1 Peter 1

1 Peter 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

(a) Apostle; see entry for 1 Cor. 1:1.

(b) Chosen. You have been chosen by God (Rom. 8:33, Eph. 1:4, 2 Th. 2:13, 2 Tim. 2:10).

In the New Testament believers are referred to as the elect or chosen of God (Col. 3:12, Tit. 1:1)

“Many are called, but few are chosen,” said Jesus (Matt. 22:14). God’s call goes out to all but not all respond. Those who respond to the call of God are called the elect or the chosen. “For you are a chosen generation” (1 Pet. 2:9). In a manner of speaking, the chosen choose themselves. But since the Lord initiates the call, it’s accurate to say we are God’s chosen.

1 Peter 1:2

according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

(a) God the Father. Jesus came to reveal a God who loves us like a Father and the epistle writers echoed this theme. See entry for John 17:23.

(b) The fullest measure. Peter prayed that God’s grace would be yours to the fullest measure or in increasing abundance. Just as you can’t travel to the edge of the universe, you will never find the limit of God’s grace. But try anyway. Explore it, walk it, swim it, ride it, and grow in the grace of Jesus (2 Pet 3:18). Be generous with the manifold, or many-sided grace of God (1 Pet 4:10).

Further reading: “Who are the hypergrace preachers?

1 Peter 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,

(a) Great mercy. Just as God has great grace (see entry for Jas. 4:6), he has great mercy (Luke 1:58). God is both rich in grace (Eph. 1:7, 2:7), and mercy (Eph. 2:4). His great mercy testifies to his great love for us (Eph. 2:4). See entry for Mercy.

(b) Born again; see entry for John 3:3.

(c) A living hope is a hope in a risen Lord who gives life and hope to the dead.

This world will crush your hopes and dreams, but your heavenly Father does not want you to become hopeless. You have a great need for hope; you have a great God who meets your need (see entry for Rom. 15:13).

1 Peter 1:5

who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Faith for a salvation. All of God’s blessings, including forgiveness, salvation, righteousness and sanctification, come to us freely by grace and are received by faith. Faith does not compel God to forgive us or sanctify us. But faith is the conduit through which grace flows. See entry for Eph. 2:8.

1 Peter 1:6

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,

(a) Greatly rejoice. It is not a joyful thing to go through trials and hardships; the joy comes in discovering through the trial that the faith God has put within you is purer than gold (see next verse).

(b) Various trials. The trials of life are not to see whether we can manufacture the Right Stuff for Jesus, for we can’t manufacture faith at all. Faith that endure is a gift from God. Life’s trials show us that God’s gifts are awesome.

In Christ you lack nothing but you won’t know you lack nothing until you’ve been tested by the trials of life. It is only when you have gone past the point of your own strength and found your heavenly Father, strong and smiling, that you begin to realize that when you are weak, you can be strong indeed (2 Cor. 12:10).

1 Peter 1:7

so 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;

(a) The proof of your faith. Just as some materials get stronger when compressed, your God-given faith reveals its supernatural qualities when you go through trials (Jas. 1:2).

(b) More precious than gold. Your faith is a gift from God and what a valuable gift it is! The problem is we don’t know how good our faith is until it is tested. It is not until we go through fiery trials that the true quality of God’s good gifts are revealed.

You may feel like you are in the fiery furnace. You have no strength to endure and it seems there is no hope. But when you hear his voice or sense his presence your faith comes alive. “How can I fail? God is with me.” And the result is you endure and God is praised.

Further reading: “The endurance of the saints

1 Peter 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,

(a) You have not seen Him, meaning Jesus Christ (see previous verse).

(b) You love Him… believe in Him. It’s the unfailing love of God that inspires us to trust him and believe in the One he sent (see entry for 1 John 4:16).

1 Peter 1:9

obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

(a) The outcome of your faith. There are different types of faith and faith in Jesus leads to salvation. In contrast, the religious Jews had faith in God but theirs was not a saving faith as it was unaccompanied by the work of believing in the One he sent (see entry for Jas. 2:14).

(b) Your faith. Our faith is the result of knowing Christ’s love for us. We don’t get faith from hearing a good sermon; we get it from hearing about the good news of Jesus (Rom. 10:17).

1 Peter 1:15

but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;

(a) Be holy. In Christ you are holy, so act holy.

The New Testament is riddled with exhortations to be holy (Eph. 1:4, Heb. 12:14, 1 Pet. 1:15, Rev. 22:11) or be perfect (Matt. 5:48). We are called to be holy because we are holy. It’s like God is saying, “You are my sanctified children. Act like it. Be who I made you to be.”

(b) In all your behavior. In the new covenant, behavior follows identity. When you know who you are – a holy child of the Holy Father – you will know how to act. We are not made holy because we act holy, but we will act holy when we realize that we are holy people.

1 Peter 1:16

because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

Peter is quoting Lev. 11:45: “For I am the Lord who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God; thus you shall be holy, for I am holy.” This is passage is significant for it is the first time in the Bible that God is described as holy. See entry for Holiness.

1 Peter 1:17

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;

(a) Each one’s work. We are judged by what we have done with Jesus.

On several occasions Peter heard the Lord talk about us being judged or repaid for what we have done (Matt. 16:27, John 5:29). He understood that the one work that counts is the work of believing in the One God has sent (see entry for John 6:29). Paul said something similar (see entry for Rom. 2:6).

(b) Conduct yourselves in fear. Live in reverence and awe of God.

Although the original word for fear (phobos) literally means fear, Peter’s use of this word in other contexts suggest reverence or deference (e.g., 1 Pet. 3:2). In the new covenant, to fear the Lord is to worship and revere him.

Further reading: “What is the fear of the Lord?

1 Peter 1:23

for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.

(a) Born again; see entry for John 3:3.

(b) Seed. The imperishable seed is the living and enduring word of God (Luke 8:11).

(c) The word of God refers to the way God makes himself and his will known (1 Sam. 3:21). God’s word is powerful, creative and sustains all things (2 Pet. 3:5). His word is the means by which the universe came into existence (Gen. 1:3, John 1:1). His word gives life to the dead (Eze. 37:4). His word is a lamp that guides us in the path of life (Ps. 119:105). God’s word always comes to pass (Is. 55:11).

The Word of God has its clearest expression through the revelation of Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God made flesh (John 1:14, Rev. 19:13), and the exact radiance or representation of God the Father (Heb. 1:3). Jesus is the Living word who gives life to all who receive him. See entry for Word of God.

1 Peter 1:25

And this is the word which was preached to you.

(a) The word of the Lord is synonymous with the word of God. The gospel of Jesus, in other words. See entry for Acts 12:24.

(b) The word which was preached to you was the good news of Jesus, the Word of God made flesh, the Living Word and the Word that gives life (1 John 1:1).

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