I Peter 1:20-25
I Peter 1:20 says, Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you. Very often people make the mistake of taking a simple truth and simple teaching of the Bible and turn it into something complex and worthless to the hearers. I Timothy chapter 6:4-6 says, He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. But godliness with contentment is great gain.
What is a primary reason someone would take truth and teach it in such a way that it becomes twisted and empty to the hearers? Pride. Why pride? Because the Holy Spirit reveals the truth of the Word to the humble and penitent heart. Those who are prideful will only preach their own ideas and not Gods truth. The Word of God, when taught accurately, will always have the result of making a person godly and content with what God has given them. When verse 20 of I Peter chapter 1 says foreordained, and in other places in the Bible when such concepts like predestination are spoken of; there is nothing complex about it. The basic idea is to show us that God is in complete control of the circumstances of our lives. Thats why Romans 8:28 says, And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.
Verse 20 tells us that God is in complete control. Before He even created the heavens and the earth He planned out that Jesus Christ would come to the earth and die for our sins, so that we might have eternal life and peace with God in our souls. These wonderful promises of God and teachings of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ have been given to man from the very beginning of time, from Adam and Eve to us. But the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ was not always revealed in such great detail. As verse 20 says, it is only in these last times that Christ and the mystery of godliness has been so greatly revealed. We live in the last days of the earth. And as the intensity of the spiritual warfare increases so too increases the urgency with which God has presented and revealed His truth to man. And with opportunity comes responsibility. Jesus said in Luke 12:48, unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required.
Those who live in this age of grace and have heard the gospel preached unto them; if they reject Jesus Christ and do not repent of their sins, they will spilt Hell wide open and the flames of the lake of fire will consume their souls with great intensity. Why? Because we live in the age of grace. God has given us in every detail the wonderful truths of salvation. In the ages past, from Adam and Eve to the end of the age of the law, salvation had been promised, but the Gospel has not been so greatly revealed. With opportunity comes responsibility.
Verse 21 goes on to say, 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. In this verse there are 3 important truths being taught. First verse 21 says, Who by Him do believe in God. The Him is speaking of Jesus Christ. By Jesus Christ we believe in God. It is not enough to have faith. And it is not enough to believe there is a God. James 2:19 says, Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.
You may believe in God but if you do not believe in Jesus Christ then your faith is vain. But if your faith in God is based upon believing in Jesus Christ who loved you, died for your sins and rose again; then your faith will take you beyond the grave and into the eternal kingdom of God where there is no night, no sin, and no sorrow. This is why the next part of verse 21 says who raised Him up from the dead. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is what all Christian hopes are founded upon. It is the proof that Jesus indeed is God. And it is the last great physical sign God has given to help us have faith in Him. Jesus said in Luke 11:29, This is an evil generation: they seek a sign; and there shall no sign be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet. What is the sign of Jonas the prophet? Jonas was in the belly of a whale three days. And just as Jonas was in the belly of a whale 3 days, Jesus was in the tomb 3 days. If a man does not believe in the miracle of Jesus Christ rising from the dead, then there are no other physical miracles that will make that man trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of His sins. Its not enough to have faith in God. The demons and satan believe in God, and they are filled with fear and trembling.
The last part of verse 21 says that God gave Jesus glory that our faith and hope might be in God. In John chapter 12:32 Jesus said, And if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me. The word lifted is also translated exalted. Verse 32 of John 12 says, This He said, signifying what death He should die. There is an eternal glory that shines from the cross of Calvary; because Jesus Christ, who knew no sin, became sin for us, that we might obtain the righteousness of God. Looking in verse 21 of I Peter chapter 1 there is a very important connection between the word glory and the word faith. God gave Jesus glory that our faith and hope might be in God. When glory is given to Jesus and to Jesus alone, not man, then and only then is faith and hope in God and His promises built up in the hearts and minds of believers. And then and only then are the lost souls of the world brought to Christ. In Galatians 6:14 Paul the apostle said, But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.
Some people waste their lives seeking their own glory instead of the eternal and lasting glory that is found only in the cross of Jesus Christ. To accomplish the work of God you must in your heart do what you do for Gods glory. And you must speak of Jesus and His Gospel and not of yourself and your own works. In the Old Testament there is a story given of Joshua and the Children of Israel. When it came time to attack the city of Jericho two spies were sent into the city. The two spies met a woman named Rahab and she said to them in Joshua chapter 2:9-10, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.
And Rahab said in verse 10, we have heard how the Lord. When the knowledge of what God has done is spread, by means of His Word, it will give faith to those who have a penitent heart. If the things that you do and the words that you say do not have the result of glorifying God then they will not have the result of giving faith and hope to others. And then your works and words are vain and will profit you nothing when you stand before the judgment seat of Christ. God will only glorify those who glorify Him. Revelation chapter 5 verse 13 says, And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. In the not so distant future the animals of Gods creation will have their tongues loosed, and when they speak they will glorify God. God gave man speech primarily for the purpose of glorifying God and spreading the knowledge of His truth. Colossians 4:6 says, Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.
So often we humans use our speech to gossip and speak evil of others, to murmer and complain, to say vile and ugly words, and to glorify ourselves instead of God. Jesus said in John 7:18, He that speaketh of himself seeks his own glory: but he that seeketh His glory that sent him, the same is true and no unrighteousness is in him. You can tell a lot about a person by what they talk about. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God, not by the words of man. Some preachers are failures because they talk too much about themselves instead of Jesus Christ who died for our sins that we might have eternal life. Verse 21 of I Peter chapter 1 says that God gave Jesus glory, that your faith and hope might be in God. The Bible says if any man speak let him speak as of the oracles of God. It should be that when the Word of God is preached the believers who hear a sermon, leave the service blessed by God, having their souls filled with the Spirit of God and His fruits and having their faith in God encouraged and strengthened. If this does not happen, the Word has not been preached. Do you want to be used by God? Do you want to be a pillar in the eternal temple of God? Do you want crowns to cast at the Saviors feet? Then Glorify the Lord Jesus Christ in your words and deeds.
Verse 22 goes on to say, 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. What truth is it that we obey, which has the power to purify our souls? Why, it is exactly what verse 21 said: that Jesus Christ rose from the dead.
John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have life everlasting. Jesus said in John 6:44, 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. The Spirit of God touches our hearts and makes us feel guilty for our sins. And then The Word of God gives us the Gospel of Jesus Christ, salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. And when we obey the truth by believing the truth, by repenting of our sins, and surrendering our wills to Jesus; we become purified in our souls, because Jesus Christ is a lamb without spot or blemish.
What is the result of true religion? The result is unfeigned love of the brethren. A pure heart, a heart that is cleansed from sin by the power of the Blood of Jesus, is a heart that will love God. And a purified heart is one that will grow in love for other people as it grows in love for God. What a contrast to the false religions of the world. What is the result of false religion? It is hatred for your fellow man. On September 11th, 2001, thousands of people were murdered by extreme followers of the false teachings of the Koran in the New York terrorist attacks. Truth comes from God. Everything else comes from the black and putrid heart of the devil.
Those who follow anything other than the teachings of Jesus Christ will ultimately become like the devil. You are either conforming to the image of Jesus Christ or you are conforming to the image of the devil. Jesus said to love your enemies. The Bible also says that God is love. This is the contrast between the Bible and false religious teachings such as the Koran. I Corinthians 13:3 says, though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.
Of course, to truly love someone means more than just to do physical acts of kindness. But true love is to teach the Word of God to those in need. If you claim to love others but you do not give them the teachings of the Bible and especially the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, then your love is empty and vain. True religion is faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins. And true religion produces love because God is love. God loved us by sending His only begotten Son to suffer and take the punishment for our sins. It takes a wicked heart, a heart hard as stone, and a heart filled with callous hatred, ignorance, and lust for the things of the world, to not love God and to not love all other people in the world, when Jesus Christ has suffered and died for our sins. A pure heart, a heart cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ and a mind learned in the Word, will produce fervent love for God and for the brethren.
I Peter 1:23-25 goes on to say, Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth fore ever. 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.
The phrase being born again is speaking of salvation. Jesus said in John 3:3, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Every one experiences physical birth when they come into this world. But because all have sinned and come short of the glory of God we are all dead spiritually until we experience the spiritual birth by repenting of our sins and trusting in Jesus Christ who lived, died, and rose again the 3rd day. II Corinthians 5:17 says, Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Verse 23 tells us that we are born again by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever. Physical birth is based upon the corrupted and temporary. It will all pass away one day. It is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment. But the Word of God will endure forever. When the physical universe has passed away, the Word of God will remain an eternal part of Gods spiritual kingdom. And therefore those who are born through the Word of God will also live forever. Jesus said in Matthew 5:18, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Those who teach that the Word of God is not the Words of God and those who say that the Word of God is not 100% preserved word for word, letter for letter are wrong. They are wrong because the Bible says so. Verse 24 tells us that man and all his glory is as grass. Grass is here today and gone tomorrow. And the life of man on this earth is just as brief.
II Corinthians 6:2 says, now is the day of salvation. Life is uncertain. People die every day. Because we have all sinned and come short of the glory of God there is a penalty to be paid for breaking the law of God. The penalty is eternal suffering in the lake of fire. But Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died on the cross. He bore the penalty for our sins. He died and rose again the third day, ascending to heaven to sit on the right hand of God for eternity. If you do not have Jesus in your heart, you can repent of our sins right now and trust in Jesus Christ for salvation. Then by the power of God, you will one day step beyond the grave and the doorway of death and ascend to heaven just as Jesus ascended. Faith in Jesus Christ gives eternal life. Jesus offers us forgiveness for our wicked sins. Faith in Jesus Christ is peace and joy to the soul. Salvation is a free gift by the grace of God and not of mans works. As surely as the clock ticks we journey closer to the moment of our physical death. All human lives are on a collision course with the judgment seat of God. You can either stand before God clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ or clothed in the filthy rags of your own sins and self-righteousness. Salvation cannot be earned. It can only be accepted. But it is today that is the day of salvation. Tomorrow is the Day of Judgment. Eternal bliss with God, or eternal suffering in hell; its your choice. Only a fool would choose hell instead of the eternal and abundant grace and love of God. What is your choice? Jesus Christ, or the flames of hell?
Copyright; 2002 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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