V1717If 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];. Peter adds another argument to the appeal to be holy. That argument comes out from the great privilege that you now have, that you may call God your Father. That privilege is indeed great. By the Spirit Who dwells in you, you cry out “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:1515For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”; Gal 4:66Because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”). You may call on Him, honor Him, glorify and worship Him.
However, that privilege is attached to responsibility also. God is a Father Who loves you and Who, because of His love for you, also chastises you when He sees that you are going or running the risk to drift away. God is not an earthly father, who often does not chastise or sometimes even practices discipline out of a wrong motive (Heb 12:9-10a9Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He [disciplines us] for [our] good, so that we may share His holiness.). He is a Father Who only chastises when it is necessary.
He perfectly judges each one’s work without giving preference to or being detrimental to anyone. He doesn’t only chastise to test your faith, but He also chastises when your holiness is in lack of something (see Heb 12:10b10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He [disciplines us] for [our] good, so that we may share His holiness.).
The judgment of the Father that Peter talks about here, does not refer to the judgment after this earthly life. That judgment has been given to the Lord Jesus by Him (Jn 5:2727and He gave Him authority to execute judgment, because He is [the] Son of Man.). The judgment of the Father relates to your life as a pilgrim. When your life honors Him, it has His approval. When your life dishonors Him He will come your way to clarify to you that something has to be changed.
Therefore you are to go your way on earth “in fear”. Fear does not imply to be afraid of God or of still going to perish. Fear here means to fear for yourself because you know what is still within yourself that may cause you to do something that will grieve God your Father. Consider that you are His child and that you have become that by the redemption that the Lord Jesus has achieved for your sake. What a huge price did He pay for that! How could you still walk in the desires of the past, while you have been redeemed in such a way?
The fear to do something that is not to the honor of God ought to characterize you “during the time of your stay [on earth]”. The expression ‘stay’ (sojourning) indicates that you have no permanent residence on earth. As you have seen earlier you are being addressed in this letter as a pilgrim. You are a stranger on earth, on the way to your inheritance. That is something you should continually be aware of, for otherwise you will be distracted from the goal by various attractive things around you. The path of a sojourner is the path of the Lord Jesus. He has been the true Stranger and Sojourner on earth. He had no home, even no place where He could lay His head (Mt 8:2020Jesus *said to him, “The foxes have holes and the birds of the air [have] nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.”). When you stay focused on Him you will walk throughout the time of your stay here in a way that is pleasing to God.
V1818knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,. That it is not about a fear to still be able to perish or a fear because of the insecurity whether you are or are not a child of God, is to be derived from verse 1818knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,. Peter says clearly “knowing”. That rules out every possible doubt. And what do they know precisely? That they have been redeemed. They know what had certainly not and what certainly had redeemed them. They also know what they have been redeemed from: from all their rituals and traditions, from the walk of their ancestors.
By doing whatever you did before, you could not be redeemed. A walk after tradition, after copied and transmitted rituals, doesn’t bring a man any closer to the redemption. On the contrary. To one who in his heart trusts in an outward walk, the true redemption will disappear more and more from his sight. Such a person will get stuck more and more in outer appearances. Such a walk bears no fruit at all; it makes a person ‘unfruitful’ in the sense of emptied of content.
In order to partake of the blessings of God, it is essential to get redeemed from such a walk. Such a walk is like a prison. Those to whom Peter is writing could not be redeemed from that prison by perishable things like silver and gold. They know about a redemption by silver and gold (Exo 30:1212“When you take a census of the sons of Israel to number them, then each one of them shall give a ransom for himself to the LORD, when you number them, so that there will be no plague among them when you number them.), but that was an outward redemption and no liberation from a system that kept them imprisoned. It is the same as the blood of bulls and goats that cannot take away sins (Heb 10:44For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.).
V1919but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, [the blood] of Christ.. In contrast to that completely inadequate blood is the “precious blood … of Christ”. That blood has certainly been sufficient to work the true and definite redemption. The blood of Christ was shed for the forgiveness of all your sins and for the redemption from all powers that were keeping you in bondage. It is as of the blood of an unblemished and unspotted lamb.
The lamb was the basis of the redemption of God’s earthly people from Egypt, whom by the blood were protected against the judgment of God (Exo 12:1-131Now the LORD said to Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt,2“This month shall be the beginning of months for you; it is to be the first month of the year to you.3Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying, ‘On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves, according to their fathers’ households, a lamb for each household.4Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according to the number of persons [in them]; according to what each man should eat, you are to divide the lamb.5Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old; you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.6You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month, then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.7Moreover, they shall take some of the blood and put it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the houses in which they eat it.8They shall eat the flesh that [same] night, roasted with fire, and they shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.9Do not eat any of it raw or boiled at all with water, but rather roasted with fire, [both] its head and its legs along with its entrails.10And you shall not leave any of it over until morning, but whatever is left of it until morning, you shall burn with fire.11Now you shall eat it in this manner: [with] your loins girded, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you shall eat it in haste—it is the LORD’S Passover.12For I will go through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments—I am the LORD.13The blood shall be a sign for you on the houses where you live; and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and no plague will befall you to destroy [you] when I strike the land of Egypt.). The Lamb, Christ, is the basis of Christendom. By the surrender of Christ in death and the shedding of His blood God’s judgment passes over each one who hides behind it. That means that it applies to him who believes that Christ has also shed His blood for his sins. Everyone who believes that partakes of the eternal redemption (Heb 9:1212and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.).
V2020For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you. God had the Lamb in mind already “before the foundation of the world”. Our redemption did not arise in God when He saw that sin entered the world and how miserable our condition was. God was not surprised by the fall of man. He knew what man would do. Before man had sinned, indeed before the world was created, His mind was already focused on His Son, of Whom He knew that this One was going to be the Lamb.
This is what makes our position as Christians much more wonderful than that of Israel. Israel is a nation that is elected by God from the foundation of the world and that is destined for the earth (Mt 25:3434“Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.; Rev 13:88All who dwell on the earth will worship him, [everyone] whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.). The new testament believers are elected before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:44just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him in love.) and are destined for heaven.
What God already knew before the foundation of the world He did not keep to Himself alone. Christ has been revealed as the Lamb. He revealed Himself to His people and to the world. That’s why John could point to Him and say: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (Jn 1:2929The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!). The end of the times commenced when the Lord Jesus came into the world as the Lamb. In all previous times God tried to encourage the most privileged people on earth, His people, to obey Him. Again and again man made clear that he was not willing to.
Then, as the final test, His Son came on earth. But instead of listening to Him the sin of man is exposed in the most horrible way. Men rejected and murdered the Son. In this way the obduracy of man was definitely determined. In a striking way this is all illustrated in the parable of the wicked vinedressers that is told by the Lord Jesus (Mt 21:33-4633“Listen to another parable. There was a landowner who PLANTED A VINEYARD AND PUT A WALL AROUND IT AND DUG A WINE PRESS IN IT, AND BUILT A TOWER, and rented it out to vine-growers and went on a journey.34When the harvest time approached, he sent his slaves to the vine-growers to receive his produce.35The vine-growers took his slaves and beat one, and killed another, and stoned a third.36Again he sent another group of slaves larger than the first; and they did the same thing to them.37But afterward he sent his son to them, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’38But when the vine-growers saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him and seize his inheritance.’39They took him, and threw him out of the vineyard and killed him.40Therefore when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do to those vine-growers?”41They *said to Him, “He will bring those wretches to a wretched end, and will rent out the vineyard to other vine-growers who will pay him the proceeds at the [proper] seasons.”42Jesus *said to them, “Did you never read in the Scriptures,
‘THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED,
THIS BECAME THE CHIEF CORNER [stone];
THIS CAME ABOUT FROM THE LORD,
AND IT IS MARVELOUS IN OUR EYES’?
43Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people, producing the fruit of it.44And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.”45When the chief priests and the Pharisees heard His parables, they understood that He was speaking about them.46When they sought to seize Him, they feared the people, because they considered Him to be a prophet.).
What means man ends, has given God the opportunity to make a new beginning. On the one hand the Lord Jesus has been revealed as the Lamb, in order to determine the sin of man in a most obvious way. When man rejects God, Who has revealed Himself in goodness, his condition is hopeless. On the other hand, the Lord Jesus has revealed Himself as the Lamb for the sake of each who believes, thus also for your sake. Through Him you believe in God. In Him you see that God is not an angry and vindictive God. On the basis of what the Lord Jesus has done for you, you know that God is not against you anymore, but He is for you (Rom 8:31-3231What then shall we say to these things? If God [is] for us, who [is] against us?32He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?). After all He gave His Son as the Lamb.
V2121who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.. Therefore you not only believe in the Lord Jesus as The One Who protects you against the wrath of God, but you also believe in God as the One Who made everything well. By raising Christ from the dead God has given the convincing evidence that He has considered and accepted the work of His Son as perfect. God gave Him the glory He is worthy of.
Your faith and hope are focused on God. All originated in Him. By the faith in what God has done with His Christ He will lead you to the goal. That goes together with the hope that the same Lord Who is now with God, will come back to reign and with Whom you will also be involved.
Now read 1 Peter 1:17-21 again.
Reflection: What do you learn in this section about the work of God, about the work of Christ and about yourself?