Our Hope (1 Peter, Part 2)

You can listen to the podcast here.

Last week we found out a little about Peter’s background. We saw whom Peter was writing to and where they were. We looked at sanctification. This morning we’ll look at some key words that Peter uses to describe our position in Christ.

1 Peter 1:1-5 says, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 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. 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, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

Peter encourages all Christians to obey. We have been sanctified and are being sanctified by the Spirit. This sanctification produces spiritual growth. This sanctification results in obedience. Sanctification produces a change. If the Spirit truly lives within us, we will be changed. Romans 8:29-30 tells us, For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.” Conformed gives us the idea that God determined beforehand to form us, or pattern us after the image of Jesus Christ.

The Greek word is symmorphos where we get our English word metamorphosis. It is a changing.  We are changing into the form of Christ. We are changed into obedience. For most people, obedience does not come naturally. We are not to be obedient because God wants to make us into some sort of robot. True faith produces obedience. The Gospel is designed to induce men to obey God. There is no true faith that does not produce obedience. Paul writes about this idea throughout the N. T. Romans 15:18 says, For I will not presume to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, resulting in the obedience of the Gentiles by word and deed.” Rom. 16:19, For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.” 2 Cor. 7:15, His affection abounds all the more toward you, as he remembers the obedience of you all, how you received him with fear and trembling.” 2 Cor. 10:5, We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” Obedience is a result of our relationship with Christ. We want to obey; we need to obey. You cannot be right with God and live in disobedience. Jesus said, “If you love me, keep my commandments.” (John 14:15) Why all the concern for obedience? God knows what’s best for you.

Notice too, that we are sanctified “. . . to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.” The process of our sanctification that should produce holiness and obedience began because of the sprinkling or shedding of blood. Remember that Jesus’ blood was shed so that we could enter into a personal relationship with Christ. God’s plan could not have been completed without the death of Christ. Christ died so we would not have to pay the penalty for our sin. Christ paid it for us by shedding His blood; by dying on the cross. 1 Jo. 4:10 reminds us that, In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” God initiated the relationship by sending Jesus. Rom. 3:19-31 is an incredible passage and I encourage you to grab your Bible and read it before going on. Here it is in a nutshell. The Law shows people their sinfulness. We are justified by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Verse 25 tells us that God publicly displayed Jesus as propitiation in His blood through faith. It is the blood of Christ that affects the propitiation, but it is our faith in that blood that affects our redemption. Faith in the blood of Christ appeases the wrath of God and allows Him to pass over or disregard our sin. Heb. 9:22 says, “. . . all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

Peter is reminding the people that they are chosen, sanctified by the Spirit unto obedience by the sprinkling of Jesus’ blood. He is describing the process that brought about their salvation. It is good to remember what was required for us to have a relationship with God. Peter concludes his introduction by saying, “May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.” This grace gives the idea of increasing them in Christian faith, helping them to grow in knowledge and affection, and encourages them to grow in Christian virtues; to become authentic Christians. Peace is that deep-seated knowledge that you are in Christ, your salvation is sure and secure, you are not fearful of God, and you are completely content. Peter wanted them to have grace and peace “in the fullest measure.” An abundance of grace and peace. Peter’s speech here really indicates grace and peace in abundance and abundance.

Finally, let’s look at our hope. Verse 3 says, “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.” It was according to His mercy that we are born again. Mercy is not giving us something we deserve. It was His great mercy that caused us to be born again. Remember that Jesus told Nicodemus in John 3:3, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” It is the newness of rebirth that gives us the living hope. A living or lively hope, full of energy. We serve a living God, a God who is active and involved. But our hope is built on the resurrection of Christ. In 1 Cor. 15:14 Paul said, “If Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.” Our faith hinges upon the resurrection of Christ. No other religion is dependant upon their God dying and being raised again, just as He said He would. Jesus Christ is unique. Jesus Christ was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of a virgin, lived a perfect life, was crucified, shed his blood, died, was buried, rose again, walked among the people, He ascended into Heaven in front of the apostles in broad daylight, and now He sits on the right hand of God the Father. But Jesus is not absent from the world nor from our lives. He lives inside us and He is coming back again. That is our living hope. “We are chosen 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 . . . 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.” (1 Peter 1:1b-2)

As the old hymn says, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.  I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.  On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand; all other ground is sinking sand.” Do you have a living hope that is built on Christ?

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