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Bible Commentaries

Dunagan's Commentary on the Bible

1 Peter 1

Outline of Chapter 1:1-12:

Introduction: 1:1-2

Thanksgiving To God: 1:3-5

The Refining Nature Of Trials: 1:6-9

The Glorious Nature Of Our Salvation: 1:10-12

Introductory Comments:

‘Peter, to comfort the brethren, put them in mind of the glories of that inheritance of which they were the heirs, by thanking God for giving them the certain hope of a new life after death, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, v. 3, in order that they may be capable of enjoying that incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading inheritance, which was preserved in heaven for them…This, he said, might be a matter of great joy to them, though they presently suffered persecution. Then, to reconcile them to their sufferings, he suggested various powerful persuasives : that their sufferings would soon be over; that the sufferings were necessary to test, refine, and improve their faith; that their tested and proven faith would be of greater value to themselves and to the world than the finest gold….And to show the greatness and certainty of this salvation, he observed that it had been foretold and searched into by the prophets…and that the very angels desired to look attentively into these things, vv. 10,11,12’ [Note: Bible Study Textbook Series, 1 and 2 Peter, Bruce Oberst, p. 40]

Outline of 1:13-25:

Exhortations To Holiness: 1:13-25

Mental Preparedness: 1:13

An Obedient Life: 1:14-17

Our Costly Salvation: 1:18-21

Brotherly Love: 1:22

New Life Arising From The New Birth: 1:23-25

Verse 1

1Pe_1:1 ‘Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen’

“Peter” -The Greek form of the Aramaic, “Cephas”. Most say that the name Peter means a stone, or a large, but detached fragment of rock. Thayer defines it as ‘a stone, a ledge, or cliff’ (p. 507). The reader should note that there is a difference in the meanings between ‘rock’ and ‘Peter’ in Mat_16:18 . The word ‘rock’ means a massive rock, the name ‘Peter’ means a large, but detached stone. The ‘rock’ which the Church was founded upon is the truth that Jesus is the Son of God ( Mat_16:16 ). Jesus had given Simon the name Peter, probably indicating Peter’s character, ‘hard, staunch, unyielding, rock-like’ (Oberst p. 41)

“Apostle of Jesus Christ” -‘..simply “an” apostle, not the prince of the apostles, he claims no superiority over the rest.’ [Note: Pulpit Commentary, 1 Peter, p. 1] An apostle among other apostles. ‘He is one of the twelve, not the one above the other eleven.’ [Note: Truth Commentaries, 1 Peter, Clinton D. Hamilton, p. 3]

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. There is no support for the Roman Catholic concept that Peter was the head apostle or a universal head over the entire Church. In fact, in this very letter he describes himself as an elder, among fellow elders (5:1). Jesus had made it clear that all the apostles were equal ( Mat_23:8-11 ). 2. The word “apostle” means, ‘lit., one sent forth’ (Vine p. 63). The apostles were ambassadors ( 2Co_5:20 ) sent forth by Jesus Himself ( Joh_13:20 ; Mat_10:40 ; Luk_10:16 ). To reject an apostle was to reject Jesus. For the apostles spoke the words of Jesus ( 1Co_14:37 ). ‘The letter is to be seen, not as the pious opinions of a well-wishing friend, but as the authoritative word of one who speaks for the Lord.’ [Note: The New International Commentary On The New Testament, 1 Peter, Peter H. Davids, p. 46] 3. We need to impress upon our religious neighbors, especially those involved in groups which claim to be lead by inspired men or modern day apostles. That such a claim isn’t innocent. To claim to speak for God, when the opposite is truth is to be a false prophet, which draws from God severe condemnation ( Gal_1:6-9 ; 2Pe_2:1 ff). And those who follow such people end up equally condemned. Your soul is at stake here. Who cares if a group offers you and your family all sorts of activities, who cares if they have lots to do for your teenagers, who cares if other friendly people have joined---if such a group is only following a false prophet to eternal woe. Stress to your friends that in joining such a group means that they are willing to stake their whole eternal destiny on the fact that a certain man or group of men are really speaking for God. Isn’t a test in order? Shouldn’t such men be required to prove their claims? ( Rev_2:2 ). A real apostle could work miracles ( 2Co_12:12 ).

“reside as aliens” -a sojourner, an exile. ‘Sojourning in a strange place, away from one’s own people.’ (Vine, ‘Pilgrim’ p. 183) ‘stranger, exile, resident alien-of the Christians, who are not at home in this world.’ (Arndt p. 625) ( Heb_11:13 ; 1Pe_2:11 )

“scattered” -DIASPORA-a word which means scattering or dispersion. It had been the word used to refer to the Jewish population scattered outside of Palestine among the Gentiles ( Joh_7:35 ). In view of the statements in the letter which strongly suggest congregations largely composed of Christians from a Gentile background (2:10; 3:6 ‘become’), the expression refers to Christians scattered among unbelievers. In reference to this world, Christians are sojourners, for our citizenship is in heaven ( Php_3:20 ), and we often find ourselves ‘scattered’ and surrounded by non-Christians ( Act_8:4 ). Macknight suggests that the words might mean, ‘that they lived at a distance from each other in the widely extended regions mentioned in the inscription; and that they were few in number, compared with the idolaters and unbelievers among whom they lived.’ (p. 606)

POINT TO NOTE: The word ‘aliens/sojourners/pilgrim’ suggests a great truth of which it is too easy to forget. The world, this society is not our home. Therefore, Christians don’t have to feel that they are pressured to take advantage of every pleasure in this life, lest they miss out. We just want to get home! Heaven is what we don’t want to miss out on ( 1Pe_1:4 ; Rom_8:18 ). We always need to double check on a daily basis that our heart is tethered to heaven, and not to the things of this world ( Mat_6:19-21 ; Col_3:1-3 ). This also tells us that the Christian should never be ruled by the fads, views, language or fashions of this world. It is God who has truly liberated us from the ‘rat-race’.

“Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia’ -See introductory material. Pontus included such cities as Nicomedia and Nicaea or Nice. The latter city was the site of the First Nicene Council of 325 A.D. In 111-112 A.D., the Roman Pliny the Younger became governor of Bithynia, and immediately complained of the Christians in his province-one of the earliest secular references to Christianity. Bithynia was also the traditional southern border between Europe and Asia. Asia would have included the cities Ephesus, Colossae, and Troas, and the Seven Churches mentioned in Revelation chapters 2-3.

“who are chosen” -‘lit., signifies picked out, chosen’ (Vine p. 21). Please note that the verse asserts that Christians are ‘chosen or elect’, but it doesn’t tell us ‘how’ or the means of this selection.

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Augustine, Martin Luther and John Calvin all held a doctrine of unconditional election, in which the choice is sovereign and in no way dependent upon anything in man. That is, before the foundation of the world, God chose who would be saved and who would be lost. This choice had nothing to do with the choices that such individuals would make. In addition, this two groups are fixed in precise number. 2. But the above theory contradicts many biblical truths: A. The Scriptures teach that salvation is conditional ( Mat_7:21 ; Act_17:30 ; 2Th_1:7-9 ; Rom_2:6-11 ). B. ‘All invitations, promises, warnings, threatenings and admonitions to faithfulness in the Word of God become meaningless and without significance.’ [Note: Peter, John and Jude, Guy N. Woods, p. 22] D. It makes God a respector of persons ( Act_10:34-35 ). E. It makes God His own worst enemy, i.e. God wants all saved ( 2Pe_3:9 ), yet He has already limited the precise number whom are saved and those who can’t be saved. F. It makes many passages in this letter to follow completely meaningless, like 1:17 or 2:10. How could one predestined to salvation have never been one of God’s people??

The truth is that God calls everyone through the gospel ( 2Th_2:14 ; Mar_16:15 ), this was God’s eternal plan ( 1Pe_1:2 ). Those who accept the call become one of the chosen ( Mat_22:14 ; 1Pe_2:7-9 ), those who reject this offer exclude themselves from being the chosen people ( Rom_11:5 ; Rom_11:20 ; Rom_11:23 ). In addition, one can cease to be one of the elect due to their own unfaithfulness. Therefore Peter exhorts us to make this calling and election “sure” ( 2Pe_1:10 ).

Verse 2

1Pe_1:2 ‘according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, that you may obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure’

“according to the foreknowledge of God” -the previous determination or purpose, pre-arrangement.

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Sadly, many religious people have been mislead by the Calvinistic concept that the ability to know the future automatically means determining the future. Which of course isn’t true. ‘The whole theory supposes that when God foreknows a matter, the person or persons involved within the sphere of His preknowledge necessarily lose their freedom of choice.’ (Oberst p. 47) The death of Jesus was pre-determined ( Act_2:23 ), but Jesus still had freewill ( Joh_10:17-18 ). In addition, the future can be changed by how we behave ourselves today ( Jer_18:7 ff; Jon_3:9-10 ). 2. God didn’t predetermine the salvation of specific individuals, rather, He predetermined that salvation would be found in Jesus Christ ( Eph_1:4-5 ), Jesus would die for the sins of the world ( 1Pe_1:20 ), the gospel would be the message which would be used to call men, the rules or type of character expected of those who accept this call, and the relationship they would enter into, i.e. the church ( Eph_3:10-11 ). Thus, the Father designed the plan whereby we could be saved.

“by the sanctifying work of the Spirit” -the word ‘sanctifying’ means: ‘consecration, purification, the state of being made holy’. This isn’t something that is performed mysteriously or against our will. Rather, Jesus made it clear that the medium which the Holy Spirit uses to bring men and women to a state of purity is the Word of God ( Joh_17:17 ; 2Th_2:13 ; Eph_5:26 ). 1. The Word of God reveals the conditions for gaining salvation. 2. The Word of God also reveals what needs to be discarded and added to one’s life so that purity can be maintained ( Col_3:5 ff). Thus people who repent of sinful lifestyles and become Christians are said to be ‘saints’ ( 1Co_1:2 ), i.e. consecrated ones, those set apart for God.

We must reject the idea that soon after one becomes a Christian or in the process of becoming a Christian, the Holy Spirit miraculously comes upon the believer and removes ever desire to sin. The rest of this letter would have been unnecessary if such were the case. See also 1Jn_1:8-10 ; 1Jn_2:1-3 .

“that you may obey Jesus Christ” -Notice that the Holy Spirit doesn’t lead a person to make up their own rules for how to become a Christian. The person who is impressed with the Gospel message is prepared to do whatever Jesus commands, including baptism ( Mar_16:16 ). The intended design of the Father’s plan is to bring man to a point of obedience to the will of His Son. POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘May’-the language of freewill. 2. ‘Obey’-man does have a role to play in his own salvation. 3. ‘Jesus Christ’-God doesn’t recognize as valid--- obedience to any other religious figure ( Joh_14:6 ). 4. Obedience is part of the “election” process, which definitely contradicts the fundamental idea of Calvinistic Predestination. There is something which a man must ‘do’ to be saved ( Acts 2:37-38; 9:6=22:16; 16:30 ; 1Pe_1:22 ‘Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth.’)

“and be sprinkled with His blood” -Notice that the verse doesn’t say, ‘sprinkled in baptism’, for baptism is immersion ( Rom_6:4 ). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Not until one obeys Jesus are they sprinkled with His blood. This places some obedience upon the part of man as necessary to be saved . It is in baptism that one comes into contact with the benefits of Jesus’ blood (Compare Mat_26:28 = Act_2:38 ). 2. The word ‘sprinkled’ is used because in the O.T. blood was sprinkled to make atonement ( Heb_9:19 ; Exo_24:8 ). 3. Notice in these verses how the entire Godhead is involved in our salvation (Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ).

“May grace and peace be yours in fullest measure” -‘in ever greater measure’ (Arndt p. 669). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. This fullness of grace doesn’t give us the right to become careless and neither does it absolve us from our personal responsibilities (the rest of the letter). 2. Peace would include peace with God, peace with others, especially brethren, and peace with ourselves. It is sad to see many Christians not having peace in their relationship with God. Peter hopes that Christians could find peace in serving God, in allowing Him to rule their lives, in submitting to His will.

Thanksgiving For Our Great Salvation:

‘As the recipients of the apostle’s letter were in the midst of great sufferings and persecution, Peter, to comfort the brethren, put them in mind of the glories of that inheritance of which they were the heirs, by thanking God for giving them the certain hope of a new life after death..’(Oberst p. 39)

Verse 3

1Pe_1:3 ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’

“Blessed” -This word means “praised, honored or well spoken of “(Vincent p. 629). It is from the same root from which we derive the words ‘eulogize’ or ‘eulogy’. God is so worthy of praise that He is at times simply called ‘the Blessed’ ( Mar_14:61 ). This word reminds me of a shortcoming which I see in myself and others. We don’t ‘talk up’ God enough among others. It seems that we want to be the object of praise, rather than letting God get the praise. And it seems that we want to spend our time complaining -rather than praising God for the rich blessings which we do presently have, and the wonderful life to come.

“God and Father” -Not just any ‘god’ is blessed. Rather, it is the God how has revealed Himself as the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Notice, God hasn’t revealed Himself as a female deity.

“of our Lord Jesus Christ” -When the Bible addresses Jesus as “Lord”, we need to remember that such is a title for Deity. The New Testament ‘Lord’ is the equivalent of the O.T. Jehovah or Yahweh. W.E. Vine observes, ‘Jehovah of Hosts, Him shall ye sanctify’ ( Isa_8:13 ), becomes ‘sanctify in your hearts Christ as Lord’ ( 1Pe_3:15 ). (‘Lord’ p. 17). Note, there is only one Lord ( Eph_4:5 ), which leaves no room for Mohammed, Buddha, etc..

“according to His great mercy” -the word ‘great’ means ‘much, great, strong, intense, large’. God’s mercy is called great because: It extends to all who desire it ( Tit_2:11 ). It can forgive any sin of which one is willing to repent ( Luk_17:3-4 ). It can forgive an unlimited number of times-as long as sincere repentance is present. It takes one from being lost, and elevates them to the status of a child of God ( Eph_2:4-6 ). It has spared us from great suffering and eternal misery. It forgives the great evil associated with every sin.

POINT TO NOTE: Many people erroneously think that the Bible is a severe book. Friend, the Bible is a demonstration of God’s mercy. No man deserves to be saved, all deserve to be lost ( Rom_3:23 ). The fact that only one way exists to heaven-ISN’T STRICT, rather, it is an act of God’s mercy that there exists any way at all! It was the grace of God that allowed Jesus to suffer for us in the first place ( Heb_2:9 ).

“has caused us to be born again” -The expression ‘born again’ means, ‘born anew”. The tense here refers to a definite point in time which these Christians were born again.

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘Caused’: This expression is used because without the grace of God or the Word of God, no man or woman could be born again. 2. From other passages one is born again, when they hear the word of God, faith is produced in their heart and they obey God’s conditions for salvation, including baptism ( 1Pe_1:23 ; Jam_1:18 ; 1Co_4:15 ; Joh_3:5 ; Tit_3:5 ; Rom_6:3-5 ). Peter’s point is that God is to be praised for our new life, without His mercy, we would have no hope.

“to a living hope” -( Rom_8:24-25 ). 1. The hope of the Christian is ‘living’, in contrast to the vain hopes of unbelievers. There is only one real hope ( Eph_4:4 ). However attractive and alluring, all earthly hopes will fail. 2. It is also called ‘living’, because ‘Hope invigorates and spirits up the soul to action, to patience, to fortitude, and perseverance to the end.’ (Oberst p. 52) 3. ‘This hope is not a desperate holding-on to a faded dream, a dead hope, but a living one, founded on reality, for it is grounded in “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”…it is this reality which will enable the readers to face even death without fear, for death is not an end for the Christian, but a beginning.’ (Davids p. 52) 4. ‘Hope’-‘joyful, confident expectation’ (Thayer p. 205)

“through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” -‘hope rose up with Christ from the dead’ (Robertson p. 81) ( 1Co_15:17 ). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. It is the resurrection that gives meaning to the crucifixion ( 1Co_15:1-4 ). 2. It gives meaning and validity to our baptism ( Rom_6:4 ). The power that raised up Christ from the dead will raise us up to a new life ( Col_2:12 ). 3. His resurrection is a guarantee of our resurrection ( 1Co_15:40 ; 1Th_4:14 ). 4. The resurrection is also the proof that sin will be punished and the righteous will be rewarded, thus our own retaliation is unnecessary ( Act_17:31 ). 5. The reader should note that the resurrection is a very easy event to prove. Everyone admits, believer and unbeliever that on the first day of the week, the tomb was empty. Concerning what happened to the body of Jesus-only a limited number of choices are available: (a) The Jews stole the body-but why didn’t they ever produce it and stop Christianity dead in its tracks? (b) The Romans stole the body-again, why didn’t they produce it? © The disciples stole the body-the tomb was guarded ( Mat_27:62-66 ). (d) Jesus didn’t really die on the cross-but eyewitness testimony says otherwise ( Joh_19:31-34 ). (e) Everyone went to the wrong tomb---but eyewitnesses had seen Jesus buried and this tomb was guarded.

“to obtain an inheritance” -Those born again (1:3) are God’s children, thus the heirs ( Gal_3:26-27 ; Rom_8:17 ). In other passages this inheritance is described as eternal life ( 1Jn_2:25 ). The sad thing is that many people spend their lives frustrating and hindering God’s attempts to see that they get the chance to become an heir. Please note that God is trying to give everyone a fabulous future. ( Act_20:32 ; Col_3:24 ; Heb_9:15 ). Peter will now give us a detailed description of what heaven is like.

“imperishable” -‘not liable to corruption or decay’ (Thayer p. 88). Earthly inheritances eventually decay. Everything in this life eventually dies and wears out ( Heb_1:10-12 ; 2Co_4:18 ). Heaven isn’t a rejuvenated earth, but an eternal home ( 2Pe_3:10 ff). Heaven will not need repairs, heaven will not become like an old rich neighborhood, which through time becomes rundown.

“undefiled” -‘unsoiled’ (Thayer p. 32), free from contamination. ‘Without defect or flaw’ (Robertson p. 82). ( Rev_21:27 ). ‘Our future estate will not provide temptations to the flesh, hatred, sensualities or crime-all of which so frequently accompany the acquisition of earthly estates.’ (Oberst p. 53) Nothing will spoil heaven. Corruption won’t enter in, there will be no trouble-makers there. And heaven won’t be like an exclusive club which is filled with all sorts of scandal. Everyone will simply be a child of God in heaven, no envy, jealousy, strife, etc…

“will not fade” -perennial. ‘because it will never wax old; and because its beauties will remain fresh through all eternity, and its pleasures will never become insipid by enjoyment.’ (Macknight p. 435). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Unlike the wonderful things in this life, the wonder of heaven will never fade or wear off. Heaven will never become ‘usual’ or ordinary. We will never get so comfortable with heaven that its lustre begins to fade. 2. Throughout eternity, heaven will never lose its beauty, brightness, or shine. 3. This also infers that those in heaven will never fade. We will never grow old ( Rev_21:4 ). 3. Now how many people are desperately in this life trying to find eternal youth, beauty and something which never becomes dull or boring? Who says that the Bible is irrelevant for modern man?

“reserved in heaven for you” -POINTS TO NOTE: 1. This reward isn’t found in the earth, it is in heaven ( Mat_6:19-20 ; Col_1:5 ; Col_3:1-2 ). 2. This reward isn’t found in this life. Heaven isn’t found in material things or material goals. True and lasting happiness isn’t available in this life ( Rev_21:4 ). 3. All attempts to make heaven here and now will end in disappointment and failure. 4. This inheritance is real, it isn’t a mere wish or pipe dream. Our inheritance is already awaiting, it is already prepared! And you have complete control over whether you obtain that inheritance ( 1Ti_5:22 ; Jud_1:21 ; 2Ti_2:11-13 ).

Encouragement In Suffering:

‘Peter’s readers may have been anxious about whether they would have strength to remain faithful to Christ if persecution or suffering became more intense.’ [Note: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, 1 Peter, Wayne Grudem, p. 58]

Verse 5

1Pe_1:5 “who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time’

“who are protected by the power of God through faith” -1. ‘Protected’-‘a military term, to keep under guard, as with a garrison.’ (Vine p. 183). 2. God’s power is seen in the fact that He monitors temptations that come our way, ensuring that we can handle whatever happens to our lives ( 1Co_10:13 ). His power is also manifested in the gospel message ( Rom_1:16 ). Which reveals the nature and consequences of sin, exhorts us to faithfulness, provides great incentives for serving God, and offers us magnificent promises (1:4). As long as we stay within it’s teachings we are protected ( 2Jn_1:9 ).

“through faith” -POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Man has a role to play in ending up saved or being protected. God provides the forgiveness, the incentives, the guidance, etc…but man must provide a trust which obeys God ( Mat_7:21-23 ). 2. This passages reveals how important is the faith of the individual. Hence anything which can strengthen our faith becomes a high priority, including worship services, bible studies, reading Scripture, praying, involved in spreading the gospel. 3. We also must reject and oppose any attempt to undermine the faith of the Christian, including attacks upon the integrity of the Scriptures, the need to believe the right doctrines, etc.. (See also: Rom_10:17 ; 1Jn_5:4 ; Heb_10:39 ; Eph_6:16 ). 4. God has never promised to ‘guard’ the disobedient, distrustful, or skeptical. God doesn’t guard people against their will or against what they want to believe or in what they desire to place their trust and confidence.

“for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” -1. This is the salvation or deliverance mentioned in 1:4. 2. There is a sense in which salvation is still future for the Christian. This reveals the conditional nature of our salvation. Once-saved-always-saved would contend that salvation is unconditional and is something which the Christian always and presently has. 3. Heaven is ready. Jesus isn’t delaying His return because God isn’t ready yet, but rather, He is giving mankind time to repent ( 2Pe_3:9 ). 4. The ‘last time’ refers to the last day ( Joh_6:39-40 ; Joh_6:44 ; Joh_6:54 ; Joh_12:48 ). 4. Note that deliverance for the Christian happens at the last time. Deliverance doesn’t happen 1000 years before the last day. All Christians aren’t rewarded long before the last day arrives.

Joy In The Midst Of Affliction:

Verse 6

1Pe_1:6 ‘In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials’

“In this you greatly rejoice” -Not only their trials, but in all that has been said (1:3-5). In the fact that they have been born again, the living hope they possess, their inheritance and their protection. “Greatly rejoice”-overjoyed, to leap for joy ( Mat_5:12 ; 1Pe_1:8 ; 1Pe_4:13 ).

“even though now for a little while, if necessary” -Compared to eternity, earthly suffering is only for a little while ( Rom_8:18 ; 2Co_4:17 ; 1Pe_5:10 ; Heb_11:25 ). The expression “if necessary”, means that God isn’t cruel, He doesn’t like to see people suffer. Rather, when suffering comes, it’s not simply a toss of the dice, or some arbitrary event, rather it is happening because the freewill of others is being respected, etc…

“distressed by various trials” -‘Distressed’-cause pain, grief, make sorrowful. Notice: Suffering does hurt! God doesn’t have the Christian ‘pretend’ that suffering isn’t happening. Neither does God argue that suffering is simply an illusion. Peter certainly wasn’t a Christian Scientist. He believed that when trials happen, people are distressed. The word ‘various’ suggests that suffering come in many forms, i.e. verbal attacks, physical abuse, hunger, loss of employment, becoming a social outcast, being shunned by family members, etc..

Verse 7

1Pe_1:7 ‘that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ’

“that” -Such trials can be used for a good end. The Christian must reject the idea that a certain trial is completely useless or that no good can come from a hardship. ( Psa_119:71 ; Rom_5:3-5 ; Jam_1:2-4 ).

“proof of your faith” -In the word “proof” lies the idea of proving or testing a thing to see if it be worthy to be received or not. ‘As the assayer takes the gold ore and runs a test on it to determine the quality and quantity of the precious metal, so the trials through which the saints were passing constituted a crucible which tested their faith and reveals its true character..’ (Woods p. 30) ‘genuine, without alloy, the genuineness of your faith’ (Arndt p. 203). The “proof” of one’s faith-were the results of passing through trial-i.e. what was really left after a person passed through this trial. Hardship and suffering has a testing quality: It will determine whether your faith is genuine or all-talk. And this is good. Better to fall on your face now-then be exposed at the judgment day, with no time left to change. Suffering also has a refining quality: Priorities all of a sudden become very clear and well organized ( Mat_6:33 ). What doesn’t really matter is cast aside. Peter had found his faith ‘proven’ on numerous occasions.

“being more precious than gold which is perishable” -1. Even Christians need to be reminded that ‘gold’ isn’t the ultimate protection. Gold will be worthless at the judgment day. 2. A faith which has come through trial, still intact, is worth more than all the gold in the world. If you have a faith that cannot be shaken-then you are one of the wealthiest individuals in the world!

“even though tested by fire” -Possibly two ideas here: 1. A proven faith is more valuable than even refined gold. 2. A genuine faith is more valuable than gold, even though the path to such a faith includes enduring some fiery trials (4:12)

“may be found to result in” -If suffering can be used to refine my faith, if suffering can used like a refining fire which can presently assess the true condition of my conviction and trust in God, then suffering is something to rejoice about! Sadly, even some Christians have made it their goal to avoid any kind of suffering or personal discomfort at all cost. ‘I want to be comfortable’ is the motto for too many. People don’t end up saved by accident. It is an approved faith which results in eternal life. Which infers that some professed believers may fail the test ( 2Co_13:5 ). In addition, we need to be very careful about envying the person who has every comfort this life can afford and who goes through life seemingly untouched by hardship. One is at a disadvantage if they have never been tested. Or, if they have avoided all the tests made available to them.

“praise and glory and honor” -‘Praise’-commendation, approval, recognition ( Mat_25:21 ‘Well done, good and faithful servant’). ‘Glory’-a condition or state of glory, including a glorious resurrected body ( 1Co_15:43 ; Php_3:21 ). “Honor”-( Rom_2:7 ). Be impressed that God wants to bestow such things upon us. God isn’t against us, rather, God is hoping that we will make the right and noble choices. God wants to share heavenly glory with us ( Rev_3:21 ). Unfortunately, many people in our time are wanting to sacrifice real and eternal self-esteem, for a temporary, meaningless, and often falsely acquired sense of self worth. Let it be noted that praise isn’t given to the person who quit or gave up.

“at the revelation of Jesus Christ” -i.e. when Jesus comes again (1:13; 2Th_1:7 ; Rom_2:5 ). Thus the Christian should never stand in dread of the Second Coming, but eagerly await its fulfillment ( 1Jn_3:1-3 ). The world may ridicule or ignore the Christian. The world may even view the Christian as involved in a very unimportant and meaningless endeavor. But never despair, the only praise that matters, for it is the only praise which is lasting and 100% true, is the praise that will come from God. For the faithful Christian, the return of Christ means praise, honor and glory. If you are looking for a good sense of self worth-it doesn’t get any better than this.

Verse 8

1Pe_1:8 ‘and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory’

“you have not seen Him” -They were in the same situation, in which we find ourselves. Neither have we ever ‘seen’ Jesus. But seeing Jesus isn’t a condition for a strong faith ( Joh_20:29 ‘Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.’). Carefully note that Jesus had never ‘appeared’ to these suffering Christians. No vision or miraculous appearance had come their way. And neither had they heard His voice in the stillness of the night. This infers that God feels plenty of evidence to believe in Jesus exists without ever having seen Him ( Joh_20:30-31 ).

“you love Him” -But the only way they could ‘love Him’, is to be impressed with what the Word of God said about Him. This demands that the description of Jesus in the New Testament is an accurate description of His nature. How understandable, plain and accurate is the New Testament? Answer: Simply by reading it a person can fall in love with God, even when they have never personally heard or seen Him. And let us remember that love for Jesus is never left at a vague emotion, rather, if you love Him, you will obey Him ( Joh_14:15 ).

“do not see Him now” -Even suffering couldn’t diminish their love for Him. Note: God has never promised that when things are really hard, He will miraculously appear and give us extra strength to endure.

“but believe in Him” -In this context, ‘believe in Him’ includes remaining faithful regardless of the circumstances. Situation Ethics missed the boat. The greatest ethical standard is not a vague and undefined ‘love’. But rather, a very specific love, i.e. love for God ( Mat_22:37 ).

“greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible” -‘Inexpressible’-‘to which words are inadequate’ (Thayer p. 44). ‘denotes unable to be told out’ (Vine p. 175); ‘joy too great for words’ (NEB). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. Joy for the Christian is not all in the future. This great rejoicing is supposed to be present in our relationship with God now! 2. When was the last time you were so thrilled with your relationship with God that words were inadequate? 3. To have such joy-doesn’t this demand that the Christian can know for certainty that they are on the right path? 4. One writer suggested that maybe this is one reason that God wants us to sing. Singing often is an outlet for joy which seems inexpressible ( Jam_5:13 ; Eph_5:19 ; Col_3:16 ). 5. Something is clearly wrong if our Christianity makes us mean or unhappy.

“full of glory” -‘make glorious, adorn with lustre, clothe in splendor’ (Thayer p. 157). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. A joy that should surpass every other joy. Does our relationship with God bring us more joy than our earthly relationships, than material possessions, than earthly rewards or accomplishments? 2. Glory: Very few people find ‘glory’ in this life. But every Christian has found glory! The fact that I know eternal truth, I have access to all the right answers to the hard questions. I am a son of the Creator. I know the Creator by name and He knows me. I am a soldier in the greatest, noblest and most glorious battle that will ever be fought in this universe.

Verse 9

1Pe_1:9 ‘Obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls’

“Obtaining” -Which infers that salvation is conditional. The word “obtaining” is often used to denote the rewards given at the judgment ( 2Co_5:10 ; Eph_6:8 ; 1Pe_5:4 ).

“outcome” -In the context the ‘faith’ which results in salvation, is a faith that endures regardless of the circumstances.

“the salvation of your souls” -1. Obviously, man is more than just a body ( Mat_10:28 ). 2. What needs saving-isn’t the body, but the soul! 3. There is something that we need saving from, i.e. hell is a reality. 4. Again, Calvinism finds itself contradicting about every word in the passage. If people are predestined for salvation, then there is nothing to be obtained. How could I obtain something which I always had? Faith isn’t necessary, for man doesn’t play a role in his own salvation. And salvation isn’t future, rather the saved have never been lost.

Prophets and Amazed at the glory of your salvation:

‘The purpose of this paragraph is to show Peter’s readers that the spiritual blessings they now have are greater than anything that as envisaged by Old Testament prophets or even by angels. Thus Peter seeks to increase his readers’ appreciation for their great salvation in Christ.’ (Grudem p. 67)

Verse 10

1Pe_1:10 ‘As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful search and inquiry’

“As to this salvation” -This salvation promised to the Christian.

“who prophesied of the grace that would come” -God’s favor which would be manifested in Jesus Christ ( Joh_1:17 ). This infers that passages in the Old Testament mention this grace, i.e. Jer_31:34 .

“made careful search and inquiry” -‘Careful search’-‘search out, search anxiously and diligently’ (Thayer p. 222). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. The prophets had a definite interest in the messages being communicated through them. They had questions, they wanted to know more. 2. This verse is a great text concerning the inspiration of the Old Testament. Obviously, if the prophets had questions about what they said, they weren’t the original authors of what they spoke. Therefore, we must reject any attempt to make the Old Testament into a book filled with human wisdom or the best thinking of that time. The prophets studied their own writings! And the messages from other prophets ( Dan_7:16 ; Dan_9:2 ). The prophets were subject to their own writings. And apart from the Word of God, a prophet or an apostle was without guidance just like any other man ( Pro_16:25 ). Inspired men were not individuals who had a natural or self-caused insight into spiritual truths, rather, they were simply men which God spoke through ( Eph_3:3-5 ).

Verse 11

1Pe_1:11 ‘seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow’

“seeking to know” - Apart from God’s revelation, they were just as ignorant as any other man concerning spiritual truth and the future. No man is born with a greater natural ability to penetrate the future or discover spiritual truth on his own than others. Every man is blind on his own ( Jer_10:23 ). ****’The men used necessarily as instruments of revelation were not given with the revelation any assistance in understanding it, any more than are we who read the revelation…Inspired men had no advantage over any one in understanding the revelation. Each had to use his own mind and the language of the revelation to understand it.’ (Hamilton p. 30)

“what person” -others translate this ‘what time’. The Greek expression simply means ‘what’. Thus the verse literally reads, ‘what or what time’. Besides wondering about the ‘specific’ time when these things would happen. They could also have been asking, ‘what person is under consideration?’ ( Act_8:34 ) Or, who will receive these blessings?

“or time” -Would these things be fulfilled in their own times?

“the Spirit of Christ” -Two views: 1. The pre-existent Jesus spoke directly through the prophets and predicted His own sufferings ( 1Pe_3:18-19 ). 2. The Holy Spirit is here called the ‘Spirit of Christ’, because He spoke of the sufferings of Christ, spoke on behalf of Christ. Seeing that the Godhead is perfectly united ( Joh_10:30 ), we would have to concede that what one member speaks all speak or endorse. 3. From 2Pe_1:21 , if appears that even before Jesus came to this earth, the Holy Spirit was acting in the role as a messenger from ‘God’ (Father/Son) to inspired men. Thus it is not unreasonable to say that the Holy Spirit was speaking on behalf of Christ, or taking the things of Christ and giving them to men ( Joh_16:14-15 ). 4. The ‘He’ in the next statement would favor the view that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ in this passage.

“within them” -The messages they spoke did not originate as products of their own thinking ( 2Pe_1:20-21 ).

“predicted the sufferings of Christ” -POINTS TO NOTE: 1. The Jewish people had plenty of warning that the Messiah would suffer. The suffering and death of Jesus was clearly predicted in the writings of the prophets ( Isa_53:1-12 ; Psa_22:1-31 ; Psa_69:1-36 , etc..). The death of Jesus wasn’t an accident or ‘plan B’ ( Act_2:22 ; Act_13:27 ). 2. Jesus wasn’t coming to establish an earthly empire, or rule over an earthly kingdom. He wasn’t coming to bring about an earthly utopia either. While claiming to be the experts in Biblical prophecy, popular Premillennialists who contend that the death of Jesus was not part of God’s original plan, find themselves contradicting the most basic truth revealed through the prophets.

“and the glories to follow” -Glories which hadn’t been put on hold. This verse infers that the glories predicted of the Messiah and His reign were finding fulfillment in the First Century. See Dan_7:13-14 ; Psa_110:1-4 ; Act_2:25-31 ; Eph_1:20-23 . The glories to follow are those things which followed His suffering and death. His resurrection, ascension into heaven, occupying the throne of David, ruling over all things, etc…

Verse 12

1Pe_1:12 ‘It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, --things into which angels long to look’

“It was revealed to them” -God did answer their questions, but maybe not as they expected that He would. The subject matter of their prophecies concerning the Messiah did not have reference to their own times. The verse infers that what the prophets had said had found its fulfillment in the First Century ( Act_3:24 ). Their prophecies are not for some time still distant in the future. ‘Which now’ -i.e. the fulfillment of O.T. prophecy concerning the Messiah and His kingdom “now” being preached through the apostles and New Testament prophets. Even prophets needed revelation concerning an answer to a question which hadn’t been as yet revealed. No man has an inherent ability to know God’s truth, apart from God’s revelation.

they were not serving themselves” -I think there is a valuable lesson in these words. Each generation perceives that its own time is somehow of greater significance than all other times. So many people think that ‘surely Jesus will come in my lifetime’.

“but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven” -1. The same Spirit which had inspired the prophets ( 2Pe_1:20-21 ), now announced the fulfillment and correct application of their prophecies ( Joh_16:13 ; Eph_3:2-5 ). 2. The mention of the Spirit proved that Christians were receiving the correct interpretation and application of what the prophets had foretold. 3. What a privileged position in which we find ourselves! We have access to truth which was not given to the Old Testament prophets. The Christian today, with the New Testament has a greater insight into the Old Testament, than even Isaiah, Daniel, etc…3. The Gospel message is the fulfillment of the Old Testament Messianic prophecies. Therefore, we must reject any theory which contends that the predictions of the Old Testament prophets are yet to be fulfilled.

“things into which angels long to look” -1. ‘Things’-i.e. the fulfillment of the prophetic messages of the past. 2. ‘Desire’-an eager or intense desire. 3. ‘to look’-‘to stoop to a thing in order to look at it, to look with head bowed forwards, to look into with body bent. To look carefully, inspect curiously.’ (Thayer p. 484) ‘Here it portrays one stooping and stretching the neck to gaze on some wonderful sight.’ (Vincent p. 635) 4. ‘This earnest desire of the angels to contemplate the sufferings of the Christ, was emblematically signified by the Cherubim placed in the inward tabernacle with their faces turned down towards the mercy-seat.’ ( Exo_25:20 ). (Macknight p. 441)

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘The whole paragraph carries a strong flavour of the newness and the excellence of the church age…Though the world may think such Christians insignificant and worthy of pity or scorn…angels-who see ultimate reality from God’s perspective-find them to be objects of intense interest…for they know that these struggling believers are actually the recipients of God’s greatest blessings and honoured participants in a great drama at the focal point of universal history. We too may rightly think of our Christian lives as no less privileged and no less interesting to holy angels than the lives of Peter’s readers.’ (Grudem p. 73) 2. What a tragedy when professed Christians fail to take a serious interest in studying the Word of God or in their own salvation. Oberst notes, ‘Christians, read your New Testament as the angels would like to!’ (p. 68) This verse clearly teaches us that being a Christian places you at the focal point of reality. If you want to be ‘in’ or ‘where it is at’-then obey the Gospel. 3. Christians need to realize that they have been allowed to participate in something, of which angels are excluded ( Heb_2:16 ). In addition, we get to preach the gospel, we get to teach people the truth, we get to save lost souls! This task hasn’t been given to angels!

Verse 13

1Pe_1:13 ‘Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ’

‘Therefore’ -‘Because of what I have just stated..about the greatness and importance of your salvation.’ (Oberst p. 68) ‘all the blessings, privileges, and hopes which he has enumerated; on these he founds his exhortations.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 8) Receiving great blessings, as every Christian has, also brings with it a great responsibility ( Eph_2:10 ).

‘gird your minds’ -‘Lit., having girded up, the metaphor is suggested by the girding up of the loose eastern robes preparatory to running or other exertion. There is a fitness in the figure as addressed to sojourners and pilgrims, who must be always ready to move.’ (Vincent p. 636) Lit., ‘the loins of your mind’. The loins refer to the waist or hip. The long flowing robe was gathered up and tucked into the sash tied around the waist. ( Eph_6:14 )

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘refers to the gathering up of all improper thoughts, feelings and activities of the mind and restraining them that they may not hinder one’s progress toward heaven.’ (Woods p. 38). 2. ‘the aorist tense is used which signifies the decisive act of making up their minds.’ (Lenski pp. 51-52) 3. Note that the ‘mind’ must be prepared for work. Serving God involves serious business. The Christian just can’t believe whatever they want to believe ( Php_4:8 ; 2Co_10:4-5 ). ‘His advice is, “pull it together”…the opposite of mental slackness..Our thoughts, attitudes, and mental conceptions greatly influence us!’ (Oberst p. 69) ‘Brace up your minds’ (Mof); ‘concentrate your minds’ (TCNT). 4. Get your head on straight, think clearly, watch your attitude, think on right things! 5. The verse also infers that one can get tripped up if they become lazy or allow their minds to be cluttered with vain thoughts. Unbelief is a problem that always has surrounded the people of God, and it is a problem that begins in the mind ( Heb_3:12 ). 6. Here is a key to successfully living the Christian life. Christians fail to grow and fall away simply because they refuse to bring their thinking into line with God’s thinking.

‘for action’ -The NASV catches the thought of the readiness being stressed by this phrase. Serving God demands mental preparation. And the life of the Christian is to be filled with spiritual “action” ( Joh_15:2-6 ).

‘keep sober in spirit’ -‘well balanced, self controlled’ (Arndt p. 538); ‘with perfect calmness’ (Gspd). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. ‘complete clarity of mind and its resulting good judgment..For Peter the cares of this life and the pressure of persecution can “intoxicate” the Christian and distract his or her focus..’ (Davids pp. 66-67) 2. ‘a state untouched by any slumberous or beclouding influences, and thence, one that is guarded against advances of drowsiness or bewilderment.’ (Oberst p. 69) 3. It is so easy to become unbalanced in the Christian life. Our attitude can destroy or neutralize our effectiveness. We can starting thinking that no one wants the gospel, or that serving God is too hard, that the Bible is too confusing, etc….But the verse infers that one can remain mentally balanced and serve God with the right mental attitude ( 1Pe_5:8 ; 1Th_5:6 ).

‘fix your hope completely’ -1. Fix or set your hope ( Col_3:2 ). 2. ‘Completely’-‘fully, altogether’ (Arndt p. 810); ‘wholly, without doubt, ‘ (Vincent p. 636); ‘unwavering constant hope’ (P.P. Comm. p. 8). 3. This statement is the same concept that Jesus referred to when He talked about not serving two masters ( Mat_6:24 ); not looking back after putting your hand to the plow ( Luk_9:62 ); or when James rebuked the double-minded man ( Jam_1:6-8 ); when Paul talked about people being tossed to and fro ( Eph_4:14 ), or a repentance that has no regrets ( 2Co_7:10 ). This is a key problem in the lives to too many Christians. We end up struggling and finding no joy in our relationship with God when we are trying divide up our hope or place our trust in more than one place. We will be miserable and our growth and effectiveness will be hindered until we finally make up our minds to place all our trust and all our hopes for future happiness in our relationship with God.

‘on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ’ -‘on the grace which is to be yours’ (NEB);’on the blessing that is coming to you’ (TCNT). If we view the Second Coming with terror, then we have the wrong motivation. The view of the Second Coming that truly helps the Christian grow, is the view that all our real hopes will be realized at that time. We can abstain from the temporary and sinful pleasures of this world, because they are poor substitutes for the real happiness which is coming with Jesus.

Verse 14

1Pe_1:14 ‘As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance’

‘As obedient children’ -i.e. ‘children marked by obedience’ (Robertson p. 88). A mode of expression in which one is characterized by a certain quality ( Eph_2:3 ; Eph_5:8 ; Luk_16:8 ; 2Th_2:3 ; 2Pe_2:14 ). POINTS TO NOTE: 1. The outstanding quality of any Christian, should be their obedience to God. 2. Sonship cannot exist without obedience ( Mat_7:21-23 ; Joh_14:15 ). 3. The goal in preaching the gospel is to bring about obedience to God ( Rom_1:5 ; Rom_16:26 ).

‘do not be conformed’ -1. ‘Conformed’-‘form or mold after something, be formed like, be guided by’ (Arndt p. 795); ‘to fashion or shape one thing like another’ (Vine p. 227). ( Rom_12:1-2 ) ‘do not let your lives be shaped’ (TCNT). 2. Man has a choice, note, once one becomes a Christian, one still has a choice. You can conform to God, or you can conform to your old lifestyle. The Christian can fall away. 3. Man will conform to something! ( Rom_6:13-16 ; Mat_6:24 ). There is no such thing as a true non-conformist.

‘to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance’ -‘the evil desires you used to cherish when you did not know any better’ (Wms). 1. The life outside of Christ isn’t the life of enlightenment and freedom, rather, it is the life of ignorance and enslavement ( Act_26:18 ; Eph_4:17-19 ). 2. The Christian now ‘knows better’. 3. One cannot occupy a place of moral neutrality. Giving up God means that one will fall back into former lusts. There are those who think that once Christianity has helped them out of various lusts, that they can discard Christ and yet still live a relatively good moral life. This verse contradicts that idea. 4. Be impressed that casting off all restraint is not a sign of wisdom, intelligence or enlightenment.

Verse 15

1Pe_1:15 ‘but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior’

‘but like the Holy One who called you’ -A Holy God deserves our conformity and obedience, not the world. 1. God is Holy, and those who profess to be His people must also manifest purity ( Lev_11:44-45 ; Lev_9:2 ; Lev_20:7 ; Lev_20:26 ). 2. God cannot have fellowship with those who engage in evil ( 1Jn_1:6-7 ). 3. Despite modern religious claims to the contrary, the Christian needs to live a morally pure life ( Rom_6:1 ff; 2Co_7:1 ; Eph_4:22-32 ; Eph_5:1-11 ).

‘the Holy One’ -Before we move on, this statement does tell us many valuable truths about God. Truths that should encourage us give Him our best possible effort and loyalty. 1. God is always up front and never misrepresents or overstates the truth. 2. Every motive in God is completely pure. There is no sinister or evil reason why God wants us to serve Him. 3. God is consistent. 4. God will never lie to us ( Tit_1:2 ), therefore we can place all our confidence in Him. I was reminded of the importance of these truths just this week, when I read the following, ‘The Beatles became disenchanted with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi when they learned that he was much more interested in the body of one of the ladies in their party than with the spirits of any of them, and they admitted, “We made a mistake.”’ (When Skeptics Ask, Geisler and Brooks, p. 133) Along the same lines we could point out that Mohammed had more wives that even he had prescribed for his religion, the abuses and polygamy in which Joseph Smith participated, the countless abuses among the Catholic Popes, etc…It is refreshing and encouraging to find out that God is Holy.

‘be holy’ -i.e. become. 1. In ancient times in non-Christian and non-Jewish circles the word translated ‘holy’ meant, ‘devoted to the gods’, and therefore ‘sacred’. 2. Thayer says, ‘set apart, pure, upright’ (p. 7). The words sanctify, sanctification, saint, holy, and holiness all come from the same root word. Thus a Christian is to be separated from the sinful attitudes and actions of the world, and dedicated to serving God ( Mat_6:33 ). 3. Notice that ‘holiness’ isn’t something mysterious wrought upon the individual. We are commanded to ‘be’ holy. ( 2Co_7:1 ). And ‘holiness’ isn’t the result of a long mystical or intellectual journey. There are no steps or levels to ‘holiness’, and there are no degrees of holiness among men. The Christian must be ‘holy’ right now! Holiness is very practical, i.e. get rid of the sin in your life and put on godly qualities ( Col_3:5 ff).

‘in all your behavior’ -‘in every department of your lives’ (Phi). 1. Before God, the Christian has no privacy or part of their life that they can keep from God. Every part must be pure. 2. I cannot divorce my personal life from my relationship with God. 3. I cannot divorce my marriage or my business life from my relationship with God ( Eph_5:22-33 ; Eph_6:1-9 ). 3. Holiness can be seen! If the heart is pure, then the conduct will be pure ( Mar_7:20-23 ). What we ‘do’ says everything about whether we are serious about being ‘holy’, whether we have dedicated ourselves to God or not ( Tit_1:15-16 ).

Verse 16

1Pe_1:16 ‘because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”’

‘because it is written’ -‘the verb is in the perfect tense in Greek, thus indicating past action with existing results. Expanded, the phrase means, It was written and now remains as a record.’ (Woods p. 43) 1. This truth stands as valid. It is not changed by time or culture. God has always required holiness of those professing to be His people. 2. The statement is found in Lev_11:44-45 ; Lev_19:2 ; Lev_20:7 ; Lev_26:3 . Notice the word ‘because’: Why should we do something? Peter’s response, ‘Because God said so.’

‘You shall be holy’ -Seeing that God demanded holiness of Israel in the Old Testament ( Exo_19:5-6 ; Lev_20:26 ). This verse infers that Christians are the Israel of God today (2:9-10). ‘God is the same in both testaments, and the revelation in them is consistent and unified from God as its source, God does not change ( Mal_3:6 ; Jam_1:17 ; Heb_13:6 )’. (Hamilton p. 44) Therefore we must reject any teaching which implies or argues that morality purity is something which Christians need not concern themselves.

POINT TO NOTE: Someone might object, ‘But how can I be holy like God is holy?’ 1. The verse implies that one can be honest and sincere. Therefore, we must reject the idea that no one is serving God from pure motives. 2. The verse demands that man can practice true love, true forgiveness, that people can develop and have pure minds ( Php_4:8 ), etc….3. The level of purity God expects of us is the level described in the following passages ( Mat_5:44-48 ; Eph_4:31-32 ; Eph_5:1-2 ; Col_3:13 ; Php_2:3-5 ). 4. Again, holiness isn’t something that is forced upon us, rather, it is something we must choose. 5. Since we are created in the image of God ( Gen_1:26 ), the command to act and think in a godly manner should be something within the reach of all. It also should be something of which all could see the value in and learn to love and appreciate ( 1Jn_5:3 ; Psa_19:7 ff). It also should be a way of life that ‘fits’ ( Mat_11:28-29 ).

Verse 17

1Pe_1:17 ‘And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth;’

‘And if you address’ -‘If, on the one hand, Christians are children of God..they have been rightly reminded to be obedient children and to realize that true children of a holy God will be holy. Now Peter balances this argument; if, on the other hand, they call God Father, they should remember his character and allow not familiarity to be an excuse for evil.’ (Davids p. 70)

‘as Father’ -God is not a cruel and inhuman tyrant. And neither is God an it, a force or a fertility goddess. The word ‘address’ means: ‘to call on for help, to appeal to..the present tense suggests regular or habitual calling.’ (Grudem p. 80) Peter assumes that these Christians pray to God regularly and that they call upon Him as Father ( Mat_6:9 ; 1Th_5:17 ).

‘the One who impartially judges’ -‘without the slightest favoritism’ (Phi); ‘without preferring one to another’ (Beck). ( Act_10:34 ; Rom_2:11 ; Gal_2:6 ). 1. Some have tried to use the ‘Fatherhood’ of God as an argument against the idea that God will send anyone to hell. It is interesting that Peter didn’t see any contradiction between God being a Father and an impartial Judge at the same time. 2. ‘God does not judge individuals on the basis of such outward characteristics as wealth, cultural background or social position.. 1Sa_16:7 .’ (Woods p. 43)

‘according to each man’s work’ -‘ judges men by their actions’ (Phi) 1. But how many people think that God is going to judge according to ‘what each man intended to do’. Often people will excuse their sinful actions by saying, ‘But God knows my heart’. Yes He does! He knows that selfish deeds come from a selfish heart ( Mar_7:20-23 ). See also ( Mat_16:27 ; Rom_2:6 ff; 2Co_5:10 ; Gal_6:7 ). While it is true that doing the right thing will never make up for the price of your salvation ( Luk_17:10 ), it is also just as true that doing the wrong thing will condemn you ( Gal_5:21 ; 1Co_6:9 ; Rev_21:8 ). Obeying God will not put God in debt to you, but disobeying will cause you to be lost ( Mat_7:21-23 ).

‘conduct yourselves’ -We have control over our actions. Sin isn’t genetic and neither is it a physical disease.

‘in fear during the time of your stay upon earth’ -‘let reverence be the spirit of your lives’ (TCNT); ‘stand in awe of him while you live out your time on earth’ (NEB). The fear in this passage speaks of healthy respect or a worshipful awe. Unfortunately too many serve God from a motive of terror or dread. But I have found that such a motive usually doesn’t move people to grow spiritually and neither does it keep them from habitual sins. Someone noted the difference between fear that is terror and fear which is respect. One son said, ‘I’m afraid to do that because of what dad might do to me’. Another son said, ‘I’m afraid to do that because what it would do to my father.’ A person can stand in dread of God and just still love self more than God. But the person who stands in awe of God, has a greater love for God than for self. A healthy respect for God is often stressed in the Scriptures ( Deu_6:2 ; Psa_111:10 ; Pro_1:7 ; Pro_14:26-27 ; Luk_12:4-5 ; 2Co_7:1 ; Heb_12:28 ).

This Holy God Who shows no favoritism, ‘will therefore show no favoritism to His friends or children..Membership in God’s family, great privilege though it is, must not lead to the presumption that disobedience will pass unnoticed or undisciplined’. (Grudem pp. 80-81) ‘Fear of God is not inconsistent with loving him or knowing that he loves us…fear of displeasing our Father is the obverse (compliment, counterpart) side of loving him. The fear here recommended is…a holy self-suspicion and fear of offending God, which may not only consist with assured hope of salvation, and with faith, and love, and spiritual joy, but is their inseparable companion…This fear is not cowardice: it doth not debase, but elevates the mind; for it drowns all lower fears, and begets true fortitude and courage to encounter all dangers, for the sake of good conscience and the obeying of God.’ (Grudem p. 82)

‘stay’ -One stay. One isn’t given many lifetimes to get it right. You cannot harmonize reincarnation with the Bible ( Heb_9:27 ). Especially when you realize that in the doctrine of reincarnation there is absolutely no room for a Savior ( Joh_3:16 ).

The Price Of Our Redemption:

Verse 18

1Pe_1:18 ‘knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,’

‘knowing’ -‘For you know’ (TCNT). The connection between this verse and the previous section: ‘Live holy, obedient lives that manifest respect for God, for after paying such a high price for your salvation, God wouldn’t be pleased if you casually disregard the liberation from your sins.’

‘you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold’ -1. The word ‘redeemed’ means: ‘to release on receipt of ransom, liberate by payment of ransom.’ (Thayer p. 384) ( Tit_2:14 ; Mat_20:28 ) ‘was frequently used in the days of slavery to indicate the act of obtaining freedom for enslaved persons through the payment of a sum of money for their release.’ (Woods p. 45) 2. The verse vividly reveals the true depth of every sin. No amount of perishable things, even valuables such as silver and gold could make atonement for even one sin. In addition, other passages tell us that sin cannot be atoned for even by the sacrifice of our own lives ( 1Co_13:1-4 ), or the lives of our loved ones ( Mic_6:6-8 ). 3. There exists no human or earthly endeavor, accomplishment or sacrifice that can remove sin. Sin is moral evil and rebellion against the nature of God. We need to take our sins more seriously! ( Psa_51:4 )

‘from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers’ -1. ‘Futile’-‘idle, empty, fruitless, useless, powerless, lacking truth’ (Arndt p. 495). 2. So much for the idea that ‘family traditions’ must always be right. We must love God and His ways more than even earthly parents and their ways ( Mat_10:37 ). 2. This suggests Christians from a Gentile background, who had been introduced into idolatry and all its practices by their parents. 3. Jesus not only can deliver us from our sins, He can deliver us from the ‘environment’ of ignorance, superstition, false religion, etc…that keeps people enslaved. 4. Talk about the subject of the Bible being relevant to the needs of modern man! We are surrounded by people who have been raised in a ‘futile way of living’. People brought up in atheism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Denominationalism, ‘Good-ole-boyish’, materialism, hedonism, feminism, etc…Sharing the gospel with someone means giving them the chance to escape from a meaningless life! Please note that sinful ways of living are not genetic, rather they are learned. And also note that men and women can break from sinful, addictive, generational, and societal living patterns and pressures. Peter doesn’t buy the excuses, ‘But the vast majority endorse it, the great middle section of society is always right’, ‘if it was good enough for mom and dad it is good enough for me’, ‘blood is thicker than water’, ‘when in Rome do as the Romans’, ‘we must keep this family tradition alive at all cost’.

Verse 19

1Pe_1:19 ‘but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ’.

‘but with precious blood’ -‘Precious’-‘of great worth or value’ (Arndt p. 818)

‘as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ’ -1. Jesus is often spoken of as a lamb ( Joh_1:29 ; Act_8:32 ). 2. The sacrificial animals in the Old Testament had to be without defect or flaw ( Lev_22:18-24 ; Lev_4:32 ; Num_28:3 ; Num_28:11 ). 3. The statement infers that Jesus lived a sinless life (2:22). This is quite a statement from Peter, who had constant contact with Jesus over the space of three years. Who saw Him confronted with all sorts of difficult situations, many of which were very intense. Even though Peter had been personally rebuked by Jesus, and following Jesus had cost Peter many of the comforts of this life, still, Peter did not have a diminished view of Jesus. 4. Nothing can atone for sin, except the blood of Jesus. Therefore, the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was the only method by which we could be saved. 5. The lesson is clear: The blood of Christ is vastly more priceless than silver and gold. But how many professed believers have traded the benefits of Christ’s blood (salvation), for a few extra hours at a job, or hobby, or recreational pursuit?

Verse 20

1Pe_1:20 ‘For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you’

‘foreknown before the foundation of the world’ -Before God even created the universe, earth and man, He knew going in that this would cost Him the life of Jesus ( Act_2:23 ; Act_3:18 ; Act_4:28 ; 1Co_2:7 ; Eph_1:4 ; Eph_3:11 ). The phrase ‘foundation of the world’, means the creation of the world ( Joh_17:24 ; Eph_1:4 ; Luk_11:50 ; Heb_4:3 ). God knew that in creating mankind, He would have to make man with a freewill (for obedience and love that is forced has no ethical value). But that meant that some might make the wrong choice, hence sin would enter. The death of Christ for the sins of the world wasn’t a last minute idea and neither did Jewish rejection catch God by surprise. POINTS TO NOTE: 1. This doesn’t mean that Adam and Eve were destined to fail in the garden, but it does mean that God knew that eventually someone would sin. 2. Premillennialism is such an attack upon God’s wisdom. For that theory has God planning to set up an earthly kingdom when Jesus initially came (i.e. Jewish acceptance) into the world, but at the same time having Jesus die according to a predetermined plan (Jewish rejection). 3. Also note that foreknowing the future doesn’t mean the same thing as determining the future. God knew that Jesus’ generation would crucify Him, but God didn’t force them to do it ( Act_3:13-19 ).

‘has appeared in these last times’ -This is a reference to Jesus’ incarnation, and not His Second Coming. He ‘has’ appeared, the aorist tense denotes a specific point in time. ( 1Ti_3:16 ; Heb_9:26 ; 1Jn_1:2 ; 1Jn_3:5 ; 1Jn_3:8 ). ‘These last times’-‘lit., at the end of the times’ (Vincent p. 639). Jesus had appeared at the end of the Jewish age, in the ‘fullness of time’ ( Gal_4:4 ), and His death had triggered the beginning of the last period of time upon the earth ( Heb_1:2 ; Act_2:17 ).

‘for the sake of you’ -( 2Co_8:9 ). ‘for your benefit’ (Phi). Again, Peter reminds Christians who were suffering, that despite their trials, they were living in a privileged time. Do we fail to appreciate the ‘time’ in which we are living? When Bibles and study aids are so abundant and inexpensive? When bible software makes it so easy and fast to find a verse, a word or a phrase? When we have the benefit of looking back and seeing the whole plan of God unfolded. Add to all of this the scientific and archaeological evidence made available to our generation which endorses the scientific and historical accuracy of the Scriptures. Look at all the tools that we have to spread the gospel and get the message out!

Verse 21

1Pe_1:21 ‘who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God’.

‘who’ -these Christians.

‘through Him’ -The only way that one can become a believer in God, is through Jesus Christ. Jesus reveals the Father ( Mat_11:27 ; Joh_1:18 ; Joh_14:6 ). Access to the Father is only through Jesus ( 2Co_5:19 ).

‘believers in God’ -One cannot come to really know God apart from Jesus ( Eph_2:18 ; Joh_14:6 ). This verse undermines the idea that all the religions in the world are simply serving the same God in different ways.

‘who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory’ -Peter is reminding these Christians that the God Who is their Judge is also their Savior. ‘he planned their redemption in the counsels of eternity (1:20), he sent forth his Son for their sake (1:20), he is the one whom they even now depend on (1:21), he raised Christ from the dead and glorified him (1:21), and thus he is the one in whom they place all their trust and hope (1:21). The God whom Christians fear is also the God whom they trust for ever, the God who has planned and done for them only good from all eternity.’ (Grudem p. 87) Glory followed the resurrection ( Act_2:33-36 ; Act_5:31 ; Eph_1:20-23 ; Php_2:9-11 ).

‘so that your faith and hope are in God’ -‘are resting upon’ (Wey); ‘are directed towards’ (Rhm). The same God that raised Jesus and gave Him glory, is the same God who would raise these Christians and give them glory. Therefore, despite whatever they might suffer, they know that they are never suffering in vain. ‘for they have on the basis of what was done in Christ the confident expectation that God can and will do as he promised for them.’ (Davids p. 75)

Verse 22

1Pe_1:22 ‘Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,’

’in obedience to the truth’ -1. Which means that the truth can be obeyed. 2. The truth is the message of the gospel ( Joh_14:16 ; Gal_5:7 ; Eph_1:13 ; 1Ti_4:3 ). 3. ‘and obeying the gospel..indicates that conversion is not simply a matter of intellectual change, but of a transformation of behavior, that is, a response to a command ( Act_2:38 ).’ (Davids p. 76) 4. The soul is not purified by submitting to false doctrines. 5. There is not a level of truth beyond what is revealed in the Word of God ( Joh_17:17 ).

‘purified’ -‘purified your lives’ (TCNT). Perfect active tense, implying action in the past with existing results. Purification/sanctification is the result of obeying the gospel. It isn’t a mystical process. Rather, one hears the gospel, believes that Jesus is the Son of God, turns from a life of sin, confesses Jesus, and submits to the command to be baptized ( Act_2:38 ). 1. ‘This is the cleansing of the conscience from awareness of sin by removing the sin. Men are commanded to be baptized for remission of sins ( Act_2:38 ).’ (Hamilton p. 53) 2. In Act_15:9 , Peter noted that God had cleansed the hearts of the Gentiles by faith. Which means that the faith that saves is an obedient faith, a conviction that obeys the truth. 3. This purifying of the soul also includes the conscious decision on the part of the individual to give up the sin in their life ( Jam_4:8 ; 1Jn_3:3 ). 4. In comparing this verse with 1:2, we learn that the sanctifying work performed by the Spirit, is what happens when an individual encounters the truth and is convicted.

‘for a ‘ -‘with a view to, in the direction of’ (Alford p.1637)

‘sincere love of the brethren’ -Love that is genuine, without hypocrisy and undisguised ( Rom_12:9 ; 2Co_6:6 ). This includes a love that is more than talk or profession ( 1Jn_3:18 ; Joh_13:34 ).

‘fervently love one another from the heart’ -1. ‘Fervently’-‘eagerly, constantly’ (Arndt p. 245). ‘Lit., intensely, with all the energies strained to the utmost.’ (P.P. Comm. p. 11). ‘Children of God are not to love one another indifferently, or loosely, but ..intensely.’ (Woods p. 50) 2. ‘One another’-this quality of love is the obligation of every member. 3. ‘from the heart’-This love isn’t forced. Rather, it is a deliberate act of the will. 4. ‘It is a reminder that one of the first marks of genuine growth in holiness in individuals and in churches is earnest love for fellow Christians. It also gives encouragement that human personalities, far from being immutably fixed early in life, can be dramatically and permanently changed through the power of the gospel.’ (Grudem pp. 89-90) ‘Loving fellow-Christians is obviously no minor issue..’ (Davids p. 77) (See Rom_12:10 ; 1Th_4:9 ; Heb_13:1 ; 1Pe_4:8 ; 2Pe_1:7 ).

The New Birth:

Verse 23

1Pe_1:23 ‘for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and abiding word of God.’

‘for’ -Which connects this verse with the previous verses. We are called to fervently love one another, because we are all part of God’s family ( 1Jn_5:1 ). It is inconsistent to claim to be born again and yet refuse to love the members of the family into which you have been born.

‘born again’ -‘to produce again, beget again, beget anew’ (Thayer p. 36).

‘not of seed which is perishable but imperishable’ -The new birth isn’t a physical birth ( Joh_3:3-6 ). The word ‘perishable’ means: ‘subject to decay or destruction’ (Arndt p. 857)

‘that is, through the living and abiding word of God’ -

POINTS TO NOTE: 1. The ‘seed’ that causes the new birth is the Word of God ( 1Co_4:15 ; Jam_1:18 ). Therefore the ‘spirit’ part of the new birth mentioned by Jesus in Joh_3:5 , is the role played by the Word of God. The Word is preached, the heart is convinced, faith is produced, the individual repents, confesses and is baptized=one is born again. Compare with Mar_16:15-16 ; Joh_3:5 ; Act_2:37-38 ; Titus 3:5. 2 . The Word of God is called incorruptible seed, which infers: A. The Word of God will exist in every generation, in a pure and incorruptible form ( Mat_24:35 ). Therefore, we must reject every theory which states that the Bible has been corrupted, books are missing or books have been added, etc…B. The message of the Bible is always fresh, new and relevant to the real needs of any generation. The Bible never needs any improvement. This is also inferred by the statement that the Word of God is ‘living’ (present tense) ( Act_7:38 ; Heb_4:12 ). C. By obeying teaching found in the Bible a person is never made worse, they only can become better. D. The Church that Jesus founded can exist in any generation ( Eph_3:21 ; Heb_12:28 ), because the ‘seed’ which produces Christians is incorruptible ( Luk_8:11 )

‘living’ -A great reminder to people who seem to think that their own opinions will have a better chance at converting someone than the words and examples in the Bible. ‘The implications for evangelism are obvious: ultimately it is neither our arguments nor our life example that will bring new life to an unbeliever, but the powerful words of God himself- words which we still have preserved today in Scripture .’ (Grudem p. 91) So let us never tire of plain Bible teaching or preaching, let us never tire of Biblical illustrations and Biblical examples. Let us never think that our own humanly devised sayings or illustrations could ever be more relevant or powerful than the words found within the Bible.

‘abiding’ -‘remain, last, persist, continue to live’ (Arndt p. 504). Which means that the New Testament will always remain just as authoritative as the first day it was written. The New Testament does reflect God’s views, and it will until the end of time ( Joh_12:48 ). The gospel remains a living and active message that will always find room to grow in honest and good hearts. With the gospel, Christians are assured that they are never preaching an outdated message.

Verse 24

1Pe_1:24 ‘For, “All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls off, but the word of the Lord abides forever.”’

‘For’ -This is a quotation from Isa_40:6-8 . Here is proof of the assertion made in 1:23. What is corruptible on this planet is ‘flesh’. Humanity is finite and frail ( Jam_4:14 ). What abides is the Word of God, words like those found in Isa_40:6-8 . Still relevant, still powerful, still living, convicting, and abiding. And still true!

‘All flesh is like grass’ -‘Flesh’ means ‘every human being’. What is produced by a corruptible seed. In this there may be a hint at the temporary nature of those persecuting these Christians.

‘And all its glory like the flower of grass’ -‘And all its splendour’ (TCNT). All the great accomplishments, splendor, achievements, pride and attainments of mankind are just as temporary and fragile. Man knows that he is temporary, but many men try to build something that they think will stand the test of time. It is hard to believe, but every human accomplishment or project on this planet will one day go up in smoke ( 2Pe_3:10 ). And outlasting the physical existence of mankind or his earthly projects is the Word of God. Therefore let us never be intimidated by secular society or its achievements, for they cannot compare with our heavenly home ( 1Pe_1:4 ).

Verse 25

1Pe_1:25 ‘And this is the word which was preached to you’.

Therefore the message which we have heard has eternal meaning. The rewards it promises will come, just like the threats that it also contains. Don’t let the world intimidate or shame you into inaction. You are involved in something more relevant than anything else that is happening upon this planet.

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Bibliographical Information
Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Peter 1". "Dunagan's Commentaries on the Bible". 1999-2014.