The First Letter of Peter: Chapter 1:17-21

Study No.5: (1 Peter 1: 17-21)

With persecution about to break out with a full intensity upon the Body of Messiah Peter was reminding the flock over which the Holy Spirit had made him an overseer and shepherd that it was vitally important that those who belong to the family of God live holy lives separated to God from the passions, desires, ambitions and self-centred, self-gratification lifestyles practiced by the unsaved in the world. Through Peter the Lord Jesus reminds us that we also are to live lives separated to the will and purposes of God, and that even though we live in this world, we are not to have our lives shaped and moulded by its values. If we can live lives separated to the Lord when things are in our favour and we are not persecuted, then when persecution comes and it is coming to western Christendom, it will be easier to stand in that time when that persecution comes.

Peter saw the persecution spreading in intensity and frequency within the provinces of the Roman Empire and was encouraging his flock to keep their eyes fixed on the things of eternity and not to have their hope and security based on this world’s value system and the things this world offers. He was not only reminding the assemblies of their eternal spiritual inheritance but was encouraging them to eagerly desire and to look forward with expectancy to the coming of the Lord Jesus who gave himself for our sins, that He might deliver us out of this present evil world, according to the will of our God and Father (Galatians 1:4). This is the living hope given to every believer through God’s great mercy and through the new spiritual rebirth from above, and through the resurrection of the Messiah our Lord Jesus by His resurrection from the dead into an eternal inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade away kept in heaven for us all who have loved His appearing (1:3-4, 7-9).

Peter reminds us all as the Body of Messiah of the fact that we have been redeemed by the blood of Messiah and have been purchased for God’s ownership and use. We also need to constantly remind ourselves that our home is not in this world, even though we are living in the world to fulfil the purposes and will of God which is to see sinners saved and saints sanctified. God is always calling us to live holy and separated lives to Him and these admonitions are always given in light of the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus (2 Peter 3:10-12). Ultimately God’s kingdom will be physically and visibly established on the earth in the Messianic kingdom to come after the close of this present age. All evil WII BE subjugated and to be finally eradicated all together in the final and eternal state following the Millennium. Human kingdoms rise and fall but the kingdom of God remains forever (Daniel 2:32-25, 39-45).

Exposition: (1 Peter 1:17-21)

(Vs.17) “Since you call on a Father who judges each man’s work impartially, live your lives as strangers here in reverent fear.”

God’s Word says that “man looks on the outward appearance but God looks upon the heart.” What is often hidden from men is totally known to God. He sees the affections, the motives and the intent of the seat of our affections we call the heart in spiritual terminology. God is impartial and He is no respecter of persons as all of us have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfection and perfect standards as revealed in His Word. However, He does respect faith and rewards it (Hebrews 11:6). As believers in the Messiah our Lord Jesus we have the privilege of calling upon God as our Heavenly Father at any time of the day or night. As it is written; “The eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are inclined to their cry” (Psalm 34:15).

We are God’s obedient children, and even though our obedience is not perfect, the obedience of the Lord Jesus when He walked this earth as our representative before God His Father was a perfect obedience which God credits to our account in heaven as we walk by faith and seek to keep in step with the will of the Holy Spirit. As obedient children, even though we are not perfect, we will seek to live increasingly separated from the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and from the pride of life that are constantly at war against the desires of the Spirit living on the inside of us (Galatians 5:16-18). We will be living as aliens and strangers in this world because our life style will be going contrary to the lifestyles of the unsaved in this fallen world. Our hope will be firmly fixed in the world to come when Jesus the Messiah is revealed from heaven. To live in reverent fear is to not be afraid of God but to respect and honour Him for who He is and what He has the power to do. We are to walk in life as those who must give an account of ourselves to Him. We are to treat Him with the highest honour and respect (4:18) (Romans 14:12) (Hebrews 4:13).

(Vs.18-19) “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Messiah, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

When we were in slavery to sin the Lord Jesus purchased us back to God with the price of His own sacrificial blood shed on the altar of the cross. There is nothing or no one, including ourselves or in this world, that can atone for our sins before a pure and righteous God (Romans 3:9-18). Our good works and best efforts and fairest and noblest thoughts are tainted with pride and sin and it is only the blood of Messiah that can remove them from us and break their stranglehold in our lives. With man this is impossible but with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26). Our salvation was not achieved by anything that man produced. God Himself took the initiative to redeem us back to Himself (Luke 1:68) (Titus 2:4; 3:3-6) (Galatians 3:13-14) (Revelation 14:3).

It is only the blood of Messiah that has the power and efficacy to redeem us from the power and penalty of sin and by which to receive forgiveness for all of our sins (Ephesians 1:7). It is only the blood of Messiah through the power of his Holy Spirit that has the spiritual power to go deep down on the inside of us to purge our conscience from dead works of human effort in order that we might serve the Living God (Hebrews 9:14). It is through the blood of Messiah we are put into a right standing with God and are not only justified in his sight but also delivered from the divine wrath that is to come upon the whole world at the end of this present age (Romans 5:9). Through the blood of Messiah we have been set apart to God (Hebrews 13:12). Through our testimony to what the Bible says the blood of Messiah does for us we overcome Satan and are empowered by the Spirit not to love our lives in this world even if it means we have to lay them down in martyrdom (Revelation 12:11).

Unless we approach God through the blood of Messiah we cannot receive forgiveness for our sin (Hebrews 9:22). In the Old Testament times once a year the High Priest would enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple at Jerusalem and sprinkle the blood of a lamb that had been sacrificed that was without spot of blemish upon the mercy seat of the ark to atone for the sins of God’s people Israel. This was a perpetual sacrifice made year after year. The lamb without spot of blemish pointed to the Messiah our Lord Jesus who was the ultimate Lamb of God, who was without sin, who would shed His blood on the altar of the cross to atone once and for all time for the sins of the whole world and a sacrifice never to be repeated as we are told in the Book of Hebrews in the New Testament.

As God’s beloved and redeemed people it is through the blood of Messiah that we have freedom of speech or boldness to enter into God’s presence before His throne because we are all His sons and daughters by adoption into His eternal family (Ephesians 1:5). The blessed Holy Spirit within us is the guarantee of our eternal inheritance. By the Spirit we have been sealed for the day of redemption when, at the resurrection, we will receive brand new glorified indestructible immortal bodies, the same as the Lord Jesus has Himself (Ephesians 4:30) (1 Corinthians 15:51-52) (Philippians 3:21). And then we read…

(Vs.20) “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.”

The death and resurrection of the Messiah our Lord Jesus was no accident or after thought of God but a divinely ordained event already settled forever in eternity by God before the creation of the world. God in His foreknowledge, knowing that man by his own free will would turn against Him, had already provided a remedy. God outwitted Satan and prophesied in the garden of Eden Satan’s defeat (Genesis 3:15). God has always been able to forgive sin even in the Old Testament because of the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8) (John 1:29) (Acts 2:23) (Acts 4:27-28) (Isaiah 53:10). Before His incarnation, our Lord Jesus existed from all of eternity. Through Him the universe and everything in it including the earth and its inhabitants, were created by Him and through Him. He created everything that exists in perfect union and harmony with God the Father and with God the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1-2) (Micah 5:2) (John 1:1-3, 14-15; 17:5) (John 3:13; 8:23, 58) (Colossians 1:15-16) (Hebrews 1:2-3).

He was around in the Old Testament and appeared to men in human form in the person of the Angel of the Lord. It was no ordinary angel and the Hebrew uses the term with the definite article. He was no ordinary angel but The Angel of the Lord (period). He had the capacity to forgive sin even in Old Testament times (Exodus 23:20-22). No created angel has ever been given the authority to forgive sin, only God can forgive sin and He operated in and through the Angel of the Lord, the pre-existent Messiah, the Word of God Himself who was from the beginning and who became a human being and tabernacled among us (John 1:14). He was fully God and fully man in the one person. The last days began at Pentecost and even though we have been in them for over 2,000 years there is no doubt we are now living in the very last of the last days (a subject in itself). So Peter tells us that the Messiah our Lord Jesus was revealed to men in the last days for our sakes, that we might be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth as it is revealed in the Lord Jesus who is Himself the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the father except through Him! (John 14:6). Salvation is found in no one else and there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

(Vs.21) “Through Him you believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and glorified Him, and so your faith and hope are in God.”

It is because of what the Messiah our Lord Jesus did for us at the cross that the Holy Spirit led us to believe in God who raised His Son from the dead and glorified Him. Our faith and hope for eternity is not in anything or anyone other than in the Triune God Himself and in His perfect and complete provision for our salvation through the cross. The Messiah our Lord Jesus died and was raised to life again and exulted by God His Father to the highest position in the universe to sit at His right hand as a glorified man where, as the ultimate High Priest, He ever lives to intercede for us (Hebrews 1:3) (Hebrews 7:25). We have only one hope for eternity and that is in what the Messiah our Lord Jesus obtained for us at the cross. Only through trusting Him to save us from the power and penalty of sin, and by trusting in His blood that has fully and forever atoned for our sins, and that has cleansed us from them, can we ever hope to be reconciled to God (Romans 5:8-11) (Galatians 6:14).

Every blessing we have from God, whether it is salvation, healing, deliverance or material blessing, it is all a result of the work of salvation at the cross. We cannot bypass the cross of the Messiah our Lord Jesus and receive these blessings. To seek to obtain God’s blessing in any other way is to be a thief and a robber. The Lord Jesus is the only door into the kingdom of God (John 10: 7-11; 14:6).  The ultimate blessing for us is the resurrection when our mortal bodies shall be changed and clothed with an immortal body (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 49-58). The same Spirit that raised the Lord Jesus to life will also raise us to life as well on the last day (John 6:40). The goal of Rabbi the apostle Paul was to obtain the resurrection (Philippians 3:10-11).

In times of persecution the New Covenant believer in Messiah always has hope in the resurrection to a bodily immortality. If the Lord Jesus had not risen from the dead then Christianity would be on the same level as all of the other world’s religions and our faith would be futile. However, Messiah Jesus has risen from the dead and we have risen with Him (1 Corinthians 15:13-22). His resurrection guarantees our resurrection and as a result our faith and our hope for eternity with God is in what He has achieved for us and not in this world which is passing away (1 John 2:17). If we walk in step with the Holy Spirit and in line with the Word of God, and in line with His will, we are as invincible as the will of God itself. For like His will, His Word remains forever (1:24-26).

Go to Study No. 6