1 Peter 1 Bible study

Living Word Magazine

Chapter 1

 

Greetings

 

1:1  From Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those temporarily residing abroad (in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia) who are chosen.

 

The author of this letter is clearly Peter, the fisherman, one of the twelve apostles that the Lord chose to be witnesses of His death and resurrection. To Peter Christ had given the task of feeding His Church. It is generally accepted that Peter was writing mainly to converted Jews who had been scattered by persecution to the areas named. However, the letter is applicable to all Christians. (see 2 Peter 1.1 & 3.1).

 

Peter describes his Christian readers as being "pilgrims" not only because many of them had left their homeland, but because all believers are temporary residents in the world. This world is not our permanent home, we are just passing through it. Our home is in heaven. Phil 3.20.

 

1:2  According to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ's blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure.

 

Before time began, God the Father who dwells in eternity, personally knew those who would hear the gospel message and receive Christ as their Saviour. He chose these to be His own. When we believed the gospel message we were set apart to God by the Holy Spirit through the work of regeneration - we were born again - and we were baptised by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ. Through the new birth we have become God's children and have been set apart to him in order that we might be obedient to Jesus Christ - He is our Lord. We who have believed know the power of the blood of Jesus Christ which cleanses us from all sin past, present and future. He is our Saviour.

 

Peter's greeting is that the grace (undeserved favour of God) and true heart peace will be ours in continually increasing measure. Rather, since God's grace & peace are given us without measure, it is our experience and enjoyment of it that actually grows.

 

 

Praise God for our Salvation

 

1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he gave us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

 

Peter praises God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has shown His unlimited mercy toward us by making us his children 1 John 3.1.  Think of that for a moment. We were guilty sinners deserving of hell, but now we are sons of God. It's unlimited mercy. This was made possible Christ's death and resurrection for us. Through faith in Him we have been born again to a hope that is living and eternal. It is by Christ's resurrection that we have been raised to this exalted position, united with Him.

 

1:4  That is, into an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading. It is reserved in heaven for you.

 

Since we are sons we are also heirs of God. Rom 8.17. We have an inheritance. An inheritance is something that becomes our property when someone dies. God's Son has already died to make it ours. Our inheritance is not corruptible like silver and gold, since it is not material but spiritual. Eph 1.3. It is not subject to impurity or  decay and can never wear out. It is as if it is kept for us in a protected atmosphere - heaven itself.

 

1:5  who by God's power are protected through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

 

We, in turn, are kept (safeguarded) by God's power through faith, who will keep us until we receive that inheritance or "fully inherit that final salvation that is ready to be revealed at the last time. " AMPNT

 

 

The Trial of our Faith

 

1:6  This brings you great joy, although you may have to suffer for a short time in various trials.

 

We have every right to rejoice in our salvation even though at present we may be in "heaviness" as we pass through many kinds of trials. Our trials are hard and difficult. They distress us and weigh us down. Psalm 34.19.

 

1:7  Such trials show the proven character of your faith, which is much more valuable than gold — gold that is tested by fire, even though it is passing away — and will bring praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.

 

These trials are allowed by God for an important reason. They are necessary to strengthen our faith. Since our faith is worth far more than gold, we should expect God to test it. Gold is tested or refined with fire to remove impurities. But our faith is tried by the trials that we go through so that it might increase and become strong. Gold does not last, but our faith will. God wants our faith to endure through the trials and difficulties of this life so that it might be proved genuine. This will result in praise, honour and glory being given to Him who alone is the author and finisher of our faith. Heb 12.2

 

1:8  You have not seen him, but you love him. You do not see him now but you believe in him, and so you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy.

 

Our faith revealed by the fact that although we have never seen Jesus Christ, yet we love Him. Although we do not see him at this present time, we believe and fully put our trust in him. John 20.29 As we trust in Him, we are filled with a joy that cannot be expressed in words and which is full of the glory of God Himself, since God is the source of our joy.

 

1:9  Because you are attaining the goal of your faith — the salvation of your souls.

 

The outcome of our faith in Christ is the salvation of our souls (deliverance from sin, its effects and its power, both now and in the age to come.)

 

 

The Coming of Christ Foretold

 

1:10-11  Concerning this salvation, the prophets who predicted the grace that would come to you searched and investigated carefully. They probed into what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when he testified beforehand about the sufferings appointed for Christ and his subsequent glory.

 

The OT prophets foretold of the days when God's grace would be made available and pardon for sin offered to all. Although they spoke by the Holy Spirit of the sufferings of Christ and his subsequent glory, they did not fully understand what they said. They sought and asked of God carefully about this, wanting to find out more exactly the meaning of what was said and when it was going to happen.

 

1:12  They were shown that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things now announced to you through those who proclaimed the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven — things angels long to catch a glimpse of.

 

In reply, God revealed to them that the message was not for them, nor for the time in which they lived. It was for a future day and would be revealed in fullness only when Christ came. We have now the fulfilment of the OT scriptures clearly shown in the gospels. The facts concerning Christ are now made known to all men by the messengers whom He has sent, empowered by the Holy Spirit, to preach the gospel. Even the angels long to have an understanding of such precious and holy truth.

 

 

Instructions for Christian Living

 

1:13  Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.

 

In view of all that Peter has said so far we are to "gird up the loins of our mind" and be self controlled, or "well disciplined in spiritual matters" (my paraphrase). When a runner girds up his loins he is determined to continue and finish the race. So we are to be fully determined that we will continue in Christ in spite of difficulties. We are to set our hope fully on the grace that will be ours when Jesus Christ is revealed.

 

1:14  Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance,

 

As we wait for the second coming of the Lord, our hope being fully set on His grace, we to live as obedient children. We are not to let our lives be shaped by the sinful desires that ruled our lives before we came to know the Lord.

 

1:15  but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct,

 

1:16  for it is written, "You shall be holy, because I am holy."

 

Since we now know him and He is holy, we are to be like him - holy. Lev 11.44,45. In everything we do and say we are to be morally blameless and different to the world.

 

1:17  And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one's work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence.

 

We are among those who pray to God the Father, who judges every person according to their works and does not show favouritism. He will not condemn sin in an unbeliever and then condone it in a believer. So, whilst we are here on earth, we are to live in reverential fear and awe of God. 1 Peter 2.17. Acts 9.31. We must remember that we owe this as a debt to God because he has bought us with a high price.

 

1:18-19  You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed — not by perishable things like silver or gold, but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ.

 

That price was the precious blood of His Son Jesus Christ, who although he was without sin, gave himself for our sins on the cross. By his sacrifice we have been redeemed (bought back for God). We once lived empty, meaningless lives without God, just as our forefathers had done, in a way of life which they handed down to us. But now we have real meaning in our lives because we belong to God and share the life of His Son.

 

1:20  He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was manifested in these last times for your sake.

 

Even before God had made the world, He saw the wrong choice man would make. It was God's plan to send His Son to be the Saviour of the world long before he made Adam. This plan was formed in eternity, foretold in the OT and fulfilled when Christ came.

 

1:21  Through him you now trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

 

When we heard the gospel message we believed God, who raised His Son from the dead and glorified him, so that our faith and hope for salvation is not in God Himself. Thus to hear the gospel is to hear the personal voice of God to your soul.  1 John 5.9 ; 1 Thess 2.13.

 

1:22  You have purified your souls by obeying the truth in order to show sincere mutual love. So love one another earnestly from a pure heart.

 

As Christians our souls have been purified by our obedience to the truth (our believing the gospel and trusting in Christ to save us). We have been born again and are cleansed by the word of God. Eph 5.26, Ps 119.9 Jn 15.3 Jn 17.17. The evidence of this is that we also have a love for others who are born of God. Jms 1.18, 1 Jn 5.1. We are to make sure that we continue to love the brethren fervently.

 

1:23  You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God.

 

We are able to do this because our love is more than simply human. We are not born again of the corruptible seed of man, our natures have been changed. We are born by the eternal word of God whose nature is love. 1 John 4.8

 

1:24  For all flesh is like grass: and all its glory like the flower of the grass; the grass withers and the flower falls off,

 

Peter compares the mortal body of man to a flower or to grass, which withers and dies and its glory or beauty passes away. So it is with the old nature. Man will die, and his honour and glory, power or fame will depart from him forever.

 

1:25  but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was proclaimed to you.

 

But God's word will not pass away, and this is the word that we have heard through the gospel message. Hence our "new" nature (born of God's word) is contrasted with the old (corruptible)

Further Reading Resources for you - Peter

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