1st Peter Chapter 1 Study
1 Peter 1:1: These are all Roman provinces. This is similar perhaps to the introduction of James. Peter is perhaps referencing Christians in general due to how they are to consider themselves strangers and pilgrims on earth like he’d go on to exhort in 2:11 of this book. If he is referencing Jewish Christians here who are scattered outside Judea who are currently in the Roman provinces referenced here, that in no way diminishes that these exhortations are still directly for all Christians since Jewish and gentile Christians are of the same body and compose the spiritual Israel, partaking of the same Gospel and the same covenant in Jesus Christ.
1:2: “Elect”= The elect are God’s chosen. They are chosen conditionally based upon a proper response to His design of salvation in Jesus Christ which is expressed in the call of His authentic Gospel.
“Through sanctification of the Spirit”= God’s seal that He has accepted a person’s repentance and faith in Christ is His Holy Spirit which is given to all those that obey Christ’s Gospel (Acts 5:32).
The aim of true repentance before God is practical obedience to Jesus Christ. In walking in the light of His Word one is sprinkled or cleansed through His precious blood (1 John 1:7).
1:3: Peter is writing to exhort members of authentic Apostolic Christian churches to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ and not faint nor turn away from the narrow way to eternal life in Jesus Christ. Such exhortation is essential for those who have found and entered the narrow gate in Jesus Christ. And just getting to that point is generally difficult and a great matter in itself.
1:4: The certainty of the faithful obtaining this inheritance is guaranteed by Jesus Christ’s own resurrection already being accomplished. And those who surrender to Him and call on Him with a willingness to cooperate with Him can be sure of the sufficiency of His grace and keeping power.
1:5: This is a great encouragement indeed, especially considering what we have already considered, yet it is sure not teaching Once Saved Always Saved or Calvinistic perseverance. Remember Hebrews 3:12-15: “Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you (holy Christian brethren- the context of Hebrews makes this clear)an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end; While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation (speaking of when Israel would not obey God and go into the Promised Land at God’s commandment in the Book of Numbers).”
1:6: The Christians rejoice in this salvation ready to be revealed in the last time though, if necessary, they are in distress through various trials. Peter will make it clear that such tribulation and distress are normal for every Christian to face. He wants to emphasize that not every faithful Christian faces such distress and tribulation to the same degree at every time; and also emphasize that God has a key purpose in allowing manifold temptations to try and weigh down the Christian.
1:7: Insight into the “if need be” of verse 6. Having been born again and presently loving Jesus in truth has not brought them to the finish line of the Christian race. Key cross references here are 2 Thessalonians 1:10-12 and Hebrews chapter 12.
1:8-9: It’s okay to have never physically seen Him; it’s even implied you have not done so unless you were an eyewitness of His resurrection like Peter was. No one now knows the specifics of what Jesus looked like as a man in His incarnation. Our message “The Fake Jesus Image and its Disastrous Influence” deals with that. Yet we must love Him and believe Him. Those who do so keep His commandments by faith and they have an unspeakable joy which foretastes His coming glory.
John 15:7-11: “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples. As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”
Matthew 24:9-13: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity (lawlessness) shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.”
1:10-11: Peter is implying, as we’ve seen and will see more going forward, that those who inherit all things with Him must go in the same direction He went in.
1:12: The Prophets who wrote the Hebrew Scriptures, what we know as the Old Testament, understood that the things which they were writing about would not ultimately be fulfilled in their own lifetime- especially regarding the Messiah. You’ll see that Daniel was told this directly if you carefully read Daniel chapter 12. The things they wrote about were of such magnitude not only to the prophets, but even to the angels, nicely setting verse 13 where the attention turns to the Christians and how they better value the things of Christ’s Gospel with such magnitude that they are diligent to walk in its promises and live worthy of the price which Christ paid to redeem us through His precious blood.
1:13: That is, the grace that is to be brought to the obedient who live holy or set apart to Him.
1:14-16: Verse 16 is a quote from Leviticus, proving further that the Apostolic mindset is that the principles of the Law of Moses are upheld in Christianity. Here is the quote from Leviticus 20:7: “Sanctify yourselves therefore, and be ye holy: for I am the Lord your God.” And the next sentence, Leviticus 20:8 says: “And ye shall keep my statutes, and do them: I am the Lord which sanctify you.”
1 Peter 1:17: Peter is emphasizing that we all, Christians included, will be judged according to our deeds. No one is an exception, no one gets a special pass, no one will be spared from condemnation for living in sin because of their race, ethnicity, their family, the economic status they had, who they know, or anything like that. We are on earth temporarily; then we go meet God on His judgment throne. We are commanded therefore to live our lives in fear in relation to the coming judgment, especially considering the price which was paid to redeem us.
1:18-19: Corrupt religion may teach wicked traditions related to money being able to be paid to redeem one from the guilt of their sin and into God’s favor, but that is corrupt religion (Judaism had been corrupted by such practices by the first century and ceremonialism labeled as Christian invites such corruption too, as is proven by the history of Christendom), but only the precious blood of Christ is a sufficient redemption price. To partake of His redemption we must call upon Him believing this and dealing with Him (that is, submitting to Him) as the risen Lord and Ultimate Authority figure whom He in truth is. Peter is emphasizing to the Christians to value Him as their life or they are no better off than those who blatantly look for a way around coming to Him as He ought to be received.
1 Peter 1:20: Jesus Christ was appointed to be incarnated, to suffer for righteousness’ sake, and to give His soul as an offering for sin on the cross before the foundation of the world with the goal of reconciling those who are obedient to His Gospel to the Father; and to ultimately cause those who endure as His disciples to the end to inherit His kingdom eternally.
1:21: That their faith and hope in God might have a solid basis and not be faulty or in any way an illusion. Remember that Peter is writing to exhort members of authentic Apostolic Christian churches to press toward the mark of the high calling of God in Jesus Christ and not faint nor turn away from the narrow way to eternal life in Jesus Christ. Such exhortation is essential for those who have found and entered the narrow gate in Jesus Christ. And as we’ve said, just getting to that point is generally difficult and a great matter in itself.
1:22: No one can turn to Jesus Christ in truth who doesn’t tell Him from their heart, even if they don’t use the exact words, that His people will be their people. Peter is exhorting the Christians to practically follow through on this essential thing which they yielded to at their new birth when they were in truth converted to Jesus Christ.
1:23: The power of the Holy Spirit which comes to indwell a person who has been born again by faith in Jesus Christ enables those who abide in Him to do what His Word requires in a way which God accepts since they thereby demonstrate a heart of faith which truly aims to please Him; and they are not under His Law’s condemnation anymore due to the blood Christ shed and their inclusion in Christ’s covenant through their upright faith in Him.
1:24: Echoing James 4:14, our lives are but a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanish away. And the glory of human lives, things like strength and beauty and other things which people generally glory over and highly esteem, the period of such things is even briefer than human life. It is proper to compare the glory of man to a flower in the grass and the life of man to grass.
1:25: Don’t take anything in the Word with anything except great care and attention to understand it properly and apply it to yourself so that you walk in an acceptable living faith in Jesus Christ whom the Word of God is a testimony of. Don’t despise His Gospel and the requirements for you which that Gospel carries. These will be elaborated on as Peter continues this epistle.
Psalm 90:10-12: “The days of our years are threescore years and ten (seventy years); and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years (eighty years), yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. Who knoweth the power of thine anger? even according to thy fear, so is thy wrath (as great as God is, so is His wrath). So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.”
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