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1 Peter 1

Peter lish the glorious kingdom promised to David.

,e. To
Even His own disciples were not clear about CHAPIER TTIREE
the need for His death on the cross (Matt.
led to 16:13-28). They were still inquiring about the STAYING CTEAI{ IN
a Jewish kingdom even after His resurrection
(Acts 1:1-8). lf. the disciples were not clear A POLTUTED WORTD
n Em- about God's prograrn, certainly the Old Testa- 1 Peter 1:13-21
ves in ment prophets could be excusedl
btians God told the prophets that they were minis-
es. A tering for a fuh,tre generation. Between the IF n the first section of this chapter, Peter
if he suffering of Messiah and His return in glory I emphasized walking in l'utpe:but now his
mster comes what we call "the age of the church." I emphasis is nalking in holiness. The two
ry the The truth about the church was a hidden Igo together, for "every man that hath this
a pre- "mystery" in the Old Testament period (Eph. hope in hirn purifleth himself, even as He is
3:1-13). The Old Testament believers looked pure" (1 John 3:3).
of sin ahead by faith and saw, as it were, two moun- The root meaning of the word translated
mber tain peaks: Mount Calvary, where Messiah holy is "dtfferent." A holy person is not an odd
Deut. suffered and died (Isa. 53), and Mount Olivet, person, but a different person. His life has a
l ttrat where He will return in glory (Zech. l4:4). quality about it that is different. His present
ge of They could not see the "valley" in between, "lif'estyle" is not only different from his past
the present age of the church. way of life, but it is different from the "life-
but it Even the angels are interested in what God styles" of the unbelievers around him. A
t "the is doing in and through His churchl Read Christian's life of holiness appears strange to
from 1 Corinthians 4:9 and Ephesians 3:10 for fur- the lost (1 Peter 4:4). but it is not strange to
nd he ther information on how God is "educating" other believers.
l:l-4. the angels through the church. However, it is not easy to live in this world
'lives If the Old Testament prophets searched so and marntain a holy walk. l'he anti-God atmo-
l real- diiigentiy into the truths of salvation, and yet sphere arcunC us that the Ilible calls "the
le to- had so little to go on, how much more ought world" is always pressng against us, trying to
we to search into this subject, now that we force us lo conform. ln tJris paragraph, Peter
ulun have a complete Word from Godl The same presented to his readers five spiritual incen-
rly in Holy Spirit who taught the prophets and, tives to encourage them (and us) to maintain a
'that through them, wrote the Word of God, can different lifestyle, a holy walk in a polluted
r day, teach us the truths in it 0ohn 16:12-15). world.
rened Furthermoie, we can learn these truths
t that from the Old Testament as well as front the The Glory of God (l Peter 1:13)
f you New Testament. You can find Christ in every "The revelation of Jesus Christ" is another
xl do part of the Old Testament Scriptures (Luke expression for the "living hope" and "the ap-
God 24:25-27). What a delight it is to meet Christ pearing of Jesus Christ." Christians live in the
i and in the Old Testament Law, the types, the future tense; their present actions and decr-
Ity to Psalrns, and the writings of the prophets. In sions are governed by this future hope. Just
a life times of trial, you can turn to the Bible, both as an engaged couple makes all their plans in
the Old and New Testaments, and find all that the light of that future wedding, so Christians
they you need for encouragement and enjighten- today live with the expectation of seeing Jesus
what ment. CMst.
I pur- Yes, for CMstians, it is glory all the wayl "Gird up the loins of your mind" simply
et us When we trusted Christ, we were born for means, "Pull your thoughts together! Have a
ee by glory. We are being kept for glory. As we disciplined mind!" The image is that of a robed
with obey Him and experience trials, we are being man, tucking his skirts under the belt, so he
mon- prepared for glory. When we love Him, trust can be free to run. Stren you center your
od of Him, and rejoice in Him, we experience the thoughts on the return of Christ, and live ac-
glory here and now. cordingly, you escape the many worldly things
rings Joy unspeakable and full of glory! that would encumber your mind and hinder
ificial your spiritual progress. Peter may have bor-
3:18; rowed the idea from the Passover supper, be-
mb," cause later in this section he identifies Christ

I Peter 1

as the Lamb (1 Peter 1:19). The Jews at Iive holy lives. We are "partakers of the divine have in ch
Passover were supposed to eat the meal in nature" (2 Peter 1:4) and ought to reveal that
haste, ready to move (Ex. 12:11). from Hirn
nature in godly living. be "set ag
Ouflook determines outcome; attitude de- Peter reminded his readers of what they
termines action. A Christian who is looking for sure." It i
were before they trusted Ckist. They had is unclear
the glory of God has a greater motivation for been children of disobedicnce (Eph. 2: 1-3), but
present obedience than a Christian who ig-
(2 Cor. 6:
now they were to be obedient children. True marrrer d
nores the Lord's return. The contrast is illus- salvation always results in obedience (Rom. everything
trated in the lives of Abraham and Lot (Gen. 1:5; 1 Peter 1:2). They had also been,imitn-
12-13; Heb. 11:8-16). Abraham had his eyes Toadr
tors of tlrc woild, "hshtonmg themselves,, after thing as "r
of faith on tkit heavenly city, so he had no the standards and pleasures of the world. Ro-
interest in the world's real estate. But Lol holy as u
mans 12:2 translates this same word as ,,con_ ordinary a
who lad tasted the pleastres of the world in formed to this world." Unsaved people tell us be done to
Egpt, gradualy moved toward Sodom. Abra- that they want to be "free and different,'; yet something
ham brought blessing to his home, but Lot they all imitate one anotherl then we cz
brought judgnent. Ouflook determined out- The cause of all this is iptorance that leads
of God.
to 'indulgence. Unsaved people lack spiritual
Not only should we have a disciplined mind, intelligence, and this causes them
but we should also have a sober mind. The
to give The Won
themselves to all kinds of flestrly and worldly "It is writ
word means "to be calm, steady, controlled; indulgences (see Acts 17:30; Eph. 4:17ff). great autt
to weigh matters." Unfortunately some people Since we were born with a fallen nature, it
get "carried away" with prophetic studies and used the Y
lose their spiritual balance. The fact that
was natural for us to live sinfirl lives. Nature may we (
determines appetites and actions. A dog and a the Word,
Christ is coming should encourage us to be cat behave differently because they have dif-
calm and collected (1 Peter 4:D. The fact that
tle; it is aJ
ferent natures. world (Ps.
Satan is on the prowl is another reason to be We would still be in that sad sinfrrl plight strengthen
sober-minded (1 Peter 5:8). Anyone whose were it not for the grace of God. He called usl water that
mind becomes undisciplined, and whose life One day, Jesus called to Peter and his friends
"falls apart" because of prophetic studies, is The Wo
and said, "Come, follow Me . . . and I will in the liv
giving evidence that he does not reallv under- make you fishers of men" Mark 1:17, r.rrv).
stand Bible prophecy.
L7:L7). Tl
They responded by taith to His call, and this meditate o
We shotrld also have an optimistic mnd. completely changed their lives.
"Hope to the end" means "set your hope ence God's
-of Perhaps this explains why peter used the (Ps. 1:1-3)
a hopefrrl- outlookl A friend
fr.rlly." Have word "called" so often in this letter. We are
mme sent me a note one dav that read: we should
called to be holy (1 Peter 1:15). We are called looe itl. Go
"When the oullook is gloomy, trythe zplookl" "out of darkness into His marvelous light,,
Good advice, indeedl It has to be dark for the
whole beir
(1 Peter 2:9). We are called to suffer and be controll
stars to appear. follow Christ's example of meekness (1 peter
The result of this spiritual mind-set is that a
Peter qr
2:21). ln the midst of persecution, we are "Ye shall h
believer experiences the grace of God in his called "to inherit a blessin{' (l peter 3:9). Does this r
life. To be sure, we will experience grace Best of all, we are called to "His etemal glo-
when we see Jesus Christ; but we can- also is authorit
ry" (1 Peter 5:10). God called us before we Christians?
experience grace today as we look for Him to called on Him for salvation. It is all wholly of
retum. We have been saved by grace and we tians did n
grace. The only 'l

lep-end moment by moment on God,s grace But God's gracious election of sinners to the Old Te
(1 Peter 1:10). Looking for Christ to return become saints always involves responsibility,
strengthens our faith and hope in difficult to direct a
and not jusf privilege. He has chosen us in are not un
$f^s an! this imparts to us more of the grace Christ "that we should be holv and without Israel; hoc
of God. Titus 2:10-13 is another passage that blame before Him" (Eph. 1:4;. God has called moral and s
shows the relationship between grace and the us to Himself, and He is holy; therefore, we
coming of Jesus Christ.
the Ten G
should be holy. Peter quoted from the Old Epistles, s
Testament Law to back up his admonition bath comm
The Holiness of God (1 Peter l:14-1S) (Lev. 11:44-45; 79:2; 20:2, 26). rael and do
The argument herels logical and simple. Chil- God's holiness is an essential part of His 14:1-9.) As
dren inherit the nature of their parents. God is nature. "God is light, and in Him is no dark-
holy; therefore, as His children, we should ment we.r
ness at all" (1 John 1:5). Any holiness that we ter and wo

1 Peter 1

divine have in character and conduct must be derived tured in types and s),rnbols.
d that from Him. Basically, to be sarutifipd means to The first step toward keeping clean in a
be "set apart for God's exclusive use and plea- filthy world is to ask, "What does the Bible
I they sure." It involves separation from *nt which say?" In the Scriptures, we will find precepts,
y had is unclean and complete devotion to God princrples, promises, and persons to guide us
D, but (2 Cor. 6:74-7:l). We are to be holy "in all in today's decisions. If we are really willing to
True nunner of conversation [behavior]," so that obey God, He will show us His truth $ohn
Rom. everything we do reflects the holiness of God. 7:17). While God's methods of working may
initn- To a dedicated believer, there is no such change from age to age, His character re-
'after thing as "secular" and "sacred." All of life is mains the same and His spiritual principles
L Ro- holy as we live to glonfy God. Even such never vary. We do not study the Bible just to
"con- ordinary activities as eating and drinking can get to know the Bible. We study the Bible
bll us be done to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). If that we might get to know God better. Too
'; yet something cannot be done to the glory of God, many earnest Bible students are content with
then we can be sure it must be out of the will outlines and explanations, and do not really
leads of God. get to know God. It is good to know the Word
iritual of God, but this should help us better know
gve The Word of God (1 Peter 1:16) the God of the Word.
Eldly "It is written!" is a statement that carries
r7ff). great authority for the believer. Our Lord The Judgment of God (1 Peter 1:17)
re, it used the Word of God to defeat Satan, and so As God's children, we need to be serious
hture may we (Matt. 4:1-11; see Eph. 6:17). But about sin and about holy living. Our Heavenly
and a the Word of God is not only a sword for bat- Father is a holy (ohn 17:11) and righteous
e dif- tle; it is also a light to guide us in this dark Father $ohn 17:25). He will not compromise
world (Ps. 119:105; 2Peter 1:19), food that with sin. He is mercifirl and forgiving, but He
phcht strengthens us (Matt. 4:4; 1 Peter 2:2), and is also a loving disciplinarian who cannot per-
d us! water that washes us (Eph. 5:25-27). mit His children to enjoy sin. After all, it was
iends The Word of God has a sanctifying ministry sin that sent His Son to the cross. If we call
Iwill in the lives of dedicated believers (lohn God "Father," then we should reflect His
uw). 17:17). Those who delight in God's Word, natue.
I this meditate on it, and seek to obey it will experi- What is this judgment that Peter wrote
ence God's direction and blessing in their lives about? It is the judgment of a believer's
il the (Ps. 1:1-3). The Word reveals God's mind, so works. It has nothing to do with salvation,
e are we should leam il; God's heart, so we should except that salvation ought to produce good
alled l,oae it; God's will, so we should liae it. Ow works (Titus l:16; 2:7, 12). When we trusted
tsht" whole being-mind, will, and heart-should Christ, God forgave our sins and declared us
:and be controlled by the Word of God. righteous in His Son (Rom. 5:1-10; 8:1-4; Col.
Peter Peter quoted from the Book of Leviticus, 2:13). Our sins have already been judged on
) a-re "Ye shall be holy; for I am holy" (Lev. 11:44). the cross (1 Peter 2:'24), md therefore they
3:9). Does this mean that the Old Testament Law cannot be held against us (Heb. 10:10-18).
I glo- is authoritative today for New Testament But when the Lord retums, there will be a
ewe Christians? Keep in mind that the early CMs- time of judgment called "the Judgment Seat of
hof tians did not even have the New Testament. Christ" (Rom. 14:10-12;2 Cor. 5:9-10). Each
The only Word of God they possessed was of us will grve an account of his works, and
rs to the Old Testament, and God used that Word each will receive the appropriate reward. This
rlity, to direct anC nurture them. Believers today is a "family judgment," the Father dealing with
us in are not urder the ceremonial laws given to His beloved children. The Greek word trans-
ftrout Israel; however, even in these laws we gee lated judgeth carries the meaning "to judge in
alled morai and spiritual principles revealed. Nine of order to find something good. " God will
,we the Ten Commandments are repeated in the search into the motives for our ministry; He
old Episfles, so we must obey them. (The Sab- will examine our hearts. But He assures us
rition bath commandment was given especially to Is- that His purpose is to glorify Himself in our
rael and does not qpply to us today. See Rom. lives and ministries, "and then shall every man
r His 14:1-9.) As'we lead and study the Old Testa- have praise of God" (1 Cor. 4:5). What an
lark- ment, we'will learn much about God's charac- encouragementl
twe ter and working, and we will see truths pic- God will give us many gifts and privileges,

1 Peter 1

as we glow in the Christian life; but He will died for them. Note the reminders that Peter
never give us the privilege to disobey and sin. gave.
He never pampers His children or indulges He reminded them of what thq were. To
them. He is no respecter of persons. He begin with, they were slaves who needed to
"shows no partiality and accepts no bribes" be set free. The word redeemed is, to us, a
(Deut. 10:17, r.rrv). "For God does not show theological term; but it carried a special mean-
favoritism" (Rom. 2:11, Nrv). Years of obedi- ing to people in the first-century Roman Em-
ence cannot purchase an hour of disobedience. pire. There were probably 60 million slaves in
If one of His children disobeys, God must the Empire! Many slaves became Christians
chasten (Heb. 12:1-13). But when His child and fellowshipped in the local assemblies. A
obeys and serves Hirn in love, He notes that slave could pwchase his own freedom, if he
and prepares the proper reward. could collect sufficient flrnds; or his master
Peter reminded his readers that they were could sell him to someone who would pay the
only "sojoumers" on earth. Life was too short price and set him free. Redemption was a pre-
to waste in disobedience and sin (see 1 Peter cious thing in that day.
4:1-6). It was when Lot stopped being a so- We must never forget the slavery of sin
journer, and became a resident in Sodom, that (Titus 3:3). Moses urged Israel to remember
he lost his consecration and his testimony. Ev- that they had been slaves in Eglpt (Deut.
er]4hinS he lived tbr went up in smokel Keep 5:15; 16:12; 24:18, 22). The generation that
reminding yourself that you are a "stranger died in the wilderness forgot the bondage of
and pilgrim" in this world (1 Peter 1:l; 2:ll). Eglpt and wanted to go back!
In view of the fact that the Father lovingly Not only did we have a life of slavery, but it
disciplines His children today, and will judge was also allfe of enft'inass. Peter called it "the
their works Lr the future, we ought to culti- empty way of life handed down to you from
vate an attitude of godly fear. This is not the your forefathers" (1 Peter 1:18, Nrv), and he
cringurg fear of a slave before a master, but described it more specifcally in 1 Peter 4:1-4.
the loving reverence of a child before his fa- At the time, these people thought their lives
ther. It is not fear ofjudgment (1 John 4:18), were "full" and "happy," when they were real-
but a fear of disappointing Him or sirming ly empty and miserable. Unsaved people to-
against His love. It is "godly feu" (2 Cor. day are blindly living on substitutes.
7:1), a sober reverence for the Father. While ministering in Canada, I met a woman
I sometimes feel that there is today an in- who told me she had been converted early in
crease in carelessness, even flippancy, in the life but had drifted into a "society life" that
way we talk about God oi talk to God. Nearly was exciting and satisfied her ego. One day,
a century ago, Bishop B.F. Westcott said, she was driving to a card party and happened
"Every year makes me tremble at the daring to tune in a Christian radio broadcast. At that
with which people speak of spiritual things." very moment, the speaker said, "Some of you
The godly bishop should hear what is said to- women know more about cards than you do
dayl A worldly actress calls God "the Man your Bible!" Those words arrested her. God
upstairs. " A baseball player calls Him "the spoke to her heart, she went back home, and
great Yankee in the sky." An Old Testament foom. that hour her life was dedicated fr.rlly to
Jew so feared God that he would not even God; She saw the futility and vanity of a life
pronounce His holy narne, yet we today speak spent out of the will of God.
of God with carelessness and irreverence. In Peter not only reminded them of what they
our public pra)4ng, we sometimes get so fa- were, but he also reminded them of uthat
miliar that other people wonder whether we Ch*t did. He shed His precious blood to pur-
are trying to express our requests or impress chase us out of the slavery of sin and set us
the listeners with our nearness to God! free forever. To redeem means "to set free by
paying a price." A slave could be freed with
The Love of God (1 Peter 1:18-21) the payment of money, but no amount of mon-
This is the highest motive for holy living. In ey can set a lost sinner free. Only the blood of
this paragraph, Peter reminded his readers of Jesus Christ can redeem us.
their salvation experience, a reminder ttnt all Peter was a witness of Christ's sufferings
of us regularly need. This is one reason our (1 Peter 5:1) and mentioned His sacrificial
Lord established the Lord's Supper, so that death often in this letter (1 Peter 2:21tr;3:18;
regularly His people would remember that He 4:1, 13; 5:1). In calling CMst "a Lamb,"

I Feter I

Peter was reminding his readers of an Old

'tr'estament teaching that was important in the CHAPTER FOIIR
early church, and that ought to be important
to us today. It is the doctrine of substitution: C[IRISTIAN
an innocent victim giving his life for the gurity.
The doctrine of sacrifice beglrs in Genesis
3, when God killed animals that He might 1 Peter 1:22-2:10
clothe Adam and Eve. A ram died for Isaac
(Gen. 22:13) and the Passover lamb was slain
for each Jewish household (Ex. 12). Messiah ne of the painful facts of life is that
was presented as an innocent Lamb in Isaiah the people of God do not always get
53. Isaac asked the question, "Where is the along with each other. You would
lamb?" (Gen. 22:7) and John the Baptist an- think that those who wak n hofe
swered it when he pointed to Jesus and said, and holiness would be able to walk n harmotry,
"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away but this is not always true. From God's diline
the sin of the world" 0ohn 1:29). In heaven, point of view, there is only one body (see
the redeemed and the angels sing, "Worthy is Eph. 4:4-6); but what we see uith human
the Larnbl" (Rev. 5:11-14) eyes is a church divided and sometimes at
Peter made it clear tlat Christ's death was war. There is today a desperate need for spir-
an appointment, noi an accident; tbr it was itual unity.
ordained by God before the foundation of the In this section of his letter, Peter empha-
world (Acts 2:23). From the human perspec- s2ed spiritual unity by presenting four vivid
tive, our Lord was cruelly murdered; but from pictures of the church.
the divine perspective, He laid down His life
for sinners Oohn 10:17-18). But He was We Are Children in the Same Family
raised from the dead! Norv, anyone who (1 Peter l:22-2:3)
trusts Him will be saved for eternity. When you consider the implications of this
When you and I meditate on the sacrifce of fact, you will be encouraged to buitd and main-
CMst for us, cerlairrly we should want to tain unity among God's people.
obey God and live holy lives for His glory. We have experienced the same birth
When only a young lady, Frances Ridley (w. 23-25). The only way to enter God's
Havergal saw a picture of the crucified Christ spiritual family is by a spiritual birth, through
with this caption under it: "I did this for thee. faith in Jesus Christ 0ohn 3:1-16). Just as
What hast thou done for Me?" Quickly, she there are two parents in physical birth, so
.d wrote a poem, but was dissatisfied with it and there are two parents in spiritual birth: the
tlrew it into the fireplace. The paper came Spirit of God oohn 3:5-6) and the Word of
. '.1
out wrharrned! Later, at her father's sugges- God (1 Peter 1:23). The new birth gives to us
tion, she published the poem, and today we a new nature (2 Peter 1:4) as well as a new
sing it. and living hope (1 Peter 1:3).
,rld Our first birth was a birth of "flesh," and
lo I gave My life for thee, the flesh is comlptible. Whatever is borri of
My precious blood I shed; flesh is destined to die and decay. This ex-
'Ihat thou might ransomed be, plains why mankind carnot hold civilization
, ::ev And quickened from lhe dead. together: it is all based on human flesh and is
' , iutt
I gave, i gave, My life for thee, destined to fa1l apart. Like the beautiful flow-
plll - What hast thou given for Me? ers of spring, man's works look successful for
:ti LlS
a time, but then they start to decay and die.
,':a b]' A good question, indeedl I trust we can All the way from the Tower of Babel in Gene-
:,l \tith give a good answer to the Lord. sis 11, to "Babylon the Great" in Revelation
:110n- 17-18, man's great attempts at unity are des-
.rd oi tined to fail.
If we try to build unity in the church on the
-..rmgS basis of our first birlh, we will fail; but if we
. ::rhcial build unity on the basis of the new birth, it win
-; .i:18; succeed. Each believer has the same Holy
.:lnb, " Spirit dwelling within (Rom. 8:9). We call on