1 Peter 1:1-12

Pilgrims In A Hostile World

Read 1 Peter 1:1-12

We'll learn two great truth's about Godís plan of salvation in these verses.

First, God has chosen the Believer and He has given us eternal life. This is cause for us to rejoice even in trials, because in the future we'll see the Lord Jesus Christ fully revealed and our trials will be over.

Second, it helps us to understand the prophetic statements in the Old Testament about the suffering and the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let's look at this in five parts.

[1]We were chosen by God. (1 Peter 1:1-2)
1: "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 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."
Peter tells his authority for writing to them as "an apostle of Jesus Christ." The recipients of the letter are called "pilgrims" or "strangers." This description of believers in the world sets the tone for the whole letter. As believers we have been transferred from the "power of darkness into the kingdom of the Son of His love" (Colossians 1 :13)

We're aliens and strangers in a world which is no longer home. In fact it's hostile to the Lord Jesus and His Kingdom (John 18:36)"Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence." We're pilgrims on the way to a "heavenly country." "But now they desire a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for he hath prepared for them a city."(Hebrews 11:16)

It's important for us to grasp this concept of being aliens in this world and pilgrims on our way to heaven. Peterís readers were scattered throughout five Roman provinces. The scattering of early Christians was caused by persecution-first by jealous Jews and later by heathen Gentiles. The result was that the displaced believers spread their faith.

Peter describes three aspects of a pilgrim life. "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 Peter 1:2)

1. Chosen According to the Fatherís Foreknowledge.
We're chosen pilgrims, "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." His foreknowledge indicates His love for us before the world was created: "According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:"(Ephesians 1:4). We can only understand it as the working of the grace of God the Father. It's more than realizing that He knew in advance that we would believe the gospel. In eternity past God centered his attention on us and chose (elected) all those He had graciously focused His attention on.

2. We're chosen pilgrims sanctified (or set apart) by the Holy Spirit for salvation and service. The Spirit puts Godís choice and purpose into effect. He sets us apart for Himself in Salvation and service.

3. Chosen For Obedience. "For obedience" refers to the outcome of Godís work in His people. Godís chosen people ought to constantly be growing in obedience to the truth after they are saved. Obedience here includes the initial "obedience of faith" in Christ as Saviour. He reminds us that every time our fellowship with God is disrupted by disobedience we can be restored and cleansed on the basis of Christís atoning work. When we confess our sins God forgives them.
(1 John. 1:7-9) "But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
8: If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
9: If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Peter completes his greeting statement with the prayer that grace and peace be ours in fullest measure. Paul used this prayer for grace and peace in eleven of his letters. Grace summarizes Godís favor bestowed on guilty man. Peace is the result of salvation by that grace. The Trinity is involved in our salvation and is mentioned in verse 2. Chosen by God, enabled to understand our need by the Holy Spirit, applying the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ to pay for our sins.

[2] Living hope for the Believer. 1 Peter 1:3-5:
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,
4: To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
5: Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time."

We've seen what God has done and is doing for believers who are pilgrims in a hostile world.

Peter goes on to describe salvation in the future when we're called into heaven. It is called a living hope. The section begins with praise to God. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." Praise for God Himself is often missing today. We often think only of the gifts and neglect the Giver.

When Peter addresses God as the "Father of the Lord Jesus Christ" he refers to His role in the Father/Son relationship. He means that in the Godhead the Father and Son act consistently within their roles. "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world." (1 John 4:14) The Father of our Lord Jesus Christ deserves our praise.

God gives us "a living hope" (v.3). It begins with His "abundant mercy" to forgive us. We didn't deserve any consideration from God, but according to His mercy He has allowed us to be "born again." In speaking of the new birth I think Peter remembered Jesusí conversation with Nicodemus when he told him "Ye must be born again." (Read John 3). We're born again to a "living hope," the knowledge that God will fulfill all His promises regarding the future. Hope in the New Testament is not just a possible outcome. It is always certain. It's living because it constantly becomes more real to us. Like the "new birth," it's guaranteed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

The "living hope" is also called an "inheritance" (verse 4). Having been born again as the children of God we're made His heirs.

Our inheritance isn't on earth like the inheritance God gave to the children of Israel, the Land of Canaan. (Read Numbers 26:53-56). Ours is in heaven with Christ. On earth we're aliens and strangers. It's in the eternal city of God. And, it's only to the believer.

Our inheritance in heaven is so wonderful that Peter can only describe it by what it isn't (verse 4). Our heavenly inheritance is "incorruptible" and it can't wear out. It is "undefiled," it can't spoil. It's "unfading," it can't diminish in quality. Nothing on earth compares to it. And it's absolutely secure, because God holds it "reserved" for us in heaven.

We're "kept by Godís power" (verse 5). Godís protection is "through faith." Just as we're saved through faith, we're protected through faith. God has promised to keep us until we reach heaven. (Ephesians 2:8) "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.

We're also protected through faith (verse 5). Faith helps us see that God keeps us until our salvation is complete. The completed "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" is a reference to a future time when all that has been planned and guaranteed by the work of Christ will be realized.

The Lord Jesus Christ will be fully revealed with all His saints before a watching world. Salvation is in three tenses:
(1.) We were saved from the penalty of sin. Romans 3:23-24. "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24: Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."
(2.) We are saved from the power of sin. (Romans 5:10) "For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life."
(3.) We will be saved from the presence of sin, when we are caught up to be with the Lord (Hebrews 9:28) "So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation."

Peter has the future aspect of our salvation in view in (verse 5): "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.."

We've just read that the Living Hope is guaranteed by the resurrection of Christ (verse 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."
We have a wonderful inheritance as Godís children (verse 4): "To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you."
The promise of fulfillment of the ultimate stage of our salvation (verse 5): "Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.."

[3] Joy even with trials. (Verses 6-7)
"Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
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 honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."

The "living hope" of the future gives us joy in our present circumstances (verse 6). This refers to everything that has been promised in the previous three verses. It includes the (1) new birth, (2) our inheritance in heaven, (3) the protecting power of God, (4) and our completed salvation. We're to "greatly rejoice" knowing the promises are true. Peter tells us to rejoice in the coming glory, even when present circumstances are difficult. True joy is independent of circumstances. Trials are necessary. The words "if need be" show us that trials are sometimes needed. God permits the distress they cause "for a little season" for our good. Trials are part of God's training program for pilgrims.

Trials reveal the genuineness of faith which will one day be "found to result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ appears" (verse 7) . Our faith, as it is lived every day, will result in praise from the Lord when He is revealed. His appearing refers to His second coming when He'll be openly manifested to the world with His saints.

Peter uses the comparison of gold refined by extreme heat in a smelter. The impurities are removed in the refining process. Faith that has been refined in the "heat" of trials is said to be "more precious than gold." God values manís trust in Himself above everything else. At His appearing the Lord Jesus Christ will publicly recognize this faith of His saints.

Trials result in Christ's threefold commendation of the believer (verse 7).
The praise has to do with Godís approval and public commendation. "Well done thou good and faithful servant."
The glory has to do with the glory of the future life when we "enter into His glory" and are changed into His likeness.
Honor will be the reward for those who honored Him in a world that despised Him. None of that will take away from His own glory which will be displayed at His appearing!

To summarize, we rejoice in trials because trials are necessary (verse 6). Trials have a specific purpose (verse 7), and trials result in heavenly commendation (verse 7).

[4] Love for One we have never seen. (1 Peter: 8-9)
"Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
9: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls."
They believed in Him and loved Him, even though they hadn't yet seen Him. They had joy in spite of trials on earth because of their relationship with Christ. Peter had seen the Lord Jesus on earth, but he commends believers for loving Him whom they had not seen. Their love for Him was a response to His love for them. "We love because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19) At the recent funeral of one of my very good friends, I was listening to the hymns the organist was playing before the services, when the strains of "Jesus Loves Me" were played on a violin accompanied by the organ. This got my attention since the man was no longer young. Then the music changed without interruption and they were playing "Oh, How I Love Jesus." "We love Him because He first loved us."

In verse 8 the second response is to believe in Him. Peter was there on the day of resurrection when Thomas had demanded to see the Lord before he would believe on Him. Maybe Peter was thinking of what Jesus said to Thomas, "Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed" (John 20:29).

The result of these two responses, loving Him and believing Him, is that we "rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" (verse 8). "Greatly rejoice" was used in verse 6, but here he adds the words "with an unspeakable joy." Verse 6 refers to future hope, and that was cause for rejoicing. Verse 8 speaks of our personal, daily love for and trust in Christ, as the cause for rejoicing.

When Christ is the focus of our life we will experience this joy. We lose it when the things of earth are our focus. When we believe in Christ and rejoice in Him, we're "receiving the salvation of your souls" (verse 9). As we grow into spiritual maturity we increasingly experience the joy of our salvation and rejoice in the unseen Christ.

[5] We are favored by God. (1:10-12)
10: "Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
11: 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.
12: 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."

Peter reminds his readers that they're more privileged than the Old Testament prophets. They often wrote of the coming Savior and salvation when they spoke of "the grace that was to come to you."(verse 10).

Peter uses the word "grace" to refer to our salvation as the undeserved favor from God. It's called the "Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts 20:24). Even though they wrote of that grace, they didn't fully understand what they were writing. Daniel, who was probably the wisest and best educated of the prophets, wrote this in Daniel 12:8: "And I heard, but I understood not; then said I, O my Lord, what shall be the end of these things?"

In their desire to understand they "searched diligently for what or what manner" that God's grace would come to them. (1 Peter 1:10-11). They wanted to know who would be coming and the time of that coming the Spirit of Christ indicated. The Spirit predicted the sufferings of Christ through the prophets and the glories that would follow. (verse 11). How could He both suffer and be glorified and when? Would it happen in their time or the future?

They didn't understand their own writings. They wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and not from their own knowledge. The Holy Spirit is called the "Spirit of Christ" (Messiah). This title shows the purpose in inspiring the prophets was to predict the coming of the Messiah. He predicted the Messiahís sufferings in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53. He also predicted the "glory that would follow" those sufferings (verse 11). These glories include His resurrection, His ascension, His revelation to the whole world, and His rule as King. Psalm 24 and Isaiah 11 are two of many Old Testament passages that speak of His future glory.

There's another form of encouragement here for Peterís readers (verse 12).. "unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you." Peter's readers are privileged to understand Godís wonderful plan of salvation for mankind better than the prophets or the angels. God had revealed to the prophets that they were not serving themselves when they wrote of the sufferings and the glories. They were writing for the benefit of those who would be living at the time Christ appeared. What had been a mystery to the prophets is good news (Gospel) now.

The prophets never forsaw the long period between the suffering of Christ and the final glory of Messiah that is still to come. Later Peter preached, "Those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled" (Acts 3:18).

Through men like Peter and Paul, the Holy Spirit preached what the Spirit of Christ had prophecied in the Old Testament through the prophets. People could now understand the prophesies and believe the Gospel.

The prophets predicted the coming grace that the Spirit of Messiah, also called the Holy Spirit, inspired them to write. They never fully understood the circumstances of the Messiah's coming. We now have the complete Bible with the New Testament to explain this to us.