1 Peter 1
by Pastor David Groendyk
This letter is written by the apostle Peter generally to Christians throughout a number of provinces (v. 1) around the year 62 A.D. The purpose for this letter is to encourage this group of Christians who are being persecuted on account of their faith. Notice as you read over the next few days that Peter jumps back and forth in his writing between descriptions of our salvation and descriptions of how we ought to live obediently as Christians. This is a rich book that the ESV Study Bible describes as “exuberant in tone and exalted in language”. Read it slowly to give yourself enough time to digest the riches and intricacies of Peter’s writing! This first chapter is a microcosm of the whole book. There are two big ideas Peter is communicating: 1) the preciousness of salvation, and 2) how we ought to live in light of that precious salvation.
Listen to the way Peter describes our salvation. Take some time to meditate on all these different phrases and descriptions. Do you understand the preciousness of your salvation? Do you think about it often? How should this affect the way you live?
- Salvation was planned and we were chosen to be saved before all time (vv. 2, 20)
- We have a living hope, in other words, we always have heaven to look forward to (v. 3)
- We have an inheritance (eternal life) that is imperishable, undefiled, unfading that God himself is keeping for us—it can never be taken away (v. 4)
- We ourselves are being guarded by God’s power (v. 5)
- We have reason to rejoice even in trials (v. 6)
- We have joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory (v. 8)
- The Old Testament prophets wished they could be around when Christ would finally come (vv. 10–11)
- Angels, who do not experience salvation from God’s wrath like humans do, wish they could experience the kind of love with which God loves us (v. 12)
- We have been ransomed from our sin that leads us to hell (v. 18)
- We have been purchased with the ultimate currency—Jesus’ blood, which is infinitely more valuable than gold or silver (v. 19)
- We have been born of imperishable seed and will live forever (v. 23)
Then listen to the way Peter describes how we ought to live in light of this salvation. Why is it so necessary for us to live like this?
- Praise, glory in, honor, rejoice in, and love God even in the midst of trials (vv. 6–8)
- Prepare your minds for action by being sober-minded; don’t get drunk (metaphorically) on the lights and bells and whistles of this world; fix your thoughts on God (v. 13)
- Look forward to the coming of Christ and let that give you hope; don’t find hope anywhere else but in Christ (v. 13)
- Do not live like your old sinful selves, but be holy like God (vv. 15–16)
- Live in the fear of God, knowing that he is a judge who judges impartially (v. 17)
- Purify your souls by obeying God (v. 22)
- Have a sincere brotherly love for one another, not just in words but in deeds (v. 22)
How do these two big ideas go together? What’s the connection? Living obedient lives for God proves that our faith is genuine and that our salvation is genuine (see vv. 6–7). If we are not growing in holiness and desiring to grow in holiness, it proves that our faith is not real. And the suffering and trials we endure are meant for us to prove that we have faith even in the most extreme circumstances. They’re meant to show us and wean us off the idols and sin we so often love instead of God. They’re meant to help us grow in our faith so that we would persevere all the way to the end of our lives. And if we do persevere to the end, we obtain the outcome of our faith—final salvation (v. 9). What trials and hardships are you going through now? How might God be using them to make you more holy?