Bible Notes Online - 1-Peter 1 - ESV
Commentary

v1-2: Introduction; a letter addressed to Jewish Christians (as in James 1.1), described as God's elect. Peter addresses churches over a wide area, not just one place. The places listed were not visited by Paul, see Acts 16.6-7, but they were not neglected by God.

They were saved and secured by the whole Godhead;

  • chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father;
  • through the sanctifying work of God the Spirit;
  • for obedience to Jesus Christ, and the sprinkling of His blood.

We are chosen for obedience, see Eph 2.10.

We see the full unity of the Godhead in securing the salvation of each Christian. Within that unity are different roles. We need never doubt nor fear regarding our security; this is especially true during those times of suffering. We are pilgrims in this world; see also 1.17, "the time of your sojourning here," and 2.11. Part of the message of hope is that God has a Heavenly home for those whose faith is in Christ. Our sufferings here are only temporary.

v3: Blessed be God! Our salvation and preservation are His work. Here is our response to our multi-faceted salvation;

  • His great, or abundant, mercy, Ps 86.5,15; Eph 2.4;
  • given us new birth, born by the will of God, John 1.13;
  • a living hope; God is not the God of the dead, but of the living;
  • the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; a clear historic fact. Peter was in a unique position to testify to this truth, and here is assurance on which our faith is based.

v4: Our inheritance in Christ is:

  • can never perish, incorruptible, cannot be changed;
  • can never spoil, undefiled, has not been changed;
  • can never fade, will not be changed.

The word "kept" (Gk; TEREO) is elsewhere translated 'preserved' (Jude 1); we are preserved for Heaven, and our inheritance in preserved in Heaven for us; we have a secure future home.

The word "undefiled" (Gk; AMIANTOS) means 'without contamination, unpolluted, untainted, unstained (stainless), unsoiled, without uncleanness or impurity.' It is used of Christ in Heb 7.26. It contrasts with the corruption referred to in 2 Pet 1.4.

The word translated 'does not fade away' (Gk; AMARANTUS) means 'a flower that never fades;' it is a tropical plant always in leaf. Clement of Alexandria used it as a symbol for immortality.

v5: We are shielded, or kept, by God's power; kept to enjoy God's inheritance for us.

One illustration is of a man and woman who keep themselves for each other, looking forward to marriage and consummation of their relationship and love, which is "ready to be revealed." The enjoyment and anticipation now is exceeded by the fulfilment later. This truly is a living hope, and this motivates us to remain faithful to God.

v6-7: God's power and promises puts our problems into perspective. A "little while" contrasted with our eternal salvation. Further, testing proves the genuineness of our faith, and trials encourage us to trust more in God. We find that God is trustworthy, while men are unreliable.

Peter follows James, and the writer to the Hebrews in writing about trials and suffering; see 2.19-23; 3.13-17; 4.1-2; 12-19. Peter was writing to real people in real situations.

v8-9: Difficult times, proving our faith, and building our faith. We are receiving salvation, the on-going spiritual work in our lives, as we trust in God through difficult times.

v10-12: Prophets and angels; messengers of the grace that has now come to us; referring back to O.T. revelation. We are immensely privileged that we share in this salvation, and that it has been revealed to us. The prophets and angels predicted the things that Peter saw, and that we enjoy.

v13: A new section - our response to the revelation of salvation; if hope is our response to trials, then holiness is our response to salvation.

      Personal holiness; 1.13-21;

     Holiness together; 1.22-2.3;

     A holy nation; 2.4-10;

     Holiness in the world; 2.11-17;

     Holiness in the household; 2.18-3.7;

     "Finally," a summary; 3.8-12.

v13: Our response starts with;

  • prepare your minds, making a decision;
  • be self-controlled;
  • set your hope on the grace yet to be revealed, not losing that hope.

This type of direct command is part of Peter's style; short, clear commands, see also in 2.17-18; 3.14-15; 4.7-8; 4.12-19; 5.5-9.

Some think a person cannot be both human and holy; yet Peter commands this, and gives reasons why we can pursue and attain holiness.

v14: As obedient children; our lives, which were once characterised by 'former lusts,' are now to be characterised by obedience. Paul uses a similar argument in Eph 4.17-24. We were saved from the old way of life, and saved for holiness.

v15-16: We are called to be holy, for God is holy, quoting Lev 20.7-8. Whilst we can never attain to a holiness of equality with God, we can pursue a holiness of similitude; that we might have some resemblance to Him. Indeed, Christ gave Himself for us, that we might be holy, Titus 2.14.

v17: Our sojourn here, a temporary time, a time for holy living. There is a judgment, which the Father will bring, with total fairness. We call on this Father, to enable us to fulfil His will.

Peter implies that we are children of the true Father. The doctrine of adoption is developed more elsewhere. This is a great privilege, for we are in relationship with the One True God.

v18-19: Our hope remains Christ's work in us; our obedience does not contribute to our salvation. Our redemption was fully Christ's work for us.

Our redemption was not with physical things, however valuable the world may consider them, but something that is truly precious, the blood of Christ.

v20: God's plan of salvation in Christ was a plan from eternity past, but was made known at a particular point in time, see Eph 1.4; 3.5.

v21: It is through Christ that we believe in God. Peter wrote to Jewish Christians who no longer just believed in God, but through Christ, who was raised from the dead.

v22: Our responsibility to love the brothers, 1 Thess 4.10; and this is a further response to our salvation. Peter had learned this lesson well, Acts 15.7-11, compare Gal 2.11-14.

Peter addresses the brothers, the family, and they are distinguished by love.

v23: We are born again by the will of God, see 1.3; Jam 1.18.

v24-25: Again contrasting physical with spiritual; the word of God will last, but "all men" will perish like grass.

The word of God is not only a call to salvation, but a continuing call to holy living.