1 Peter

So, in my daily reading, I came across 1 Peter 1 today and stopped on verses one and two.

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

~ 1 Peter 1:1-2

For those who don’t know, my mind tends to follow specific lines of thought. I see patterns and follow them through to their end. This is how my mind read that after stripping out the parts that, while historically significant and describe the intended audience, are, in my mind, in the way of the text itself:

Peter (author), an apostle of Jesus Christ (authority),

To those who are elect {…}, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood (intended audience):

May grace and peace be multiplied to you (specific blessing).

Now, where I was caught was on that “intended audience”. Peter is writing to the elect. Who are the elect? Let’s break that down:

They are those who God foreordained, through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit are now empowered to serve Jesus Christ and are forgiven their sins by the sacrifice of Jesus on our behalf.

It is to those people who Peter is asking that God would “multiply His blessings of grace and peace”. While we Calvinists (read: Biblical Christians 😉 ) understand that God has predetermined those whom He will save from our own desires and path to Hell, we also understand that Jesus had said that there will be many people who are fakers – people who follow along in service, attend Bible study, even lead ministries and worship God with the most fervor that you’ve seen, but they are merely false converts who God will shuffle off in the day of judgment. Think about it – the parable of the ten virgins, the good catch, and the wheat and the tares (weeds). In each instance, there are those who thought that they were in the party of the righteous but were really never part of it to begin with. They never “KNEW” Him, and He never “KNEW” them. How can you tell if you know Him?

Yet a little while and the world will see me no more, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. In that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. Whoever has my commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves me. And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him.

~ John 14:19-21

Jesus makes it clear – those who keep His commandments are those whom He knows. Does that make our salvation one based on works? Not at all! The New Testament is replete with text to the contrary, the most often quoted is Ephesians 2:8-9:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

~ Ephesians 2:8-9

Even in James 2:14-26 where the brother of Jesus states “Faith without works is dead”, he is not making the point that if you fail to work for Christ He will abandon you, but instead the point is made that our works are the evidence of Christ living within us. Paul drives this home with his illustration of the Gentile Christians being grafted into the olive tree of God’s salvation through the Israelites in Romans 11:11-24: Our salvation is in the root of God’s justice and righteousness, purchased through Christ’s work on our behalf, and we are merely broken from our own sinful man-centered tree and grafted in against our will into a tree of salvation. We are then fed by this tree through the work of the Holy Spirit who then produces fruit in us.

That is the sign that a graft has taken – that it produces fruit. Not out of its own will, but because it is fed by the root and the fruit comes naturally. Don’t feed the homeless because it will buy you salvation – do it because Jesus fed you while you were His enemy and now that you have been reconciled to Him, you want to show His love to those that hate Him as you once did. Don’t clothe the poor because it makes you appear holy before your friends – do it because Jesus made sure that you had your needs met when you refused to acknowledge every good thing He has given to you and now you are able to do the same to those who also are selfish in the same manner that you were. It is through this empowering of the Holy Spirit that we are able to enter into His salvation, not one purchased by our own works. This same empowering enables us to seek to serve Jesus Christ with right motives and a desire to see Him exulted instead of ourselves.

This two verse introduction into Peter’s book clearly defines the Trinity as the relationship of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and reveals the nature of our salvation, how it is acquired, and how we live it out.

Man, I can’t wait to read the rest of this chapter… 🙂

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(e.g., John 1 or God's love)

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