1 PETER COMMENTARY —Chapter 1 part 1
by John Lowe
Text: 1 Peter, Chapter 1 (KJV)
1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and a sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and 1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and a sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
10Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to investigate.
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
17And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: 18Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 19But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 20Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, 21Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
22Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 23Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25But the Word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the Word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
Peter’s first epistle is addressed to Gentile believers among the dispersed (the scattered) of Israel. They have been released from the futile way of life they learned from their ancestors (1:18). Those who were at one time, not a people, had become nothing less than the people of God (2:10). (In Peter’s time, the dispersed are found in those provinces of Asia Minor named in the first verse. The second epistle declares itself to be a second addressed to the same persons, and it was destined for the Jews of Asia Minor (that is, to those among them who had the same precious faith as the apostle).
The first epistle is based on the doctrine of the heavenly calling (I do not say the assembly on Earth, see footnote #1 which is not brought before us here) in contrast with the portion of the Jews on the planet. It presents Christians, and in particular Christians among the Jews, as pilgrims and strangers on Earth. The conduct suited to such is more largely developed than the doctrine. The Lord Jesus, who was himself a pilgrim and a stranger here, is presented as a pattern in more than one aspect. Both epistles pursue the righteous government of God from the beginning to the consummation of all things, in which the elements melt with fervent heat, and there are new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells.
As we begin our study of 1 Peter, I must inform you that we have two wonderful “assistants” to help us, the Word of God and the Spirit of God. The same truth that we trusted and obeyed to become God’s children also nurtures and empowers us. It is impossible to love the truth and hate the brethren. The Spirit of God produces the “fruit of the Spirit” in our lives, and the first of these is love (Gal. 5:22-23). If our minds are filled with the Word of God (Col. 3:16) and the Spirit of God (Eph. 5:18), we will manifest the love of God in our daily experiences. Once, it had been said that God only loved Israel of all nations upon the Earth. But now, the mercy, the privileges, and the grace of God have gone out to all the world and all people, even to those who could never have expected them.
But the nation of Israel failed in the purposes of God, for when He sent His Son into the world, they rejected and crucified Him. When he told the wicked tenants’ parable, He said that Israel’s inheritance was to be taken from them and given to others (Matt. 21:41; Mark 12:9; Luke 20:16). All the privileges that once belonged to Israel now belonged to the Christian Church. The mercy of God has gone out to the ends of the Earth, and all nations had seen the glory and had experienced the grace of God.
Greetings from Peter
1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
In the Old Testament, Israel had been promised a Land as their inheritance (Joshua 11:23). However, through their rebellion, the land became defiled (Jeremiah 2:7), so God scattered them abroad (Ezekiel 36:16-21). All Israel became exiles in a foreign land. Nevertheless, through the prophets, God offered the hope that He would restore His people and bring them back to their inheritance (vv. 22-38). The prophets announced that God would raise a king from David’s line to regather God’s people back to the place of God’s presence based on a new covenant (vv. 24-28). They would still enjoy it. They would still want their inheritance one day.
There is a word here which once belonged exclusively to Israel. The address (greeting), reads “. . . to the elect strangers of the Diaspora throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” Diaspora, the dispersion was the technical name for the Jews scattered in exile in all the countries outside the bounds of Palestine. Sometimes in their troubled history, the Jews had been forcibly deported. Those exiled Jews were called the Diaspora. The real Diaspora is not the Jewish nation; it is the Christian Church scattered abroad throughout the provinces of the Roman Empire and the world’s countries.
We have just been saying that the two great titles* we have been thinking about belong to us who are Christians.
1) We are the chosen people of God*. Something is uplifting here. Surely there can be no greater compliment and privilege in all the world than to be chosen by God.
2) We are the exiles of eternity*. We must at the same time be both in the world and not of it. Wherever the exiled Jews settled, their eyes were always towards Jerusalem.
In verse 2, we are confronted with the three great facts of the Christian life.
1) The Christian is chosen according to the foreknowledge of God.
2) The Christian is chosen to be consecrated by the Spirit.
3) The Christian is chosen for obedience and sprinkling by the blood of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, there are three occasions when sprinkling with blood is mentioned.
1. When a leper had been healed, he was sprinkled with the blood of a bird (Lev. 14:1-7).
2. Sprinkling with blood was part of the ritual of setting apart Aaron and the priests (Ex, 29:20-21; Lev. 8:30).
3. The remarkable picture of the sprinkling comes from the covenant relationship between Israel and God.