I Peter 1b

I Peter 1:  It’s About a Simple Message.

Peter speaks of God’s design to test our faith that it might be refined by fire as gold. The comparison to gold  is interesting. Gold  is and was the most durable and valuable of precious metals and at one time was the standard for our monetary system.  Faith is the most valuable and durable of Christian virtues and lasts until our faith becomes sight when we see Jesus.  The tests of  our faith are to prove it genuine.

In verse 8 & 9, Peter speaks to those category of believers ( including us) who have not seen the Lord Jesus but love Him and believe in Him. The Lord Jesus told them on the night of his arrest, he was sending one to them, the Holy Spirit, who would remind them of everything He had said. Surely Peter is recalling the night the Resurrected Lord appeared and revealed His scars to Thomas and told Thomas-‘blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” This faith, this believing in Him produces everlasting salvation and joy unspeakable, inexpressible and glorious.

Peter then goes on to talk about the diligent search the prophets of old made by the inspiration of God. Their search was not an empty intellectual pursuit of knowledge and mystery as Peter tells us- “..they were not serving themselves but you, ( the believers who now believe but have not seen) when they spoke of the things that have now been told to you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.”

Peter also speaks of these prophets of old making a diligent search to find out the time and circumstances of to which the Spirit in them was pointing when the Spirit foretold the sufferings of Christ and the glory that followed.  This was puzzling to those prophets and they searched to discover the meaning of a Christ that would come who would both suffer and be glorified. It has been explained today by theologians as the ‘ two mountain theory’.  Prophets of old looking into the future revealed to them by the Holy Spirit saw two events- the suffering, which was revealed in detail and the glory and wondered about the timing of these two events.

J. Vernon McGee personalizes the two mountain theory with the two mountains in the Sierra Madre range he could view from Pasadena.  Mount Wilson is in the foreground and rises to around six thousand feet while Mount Waterman is behind it and looks to be the same height. However, Mount Waterman is over eight thousand feet , but it is over 30 miles behind Mount Wilson.  From the distance they appear to be right together.  We now know these two events are separated by God’s timing.  The crucifixion, the suffering took place over 2000 years ago, the future 2nd coming still awaits us in the future and we live, as it is, between the two mountains.   Peter says we are preaching the same gospel the prophets of old were preaching just with more understanding of the two events- the suffering and the glory as being two events separated by God the Father’s timing.  Peter then makes an interesting comment regarding the gospel that is preached:  “ Even angels long to look into these things.” Angels are among other things used by God to bring messages to mankind.  It seems this reference means they long to tell the gospel story, but God has decided at this time in the church age to use mankind to proclaim the message of the Gospel.

Regardless of the time, before the incarnation of the Lord Jesus and the cross or afterwards, faith is always the same.  Faith is confidence that God will do what He promised. Just as the saints of the Old Testament were saved looking forward to the coming of the Messiah, believing God would do what He promised . This is the essence of faith. From the very beginning with Adam and Eve, God has said take my word for it.   That is what living by faith is- taking God at His Word and applying it to your life.  It is the prescription for what ails us- take My Word for it, says the Great Physician.

In the great chapter on faith, Hebrews 11, this chapter begins with a clear explanation and definition of faith is verse 1: “ Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. This (faith) is what the ancients were commended for. ( For by it{faith} the elders obtained a good report.)”   The two key words here are sure and certain.  This tells us faith is being sure and certain of something.  We often say the only two things we are sure of in this world are death and taxes.  What does this verse refer to- what is the ”something”?  The something they were sure of was the promises of God. Each of these men and women had received a promise from God. They were confident and sure God would do exactly what He promised.

The starting point of faith is believing God is who He says He is and the ending point is believing He can do what He says He will do. Of this we can be sure and certain.    Faith is not a power or force that if you have enough of it- you can get what you want. This leads to unrealistic expectations of who God is and how He operates.   Faith is confidence God will do what He has promised.  We are free to ask God anything we please as His children. And once we ask, we can hope He will give us what we ask.  However, let us look again at the definition of faith:  “ Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we cannot see. For by it the elders  received a good report.”   The only time we can be sure and certain is when what we ask for what is based on a promise of God.  John writes this:  “ And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatsoever we ask, we know we have the petitions that we desired of Him.”(I John 5:14-15) Are not His promises to us a revelation of His will?  Of course they are.  Let me remind you- the timing of His answer is perfect, but not always as soon as we would have Him answer, but perfect nevertheless.

Let us reflect for a moment what Peter has told us thus far:  God’s great salvation is characterized by :  hope, assurance, faith, joy in the midst of trials, praise, honor and glory to Christ , and of the grace that has come to us who believe.

“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written:  Be holy, because I am holy.”    ( I Peter 1:13-16)

To be holy is to be set apart from sin and impurity. All Christians are called to be holy- to be set apart.  Peter begins by telling us to prepare our minds ( NIV) – gird up the loins of your mind, be sober..(KJV) .

Jesus warned us to watch and pray lest you fall into temptation.  One can be drawn away from watchfulness by over confidence; by abuse of grace; and when one question Gods’ Word.

Peter tells us what we are not to do:  “ As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance.” We all were under the rule of sin from the time we were born, until we were born again. We developed sinful habits and sinful character.  We sinned because we were born with a sinful nature. Even if your sins were not gross sins, and you would have been considered by society as a good person, you lived for yourself and not God. Your good works and righteousness were as filthy rags to a Holy God.

So  God calls us to be holy as He is holy. The question is how do we do it?  Paul tells us of the provisions God has made that we might pursue holiness.  “ What shall we say, then, shall we go on sinning that grace may increase?  By no means! We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?  Paul then goes on to explain the work of Calvary- telling us the fact our old self was crucified with Christ so that the body of sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin.

Here is our part:

  1. We are to reckon ( count as fact) we are dead to sin but alive to God in Christ.
  2. Do not let sin reign in your mortal body to obey its evil desires
  3. Do not offer the parts of your body to sin as instruments of wickedness.
  4. Do offer yourselves to God and the parts of your  body as instruments of righteousness
  5. We are to wholeheartedly obey the form of teaching we have received
  6. Believe you are dead to sin and alive to God in Christ. ( Romans 6)

You see previously, before you and I were saved, we were ignorant of these truths.  We could not resist sin before salvation, for we were powerless over the power of sin.

God has made a provision for our holiness.  Through Christ , He has delivered us from sins’ reign so that we can now resist sin. But – THE RESPONSIBILITY FOR RESISTING SIN IS OURS.

Peter in 2 Peter 1 tells us of this provision from God:  “ His divine power has given us EVERYTHING WE NEED FOR LIFE AND GODLINESS THROUGH OUR KNOWLEDGE OF HIM WHO CALLED US BY HIS OWN GLORY AND GOODNESS.  Through these He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” There is that word- promise- again. Our faith rests on His Word, His Truth.  In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word became flesh.  The Lord Jesus is the Word. He is truth.

Faith is not an escape hatch from trials and tribulations. It is confidence God will keep His promises.  Peter reminds us  we lived in ignorance of these promises when we were lost.

Paul wrote : “ Being confident (certain and sure) of this very thing, that He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ. “ ( Philippians 1: 6)

Thus begins the battle for holiness which Paul so aptly describes in Romans 7.  It will be a constant battle, because the flesh, our old nature continues to battle against the Spirit.

Peter reminds us to live as strangers in this world, that is set apart, realizing this world is not our home and we are told to love not the things of the world. As an incentive, Peter encourages us to live holy ,separated lives for God the Father will judge and reward each man’s work at the ‘bema seat.’.  This judgment of our works is not for punishment but for rewards.

Peter then speaks of our redemption.  Redeemed means to free someone from something bad by paying a penalty or ransom.  This is why we sing a hymn of praise dedicated to  the ‘ Blessed Redeemer.’

“ For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with precious blood of Christ, a lamb  without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead, and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

Notice first of all- Peter started this section with ‘ for as you know’.  So the first and most important question is – do you know you have been redeemed?  We then read the payment price for our penalty, the price paid to redeem us was not silver or gold, but the precious blood of Christ a lamb without defect or blemish.  Do you see the tenderness of Peter’s heart when he speaks of His Lord and the shed blood?  (Precious, a lamb without defect or blemish.)

Notice also Peter refers to our life before salvation as empty.  Everything in the world created by God was created for a purpose. There is nothing as empty, vain, and meaningless as a life spent apart from the redemption of Christ.   Man can search to and fro searching for meaning in riches, power, entertainment and all this world has to offer- but as George Beverly Shea sang:  “ I ‘d rather have Jesus than silver or gold; I ‘d rather have Jesus than riches untold.”

Peter tells us this was Gods’ plan from before the creation. Peter then tells the simple message of the Gospel.  “ Through Him( Jesus) you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

‘My faith is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”

“ it is the opposite of politics, power and prestige ;it’s about a simple message and do you really believe?  It is still the Cross!

Then in the closing of this first chapter in this short letter of encouragement, Peter returns to the Word of God. “ Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.”

The description of the Word of God as a seed is an excellent comparison. Jesus used this comparison in the parable of the seed and the sower.  The seed, whether it be for corn, wheat, tomatoes  or flowers contains life within it.  When the seed is planted it dies and releases the life contained within it- this is the process of germination.  The Holy Spirit is the agent of salvation but the Word of God is the ‘ seed’ from which the new life is generated.  As the seed germinates and its roots go down to bring nourishment and maturity and fruit, so do the roots of our new life go down deep into Christ and His Word to produce fruit and maturity.

Whatever the need of the moment in your life, the answer is to be found in the Scriptures, if we take time to search for it.  The Word of God is absolute truth. It is life giving, life changing and life sustaining.

Paul wrote:  “ I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes it.” ( Romans 1)

Psalm 119: 130- “ The entrance of thy Words give light; it gives understanding unto the simple.”

Psalm 119: 105_ “ Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light upon my path.”

Romans 10: 17: “ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.”

I Peter 2:2_ “ As newborn babies, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that you may grow.”

And so Peter ends his thoughts regarding the Word of God :  “ All men are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the Word of the Lord stands forver!”



It’s about a simple message and do you really believe. It’s still the Cross.

Copyright © 2010 Linda Benthal

Last modified: 08/12/14