The First Letter of Peter: Chapter 1:1-2

Study No.1: (1 Peter 1: 1-2)


(Vs.1) “Peter, an apostle of Jesus the Messiah:

An apostle was one who had been personally commissioned by the Lord Jesus and sent out with spiritual authority to start and to oversee the Body of the Messiah which would be established through the ministry of His apostles. An apostle was a sent one with a boundary on his field of service and ministry. While Paul was an apostle to the Gentiles Peter was an apostle to the Jews (Galatians 2:7-9). The 12 apostles were unique in that they had all personally been trained by the Lord Jesus in both doctrinal, theological and in practical matters concerning the things of the kingdom of God. Of course Judas Iscariot had been replaced by Matthias. The apostles had to be those who had been with Jesus from His baptism by John the Baptist and been witnesses to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Even though Matthias was ordained as an apostle later than the others he had also been with Jesus from the beginning and like the others had witnessed the resurrection of the Lord Jesus (Acts 1:21-13).

While the apostles were all equal in gifting and authority their ministries varied. When the Lord Jesus called John he was mending nets signifying that his ministry would be more of a pastoral ministry mending broken lives, whereas when Peter was called by the Lord Jesus he was fishing and he was the primary spokesman and preacher among the apostles (Acts 1:14-41). Peter had a gift as an evangelist and we see him preaching the gospel of the kingdom in the Book of Acts and fishing for the souls of men and women. All of the apostles would have been gifted preachers and teachers and the ones through whom the Holy Spirit worked healings and deeds of power, and through whom the gifts of the Spirit operated when necessary.

These 12 men were unique. Some of them wrote scripture which was the Spirit-breathed Word of God which we have today in the New Testament and there are no more apostles like them today. The canon of scripture is a complete canon and there are no more scriptures being written. However, there are those with an apostolic calling on their life. These are God’s storm troopers metaphorically speaking. In 1944 before the main invasion of Normandy by the allied forces, the allied command secretly dropped commandos by parachute behind enemy lines to disrupt the enemy and to establish base camps as it were to establish command posts for the main invasion force when it came.

One with an apostolic calling will be one who goes to the mission field to start new assemblies having also the spiritual authority and gifting needed for their task. Apostles usually operate in places where people have not heard the gospel of the kingdom or know the name of Jesus and the salvation only found in Him (Acts 4:12). Now with Peter’s calling came the supernatural affirmation of his calling with the same spiritual power from the Holy Spirit the other apostles also had, being signs, wonders and miracles done by the Spirit’s power and with great perseverance (2 Corinthians 12:12) (Acts 2:43) (Acts 3:6-8) (Acts 8:14-17).

Today we have those claiming to be apostles who are doing the rounds of the established assemblies, fleecing the sheep of their hard earned dollars while supposedly working miracles, signs and wonders. Strangely though these ‘super apostles’ by and large are never really persecuted physically, imprisoned, killed for their faith or shown the back door of the fellowships they frequent. In any war the snipers aim for the officers first and the same principle applies in the realm of spiritual warfare. If one is not called and gifted with an apostolic calling then they should stay in the rank and file of the members of the Body of the Messiah.

Those with an apostolic calling are prime targets of Satan’s snipers. All of the original apostles, except for John, were all martyred for their faith in the Lord Jesus, as were many of the Hebrew prophets persecuted and killed for their faithfulness to our Triune God whom they also served. Peter did not have to prove he was an apostle because he knew the call of God on his life and operated in it by faith. The office of an apostle is listed in Ephesians along with the offices of prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers whose main function within the wider Body of the Messiah to equip the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-13).

“To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, (Vs.2) who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”

As New Covenant believers in the Messiah our Lord Jesus we have been chosen by God and set apart to Him by the Holy Spirit for His exclusive use. It was not something we chose but what God in His foreknowledge had already planned from all of eternity (Psalm 139:16) These works for God have been prepared beforehand and are activated in us from the time we repent and believe in the Lord Jesus and in the power of His blood to save us, and that by His grace (unmerited favour) and not by works of righteousness we produce which can never bring us into a right standing with God (Ephesians 2:8-10) (Titus 3:5-7). He has chosen us according to His purpose of election (Romans 9:11-16) (John 6:37, 44) (John 15:16) (Acts 13:48) (2 John 1:1).

The proof of our election is not just what we have come to believe but the real litmus test is whether we are becoming more like Jesus in our daily lives and increasingly being conformed to the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:28-30). If we are being conformed to the likeness of the Lord Jesus in our character then we will not really be at home in this world but strangers in that our lifestyle and values will run contrary to the lifestyles and values we see in this world which are under the dominion of Satan, the god of this world. As we read; “The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of the Messiah, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).

God Himself, who is absolutely sovereign in all things, chooses on the basis of His foreknowledge of all things. While He knows who will be saved and who will be lost He still gives people the freedom to choose whether they will love and serve Him or hate and reject Him. Scripture is very clear on this point (Deuteronomy 30:15-20). Having said this, in both Testaments we see the sovereign will of God and the free will of man held in tension with each other.

As an illustration there is a story told of a very rich business man and father who was a believer who had two sons that were not saved. This man had a very close friend who was an evangelist. He asked the evangelist if he would preach at his funeral and give an invitation to those attending the funeral after he had died. Some years later the business man fell asleep in Jesus and went to be with Him. Well the evangelist preached the gospel and gave the invitation. Now the two sons were present of course and when the invitation was given one son stepped forward to receive salvation but the other son stayed seated. After the funeral in the back room the father’s will was opened and read out and in the will he had willed the bulk of his inheritance to the son who had responded to the altar call. In His foreknowledge of the two sons, knowing them very well, he had bequeathed the bulk of his inheritance to the one he knew would respond to the gospel.

Why God chooses one and passes over another we will not know fully on this side of eternity as to why this happens.  For me personally, if my back was against the wall, I would rather fall into the hands of a sovereign God than into the free will of man. As it has been said; “It is always safe to trust the Lord!” or as the late David Wilkerson used to say; “God still has everything under control!” As it is also written; “Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?”

If we really belong to the Lord Jesus then the world will treat us the same way it treated Him as He Himself said; “If the world hates you, understand that it hated Me first. If you were of the world, it would love you as its own. Instead, the world hates you, because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. Remember the word that I spoke to you: ‘No servant is greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will persecute you as well; if they kept My word, they will keep yours as well (John 15-18-20). Either we are living in and for the kingdom of God and ruled by its laws and principles for faith and life, or we are living in and for the kingdom of this world, and for the things of this world offers and remain under the power of that spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience (Ephesians 2:2).

We are God’s elect or chosen saints who have been set apart to Him by a sovereign work of the Holy Spirit for service and ministry. We are not only “strangers” in this world but also “aliens” in that we have received the second spiritual rebirth from above and have become new spiritual creations in the Messiah. While we continue to live in this world we no longer belong to this world or reflect the world’s value system and character in our lifestyle (John 15:19) (John 17:16) (1 Peter 2:11-12) (John 3:3) (2 Corinthians 5:17) (1 John 2:15-17).

From the very foundation of the world God chose us in the Messiah to be holy and blameless in His sight (Ephesians 1:4-5). We love Jesus because He first loved us and gave Himself up for us (1 John 4:19) (1 Corinthians 1:26-31) (2 Thessalonians 2:13) (Romans 8:28-30). So then, God knew us before we were born and chose us according to His eternal will and purpose for us (Psalm 139:15-16) (Ephesians 2:8-10).

“…through the sanctifying work of the Spirit,”

In the work of salvation it is the blessed Holy Spirit who convicts an unsaved person of his or her sin (John 16:8-11). God the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit already know in eternity who will respond to salvation, and so God the Holy Spirit, knowing the will of God the Father in this matter goes to work, convicting the unsaved person of their sin of unbelief in Jesus as their Messiah, saviour and Lord. The Spirit then sets that repentant sinner apart to God. It is the Holy Spirit who sets us apart to God. In the work of salvation if it wasn’t for the direct ministry of the Holy Spirit to our human spirit then we would not be able to believe in the Lord Jesus as the Son of God and as our personal saviour from sin and the only way back to God (John 14:6).

Through the ministry of the Holy Spirit God made us alive to Himself and to the Lord Jesus when we were spiritual corpses and incapable on calling on God to save us. (Ephesians 2:1; 4:6). Lazarus, whom Jesus raised from the dead, did not raise himself from death to life but it was the word of Jesus carried by the Holy Spirit that brought Lazarus to life again. It is the Spirit of Jesus that gives life. It is not the work of man (John 6:63). The work of salvation is impossible with man but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:126). This act of the Lord Jesus that raised the body of Lazarus to life again demonstrated the reality of the new spiritual rebirth where our dead inner spirit is made alive to God. (Ephesians 2:4-6). In this spiritual regenerating work the saved person joined to the Lord becomes one in spirit with Him, in that their human spirit is fused together with God’s Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17).

The resurrection of eternal life is only found in the Lord Jesus (John 11:25). Our spiritual resurrection from spiritual death guarantees our physical resurrection when the Lord Jesus comes back. If we do not hear the voice of God deep down on the inside of us resounding in our spirit and hearing with the ears of our heart, then we will not be made alive to God (John 5:21, 24-27) (1 Corinthians 2:14-16) (1 Corinthians 12:3). The sheep of God’s sheepfold hear the voice of the good shepherd our Lord Jesus and follow Him (John 10:3-5). We are also told in Romans that as many as are regularly being led by the Spirit of God are sons of God (Romans 8:14). We are in fact sanctified to serve the Lord with an obedient heart.

“…for obedience to Jesus the Messiah”

Saving faith is that faith that produces a desire to be obedient to the Lord Jesus as Saviour and Lord. Faith in both Testaments means for us not only believing the truth but also being faithful to the truth we believe. It is the obedience of faith or that faith in the Lord Jesus that produces works in and through us along the line of the faith we possess (Romans 1:5; 16:26). If we do have genuine faith, and if we are God’s elect saint chosen from the foundation of the world, then we will be seeking moment by moment to walk in obedience to the Lord Jesus by walking in step with His Word and with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25). We will be doers and not just hearers of His word only (John 14:21, 23-24) (James 1:22). To have saving faith in the Lord Jesus is to obey Him (John 3:36 NASB). If we really love Him then we will want to obey His commandments and his commandments will not be a burden to us but a delight to obey (John 14:15) (1 John 5:3) (Psalm 40:8). This is only possible with God’s grace and power! Proof of our election is not only being transformed by the Spirit to conformity to the Son of God but also in obedience to Him (Matthew 7:21-22).

When we are spiritually reborn from above by the work of the Holy Spirit God gives us the capacity to respond to Him and the power to do it with the help of the Holy Spirit. As it is written; “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6b). While the Holy Spirit gives us that capacity to respond to God, He will not do the responding for us. The supernatural power is at hand to enable us to respond but we must desire to respond and we know that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved! (Acts 2:21)  Now it needs also to be said that obedience is not easy as we are constantly at war with the world, the flesh and the devil because we have within us two natures and they are wrestling with each other for control of our life (Galatians 5:16-18).

The area we have the most difficulty with is our old fallen fleshly nature and by exercising our faith in God to keep us we need to crucify the passions and desires of the fallen nature every day through the power of Jesus blood, through the power of the Holy Spirit and through the power of the Word of God accompanied by praying unceasingly in the Holy Spirit. This is also why it is important to feed our new nature with those things that draw us close to the LORD and are pleasing in His sight. Whichever nature we feed the most is the one that will ultimately control us.

This is why we need discernment in the places we go to, the books and magazines we read, or in the movies or dramas we watch on the internet and at the movies, or the company we keep, or from activities that waste our time when we should be reading and studying the Word of God instead. One prayer that God answers when we are struggling with the flesh is “Jesus help me!” This will get God’s attention every time because “the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open and attentive to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

Sometimes we will disobey the Lord through ignorance and at times even through sin, however, if our deep desire is to do the will of God, then He will see to it that we will become what He has called us to become in our character, in our daily walk with Him and in our ministry and service for Him ordained by God from the foundation of the world. What God says we will be we will become. When the Lord Jesus called Peter “a rock” he was anything but that. However, as Peter allowed the Lord Jesus to deal with him, in time Peter became a rock and one who boldly and unashamedly declared openly that the Lord Jesus was the huge rock and that on the solid foundation of this huge rock of revelation knowledge about Himself the Lord Jesus would build His living temple of believers, and that the gates of hell would never overcome the revelation knowledge of this great Biblical truth or those who proclaimed it (Matthew 16:16-18).

“…and sprinkling by His blood:”

The blessed Holy Spirit not only sets us apart to God when we are saved for His service and use of us to do His will on earth, He not only makes us alive to God and enables us to walk in obedience to Jesus by faith, but the blessed Holy Spirit also applies the blood of Jesus the Messiah to our heart and inner conscience to cleanse them from all spiritual defilement and sin (Hebrews 9:14). Just as in the Old Testament under the sacrificial system in the temple on the Day of Atonement once a year the sacrificial blood of a spotless lamb was sprinkled on the altar or mercy seat in the temple to atone for the Israelites sins, so the blood of Jesus sprinkled on the altar of our heart purifies us from all sin (1 John 1:7).

The blood of bulls and goats could never deal with the sin problem on the inside. The blood of animals sacrificed in the Old Testament only temporarily covered for sin and every year the sacrifice would be repeated on the Day of Atonement. However, the sacrifice of the Messiah our Lord Jesus the spotless and pure Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, put an end to sacrifices for sin once and for all time and never to be repeated (Hebrews 7:27, 9:26, 10:12). The blood of Jesus then, not only atones for our sin once and for all time, but cleanses us from all sin and drives it away from us and delivers us from its power and grip in our lives and its eternal penalty in the lake of fire  (1 John 1:7) (Revelation 1:5) (Matthew 1:21) (Titus 2:14) (Hebrews 9:4, 13-14).

Through the blood of Jesus we can overcome everything Satan throws our way. We overcome Satan, when by faith, we testify to what the Bible says the blood of Jesus does for us (Revelation 12:11). The blood of Jesus being applied to our heart by the Holy Spirit bringing us justification in the sight of God will also protect us from the coming wrath of God (Romans 5:9).

“Grace and peace be yours in abundance.”

Through the grace of God, being His unmerited and unearned favour lavished upon us, we receive the peace of God which transcends all human understanding and that in abundance. Grace always produces peace with God and the peace of God when His grace is received by faith (Romans 5:1) (Ephesians 2:8-10).

All of us will pass through times of severe testing in our lives and more so in the days that lay ahead for the faithful Body of the Messiah as we see the end of this present age rapidly approaching and because the devil knows that his time is short. At times we will face situations when it seems God has hidden His face from us even though we are not conscious of any sin we have committed that would cause Him to do this. We may even question the faithfulness of God when He permits adversity to hit us.

None of us are spared persecution and suffering to a greater or lesser degree if we have chosen to be faithful to the Lord Jesus. In fact we are told that all who desire to live godly lives in the Messiah Jesus will be persecuted (2 Timothy 3:12). Our trials and troubles God uses to strengthen our faith and confidence in Him, and to reassure us that He will be with us in the furnace of affliction and persecution as He was with the three Hebrews in and through the pre-incarnate Son of God in that fiery furnace in Babylon.

With severe persecution looming on the horizon for the assembly at Rome and for the assemblies scattered throughout the provinces of the Roman Empire being Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, Peter from the very start of his letter wanted to reassure his flock and us as well in this day and age that God chose us long before we chose Him and that His choice of us was according to His foreknowledge. He wanted us all to know that God has elected us to salvation and service for Him, to know that we have been set apart to God from the world by the ministry of the blessed Holy Spirit for obedience to the Lord Jesus, and to the sprinkling of our hearts by His blood. All of this was accomplished according to God’s foreknowledge, purpose and will before the foundation of the world. This great Biblical truth is to be embraced by faith bringing with it the grace and peace and that in abundance especially supplied for the time of persecution that lies ahead for the faithful Body of the Messiah on a global scale before the Messiah our Lord Jesus comes back.

Go to Study No.2