The First Letter of Peter: Chapter 1:8-12

Study No.3: (1 Peter 1: 8-12)

In our last study we saw that we should praise God the father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah because God in His great mercy has given us a new spiritual rebirth from above into a living hope, not an “I hope so” such as the world hopes. But we have a hope in our heart, a deep settled certainty and peace that enable us to look forward to our eternal destiny after our life in this world is over. This hope of eternity with the Lord Jesus was the hope for the first century assemblies Peter was writing to as they were, by and large, being persecuted and that the persecution would become more intense under Nero. Peter reminds them and us as New Covenant believers, that this new spiritual rebirth from above and living hope was procured for us by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. Because He rose from the dead and lives forever the same Holy Spirit that raised Him to life will also raise us to life at the rapture and resurrection when He comes back because that same Spirit of God dwells in us who have believed (Romans 8:11).

We also have an internal inheritance in heaven, one that will never perish, spoil of fade kept in heaven for us. Did not our Lord Jesus Himself say; “In My Father’s house are many rooms; if that were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will take you to Myself, so that where I am, there you also will be” (John 14:2-3). Heaven will be something that we cannot even imagine what it will be like, although the apostle John in the Book of Revelation gives us a glimpse into the worship that is constantly being offered before the throne of the Triune God, and what the New Heaven and earth will be like (Revelation Chapters 4-5; 7:9-17; Chapter 21; 22:1-6).

The Lord permits persecution to bring His people to the point where they return to their first love and the spiritual priorities He has for their lives. Times of peace and prosperity have their place but can so easily facilitate ease and comfort for the Body of Messiah. In the first and second centuries of the Body of Messiah persecution was common. Peter was reminding the sheep over which the Holy Spirit had made him an overseer or shepherd, that their only lasting and enduring hope in this world was the Second Coming of the Messiah our Lord Jesus for the age to come being the Millennial Messianic kingdom on earth and then after that the final and eternal state (Revelation 21:1-4).

Our faith as New Covenant believers is as precious in the spiritual ream as gold is in the natural realm. Gold needs to be refined by fire which removes the impurities from the gold. Through difficulties, all kinds of trials, tests, hardships and persecution the impurities in our lives are removed so that the image of the Lord Jesus can be clearly seen in our lives and prepare us for our heavenly weight of glory which we will receive when the Lord Jesus comes for us as His bride clothed with the garments of salvation, and wrapped around with the wedding robe of His righteousness, being beautifully adorned as a bride for her husband. Gold is perishable but faith is eternal and through suffering all kinds of trials and afflictions it is refined and strengthened resulting in praise, honour and glory when the Lord Jesus comes back. Also it needs to be added that faith grows and develops through receiving the seed of God’s Word and hearing it with the ears of our heart (Romans 10:17). Feeding on God’s Word builds in us the capacity to exercise our faith in an ever increasing measure.

Exposition: (1 Peter 1: 8-12)

(Vs.8-9) “Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”

It is possible to love the Lord Jesus as much as the apostles themselves loved Him. We have the same faith and love dwelling deep down on the inside of us that they had themselves (2 Peter 1:1) (Romans 5:5). In fact it is the faith of Jesus the Messiah Himself that lives and is active in our lives as God’s beloved children (Galatians 2:16). Even though we have not seen Him in the flesh as the apostles did, we still have hope in Him for eternity because the blessed Holy Spirit has put within us His witness to our inner spirit man the atoning death, the resurrection and the ascension of our Lord Jesus and also witnesses to His eternal and permanent High Priesthood over the temple of God which we are corporately as the blood redeemed Body of the Messiah (1 Peter 2:5) (1 Corinthians 3:16).

This revelation should fill us with an inexpressible and glorious joy, one that rises up from the inner well of the water of life flowing in and through our inner spirit man, the spiritual well of our soul (John 4:10-14) (John 7:37-39). This “inexpressible and glorious joy” is one that cannot be adequately expressed even though it bubbles up from deep within us. It is not so much an outward intense expression of unchecked emotions, but a joy expressed that results in a thankful heart and expressed through the praise of our mouth. The psalmist put it this way; “Know that the Lord is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and bless His name. For the Lord is good, and His loving devotion endures forever; His faithfulness continues to all generations” (Psalm 100:3-5).

As it is written; “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). This is not so much an outward expression of joy as it is “a quietness and confidence in God’s perfect providence and provision which produces in us the strength of God” (Isaiah 30:15). Having said this there will be times when we will weather depression, affliction, physical weakness or infirmities and a sense of heaviness through manifold temptations which are hard to be borne in the natural. At such times the blessed Holy Spirit will sustain us with a deep seated joy and confidence. The end goal of the process of our faith is the salvation of our souls.

In the New Testament there are three tenses in the Greek language in the world salvation. Firstly; when we repented and invited the Lord Jesus to be our personal saviour and Lord, having been washed spiritually by His blood that has fully and forever atoned for our sins, we were declared to be innocent of all of our offences against God and protected by the blood from the coming wrath (Romans 5:9). We were saved! This is Justification by faith (Romans 5:1). Secondly; when we first exercised saving faith in the Lord Jesus God set us apart for His own exclusive use and to do His good acceptable and perfect will, and through the indwelling Holy Spirit started that process of conforming us in an ever increasing measure to the image of his Son to which we were predestined by God (Romans 1-2) (Romans 8:28-30). We are being saved! This is sanctification. Then the third thing that is yet to happen is our final and ultimate deliverance from the very presence of sin at the rapture and resurrection, or if we should fall asleep in Jesus before He comes back (1 Corinthians 15:51-55). In other words we will be saved! Our redemption will be completed. So then we are saved, we are being saved and we will be saved! Now let’s continue…

(Vs.10-11) “Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Messiah in them was pointing when He predicted the sufferings of Messiah and the glories that would follow.

This salvation that comes only through repentance and faith was always God’s plan. This plan was revealed through the prophets and right through the whole of the Old Testament. Salvation was seen in type and shadow in the temple sacrifices. The Temple itself with all of its furnishings pointed to the character and atoning sacrifice of the Messiah our Lord Jesus but was a mystery to those who lived before the incarnation of the Messiah our Lord Jesus in whom all of the fullness of God dwelt in a bodily form. Every good prophet, priest and king in Israel in some way all pointed to the Messiah to come who was Himself the ultimate prophet, priest and king. The Hebrew prophets searched intently and with the greatest of care seeking to find the time and circumstances that would see this salvation fully manifested.

The Spirit of Jesus the Messiah already dwelt in them and was revealing to them the work of salvation to come yet their understanding was limited. They saw as it were through a dark glass dimly concerning that time when the Messiah would come. We also see through a glass dark dimly now in relation to our ultimate and complete revelation of our final destination where we will know as we are known by God (1 Corinthians 13:12). All of the Old testament saints who had the Spirit of God on the inside of them saw the future salvation to be provided in the Messiah by faith, a faith given to them by the Holy Spirit to see what was to come in the future (Hebrew 11:13,39-40).

These Old Testament saints, especially those who wrote the Old Testament, realised that the Holy Spirit was predicting through their prophecies the suffering of the Messiah and the eternal glory that was to follow. The psalms are full of this suffering and glory of the Messiah, especially the psalms of David. For example Psalm 22 is a very descriptive and specific psalm revealing the internal suffering of the Messiah our Lord Jesus on the cross, His death and His resurrection and ascension and His future Messianic Millennial reign and all in the same psalm. Then you have the prophet Isaiah who in His book Chapter 52:13-15 through to the end of Chapter 53, the most exact and descriptive revelation of the Messiah’s agony and intense descriptive suffering endured in His sacrifice for sin and the results of it seeing future generations down through history even to the present day, being saved from the power, the penalty and from the very presence of sin, and to be resurrected to live forever with the Lord Jesus either when one dies physically, or when the Lord Jesus returns to earth to rapture and resurrect all His saints. Added to this, we are also told what else the Spirit of the Messiah revealed to them.

(Vs.12-13) “It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.

Even though the Old Testament prophets didn’t fully understand the predictions they were making concerning the Lord Jesus and the Kingdom of God they did understand that they were serving themselves but future generations to come who would be the beneficiaries of this so great salvation that would be revealed and fully manifested in and through the Messiah our Lord Jesus. They understood then by revelation knowledge that their prophecies were for God’s people in the future. They spoke of things they could not fully comprehend, however those things have been clearly revealed to us by the Holy Spirit in the New Testament and though which the gospel was preached to us who have believed and received it by faith. Even the angels in heaven do not understand the deeper truths of the gospel and these long to look into these things. They consider deeply and continuously those things concerning salvation.

So then it was the Spirit of the Messiah in the Old Testament prophets that foretold of the Lord Jesus. It was the Spirit of God that revealed Him, and it is the same Spirit today who takes the things concerning the Messiah our Lord Jesus and shows them to us (1 Corinthians 12:3) (John 16:12-15). Only through the revelation of the Spirit of God to our inner spirit man can anyone truly know the Lord Jesus including the prophets who spoke as they were carried along or moved inwardly by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21). It is the Holy Spirit alone who not only reveals the Lord Jesus to us through imparting the revelation knowledge of Him, but also imparts to us deep down on the inside the assurance that we belong to God (Romans 8:15-16). During times of trial, oppression, difficulties and persecution it is only our experience of walking with the Lord Jesus by the power of the blessed Holy Spirit and by the power of Jesus blood that we will be able to stand everything Satan throws at us (4:14). It is only by the power of the blessed Holy Spirit that we will be enabled to testify boldly for the Lord Jesus when enduring persecution and hardship because of our loyalty to Him (Matthew 10:17-20) (Luke 21:12-19) (1 Peter 4:12-14).

Go to Study No. 4