I Peter 1:1-3
I Peter 1:1 says, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,” All human beings are associated and give their allegiance to something in life, whether it be family, friends, an organization of some kind, or a government. Peter was associated with and patriotic to Christ and the kingdom of God. Some people are very patriotic to a particular country but countries are just organizations made by man. A person’s greatest patriotism should be to the kingdom of God, for it is the only kingdom that will endure forever. Peter made sure that those who read this epistle would know who his allegiance was to. He did so by declaring his dedication to Christ in the very first sentence of this epistle. The Bible says that the righteous are bold as a lion. If you want to be bold and shine bright as a light for Jesus in this dark world, then be quick and eager to let others know your faith in Christ in each new situation of life that God puts you in; doing so will help you to take a stand for what is right and to not follow the crowd. This is the very first thing that Peter did here in his epistle.
In this verse Peter is greeting other Christians and he called them strangers. In another place in the Bible the same word is used when God calls Christians pilgrims in a strange land. The Bible says that the believer should be in the world but not of the world. There is a definite difference in the kind of lifestyle and attitude that the Christian should have compared to the lost people of this world. The Christian should desire and delight in spiritual things; the Word of God and prayer. The lost people of the world delight in worldly and external things. The world lives for material pleasures and possessions, but the believer should live for the spiritual pleasure found in saying not my will but Thine, Lord. And the believer also strives for the spiritual inheritance that will be rewarded to him in the next life. The believer is a pilgrim because he is merely journeying through this life into the next, led by the Spirit of God. In many ways a believer is a stranger because just as the Bible says about Jesus in John 1:10 “He was in the world and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” Believers too will often be outcast from society and treated inhospitably as strangers. Unbelievers will not know nor understand you because they do not know nor understand who Jesus is.
In verse one Peter was greeting Christians that were located in many different regions of the Roman Empire. Although there was probably a wide variety of cultural differences and probably even quite a lot of differences in how they organized their services when they met together to worship God, Peter made no distinction between these believers. He called them all strangers. They all shared the same common bond of faith in Jesus Christ. Today Christianity has been divided into countless divisions because of insignificant differences in systems of theology, tradition of man in how a worship service is done, and many other worthless issues. And Christianity has even been divided by unspiritual Christians and unsaved people in the church who seek their own glory and seek after power and control. But as you make your pilgrimage though this life, following the footprints of Jesus, when you meet other believers, whether they be Baptist, Pentecostal, Lutheran, or any of the many other denominations, remember these people are your brothers and sisters in Christ and should be treated as such and not thought of based on their denomination. God makes no such distinction. The Bible says, “receive ye the brethren”.
Verse 2 tells us about this common bond that unites all believers. Verse 2 says, “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.” This common bond is salvation. In other words Christians have a common bond because all are sinners who have trusted in Christ, and their relationship with God is based on grace through faith. Just as the Gentle who believes in Jesus is equal in status to the Jew who believes in Jesus, the Catholic who believes in Jesus is just as equal as the Baptist. Verse 2 talks about three concepts that help us to understand our salvation. These three concepts are election, sanctification, and the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
The word elect is also translated chosen. It is the same word where in Matthew 20:16 Jesus said, “many are called but few are chosen.” It is closely related to the idea of predestination. Predestination means that God has plans for the future that will come to pass and nothing can stop God’s plans. The devil has tried and failed. God created a plan to save us from our sins by sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins. Jesus died for our sins and rose again. The devil tried to stop God, and the Pharisees tried to stop Jesus. They thought that killing Him would stop Him but ironically their wicked deeds, by the grace of God, were used to fulfill God’s purpose because all things work together for good to them that love God. Foreknowledge means that God knows the future before it happens, because God is not bound by time. Man is bound by time. God is eternally the alpha and omega. There is no end or beginning to God. Who then are the elect? The elect are those who are saved by repenting of their sins and giving their life to Christ. When you repent of your sins and trust in Christ you become elect. When you choose God, then God chooses you; that’s what it means to be the chosen or elect. Therefore God predestinated the way that one becomes elect, through the gospel of Jesus Christ. And God knows the future, therefore He knows who will and who will not chose to repent of their sins. Jesus did all the work, He died for your sins, and He rose again. Now it is simply left up to you to repent and believe. This is the most important choice that every human being will make. What is your choice?
The second aspect of salvation mentioned in verse two is sanctification. Sanctified means to be holy. It has the idea of being separated from sin and separated unto God. There are two kinds of sanctification, positional and provisional. Verse 2 says sanctification of the Spirit, because it is the Holy Spirit of God that sanctifies a person. This is why a believer is called a saint. Once you have repented of your sins and trusted in Christ, you become sanctified through the power of God. You become holy just as Jesus is Holy. This is positional sanctification. It is a spiritual condition or state of being based on your faith in Jesus Christ. It is immediate and unchangeable and as sure as your salvation. But there is also a provisional sanctification. This provisional sanctification is dependent moment by moment on you being obedient to the will of God. Sanctification really means change in the spiritual sense. Jesus said in John 17:17, “sanctify them through Thy Word, Thy Word is truth.” It is only by the Word of God that a soul is brought to Christ. And it is only through the Word of God that you can have provisional sanctification. Your consistency in following the will of God in your life each day will be 100% dependent on how close you come to meditating on the Word of God day and night. The Spirit of God sanctifies us and the power of the Spirit is only supplied through the Word of God and prayer.
The last part of verse 2 says, “unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” The word obedience is a very important word to notice in verse two. Only by obedience can you follow God. Only by obedience can you have sanctification of the Spirit. Only by obedience to the Gospel can you be saved. Obedience means to say to God in your heart and with your actions, not my will but Thine be done, Lord. The millions of souls in human history who have wasted their lives, thrown away the opportunities God has given them, and cast their own souls into the pit of hell, have ultimately done so because they did not want to obey God. As you look out across the field of humanity and think of all those who have rejected the gospel when you offered it to them, when you become frustrated and wonder why you cannot seem to reach the lost, remember it is not your fault. They are simple foolish people who do not want to be obedient to the truth.
And thirdly the phrase “sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ”, should be noticed. This phrase gives us the reason that we can have salvation, the reason we can be elect, the reason we can be sanctified, and even the only reason man ever has a chance of being obedient. The Bible says that the wages of sin is death. The Bible also says in the O.T. that it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. This is the reason that the Lamb of God had to die. He took the wages for our sins. He shed his blood. Why blood? What is it about blood that is so sacred? Probably the fact that blood is the essence of life in the body. That is why the Bible says in the Book of Leviticus, the life of the flesh is in the blood. And the blood of Jesus Christ is pure and perfect, and holy. In the O.T. the Jews would sprinkle the blood of the sacrifice upon the altar, it was symbolic for the fact that sins would one day be cleansed when Jesus shed His blood. The sacrifices of the O.T. were temporary; then came Jesus the perfect and permanent sacrifice; a one-time sacrifice that covered the sins of all humanity. And now the Blood of Jesus Christ is sprinkled upon the altar of our souls when we trust in Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. If the life of the flesh is in the blood, then it only makes sense that the life of the spirit is in the blood of Jesus Christ, the perfect Son of God.
Verse 3 says, “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,” When the Bible says blessed here in verse 3 it is not the same word that is translated blessed in the beatitudes but rather means praised or to say good things about. God should be praised and good things should be said about Him; He should be thanked, He should be held with a high opinion in your mind and heart, because of His abundant mercy. Often when theologians define mercy they say it is God not giving sinful man what he deserves. But that is only part of the idea. It is the idea of not giving us sinners what we deserve but it is also the idea of giving us what we do not deserve. “According to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again.” To be begotten means to be given life. It means born again. By the abundant mercy of God we, who were once dead in trespasses and sins, have been born again. We have been given spiritual life and light when once we were dead and lost in darkness. We have a hope that is alive and based upon the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. If physical death was the end, the finality of your existence, then there would be no reason to live for things other than of this world and no reason to hope beyond the uncertainties of today. But Jesus rose from the dead by His own power because He is God and God is the source of all life. And by the Spirit of God those who trust in Christ will step through the doorway of death into an eternal resurrection with Christ. We have a lively hope because it will take us beyond the grave and it is all because of God’s abundant mercy. Therefore when you think of God and you think of His mercy. Think of His mercy as being abundant. It is a measurement. The word mercy is used hundreds of times in the Bible.
The Bible says in Lamentations 3:22-23, “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness”. The abundant mercies of God will always be there for you whenever you need them. By the abundant mercies of God, Jesus Christ came and died on the cross for my sins and yours. And then Jesus rose from the dead the third day. Then He ascended to heaven. And now He sits at the right hand of God. Jesus said, Behold, I come quickly. Soon Christ will return to judge the sins of the world, but it is only because of His abundant mercy that He has not yet returned.
Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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