1 Peter
1-2 Blessing 3-5 A Living Hope 6-12 The Test of Faith 13-16 Be Sober and Holy 17-21 Redeemed With Precious Blood 22-25 Brotherly Love and Born Again
Blessing

1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2according 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.

V11Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen. “Peter” presents himself as the sender of the letter to his readers. He calls himself by the name that the Lord has given to him (Jn 1:4242He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John; you shall be called Cephas” (which is translated Peter).). Then he clarifies that he writes as “an apostle of Jesus Christ”. In that way his letter has authority. It doesn’t mean that he addresses them from a superiority, but it is in order to ensure his readers that this writing has great significance. An apostle is a representative who speaks or writes on behalf of another person. Therefore he does not write this letter out of courtesy, but it is a letter that he writes on behalf of Jesus Christ. In this letter he passes on the love of the Lord Jesus to His own.

The recipients are addressed as “aliens, scattered”. The readers, the believing Jews, are pilgrims in the areas where they were scattered due to the persecution that broke out because of Stephen (Acts 8:1,41Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.4Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word.; 11:1919So then those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone.). ‘Aliens’ or ‘pilgrims’ find themselves in tough circumstances, far from their native country. The fact that they were ‘dispersed’ implies that they lie under the judgment of God. If they had remained faithful to what God had told them, they would have enjoyed God’s blessings in His land. That is out of the question now. Instead, they find themselves outside the promised land in strange lands.

You may say that these believers are in two ways pilgrims or strangers. They are that to the Gentiles in the midst of whom they find themselves, while they are also that to their unbelieving compatriots, because of their faith in the Messiah.

Peter names the areas where the believing Jews were scattered. Those are the five provinces of the Roman empire that lie in Asia Minor, the present Turkey. It is the area where Paul has worked very often, as you can read in the book of Acts. Although it cannot be said with certainty, it is much likely that many have come to faith owing to his service.

Their dispersion relates to the endurance of suffering they had to bear with. Another reason why Peter writes his letter, is to encourage them in that suffering. He nowhere appeals to resist against that suffering or to rebel against it.

Also today the children of God are dispersed everywhere and endure suffering. If you consistently follow the Lord Jesus you do not count in the world. You cannot find anywhere an appeal to unite yourself with other Christians in order to overthrow governments or even exert any political influence. Neither did the Lord Jesus do that.

V22according 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.. In their relation to the world the believers may be strangers who are scattered here and there; in their relation to God things are totally different. Listen to what Peter has to say about their relationship to God. They are great blessings for the believers. The world has no part in that, the world doesn’t even know anything about it. Also the unbelieving Jews have no part in that. He is talking about “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”. He also talks about “sanctification of [the] Spirit, unto [the] obedience and sprinkling of [the] blood of Jesus Christ” (Darby translation).

Besides, here you see the triune God: God the Father, the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ. The triune God is the Source of all these great blessings and He works that its objects indeed take part in that too.

Let us briefly examine these blessings one by one. First that of being an elect. Being an elect sounds familiar to the pilgrims in the dispersion. They know that they, regarding their national origin, belong to God’s elected people. Only, that election regards an election to be God’s people on earth (Deu 7:66For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.). Because the people had rejected the Lord Jesus, Israel has lost that place. When Israel will convert in the future, it will be God’s people.

But at this time there is another election, a higher, a heavenly one for the believers. The election of a believer is destined for heaven and not for earth. Therefore the election that Peter is talking about, stands opposite to the election of God’s earthly people.

This election has happened “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”. The Father has, according to His perfect foreknowledge of all things, elected certain people to be His property (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.). With God foreknowledge implies more than only knowing all things in advance. Nothing will ever happen that He did not know in advance. However, His foreknowledge is not passive, but it makes Him act in a certain way, like here concerning His election.

For you, who may know to be elected, that is an enormous encouragement, for it gives you the absolute guarantee that your election has been established to eternity. To Peter it is also, with respect to the readers of his letter, a secure matter (cf. 2Thes 2:1313But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.). God is saying: ‘You belong to Me.’ Who can reverse that? Who is greater and mightier than God? Therefore election doesn’t depend on your efforts, but on the counsel of God the Father, Who executes what He plans to do (Rom 8:28-3028And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to [His] purpose.29For 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;30and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.). Peter will deal later in this chapter with the responsibilities that are also related to that.

When you look at the election you see the same concerning the following aspect that Peter calls the “sanctification of the Spirit”. ‘To sanctify’ means ‘to set apart’. God’s earthly people Israel was set apart from the nations that surrounded them, by all kinds of outer statutes. Thereby the law functioned as a dividing wall (Eph 2:1414For He Himself is our peace, who made both [groups into] one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall,). Peter talks about a ‘sanctification of the Spirit’. The heavenly people where these believers (and we) belong to, has been set apart for God by the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has worked the new life in them, separated them from the world and from Israel and related them to their Messiah Who is in heaven.

The same goes for the next aspect, that of “obedience”. As Jews they were indebted to obey the law, with the promise of life. To them as believers another obedience has replaced that, namely the “obedience … of Jesus Christ” (Darby translation). Nobody was able to fulfill the old standard of obedience, the law. But now they are able to fulfill the new standard by the new life they possess.

That new life is the Lord Jesus. In that way they are able to obey just like the Lord Jesus has done. After all you read about the obedience of Jesus Christ. It is not about obeying the law. To the believer the standard of obedience is not the law, but Christ. Look at Him, how He always obeyed His Father in love and you will surely learn to be obedient like that. That obedience goes much further than obeying the law.

As a final aspect – an aspect that even like obedience is related to Jesus Christ – Peter points at the “sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ”. Here you find the blood of Christ as the foundation to obey. The blood gives the perfect security that to God everything is alright.

This aspect also forms a great contrast to what God has given to His people in the past. In the Old Testament indeed blood is mentioned as the ground for the atonement, but that is related to animals. However, that blood cannot take away sins and cannot give anyone a perfect conscience before God. Only the blood of Christ can (Heb 10:4-144For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.5Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, “Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, But a body You have prepared for Me;6In whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin You have taken no pleasure.7“Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the scroll of the book it is written of Me) To do Your will, O God.’”8After saying above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and [sacrifices] for sin You have not desired, nor have You taken pleasure [in them]” (which are offered according to the Law),9then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will.” He takes away the first in order to establish the second.10By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.11Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins;12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God,13waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet.14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.). The blood of Christ places you in perfect purity in the sight of God. Through the blood of Christ you have peace with God (Eph 2:1313But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.; Col 1:2020and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, [I say,] whether things on earth or things in heaven.; Rom 5:11Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,). You may be sure of that position to be yours.

Next to that Peter adds a wish. He wishes that “grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” or that “grace and peace may be multiplied” to the believers. By that he means that you will expect more and more from God’s grace and you will trust less and less in your own power. God’s grace will always be there to help you to do anything you have to do. When that awareness is present and also increases, you will surely experience the peace that Peter then wishes the believers.

God wants you to grow, that today you rejoice more in Him than yesterday, in spite of or maybe owing to the hardships that you experience. Actually, when your faith is being put to the test you get the chance to multiply in knowing the grace that God gives to you and in the peace that God Himself has.

Now read 1 Peter 1:1-2 again.

Reflection: In what blessings, according to these verses, may you rejoice?


A Living Hope

3Blessed 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, 4to [obtain] an inheritance [which is] imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

V33Blessed 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,. After his introductory words wherein he highlighted the greatness and the work of the triune God, Peter speaks out a praise. He is full of what the God and Father of the Lord Jesus has done. He cannot do anything else but worship Him. That is what always happens when you are awed by Who God is.

Because he is full of God he sees more of God, of Who He is and what He has done. He speaks in full admiration about God’s “great mercy” through which He did great things which can only amaze us. ‘Mercy’ is caring about people whose need is in such a way that they risk destruction, while they themselves have no possibility at all to come out of that need. It is about totally helpless people who in no way could become partakers of the blessing of God. That is the opportunity for God to show His ‘great mercy’.

Peter speaks about great mercy in relation to the regeneration of a sinner and the blessings attached to it. The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ “caused us to be born again”. That is truly great mercy! You have felt your misery and despondency and also your total incapacity to change anything about it. You were standing totally outside God’s blessings. But God was very compassionate about you and He gave you new life.

The fact that you are born again implies that the origin of your new life is ‘from above’ (Jn 3:33Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”). You have been begotten of God. You yourself could do nothing about that, just as you couldn’t do anything about your natural birth.

You indeed received life through your natural birth, but no hope at all for a happy future. On the contrary, you were brought forth in iniquity and conceived in sin (Psa 51:55Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity,
And in sin my mother conceived me.
). The results have also become visible in your life. Death and hell were therefore your final destination. Through the regeneration that God has worked in you according to “His great mercy”, a radical change has happened in that final destination. You now have been begotten again “to a living hope”.

The hope that Peter presents here is totally different than the view to death and hell. This hope also goes much further than the prospect of a kingdom on earth under the government of the Messiah to which God’s earthly people always had looked forward to and is still looking forward to. The living hope is in fact related to a Jesus Christ Who is resurrected from the dead. The living hope that Peter presents here is not an earthly but a heavenly hope and therefore doesn’t look forward to the inheritance of the land of Canaan. “Through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” the eye is focused on a part in another world.

Christ not only has given His blood and died, but He has also risen. You see a living Lord. Thereby you have a living hope and beyond death you see everything there that is related to Him. Without His resurrection there would be no hope (1Cor 15:19-2019If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.20But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.). A living hope is a hope that is alive in your sight. It is not about something insecure, but contrarily this hope is an absolute security. Through the new life you are sure about that hope.

This hope is both objectively and subjectively to be seen. By that I mean that you can see that hope as something that lies before you, thus something you look forward to. That is the inheritance that is presented in the next verses. You can see that hope also as something that is in you, thus something you feel and experience. That is the hope for the inheritance, the desire for it that makes you to be motivated to joyfully move on through life as a pilgrim.

V44to [obtain] an inheritance [which is] imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,. Through the resurrection of the Lord Jesus the hope for the inheritance has become your part. It is an inheritance that with perfect assurance will be your possession. It is reserved for you and it cannot be defiled by anything or robbed by anyone. The inheritance is fixed in heaven and is preserved there for you in Jesus Christ, the risen and glorified Man.

Nothing has the power to diminish the value of that inheritance:
1. It is “imperishable”, therefore not to be harmed by death, through which it would ultimately be destroyed.
2. It is also “undefiled”, therefore free from every spot and also not to be damaged by anything attached to sin.
3. It also “will not fade away” and is therefore without any flaw or even a little reduction of its beauty and is not to be damaged by any test of time.

This inheritance is related to ‘the Heir of all things’ (Heb 1:22in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.). Therefore it is untouchable for death, filthiness and decay.

The inheritance is the kingdom of the Lord Jesus that these Israelites, whom Peter is addressing, will once enter, just like you and I. However, it does not concern the kingdom on earth or the earthly part of the kingdom, which certainly will also be there, but the heavenly part of the kingdom. When the Lord Jesus will openly reign over heaven and earth, all believers who have died or have been taken up before the millennial kingdom comes, will be allowed to reign together with Him from heaven over all who are in heaven (angels, 1Cor 6:33Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more matters of this life?) and who are on earth and over all things that are on earth (1Cor 6:22Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? If the world is judged by you, are you not competent [to constitute] the smallest law courts?). It is the best part that you can ever imagine in the kingdom.

V55who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.. The inheritance is therefore reserved for you by God in a place where no thief and moth and corrosion can possibly take away or damage. But what happens to the heirs? Aren’t they very weak and impotent to be able to preserve themselves? That is for sure. Therefore Peter also has an encouraging word for the heirs. They actually are preserved by the power of God for the inheritance. Therefore you can be sure that the inheritance is reserved for you and that you are preserved for the inheritance.

And how does that happen? By nothing less than the “power of God”. As weak as you are, as strong as God is. You are being preserved by a guard that is continuously there and which cannot be misguided or overpowered. That is quite an assurance for you as an heir that you will possess the inheritance!

The mention of ‘being kept’ indicates that there is danger. That is something you should be aware of. The guard is not supposed to make you careless. You may know – and that is supposed to give you rest – that you are kept by the faithfulness and power of God. At the same time there is also something you should do. In order to experience God’s preserving power “faith” is needed from your side. Faith ascribes to God the place He is worthy of and it keeps you in the place of confidence in Him. Thereby you hold on to the declarations of His Word. Faith is essential until the inheritance will be obtained.

The fact that His preservation happens by the means of faith, means that it is only applied to believers. It also means that believers have the responsibility to trust themselves to Him for that preservation. After all, believing means to have confidence. He doesn’t take His own by the hand to drag them along and in this way bring them to the final goal. He works by faith, whereby He also makes sure that the faith does not cease. Peter experienced that preservation. After he denied the Lord he got restored, because the Lord had prayed for him that his faith would not fail (Lk 22:3232but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.”).

As it is said, faith is needed as long as we are on the way to the final goal. Peter calls that final goal “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”. Therefore the salvation here is still to come. The salvation is what will be our ultimate part when we are with the Lord and then come to earth together with Him.

That the salvation is ready, implies that everything that is necessary for it has been done already. That the salvation has not come yet has got to do with the longsuffering of God, Who doesn’t want that any should perish (2Pet 3:99The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.).

With “the last time” Peter means that when the salvation indeed comes, the fulfillment of time will occur. It is the millennial kingdom of peace in which all times will find their fulfillment (Eph 1:1010with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, [that is,] the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him). Then the salvation will be revealed, it will become visible. After the millennial kingdom there will be no period of time anymore, but eternity will come.

Now read 1 Peter 1:3-5 again.

Reflection: To what degree is ‘the living hope’ that you have received, alive?


The Test of Faith

6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7so 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; 8and 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, 9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. 10As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that [would come] to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.

V66In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,. The time of blessing and rest that will come with the coming of the millennial kingdom rejoices the heart of the pilgrim and encourages him to move on in faith. It will not last much longer, it will take only “a little while”, before you reach the goal. It is a short time in comparison to eternity and also in comparison to the time of the kingdom of peace that will last a thousand years (cf. 2Cor 4:1717For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,).

In that short time you will suffer “various trials”. Peter says additionally “if necessary”. When you in your life of faith suffer trials, it is because God thinks it to be necessary, in order to test your faith. Only when we face difficulties, it will appear what faith means to us, whether we really trust in God. When everything is going smoothly it is not difficult to have faith.

Trials or tests do not make things pleasant, they are no source of joy, but of sorrow. Nevertheless there can be joy when you are being tempted. After all, it can be a cause of joy when you consider that the trial or temptation is a proof that God is engaged with you. A trial that you have to face shows that He has an interest in you. This is how James is presenting it (Jam 1:33knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.). So on the one hand there is sorrow, on the other hand there is joy (cf. 2Cor 6:1010as sorrowful yet always rejoicing, as poor yet making many rich, as having nothing yet possessing all things.).

V77so 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;. There are “various” or different kinds of trials that God sends or allows to happen in the life of the believer, in order to test his faith. As it is said, He does that only when He thinks it to be necessary. For the important thing that He has in mind is that the faith will be expressed. Trials are therefore tests, for the goal of the test is not only to make the faith express itself, but also to make it more pure. To God the faith of His own is “more precious than gold”. Gold is the most precious metal in creation, but it is perishable. The faith on the contrary is not perishable.

To make gold as pure as possible it is freed from everything that diminishes its value. In order to achieve that, a process is needed whereby it is kept in the fire and is being smelted. In that way everything that is not gold will float to the surface and will be removed. That is the same with the faith that is being purified from all unfamiliar elements (Psa 66:1010For You have tried us, O God;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
; Pro 17:33The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold,
But the Lord tests hearts.
) in the fiery trial (1Pet 4:1212Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;). Tests make faith more and more pure (Job 23:1010“But He knows the way I take;
[When] He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
). Also the prophet Malachi speaks about the purifying process that the believers from Israel will have to endure in the great tribulation, which is with a view to the coming of the Messiah (Mal 3:1-31“Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the LORD of hosts.2“But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.3He will sit as a smelter and purifier of silver, and He will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they may present to the LORD offerings in righteousness.).

The purifying process is executed by the Divine Smelter. He determines the level of the temperature of the test with a view to the genuineness of the faith. Thereby He will not surpass what the faith can bear (1Cor 10:1313No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.).

The result of His perfect wisdom will become completely visible at the revelation of Jesus Christ, Who will then be glorified in His saints and will be admired in all who believe (2Thes 1:1010when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed.). Then it will become visible to all eyes how precious that faith is, that enabled these believers on earth to endure everything. The invisible Christ Who was rejected by the world, but Who meant everything to those believers, will become visible as the true motive of their life. He will be given all praise and honor and glory for His love and grace that surpass everything. This love and grace have given strength to the ones He owns to keep on trusting Him in the most difficult circumstances.

V88and 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,. Still Peter has not finished yet with presenting the glories that are related to the Lord Jesus and the faith in Him. Your life in faith does not only consist of expecting and looking forward to, but also of something that you now already possess and that is He Himself. You do not see Him, you even have not ever seen Him, but you still love Him. That is because of your new nature that loves the Beloved. That is how you have gained eyes of the heart and are able to see by faith (Eph 1:1818[I pray that] the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,; Heb 11:10,2710for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.27By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.; Jn 8:5656Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day, and he saw [it] and was glad.”).

To love Him and to rejoice in Him have a decisive and educational influence on your heart. It makes the heart firm and fills it with joy, whatever the circumstances. You have never ever seen the Lord Jesus, nor have you seen His blood, neither His work on the cross. But you surely know that it is all true. You believe that. It gives you a joy that you cannot possibly put into words. Your whole heart and life are full of it. It is a joy that is “full of glory”, which means that this joy is not from the earth and also doesn’t fit here, but it comes from heaven. ‘Full of glory’ means full of praise. It is a joy that is full of praise that is ascribed to the Lord Jesus.

V99obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.. The pleasure of that joy also gives the consciousness of the “salvation of your soul”. The salvation of the soul is “the outcome of your faith”, meaning the goal of the faith, that what is being established by faith. You have accepted the Lord Jesus as the One Who was willing to die for your sins on the cross. That immediately gave you the salvation of your soul. That your soul has been saved implies that you inwardly have been perfectly liberated from the consequences of sin and that you are also free from the fruits of the misery of sin.

Your body, however, has not been saved yet (Rom 8:2323And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for [our] adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.). You still can get sick for instance. Also creation has not been saved yet, but still groans under the consequences of sin (Rom 8:2222For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.). The full salvation is still to come, that is what you are hoping for and that is where you perseveringly are looking forward to (Rom 8:24-2524For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he [already] sees?25But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.).

V1010As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that [would come] to you made careful searches and inquiries,. The prophets of the Old Testament have prophesied about this salvation. They spoke about a time of peace and righteousness on earth during the wholesome government of the Lord Jesus. They understood that they were talking about things that they themselves did not possess, but that it is only “grace” to those who were going to partake of that. That grace was possessed by the readers of this letter. Isn’t it a great grace to be able to believe in Him through Whom the salvation has been fully realized in your soul and through Whom the salvation will be fully realized in creation?

V1111seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.. The prophets have shown the greatest interest in the things about which the “Spirit of Christ” inspired them to write. They made efforts to understand the things they wrote about. That a glorious time was going to come with the revelation of the Messiah was not a mystery to them. But what they could not understand, is that the Messiah first had to suffer and only thereafter the time of all kind of glories will come. Isn’t it indeed a great grace for you to know that the Messiah Jesus Who had suffered on earth, has now already been crowned in heaven with honor and glory (Heb 2:99But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, [namely,] Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.) and that He will soon fill the world with His glory?

V1212It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.. God’s Spirit revealed to the prophets that the things they were reporting were not for themselves, but for the Jewish readers of this letter and also for us. Your eyes have been opened by those who have preached the gospel to you. These are the new testament evangelists, for, according to Peter, they had spoken “by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven”. After all, the Holy Spirit could only come after the Lord Jesus was glorified by God in heaven (Jn 7:3939But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet [given], because Jesus was not yet glorified.; Acts 2:3333Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.). What the Holy Spirit has revealed now in the gospel, relates to a glorified Christ and the relation of the believers with Him.

Then you read about a second party of those who are interested: the angels. Therefore there are two parties that have interest in these things: the prophets and the angels. But the angels themselves have no part in the things in which they are interested. The angels are eager to gain insight in the mystery of how God made worshippers of His Son from the murderers of His Son. They could recall the rebellion among the armies of angels when satan and his supporters resisted against God. They know how these fallen angels have caused that also man became rebellious against God. And now God grants salvation to fallen, rebellious people. That’s what extremely amazes the angels and that is something of which they would love to understand more.

In that view angels are an example to many Christians who, while they indeed have part in these things don’t show any interest in them at all. I assume that this does not apply to you, for then you would not read this explanation.

Now read 1 Peter 1:6-12 again.

Reflection: How can you purify your faith and how do you experience your joy in the Lord?


Be Sober and Holy

13Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober [in spirit], fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts [which were yours] in your ignorance, 15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all [your] behavior; 16because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

V1313Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober [in spirit], fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.. After the explanation about what has to do with Christ and His suffering and His glory, Peter speaks about the practical consequences that went together with these facts. You may know what your blessings are, but according to God’s thoughts you only have a right understanding of them when they also have an effect in your life. In order to work that out, Peter exhorts to take certain actions. He does that in a fervent, authoritative language.

First he says that you must “prepare your minds for actions” or “having girded up the loins of your mind” (Darby translation). To ‘gird up’ has to do with making yourself ready to set out, prepare yourself, to leave. You see that when the people of Israel had to make themselves ready to leave Egypt (Exo 12:1111Now 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.). This is how you should be ready for the call of the Lord to leave the world and enter into the kingdom. This is the proper attitude of the pilgrim and that prevents you from settling yourself here on earth as if your future is here below. Other aspects that are related to girding up, are compliance and fights (Lk 12:3535“Be dressed in readiness, and [keep] your lamps lit., 37; Jn 13:4-54*got up from supper, and *laid aside His garments; and taking a towel, He girded Himself.5Then He *poured water into the basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded.; Eph 6:1414Stand firm therefore, having girded your loins with truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness,).

What we must gird up, is ‘the loins’. The loins indicate the strength to walk (Deu 33:1111“O LORD, bless his substance,
And accept the work of his hands;
Shatter the loins of those who rise up against him,
And those who hate him, so that they will not rise [again].”
; Job 40:1616“Behold now, his strength in his loins
And his power in the muscles of his belly.
; Pro 31:1717She girds herself with strength
And makes her arms strong.
). When you have an illness in your loins you can forget about a brisk walk. Here the loins are related to your mind. The exhortation to gird up the loins of your mind means that you are being exhorted to let yourself to be guided in your thinking by Christ from Whom you have received your mind, to be strengthened with power and spiritually be enlightened (1Jn 5:2020And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.). You have a mind, which means insight by God’s Spirit and God’s Word, of the things that will happen. Remain focused on those things and don’t let yourself be distracted by all kinds of matters that may seem to be interesting, but which are only ideas of people.

That is what the next exhortation is related to “keep sober.” You are sober when you see reality as it really is. That reality is the coming revelation of Jesus Christ Who will come to judge the world and to establish His kingdom.

Your soberness will disappear when you do not focus your mind on the future, but on the here and now. I have heard about a quite serious story that illustrates this biblical soberness very well. It is about the proclamation of the gospel to cannibals. Some evangelists went to cannibals in order to preach the gospel to them. Two of them were killed and eaten by them. Another one had the chance to escape. Still, a certain John persisted to go there to bring the gospel to those people. When he talked about this with an old theologian, the latter tried to persuade him with apparently sober argument to stop him from going. The answer of John was: ‘You will soon be buried and be eaten by worms. It is not a big difference whether I will be buried here and be eaten by worms or go there and be eaten by cannibals.’ That is ‘soberly thinking’ in the biblical sense of the word. The result is that the gospel reached that place and people came to faith there.

This soberness focuses the thoughts on the future that is totally controlled by the Lord Jesus. If you belong to Him, you will also share in His future, in His revelation or appearance. Then, after the exhortations to gird up your mind, you are exhorted to fully hope “on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”. You must “fully” hope upon that. Therefore you should not allow anything to diminish that hope. No worry or illness is to make you hope less upon that grace.

It goes without saying that you are not to allow a certain sin to be the cause of that. When there is sin in your life you will not even hope upon that grace. Then you will keep at a distance the thought of the revelation of the Lord Jesus. In order to look forward again to His coming with a desire it is necessary for you to confess your sin. When there is mention of sin in your life, I would urge you to hurry up to clear out that hindrance.

V1414As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts [which were yours] in your ignorance,. Maybe there is no concrete sin in your life, but there is the inclination to give in to sin. You feel that you are being drawn to commit a certain sin. That may be caused by your desires of the past. Considering that, the next exhortation comes to you: ‘Be like a child of obedience, not conforming yourself to the former lusts.’ Do you remember what verse 22according 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. says? You have been called for the obedience of Jesus Christ.

Literally it is not ‘obedient children’, but “children of obedience”, children who live according to the principle of obedience. That you are able to live as a child of obedience is the result of the fact that you are a child of God. You are born of God and due to that you have received God’s nature (2Pet 1:44For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of [the] divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.).

It looks strange that Peter speaks to them about “former … in your ignorance”, while in their past they were actually so familiar with God. The Jews were treating the ignorant Gentiles with contempt and thought that only they had the knowledge, regarding the true God (Rom 2:17-2017But if you bear the name “Jew” and rely upon the Law and boast in God,18and know [His] will and approve the things that are essential, being instructed out of the Law,19and are confident that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness,20a corrector of the foolish, a teacher of the immature, having in the Law the embodiment of knowledge and of the truth,). It is true that God revealed Himself to them in a special way. However, that’s what made them arrogant. Their whole history has shown that they only boasted in their outward position and at the same time they were following their fleshly lusts.

Before the time that the Jews, to whom this letter is addressed, had come to faith in the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, they were also living like that. They abandoned that when they converted, but the danger to fall back is always there. For that reason they need to be warned not to live like that again.

V1515but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all [your] behavior;. After this warning to lay aside something an exhortation follows to take up something. The Scripture is always balanced. This is how the Scripture speaks about putting off something and putting on something (e.g. Col 3:8,128But now you also, put them all aside: anger, wrath, malice, slander, [and] abusive speech from your mouth.12So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience;). The point here is not about being conformed to something of the past and to become holy in your whole walk instead. In this view you may compare your life with a garden. A garden is more than the absence of weed. It is necessary to weed, but it is not an occupation in itself. The important thing is that the garden exposes a sea of flowers or that it bears fruits. This is how your life as a Christian is like. That life is not being characterized by things that are not there, but by things that are actually there or things that are still to come. Here the point is that everything in your life (“all [your walk”), thus your whole appearance) is holy, meaning totally devoted to God. The essential thing is that Christ, the Man Who is perfectly devoted to God, becomes visible in your life.

To be holy looks negative. That is true when you only see it as being set apart from the wrong. But to be holy is positive. The main idea is in fact: to be set apart for (something). You derive that from the first time when the word ‘sanctify’ in the Bible is used. That is at the creation when God sanctifies the seventh day (Gen 2:33Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.). At that time there was nothing wrong yet in the creation. Everything that God had made was very good. Still God sanctified the seventh day. He set that day apart from all the other days as a day for Himself.

V1616because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”. To underline the importance of holiness Peter quotes a verse from the Old Testament. There God appeals to His people to be holy, because He is holy (Lev 11:4444For I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. And you shall not make yourselves unclean with any of the swarming things that swarm on the earth.; 19:22“Speak to all the congregation of the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.; 20:26-2726Thus you are to be holy to Me, for I the LORD am holy; and I have set you apart from the peoples to be Mine.27‘Now a man or a woman who is a medium or a spiritist shall surely be put to death. They shall be stoned with stones, their bloodguiltiness is upon them.’”). But would His holiness only apply to the Old Testament and not to the New Testament? If you give this some thought, it will be clear to you that the holy God of the Old Testament is the same holy God of the New Testament. Nowhere has that become more evident than when He did not spare His own Son on the cross.

In the Old Testament He could not have anything to do with sin and in the New Testament He cannot either. The appeal to be holy is obvious, because God is holy. He cannot possibly apply a lower standard than Himself to a nation that is related to Him, whether it is an old testament nation or a new testament nation. The message regarding God’s holiness, which is obvious in the Old Testament, is made obvious like that by Peter here in the New Testament. That appeal should make you to totally devote yourself to Him.

Now read 1 Peter 1:13-16 again.

Reflection: Why is it important to be ‘sober’ and ‘holy’?


Redeemed With Precious Blood

17If 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]; 18knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, [the blood] of Christ. 20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21who 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.

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?


Brotherly Love and Born Again

22Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart, 23for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, [that is], through the living and enduring word of God. 24For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off, 25But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.

V2222Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,. After the impressive words in the previous verses about the work of Christ and the wonderful results it has for those who partake of it, it is not a surprise that an appeal follows for “a sincere love of the brethren”. You have not reached your destination yet, you are still on the way to the inheritance. In the world you are a pilgrim, but you have a company in the world where you are at home. On the way to the goal you see brothers and sisters around you, people who have the same goal in mind. They are the objects of the same love of God and redeemed by the same Lamb. In their company you feel the warmth of brotherly love. Your presence contributes to the temperature of the brotherly love, for brotherly love is mutual. It receives and radiates warmth.

The call comes to you as a person whose soul has been purified “in obedience to the truth”. You have recognized yourself as a sinner in the light of God’s truth and in obedience you have confessed your sins to God and have been converted. That was done to you by a purifying work (Jn 15:33You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.). You have become pure, you have received a pure heart. In practice it becomes visible in sincerely loving your brother and sister. The brotherly love is a proof of the new nature. You love your brothers because they are born of God (1Jn 5:11Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the [child] born of Him.).

The fact that Peter speaks about ‘sincere’ love of the brethren, makes clear that it is a genuine love, which is without hypocrisy and without pretense. Hypocrisy, pretending to be someone you’re not, belongs to your former life. Therefore, in the company of brothers and sisters it is not only about a little, dull love, but about ‘a fervent love’ to one another. It is a command to love one another intensely. That excludes that we love each other dutifully. Also insincere or impure intentions are out of the question in this way of loving. It should be a love that comes from a pure heart.

V2323for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, [that is], through the living and enduring word of God.. In a pure heart there is no room for sin; it is a heart that lives in fellowship with God. That fellowship started with having been born again. This new birth is a birth that has been worked by God’s Word and God’s Spirit (Jn 3:55Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.). The Word is a seed that was sown in your heart and out of which the new life has been developed. The Word of God has life in itself. That life is not “perishable”, transient, but “imperishable”, everlasting, as God Himself is the imperishable, everlasting God (Rom 1:2323and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.; 1Tim 1:1717Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, [be] honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.). When He gives life, it is the life from Himself that of course also has His features.

V2424For, “All flesh is like grass, And all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, And the flower falls off,. That life is in huge contrast to the life of the man who is not born of God. This contrast you also see in the quotation from the prophecy of Isaiah (Isa 40:6-86A voice says, “Call out.”
Then he answered, “What shall I call out?”
All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.
7The grass withers, the flower fades,
When the breath of the LORD blows upon it;
Surely the people are grass.
8The grass withers, the flower fades,
But the word of our God stands forever.
). From the quotation it becomes clear what the natural man is as originated from corruptible seed. The life of a natural man looks like grass and like a flower of the field. It is a metaphorical illustration of a life in which everything looks to be prosperous and wonderful, but when you look at it closely it is momentary and its loveliness quickly fades away.

V2525But the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word which was preached to you.. In contrast to that life Isaiah does not present the life from God, but the Word of God. The life from God is inseparably related to the Word of God. We have received the new life from the new birth only because God has revealed His Word to us by proclamation. That Word has worked the new life in us and therefore that life remains to eternity. It cannot possibly ever perish, just as something from God’s words can never perish. The new nature remains forever, for that is as imperishable as the Word of God.

Now read 1 Peter 1:22-25 again.

Reflection: How do you express your love to your brothers and sisters?


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