(Originally published January 11, 2021)
1 Peter 1
I am very excited to look into 1 and 2 Peter. I have always loved Peter and identified with him a little. Not so much because of who he became. Peter was an apostle and was considered a very important leader of the church. But because of who he was in the beginning. Many stories about Peter make me smile. He is a bit spontaneous, he does things before he thinks of them. He gets himself into so much because he doesn’t think before he speaks. At least that is the Peter of the Gospels. The Peter who has written these letters has matured in his faith. He has grown up so to speak and I can’t wait to see what he is going to teach us.
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.: 1 Peter 1:1-2
Peter begins this letter stating who he is, “an apostle of Jesus Christ”. That is pretty much all he had to say because Peter was known among Christians of his day. Peter is writing this letter to all Christians, not just in one region as we see many of Paul’s letters he wrote. According to commentary, the list of the places that he names was probably the places that his letter would be delivered.
After his greeting, Peter jumps right into praising God. A statement I read in the commentary was “When Peter considered the salvation of God, his immediate response was to simply praise Him.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” 1 Peter 1:3-5
There is one of the exclamation points I have come to love. Let us not forget this is the same Peter who denied Jesus 3 times on the night before his crucifixion. This is the same Peter who Jesus restored after His resurrection and Jesus asked him 3 times, Peter, do you love me? And He told him, “Feed my sheep”. It looks to me like Peter was still grateful for his restoration and his salvation. Peter knows his salvation, Peter knows a little something about grace and it looks to me like he is living in it. He knows the living hope of the resurrection of Jesus.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
Peter was talking to some people who had possibly been through some stuff! He mentions that they had been “grieved by various trials” but that even though they had been grieved that the trials had produced a “tested genuineness of faith”. This faith that Peter is talking about is deep, abiding faith, and Peter tells them that this kind of faith is “more precious than gold”. Have you ever known someone who had gone through some stuff and come out on the other side? These people usually have such a deep abiding faith that it appears to the outside world nothing can shake them. One of the things that was pointed out in my studying, and I had never thought of it this way, was that when our faith is going through a testing by God, it’s not because God wants us to prove something to Him, so much as it is to prove our faith to ourselves. See God already knows if we have that deep, abiding faith! But many times, we don’t know if we have it or not. We say things like “I could never live through that.” I’have things that I ask God all the time, “please don’t prove to me I could live through that.” The truth is, when He is testing our faith with various trials, it is not to prove to Him that we will stand strong, it’s to prove to us that with Him, we can stand strong through anything that comes our way.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” 1 Peter 1:13-16
In light of this faith that we have, the faith that the trials we have been through have proven to us, we should prepare our minds for action, we should be serious in our thlnking that we have a hope that can rely fully on the grace that we receive because of Jesus. Jesus calls us to be set apart, to live a life that would be holy in the way we conduct ourselves. Not because of us, but because of who He is in us! Peter says in this chapter that if we call on Him as Father, He who will judge us each according to our own conduct, not in comparison to anyone else. He is the most impartial judge. He will look at our lives on the whole and He will judge us, BUT if we know Jesus, when we are judged by the Father it will be:
“knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” 1 Peter 1:18-19
He will not look on us and see all of of our past mistakes and our bad habits and our sinful nature. All He will see when He judges us is the precious blood of Jesus, of His son!
Peter ends by giving us a charge.
“Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God” 1 Peter 1:22-23
If our souls have been purified by Jesus blood and by our obedience to the truth, we should be able to love one another earnestly from a pure heart!
Lord, help us to hold fast to the faith that we have, to see that faith as more precious than gold, and help us Lord to Love each other earnestly, the way You would have us to love!