
“To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” (1 Peter 1:4)
Peter has described to us what God has done for us in the past. Now he moves into the future. He reminds the Christian that he has an inheritance that is “incorruptible” meaning that it is non-destructible. It cannot be damaged in any way. Nothing can touch or in any way diminish. It is an absolute assurity.
Further this inheritance is “undefiled” which indicates that it is not stained or defiled by anything. We will not get this inheritance illegally and “it will not fade away.” We won’t inherit it and then find it to be worthless, like so man material things that once had value and then becomes completely worthless.
Peter assures us that this inheritance is “reserved in heaven for you.” The word reserved means it is guarded. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are taking care of it for us. Our eternal destiny is in the hands of God. There can be no greater confidence of the security of our salvation that this. Jesus in John 14 said He would leave and prepare a place for the believer in heaven and He assures us that “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:3) “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5)
“Kept by the power of God” emphasizes the surety of the believer’s salvation in Jesus Christ. The assurance is based in the keeping power of God. "Kept" is probably one of the most wonderful words we have here because it assures us the believer is being “kept by the power of God through faith” not by our own efforts or good works. There are those who falsely teach that a believer can lose their salvation. Nothing could be further from the truth and Peter soundly refutes that erroneous idea. Those who teach these falsely are teaching a false gospel. They certainly do not understand biblical salvation and what Christ accomplishes in the life of a believer when he believes.
Salvation cannot be earned and salvation cannot be kept by a person’s good works. No man can earn or merit his salvation by his works, deeds, or doing religious rituals. Neither can a man keep himself saved by his good works. All a believer’s sins are under the shed blood of Jesus Christ.(Joh 6:53; Eph. 2:13; Heb. 10:19; Heb. 12:24; Heb. 13:20; 1.Joh. 1:7; Rev. 1:5; Rev. 17:6) When a believer sins, his sin is already eternally forgiven and will never be accounted to him in future. Many scriptures teach the absolute forgiveness of all sins when a person repents and believes in Jesus Christ. “In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace” (Ephesians 1:7) (Also see Col. 1:14, 2:13)
This is the doctrine of “Eternal Security” often stated as “Once saved, always saved.” The apostle Paul explained the truth that it is God the Holy Spirt who keeps the believer saved. “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. ” (Phil. 1:6). “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations” (1 Peter 1:6)
The suffering and the security of the believer produce joy! God our Father, according to His mercy has begotten us, given us a new nature and a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In the future He has a marvelous inheritance waiting for us.
Paul assures the believer “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” (Romans 8:16-17) Galatians 4:5 explains “But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:4-6) What joy for the believe to know that he has the special personal relationship with his God and Savior.
Peter rightly proclaims that even in season of heaviness of persecution or dispar the child of God can “greatly rejoice.” Rejoice in what? In the assurance of the believers salvation in spite of even manifold trials.” This places in contrast two words that are worlds so far apart, rejoicing and temptations. They seem to be at odds and they are to the unsaved, but to the Christian they can both exist together and compliment each other. “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:” (1 Peter 1:7)
James and Peter state the same truth. James says “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations.” (James 1:2). Peter uses here a very apt illustration, and uses a wonderful word “timios” meaning precious. The word “precious” means something that highly esteemed and of great value. It is a thing that honorable and greatly beloved.
Peter makes a comparison to attributes of gold. He says “The trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold.” After gold is mined, it is put into a smelter, which is a red-hot furnace. The purpose is not to destroy the gold; it is to purify the gold. When the gold is melted, the dross is drawn off to get the pure gold.
In Chapter 4 Peter reminds the believer, “Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:12-13)
Peter later also made an application of this regarding the suffering of our Lord. He says that we have been redeemed, not with gold or silver, but with something infinitely more precious which is the blood of Christ.
When God tests us today, He puts us into the furnace and does so with various trials and difficulties that He allows to come into our lives. He goal is not to destroy us or to hurt or harm us, but to purify and strengthen us. He wants pure gold, meaning a pure life, and that is the way He develops it in our lives. What is developed is spiritual maturity which demonstrates itself Christian character. At the time of testing, the dross is drawn off and the precious gold appears.
This verse ought to mean a great deal to the child of God. Remember that Peter had seen the Lord Jesus personally and had traveled with Him for three years. He had failed miserably during that period. What a drastic change we see in Peter when compared to his denial of Christ on the night He was betrayed. (See Matt. 26:67-74)
After His resurrection the Lord prepared breakfast for the men who had been fishing all night, and He was waiting for Peter.
Peter by his denial of Christ deserved only condemnation for his actions. Yet, Jesus treated him quite differently that one would expect and said, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me?” (see John 21:17). Jesus does not scold the sinner as James 1:5 states. "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; (meaning without scolding) and it shall be given him." (James 1:5) His question rather was "Do you love Me?"
Peter by his denial of Christ deserved only condemnation for his actions. Yet, Jesus treated him quite Peter who had been a proud braggart had been stripped of that pride. We can imagine the anguish Peter must have felt afterward. He was not no longer bragging, because he now knew the frailty and weakness of the flesh. Earlier he thought he could serve the Lord in his own strength and had failed miserably. He now knew the only way he could serve the Lord and He finally just cried out, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” And the Lord Jesus said, “Feed My sheep.” (See John 21:16–17).
Peter by his denial of Christ deserved only condemnation for his actions. Yet, Jesus treated him quite And it was Peter who preached the first sermon on the Day of Pentecost. Now Peter says to you and me, “Whom having not seen, ye love.” The Holy Spirit is the One who can make Christ real to you and me. He gives the believer the new nature which can truly love and serve the Lord. How revealing was Christ’s words to the Jews when He said to them “And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) True love comes from belief and always produces action. “Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.” (1 Peter 1:10-11)
Peter stresses the difference that believers have in this the Church Age. The Old Testament prophets sought diligently to know the future and of the coming Messiah. God revealed to them many things and they believed and looked to the future coming of Christ. For example, Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53 are two Messianic prophecies that revealed the suffering and atoning work of Christ. The prophets understand that God has a plan and that He was through the ages bringing that plan to fruition. Surely, David must have had questions as God inspired him to write, “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalms 40:6-8) His Psalm is confirmed in Hebrews 10:4-9 as speaking of the coming Messiah.
When Christ appeared and began to reveal Himself in His miracles and message they had questions and were not sure that Jesus was the Messiah. John the Baptist had proclaimed when Jesus came to be baptized, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” yet he sent his disciples to ask Jesus if He was the One or should they look for another to come." (Matt. 11:1-3)
The disciple Thomas who had been with Christ for the three years of His earthly ministry had doubts until he saw the resurrect Christ. (John 20:25-28) However, after Christ’s resurrection their was no question that He was the Promised One. The Old Testament saints looked forward to when God would send His Son, we in this age look back to the fact of His coming.
Noah was given God’s grace as Genesis 6 reveals, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. (Genesis 6:8)David understood the grace of God that would giving to believers, “Whoso offereth praise glorifieth me: and to him that ordereth his conversation aright will I shew the salvation of God.” (Psalms 50:23) In Proverbs 3:34 God proclaimed His grace, “Surely he scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace unto the lowly.” (Proverbs 3:34) What a privilege we have in this age to know assuredly that the Messiah came and that He the Son of God died on the cross for the sins of men and that through simple faith and trust in Him a man can have forgiveness of sins and eternal life. “And the glory that should follow” is found, for example, in Isaiah 11 and Psalm 45. The prophets all spoke of Christ’s suffering and of the sovereignty and of the glory that is to come when Christ comes as King to the earth to establish His kingdom. “The Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify.” This tells us specifically that the prophets of the Old Testament wrote by the Spirit of Christ. This is one of the many statements contained in the Word of God declaring that the Old Testament was inspired of God. These men wrote by the “Spirit of Christ.” 1 Peter 1:21...
There are many places in the Old Testament that speak of the suffering of Christ, and there are many other places that speak of the sovereignty of Christ, of the kingdom age. Grace and glory are combined, and it was difficult for them to understand this. For example, Isaiah wrote in the fifty-third chapter of the sufferings of Christ; then in the eleventh chapter he wrote of the Messiah coming in power and glory to the earth to establish His kingdom. This seeming contradiction was very puzzling to the prophets, and they tried to find out how both could be true. As the prophets looked down the corridors of time, they saw these two events as two great mountain peaks, but they could not see the valley of time between them. “Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.” (1 Pet. 1:12).
The apostles were proclaiming that they were preaching the same thing that the Old Testament prophets did. The prophets did not understand the Messiah would come in all His glory, but be a suffering Messiah. They concluded there would possibly be two Messiah’s. The Apostles explained that reality of the necessity of a suffering Messiah who would take away the sins of the world and would also reign supreme.
“Which things the angels desire to look into.” God’s written word reveals truth to angels as well as to us. They do not know everything as God does, nor do they know the future unless it is revealed to them. They too wished to know the future and they desired to know in the past how that God would bring about salvation through His grace. The angels had gone through Satan’s rebellion in heaven when a third of them fell and followed the Devil to their doom. This one third of God’s angels that rebelled and served the Devil’s and are his demons. Peter’s point is that in the Old Testament even the angels whom God used to reveal Himself to man desired to see how He would bring about salvation. In the Old Testament only the prophets of God and angels were used to speak God’s message.
Today the Holy Spirit is using human instruments to get out His Word, because we are not living in the day of the ministry of angels. We are living in the day of the ministry of the Holy Spirit. Believers, as children of God we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit—“… if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (Rom. 8:9). If you are Christ’s, you are indwelt by the Spirit of God.
Believers are living in the day of the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the day of grace. It was the Holy Spirit gave the word of God to the Apostles and writers of our New Testament. (2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:21) The Holy Spirit through the scriptures reveals God’s truth to us. This is a marvelous opportunity for us. What are we to do with God’s revelation?
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:13).
“Gird up the loins of your mind.” This is a figure of speech based on the gathering and fastening up of the long Eastern garments so that they would not interfere with the wearer’s vigorous movements. It was an expression that was understood in Peter’s day. It applied to soldiers and people of that region who wore robes. The long garments would interfere with hard work, or the soldier fighting in battle.
“Be sober.” Bring sober minded means to watch and have a serious “down to earth” attitude as we study of the Word of God and live our lives for Christ. Matthew Poole commenting on this verse says, “. . . let your minds be attent, prompt, ready, prepared for your spiritual work, restrained from all those thoughts, cares, affections, and lusts, which may entangle, detain, hinder them, or make them unfit for it.“
“And hope to the end.” Peter reminds believers of the “Blessed Hope” and assurance of salvation. That is the theme of the book. Contrary to what many false teachers say living the Christian life will bring difficulties. There will be times of joy and being on the mountain top and in those time it is easy to rest in Christ. However, when the valleys of life come it is the Blessed Hope that assures the believer he is in God’s will and has not been abandoned. The question is asked should the child of God be willing to endure trials? Yes, because we have a sure hope, and that hope rests upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The child of God knows what the end will be and of God’s faithfulness and endures the difficulties even with joy. He knows that it is his opportunity to honor and glorify his Savior.
“The grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” In the rapture when the Lord Jesus comes to take the believers out of the world, He comes in grace. His grace assures us that He will take out every believer to be with Him. After the rapture each believer’s works will be judged at Christ’s judgment seat called the “Bema Seat”. This will be a time of reward and the believer will either suffer loss or receive a reward afforded to us by His grace! It will be a time when the believer will be able to honor His Savior by the “gold, silver, and precious stones” that represent his good works done in God’s will and and power. It will be a wonderful day for many who will get to show that gratitude for Christ’s suffering for them. That day is more about honoring Christ than believers getting reward.
To John the Lord Jesus Christ revealed the key to the His plan (Revelation 1:19) “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance.” (1 Pet. 1:14). “As obedient children.” James said, “Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only …” (James 1:22). The Word of God not only brings us hope, but it also leads to our obedience. Paul states, “Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?” (Romans 6:16). The believer’s example is Jesus Christ. “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Philippians 2:6-8)
I fear many times we sing the old Hymn “Trust and Obey” without listening to the biblical message is proclaims.
“When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.
Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.
Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.
Not a burden we bear, not a sorrow we share,
But our toil He doth richly repay;
Not a grief or a loss, not a frown or a cross,
But is blessed if we trust and obey.
But we never can prove the delights of His love
Until all on the altar we lay;
For the favor He shows, for the joy He bestows,
Are for them who will trust and obey.
Then in fellowship sweet we will sit at His feet,
Or we’ll walk by His side in the way;
What He says we will do, where He sends we will go;
Never fear, only trust and obey.
Many believers do not understand Holiness. Most think holiness is to have a very pious attitude. Holiness for many is a superficial act. They seek to have others look upon their outward appearance and actions and see them as being very Religious or devout. In art work holiness is pictures as having a glowing ring about one’s head.
The word holy is found in the Bible 657 times. That shows us the importance of holiness. The first time the word is used in God’s word is Exodus 3:5 “And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.” (Exodus 3:5)
The word refers to something or someone who is holy, meaning pure, sacred, sanctified, consecrated, dedicated, or hallowed unto the Lord. In the Old Testament the priests would take the ordinary things such as water, animals, wood, gold, silver, precious stones, fire, and dedicate and separate them into the service of the Lord. From the moment it was sanctified unto the Lord it was never to be used for anything other purpose. It was separated from the world and worldly use. The holy thing given to the Lord’s service was to represent His holiness, His separation from all things that were polluted by the world.
Paul writing to the Corinthians who had believed in Jesus Christ command them saying, “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:17-18)
Paul to the Romans affirmed this wonderful and vital truth, “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2)
Our God is absolutely holy which also means perfect. A believer while in these human and frail bodies will never be holy like is our God and Savior. However, in God’s eyes, though the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, through His grace all our sins are forgiven and we are holy, completely holy before the Lord. In death we lose this old human and carnal body that is unholy, and we receive a holy body like as to Christ’s.
This might indicate that to be believer that being mere human beings we cannot be holy. Nothing is further from the truth. A child of God can be mature in faith and be obedient to the Lord in how he lives his life. Yes, we have the old nature that Paul refers to in Romans 7 that plagued him. He saw it as a war going on between his carnal nature and his God given new and spiritual nature. Paul said,
Note verse his last statment that proclaims as difficult as the war in his members, the victory was “. . . through Jesus Christ our Lord.” The believer this side of heaven will never be completely holy, and he will fail at times. However, the child of God, loves the Lord and His righteousness and will strive to grow more Christ-like. “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear.” (1 Pet. 1:17).
“Without respect of persons” means without partiality. Every man stands on equal and level ground before the Lord. God is just and He judges impartially.
The fact that God is going to judge us ought to cause us to become very sober minded and to give a little more attention to the life that we are living. In godly fear, knowing we must face our Lord and Savior in judgment should live our lives seeking always to obey and honor Him. The believer needs to understand the reality that Paul stated to the Corinthians, “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The child of God has God’s power to life a godly life. We are but strangers and sojourners here on the earth. His is not our home. Christians are here as ambassadors for Christ while on this earth. As a boy I sang the hymn “The King’s Business” as a royal ambassador in our church youth group. To this day of love the song and its compelling message:
This is the message that I bring,
A message angels fain would sing:
“Oh, be ye reconciled,”
Thus saith my Lord and King,
“Oh, be ye reconciled to God.”
This is the King’s command: that all men, everywhere,
Repent and turn away from sin’s seductive snare;
That all who will obey, with Him shall reign for aye,
And that’s my business for my King.
My home is brighter far than Sharon’s rosy plain,
Eternal life and joy throughout its vast domain;
My Sov’reign bids me tell how mortals there may dwell,
And that’s my business for my King.
'Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot" (1 Pet. 1:18–19). “Forasmuch as ye know.” Once again the Lord through Peter reminds us of the wonderful truth and theme of this Epistle. Believers are not redeemed by their good works, their religious rituals, by church membership, or any act of men. Salvation is the free gift of God that is not nor can be earned or merited. This verse is directed toward the Jews who thought as God’s chosen nation they were assured of heaven if they kept the Law and did the religious rituals.
J. Vernon McGee states concerning the verse, “The immutability of God is the terror of the wicked—if they give any thought to it at all. We hear it said that we are living in a new age with new thoughts and new values, but God has not changed. There would be no reason for Him to change because He knew the end from the beginning. Neither did He learn anything when He looked at the morning newspaper or heard the television newscaster this morning. It didn’t give Him any information because He knows all things—past, present, and future. And God has not changed His decree that “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”
“Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold.” Peter proclaims the purity and incorruptibility of Christ’s redemption. Only the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from sin. “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood” (Revelation 1:5). It is almost incomprehensible that any man would be so brash for even a second and think he has anything to offer for his sins. The works-for-salvation people must totally ignore or reject God’s clear statement that. “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
“From your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers.” False religion is appallingly vain. The Jews outwardly made a great to-do of living by the law. They were following their rabbis and their writings in the Talmud. Jesus referred to them as the “. . . blind leaders of the blind. . And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch.” (Matt. 15:14) Think of the hundreds of blind leaders who founded the cults and false religions. They believed and followed the false teacher and fell into the same ditch the blind leaders was in. Think of the children and descendants of the cult leaders who today still are following their blind parents straight into God’s judgment. How many people are trapped and slaves to the false religion of their fathers. Sadly to many their culture, tradition, and heritage is more important to them that God’s saving truth.
“With the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.” So many find it hard to believe that God would come to earth as a man, submit himself to sinful men, and allow them to persecute Him, reject His message, and then let the sinful hands of men nail Him to a cross and suffer and die for man’s sins. The answer is simple. No one else could do this as the fact is “There is none righteous, no, not one. . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:10, 23).
God’s word says, “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: . . . For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.” (Romans 5:12, 17-19)
Only our God and Creator could redeem mankind from its sin. Therefore the only Redeemer was God Himself. In his love for His creation His Gospel proclaims, “By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:2-4).
“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.” (1 Peter 1:20-21)
“Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world,“ The word “foreordained” is the Greek verb “proginosoko” which means to foreknow. Peter tells us this was God’s plan from the beginning, even before the universe was created. God manifested or revealed His plan to the believers in the coming of Jesus Christ. The Old Testament prophets and even the angels longed to see this day and they rejoice when God completed His redemptive act through the dead, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God incarnate in man. “That raised him up from the dead”—Simon Peter keeps reminding us of the resurrection of Christ. The proof of the believers assurance of salvation rests solely in resurrection of Christ Jesus. He arose from the grave and that assures us that in Jesus Christ “. . .death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Cor. 15:54-55)
“That your faith and hope might be in God.” The believer’s faith and hope, the trust in God’s promise and expectant hope, rests in Christ’s resurrection. It seems that those who follow false teachers who belittle the absolute security of the believer and teach a man can lose his salvation miss the vital truth. Our hope is not in our ability to continue to live a godly life or to work to maintain our salvation. The child of God is kept by the power of God as 1 Peter 1:5 clearly declares. The teacher or church that teaches one can sin and thus lose their salvation do not understand that their false doctrine reveals the fallacy that no can earn salvation or keep himself saved by good works. Salvation in receiving and keeping is the work of God alone.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently (1 Pet. 1:22).
“Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.” How does the believer purify himself in obeying the truth through the Spirit. The truth of this is so plain. No man can save himself which Peter makes unquestionably clear. So how does “obeying the truth through the Spirit save”? It is the Holy Spirit that enlightens and enables a man to believe when he hears the saving Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the Holy Spirit that draws a man toward the truth that he is a sinner and that God love him and will save him if he will believe. The obedience then is in belief and putting one’s faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. In salvation all man’s sins are forgiven and he stand from that moment on pure of all his sins.
“Unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.” Unfeigned love is genuine and without hypocrisy. It is not a love that is a “put one” or one that is given expecting something in return. It is a heart felt and sincere concern and care for others and especially to one’s brethren in Christ. True Christ-like love comes from the heart and is not artificial or forced. John wrote of the love of Christ for other believers, “We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.” (1 John 3:14-16)
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever (1 Pet. 1:23).
Often the biblical term “born again” is misused and at times ridiculed. Yet, to Nicodemus Jesus said, “. . . Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Paul explain what being born again meant in the life of the believer. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” (2 Corinthians 5:17) The term describes the transformation that occurs at the moment of salvation. The person literally becomes a new creation of God, a child of God who enters into a previously unknown relationship with his Creator. He receives the very Spirit of God as he is indwelled by the Holy Spirit and receives a new nature. This act of God, foreordained and elected of God give the believing person a new beginning, thus not born of water, refering to human birth, but as a new babe born into the family of God. This is totally the work God and is irreversible. “Not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” No one is saved a part from the Word of God. Paul addresses this critical truth saying, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:13-15)
Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44)
God draws men to Him by hearing the word of God, and through the work of the Holy Spirit. If a man comes to Christ by believing the eternal word of God, then the promises revealed in the word are also eternal and immutable. The child of God can have complete confidence in what God tells him through His word.
“For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” (1 Peter 1:24-25)
We need only to look around us to see the reality of aging and death. However, the believer need not be discouraged or dismayed at our coming death. Paul assures us that saying, “Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord” (2 Corinthians 5:6) The child of God hope lies in the absolute promises of God. His hope is actually anticipation, waiting and longing for the time when Christ returns or he through the door way of death enters into the joys of heaven.
There are two different Greek words translated “word” in verses 23 (logos) and 25 (rhema). Vines explains the significance of two words: “The significance of rhema (as distinct from logos) is exemplified in the injunction to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Eph. 6:17; here the reference is not to the whole Bible as such, but to the individual scripture which the Spirit brings to our remembrance for use in time of need, a prerequisite being the regular storing of the mind with Scripture.”<<>