“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,to God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” 1 Peter 1:1-2
There is so much goodness in this passage, and so much solid doctrine. Let’s look at just a bit of it:
- “…God’s elect…chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father…” — So often we read words like this, and one of two things happens. If you’re like most Baptists I know, you begin to mentally explain away the words like “elect” and “foreknowledge” and “chosen” or ignore them completely. If you’re reformed you focus too much on those same words. Here’s what we should take away from them: we have an all powerful God, from whom we have received a gracious, merciful, eternal salvation – an inheritance which will not spoil or fade, which comes with the promise that the good work that He started in us WILL continue through the end and the saint WILL persevere. We should be awed by the infinite grace and mercy of the God who gave us this salvation. We should praise Him for it! We should be unwaveringly thankful in light of this divine goodness! Far too often we focus on our theological arguments in passages like these, instead of looking at the bigger picture of God that is presented through it. Praise God! He provides infinite grace to the sinner, and eternal security to the saint, all to the praise of His glory!
- “…strangers in this world…” — Brother, sister…our citizenship is in heaven. No matter where we reside or where we go, we will always be aliens, because we are not of this world, because we are sons and daughters of the King! As John exhorts us in 1 John 2:15: “Do NOT love the world…”. May we always examine our hearts a motives to see where we might be sinning against this exhortation in scripture. It is so very easy to take up residence here, and to love the world far too much. Don’t do it! Do not conform to the desires of this world. Be wary of Satan, who can make the world seem fabulously pleasurable. It is a lie! Our only good is Christ and His glory and His kingdom. Take joy in being a stranger in this world.
- “…through the sanctifying work of the Spirit…” — Oh that we would yearn for this, that we would implore the Spirit to sanctify us, that we would plead for righteousness and consider it more precious than anything this world offers! “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified…” (1 Thess. 4:3) But this does not come without discipline! Without a daily communion with Christ through prayer, Bible intake, scripture memory, fasting, study, pleading, yearning…without constant care to do these you will forsake the precious gift of sanctification through the Spirit. But praise God, though we are responsible for being diligent in our faith, we do not have to sanctify ourselves! It is the work of the Holy Spirit in us. It is HE who creates a pure heart in us as we diligently seek Him. It is HE who turns our affections and attention to Christ. Praise the Father for His powerful mercy! Thank the Spirit for His work in us!
- “…for obedience to Jesus Christ…” — And all of what has come before – the Father’s great mercy to us, the Spirit’s work in us – is so that we can live in obedience and service to Christ! As Christians, we should see no greater end than obedience to the will of Christ. We should take joy in nothing so much as walking in the path He has set before us. Are you joyfully obedient to him? That is very reason for your salvation. That is the end of your salvation and sanctification: obedience, for His glory! Why do you call yourself a Christian if not to obey Christ? Are you a Christian at all if you do not seek to glorify Him through your absolute obedience? So I ask again: are you joyfully obedient to Him?
- “…and sprinkling by His blood…” — a phrase that basically summarizes the whole passage before. This is a reference to the sprinkling of the blood of a sacrifice under the old covenant, that of an perfect, healthy lamb. The blood was sprinkled onto the mercy seat of the altar, and the sinless perfection of the lamb was transferred to the one bringing the sacrifice. But these sacrifices had to be made continually, because they did not last, so God, in His great mercy, made a sacrifice of the ultimate perfect lamb, which would for eternity completely provide for the all sins of all his people! Praise God! Praise God! Oh that we would consider the unsurpassed value of the blood of Christ, and be crushed by the awesome grace therein. Oh that we would see how truly humble we are in comparison to such a mercy as this! Christ, the sinless lamb, was sacrificed for our sins to satisfy the wrath of God, and provided the opportunity for us to not only be forgiven, but to be sanctified! Ah, do you see it as precious? Is the blood of Christ your hope, Christian? Is it your comfort? Is it your motivation to glorify the God who died for you? Consider it. Meditate on it. Cling to the blood of Christ, for it is your only hope of standing before God uncondemned!
- “Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” — So, in light of the great grace of God and His eternal assurance, and in light of the work of the Spirit to present us before Him as righteous, and in light of the glorious/awesome/eternal/all-sufficient sacrifice of Christ for our sins that calls us to joyful obedience in Him…grace and peace IS yours in abundance! “And from His fullness we have received grace upon grace.” (John 1:16) “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:1)
Brother, sister…grace and peace be yours in abundance!