1 Peter Chapter 1
1 Peter 1:1 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,”
“Apostle of Jesus Christ”: Peter was one of a unique group of men who were personally called (Matt. 10:1-4), and commissioned (John 20:19-23), by Christ, and who ministered with Christ after His resurrection. The Church was built upon the foundation of their teaching.
“Peter” (Greek Petros), is the Greek form of the Aramaic name Cephas (“Rock”), which was given to Peter at his call to discipleship by the Lord Himself (John 1:42), and is the name by which he is usually designated in the New Testament.
“Strangers”: These strangers dispossessed in a land not their own, temporary residents or foreigners. Like all believers, they were residents of an eternal city (Phil. 3:20; Heb. 13:13-14). They are described as strangers (Greek parepidemois), sojourners in a strange place, and scattered (Greek Diasporas), meaning the dispersion.
“Scattered”: With the Greek definite article, “scattered,” or “dispersion,” is sometimes a technical term for the scattering of the Jews from Israel throughout the world (John 7:35; James 1:1). But here, without the article “scattered” is used in a non-technical sense referring to spiritual pilgrims, aliens to the earth, whether Jews or Gentiles, i.e., the church.
“Throughout Pontus, and so on, is in the area now known as Asia Minor. Peter’s letter is addressed to churches in provinces located in modern-day Turkey, which were part of the Roman Empire. This is addressed primarily to the Jews that were scattered in these places.
Peter’s calling was primarily to the Jew. He had been taught of God not to call any man unclean, when the Lord let the sheet full of unclean animals down three times to him. It was also, Peter who saw the first Gentiles baptized in the Holy Spirit (read about it in Acts chapters 10 and 11).
“Apostle”, in this instance, means an ambassador for Christ. Peter is bringing the message of Christ, and not his own. Notice, that Peter did not say he was the apostle, but an apostle, which recognizes the other apostles.
1 Peter 1:2 “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.”
“Elect” ones who are chosen of God to salvation “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”: Foreknowledge is God’s determination in eternity past to bring certain ones into a special relationship with Himself. The Spirit sets apart for salvation from destruction those whom God has foreknown.
This is a very controversial Scripture. The “elect” are those chosen from the foundation of the earth to receive salvation. The elect are the elect, because they activate their free will and accept the Lord as their Savior.
Foreknowledge, Greek word is translated “foreknown” (in verse 20). In both verses, the word does not refer to awareness of what is going to happen, but it clearly means a predetermined relationship in the knowledge of the Lord.
God brought the salvation relationship into existence by decreeing it into existence ahead of time. Christians are foreknown for salvation in the same way Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world to be a sacrifice for sins (Acts 2:23).
“Sanctification of the Spirit”: To sanctify means “to consecrate,” “to set apart.” The objective of election is salvation, which comes to the elect through the sanctifying work of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit thus makes God’s chosen holy, by saving and setting them apart from sin and unbelief unto faith and righteousness (1 Thess. 1:4; 2 Thess. 2:13).
Sanctification thus begins with justification (declaring the sinner just before God by graciously imputing Christ’s righteousness to him, Phil. 3:9), and continues as a process of purification that goes on until glorification, when the Christian sees Jesus face to face.
Sprinkling” is an allusion to (Exodus 24:1-11), in which the blood was sprinkled on the altar and the people as a symbol sealing their covenant as they promised to obey God’s Word and as a symbol of Jehovah’s acceptance. Likewise, in the New Covenant, faith in the shedding of Christ’s blood on the cross not only activates God’s promise to give the believer perfect atonement for sin, but also bring the believer into the covenant by one’s promise of obedience to the Lord and His Word.
God is not controlled by time, as we are. He is eternal. He lives in eternity. It is no problem for Him to look a few thousand years into the future (by our time). God dwells where there is one eternal day. There is no separation of time into days, and weeks, and months where God the Father dwells.
He foreknew, from the foundation of the earth, what decision you and I would make pertaining to salvation. He wrote our name into the Lamb’s book of life at the foundation of the earth. He did not make us like puppets where we would not have a choice, He just knew ahead of time, how we would choose.
God chose all who would believe to be His sons, from the beginning of time. The plan of salvation was worked out from the very beginning. God knew our weakness and made provision for it. We are sanctified in the Spirit by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It is in the Holy Spirit that we are “sanctified” (made holy). It is the Holy Spirit of God which keeps us.
Jesus promised He would send the Holy Spirit to dwell within us and be our Teacher and our Guide. He would teach us all Truth. It is the sprinkled blood of Jesus Christ that cleanses us and makes us acceptable to the Father. To be filled with God’s Spirit, brings grace and peace, multiplied.
Verses 1:3 to 2:10: The Christian’s destiny: salvation means “deliverance.” Peter’s view of salvation is ultimate salvation. That is, when the believer will be rescued from this world into the presence of God.
Verses 1:3 to 12: The plan of salvation: Peter does not look at time from a Western perspective. The Hebrews regarded the present as so fleeting that in their language they have essentially only two tenses: past and future.
Verses 3-5: The portrayal of salvation looks to the future. The author of salvation is portrayed as the blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. The work of salvation (verses 3-5), is described as to its effect. Hath begotten us again refers to a new stage of life that begins at salvation.
This lively hope has no element of uncertainty for it is guaranteed by Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The believer’s “inheritance” is described as “incorruptible”, imperishable or indestructible, and undefiled (i.e. morally untainted).
“That fadeth not away” means it is not subject to the ravages of time. Further it is reserved, that is, it has been preserved in the past and still is “in heaven”. “Kept”, is a present passive participle, we are secure because we are continually guarded by God, who never relaxes His vigil. “Salvation” here, refers to final salvation. That is, deliverance from the presence of sin and into the presence of God.
1 Peter 1:3 “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,”
The hope for the Christian is the resurrection. The word “blessed”, in the Scripture above is from the word, eulogetos. This word translated blessed, is only used regarding God. When blessed is said of the Christians, it is taken from another root word.
“Father and our Lord Jesus Christ”: Though God was known as Creator and Redeemer in the Old Testament, He was rarely called Father. Christ, however, always addressed God as His Father in the gospels (as in John 5:17), except in the separation on the cross (Matt. 27:46). In so doing, Christ was claiming to be of the same nature, being, or essence as the Father (Matt. 11:27; John 10:29-39; 14:6-11; 2 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 1:3, 17; 2 John 3).
Also, by speaking of “our” Lord, Peter personalized the Christian’s intimate relationship with the God of the universe through His Son (1 Cor. 6:17), an important truth for suffering Christians to remember.
“Hath begotten us again into a lively hope”: God gave the new birth as part of His provision in salvation. When a sinner comes to Christ and puts his faith in Him, he is born anew into God’s family and receives a new nature (John 1:13; 3:1-21).
“Abundant mercy”: The reason God provided a glorious salvation for mankind is that He is merciful. Sinners need God’s mercy because they are in a pitiful, desperate, wretched condition as sinners.
“A lively hope”: The living hope is the eternal life, “Hope” means confident optimism and:
- Comes from God (Psalm 43:5);
- Is a gift of grace (2 Thess. 2:16);
- Is defined by Scripture (Romans 15:4);
- Is a reasonable reality (1 Peter 3:5);
- Is secured by the resurrection of Jesus Christ (John 11:25-26; 14:19; 1 Cor. 15:17);
- Is confirmed in the Christian by the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:13);
- Defends the Christian against Satan’s attack (1 Thess. 5:8);
- Is confirmed through trials (Romans 5:3-4);
- Products joy (Psalm 146:5); and
- Is fulfilled in Christ’s return (Titus 2:13).
“Lively hope”: Because of the new birth, the believer anticipates a literal, bodily resurrection, even as Jesus was raised from the dead (see 1 Cor. 15:23). This living, blessed, purifying hope will be realized at the Rapture and resurrection of the “dead in Christ” (1. Thess. 4:6; Titus 2:13; 1 John 3:3).
The Lord Jesus Christ is the first of the first fruit harvest. He was the first to be begotten at resurrection. The hope of the believer is that our Leader, Jesus Christ, arose and so all who put their faith in Him, shall rise, also. The Christian’s new life is in Christ.
1 Peter 1:4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,”
“Inheritance incorruptible … reserved in heaven”: In keeping with this “living hope,” believers have a future inheritance, already reserved in heaven (Acts 26:18; Eph. 1:11; 14, 18; Col 1:12; 3:24). An inheritance comes by virtue of relationship, to be distinguished from rewards, which are granted for obedience and good works (1 Cor. 3:13-14; 2 Cor. 5:10).
“Incorruptible”: The inheritance is not subject to passing away, nor liable to decay. The word was used in secular Greek of something that was unravaged by an invading army.
“Undefiled”: This word means unpolluted, unstained with evil. The undefiled inheritance of the Christian is in marked contrast to an earthly inheritance, all of which is corrupted and defiled.
“That fadeth not away”: “Fading” was often used of flowers that wither and decay. Though earthly inheritances eventually fade away, the eternal inheritance of a Christian has no decaying elements.
Peter showed those persecuted Christians how to look past their troubles to their eternal inheritance. Life, righteousness, joy, peace, perfection, God’s presence, Christ’s glorious companionship, rewards, and all else God has planned is the Christian’s heavenly inheritance. According to (Eph. 1:14), the indwelling Holy Spirit is the resident guarantee of that inheritance.
The New Testament is the last will and testament for those who choose to believe in and follow Jesus. Our inheritance in Jesus is incorruptible, because He is incorruptible. Since Jesus is the Beginning and the Ending, the inheritance is forever, as well.
What a wonderful promise to the believer, that we will be joint-heirs with Jesus. This inheritance is not of this world. It is not an earthly inheritance which is corruptible.
We are told (in John 14:1-3), “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.” “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.”
1 Peter 1:5 “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
“Kept by the power of God”: Nothing can steal the believer’s heavenly inheritance, although disobedience can mean a loss of rewards (2 John 8). The final consummation of our salvation will be revealed and experienced in glorification with Christ at His return (Rom. 8:17; 2 Thess. 1:10).
Supreme power, omniscience, omnipotence, and sovereignty, not only keep the inheritance (verse 4), but also keep the believer secure. No one can steal the Christian’s treasure and no one can disqualify him from receiving it.
“Through faith”: The Christian’s response to God’s election and the Spirit’s conviction is faith, but even faith is empowered by God. Moreover, the Christian’s continued faith in God is the evidence of God’s keeping power. At the time of salvation, God energizes faith, and continues to preserve it. Saving faith is permanent; it never dies.
We must have faith to receive this great inheritance that God has for us in heaven.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
It takes no faith to believe in things on this earth that we can see with our physical eyes. It takes faith to believe in the things in heaven that we cannot see. It is our faith that activates the power of God within us. By faith are we saved. Faith in Jesus Christ and His resurrection is what brings salvation to us.
Read (Romans chapter 10:9-10). The revealing will take place when we have shed this house of flesh and are in heaven with Jesus. Some revealing of the Scriptures are taking place now, because the coming of Christ is so near.
Verses 1:6-9: The problem of salvation looks to the present. Earthly trails constitute a problem of our salvation, but they are only “for a season,” or temporary. “Manifold temptations” means diversified trails. True faith cannot be destroyed though God is in the process of refining faith through our trails.
1 Peter 1:6 “Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:”
“Greatly rejoice”: That is, to be exceedingly glad, exuberantly jubilant. This kind of joy is not based on changing, temporal circumstance, but is used of joy that comes from the unchanging, eternal relationship with God. Peter relates this joy to:
- The assurance of one’s protected eternal inheritance (verses 4-5; John 16:16-33); and
- The assurance from one’s proven faith (verse 7).
“Manifold temptations”: Peter teaches several important principles about trouble in this verse:
- Trouble does not last (For a season);
- Trouble serves a purpose (If need be);
- Trouble brings turmoil (Heaviness);
- Trouble comes in various forms (Temptations);
- Trouble should not diminish the Christian’s joy (Greatly rejoice).
There is anticipation looking forward to that wonderful day, when we will be with Jesus for all of eternity. Christians are in the world, but not of the world. This earth is not our home, we are just passing through. Since we are still housed in a body of flesh, we have problems originating from that flesh.
We age, we get sick, we get tired, etc. Some of the temptations we experience are no more than just being tempted to eat too much. Praise God! I will have a new body. Temptations are earthly in nature. I will no longer experience temptations, when I get my new body and dwell in heaven.
1 Peter 1:7 “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 honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:”
“Trial of your faith”: God’s purpose in allowing trouble is to test the reality of one’s faith. But the benefit of such a testing, or “fire”, is immediately for the Christian, not God. When a believer comes through a trial still trusting the Lord, he is assured that his faith is genuine (Genesis 22:1; Job 1:20-22).
“Appearing of Jesus Christ”: The Greek word for “appearing” is apokalupsis, or “revelation” of Christ. The revelation or unveiling of Christ refers to His second coming, particularly focusing on the time when He comes to call and reward His redeemed people (verses 13; 4:13; 1 Cor. 1:7), i.e. the Rapture.
Though persecutions and suffering may befall believers, such trials will not be “worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us” (Rom. 8:18).
Gold, tried in the fire, just becomes more and more pure. Some of the fiery trials that come on us are to purify us and make us better Christians. Sometimes that is very hard to see, but usually a great problem that we overcome, makes us stronger in the Lord.
Job, in the Bible, is a very good example of overcoming in dire circumstances. Gold will perish, when the earth is destroyed. Gold may be changed now, but it is still around in some form or other after it is melted. We are the same. We are still around after the testing, but the question is, are we a vessel of honor or dishonor, after the trial?
1 Peter Chapter 1 Questions
- Approximately when were the books of Peter written?
- What were some of the names Peter was called by?
- What does the name Peter mean?
- What area was Peter from?
- What occupation did Peter have, and where was it located?
- Name some of the outstanding things about Peter.
- What statement had Peter made that let Jesus know Peter knew who He was?
- Why can all Christians relate to Peter?
- The author believes Peter’s life was divided by two. What was the difference noted here?
- What relative of Peter did Jesus heal?
- Who called Jesus “The Lamb of God”?
- Who was this book addressed to?
- Who did Peter call himself in the first verse?
- Peter’s calling was primarily to the _________.
- When had God taught Peter to call no man unclean?
- What does “apostle”, in this instance, mean?
- Who are the elect?
- Why are they the elect?
- Why is it no problem for God to look ahead a few thousand years?
- When was the plan for our salvation figured out?
- What does “sanctified” mean?
- What is the hope for the Christian?
- What is unusual about the word “blessed” in verse 3?
- The Christian’s new life is in ________.
- What is the New Testament to the believer in Christ?
- Why is our inheritance incorruptible?
- How do we receive this great inheritance?
- What is one way our new body will be different?
- What happens to gold that is heated really hot?
- How does that compare to Christian’s trials?
- The question is, after the trial, are we a vessel of ________ or ____________?
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