Chapter 1.
Fantastic Facts for the Foreigners of Heaven

1 Peter 1:1-12

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, [2] Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. [3] Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, [4] To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, [5] Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. [6] Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: [8] Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: [9] Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. [10] Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: [11] Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. [12] Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

We now begin a wonderful journey through one of the finest books of the New Testament, the first epistle of Peter. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it was penned by a man that had flopped, failed, was frozen in fear at a crucial time in the life of Christ. Yet, our Lord restored Peter to fellowship and he went forward to do a great job for the Lord Jesus Christ.

As far as we can tell, the epistle was written from Rome around 64 A.D. Rome was the capital city of the vast and mighty Roman Empire, which stretched from Britain to Arabia. It had a population of approximately one million people and was the diplomatic and trade center of the world and the largest city.

Peter wrote this epistle just before the terrible persecution of Christians by Emperor Nero which took place from 65 to 67 A.D. Nero authorized capturing, torturing, and killing Christians. In 64 A.D, a large part of Rome was destroyed by fire, probably started at Nero's order. The emperor publicly blamed the Christians in the city, giving him an excuse for terrible atrocities, which included throwing believers to wild dogs in the Colosseum as a spectator sport. They were also burned alive and cut in half to name a few other atrocities. During these terrible persecutions, believers were forced to choose between the emperor and Christ. Those who chose Christ often died for their faith in the Lord.

Of the final days of the apostle Peter in Rome, Jowett wrote that Peter was cast into a horrible prison called the Mamertine, and for nine months was in absolute darkness. He endured monstrous torture when manacled to a post. In spite of all the suffering Peter was subjected to, he converted his jailers, Processus, Martinianus, and forty-seven others.

Peter's love for Christ was so great, that according to historical tradition, he felt unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus and begged to be crucified upside down under the command of the emperor Nero around 68 A.D.

Interestingly, tradition also states that Peter's wife served with him in the ministry. William Barclay quotes a touching picture by Clement of Alexandria who said that she was martyred with Peter: "On seeing his wife led to death, Peter rejoiced on account of her call and her conveyance home, and called very encouragingly and comfortingly, addressing her by name, 'Remember thou the Lord'"

As you read this wonderful epistle, like the sunbeams that break forth at the dawn of a summer morning, you will be warmed by the tenderness, compassion, love, and encouragement of this letter. Like cool sips of spring water to a parched traveler in a scorching desert, Peter's words offer refreshment to Christians that were being slammed by the sledge hammer of suffering on the anvil of satanic adversity. Sixteen times he mentions the issue of suffering. Peter provides a powerful example of an encourager. He was not writing from a secure location, removed from the hardships of Roman life. No, Peter lived smack-dab-in-the-middle of the persecution.

Peter speaks of God's amazing grace that enables us to cope when we suffer. He speaks of the grace of our salvation (1:10), the grace of our redemption (1:13), and the grace that enables us to take the hand-off of the baton from yesterday's race, and continue life's race today to run another day (1:2; 3:7; 4:10; 5:5).

Something else that Peter does in this epistle to encourage us when times are tough, is to get our eyes focused on the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. He mentions this eight times in the letter (1 Peter 1:5, 7, 13; 1 Peter 2:12; 1 Peter 4:13, 17; 1 Peter 5:1-4). He was looking forward to the Lord's return in his day. We are now 2000 years closer. Amen!

As we open the curtain on this book, the first dozen verses speak of fantastic facts for the foreigners of Heaven. When I refer to foreigners, I am talking about all Christians! The truths offer great encouragement in times of difficulty and give the believer something to look forward to in the future. Let's take a look at some wonderful blessings and fantastic facts for us.

I. Scattered Strangers 1:1

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

The first name of this letter identifies the penman... Peter. Peter, the rock, refers to himself as an "apostle" of Jesus Christ. What's that? The word "apostle" is from the Greek word apostolos {ap-os'-tol-os} which is used 80 times in the Bible. An apostolos was a person sent by an authority with a commission, such as an ambassador. Cargo ships were called apostolic ships because they were dispatched with a specific shipment with a specific destination. The idea of the word "missionary" comes from the word "apostle." We are to be like apostles in the sense that we are ambassadors for Christ, missionaries sent to this world for a specific mission. An apostle of Jesus Christ, such as Peter, met several requirements.

Based on this criteria, there are no apostles today. We have God's complete revelation of truth in the Scriptures.

Peter continues to reveal that this epistle is written to strangers scattered throughout the Roman empire. This word "stranger" is the word parepidemos {par-ep-id'-ay-mos}. This word means "a stranger, foreigner, or an alien from a foreign country who temporarily resides with people of their country. This same word is translated "pilgrim."

Beloved, Christians are pilgrims, strangers, or foreigners on this earth. We are temporary residents in this world. We sang a song in our youth group when I was a teenager that spoke of our foreign status.

This world is not my home, I'm just passing through.

My treasures are laid up, Somewhere beyond the blue.

The angels beckon me, From Heaven's open door,

And I can't be at home, In this world anymore.


* Why Are Christians Foreigners on This Earth?

1. Foreigners Must Deal with a Different Language Than Their Own Many Times

As Christians, our speech is to be different than that of unsaved people. Our language is not to be filthy, sensual, suggestive, deceitful, or blasphemous. What comes out of our mouths reveals what is going on in our hearts. Our speech should reflect the Holy Spirit that lives within us and reveal to people that there is something different about us in a good way.

1 Peter 3:10—For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

James 1:26—If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man's religion is vain.

Colossians 4:6—Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

Titus 2:7-8... In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, [8] Sound speech, that cannot be condemned; that he that is of the contrary part may be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of you.

Ephesians 4:31—Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice:

Never underestimate the power of your words. Wilfred Peterson said, "Soft words sung in a lullaby will put a babe to sleep. Excited words will stir a mob to violence. Eloquent words will send armies marching into the face of death. Encouraging words will fan to flame the genius of a Rembrandt or a Lincoln. Powerful words will mold the public mind as the sculptor molds his clay. Words, spoken or written, are a dynamic force."

Writing of Napoleon and his Italian campaign, Emil Ludwig said: "Half of what he achieves is achieved by the power of words." Words are the swords we use in our battle for success and happiness. How others react toward us depends, in a large measure, upon the words we speak to them. Life is a great whispering gallery that sends back echoes of the words we send out!

Our words are immortal, too. They go marching through the years in the lives of all those with whom we come in contact. When you speak, when you write, remember the creative power of your words."

2. Foreigners in Many Countries Are Not Accepted by the People. They Are Considered As Intruders or Outcasts

In ancient Greece, clubs in which the members met to have a common meal were very common. Those who sat down to eat were divided into groups. One group was called the sundeipnoi or fellow members and the other group was called the xenoi. These were outsiders who were guests only by courtesy and toleration. A mercenary soldier of a foreign army was a xenos or stranger. In Sparta, the stranger was automatically considered as a barbarian.

We too, as believers, are not accepted by a wicked world. We are strangers here and considered "strange" by this world. Anti-Christ and anti-Christian sentiments continue to rise all over the world, even in the United States. Christian bashing has become popular and the blasphemy of Jesus has become common. Each year, approximately 160,000 believers are martyred for Christ around the world. Paul warned us of the world's sentiments toward us.

1 Corinthians 4:13—Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.

The word "offscouring" is from the Greek word peripsema {per-ip'-say-mah}. It means "what is wiped off; scrapings from a meal." This is the attitude that the world has toward Christians.

3. The Customs and Behavior in Other Countries Are Different

We are not only to speak differently, but we also should behave differently than unbelievers.

1 Corinthians 6:18—Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

1 Peter 2:11—Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

2 Timothy 2:22—Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

4. Getting Directions Can Be Very Difficult in a Foreign Country

Foreigners need a guide because they are in a strange place. We need a guide, too. For this reason the psalmist cries, "Don't hide your commandments from me! I need guidance! I need direction!" Thank God we have a guide. The Lord is our helper and guide. His Word also gives counsel and direction.

Hebrews 13:6—So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Psalm 31:3—For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me.

Psalm 32:8—I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.

Psalm 119:105—Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

5. Foreigners Are Citizens of Another Country

In many countries, they are not allowed to own property or vote. We too, are citizens of another country. Our home is in Heaven.

Philippians 3:20—For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: The word "conversation" means "citizenship."

Ephesians 2:19—Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;

John 14:1-2... Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. [2] In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

We have so much to look forward to for our home is not here. For hundreds of years before Christopher Columbus was born, the motto of the country of Spain was ne plus ultra. This phrase is Latin for, "no more beyond." You see, the Spaniards believed that they had already discovered everything worth discovering. One of the most beautiful monuments to Christopher Columbus today is a statue in Spain of a huge lion with the words, "ne plus ultra" underneath it. However, the lion is eating the first word "ne." All that can be read is "more beyond." This was the greatest legacy of Columbus. He proved that there was "more beyond."

Now beloved, Jesus, too, has shown us that there is more beyond. Like the lion of the Columbus monument, eating the word "ne," the Lion of the tribe of Judah erased the notion that death was the end of everything. It is through the death of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, and His resurrection from the dead, that all Christians can say with assurance there is "plus ultra"... there is "more beyond!" Notice what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15.

1 Corinthian 15:54b-57.... Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

As we continue to look at the first verse, we find that it is written to Gentile and Jewish believers that were scattered throughout the Roman empire. The word "scattered" comes from the word diaspora {dee-as-por-ah'} and carries the idea of that which is sown. It was a word used of the farmer sowing seed in the field. The dispersion was a term understood by Jews to mean all the Jews who had been scattered abroad through persecution. The Lord used persecution to scatter Christians all across the world.

Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia refer to formerly independent territories in northern Asia Minor (modern Turkey). Since 130 B.C., all of these territories had been under Roman control. The population was a mix of many races and cultures, including the native peoples, cultured Greeks, Orientals, and Jews. At the end of the first century A.D., the total population of these five huge provinces was approximately 8.5 million, one million of whom were Jews and eighty thousand were Christians.

II. The Sanctification of the Spirit 1:2

Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Peter states that we are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. What is this all about or what does this mean? This is a heavy subject and a controversial one, so we will take our time and explain it carefully. We will talk about three different words: election, foreknowledge, and a third word, predestination. Some Christians read these words and freeze because they don't clearly understand the meaning of these terms.

What we want to do at this point is to explain some terms that have created confusion because of a lack of understanding their truths. We will look at this term "elect" or "election." Then we will explain the meaning of "foreknowledge" and another term that pops up when you study these words. We will look at the meaning of "predestination." After we examine these terms, we will continue our study of verse two.

A. Election

God does not choose people to be saved and others to be lost. This is not in the Bible. H.H. Hobbs said, "Election is not mechanical. It involves a God who is love and man, who is morally responsible." Election never violates the will of a person. We are not robots! If a person goes to Hell, he chose to go by rejecting Christ and the truth that God has revealed to mankind in creation and in his conscience.

Romans 1:20—For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Romans 2:15—Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;)

God is not responsible for man's damnation, men and women are responsible for the choice they make concerning Christ. If we were robots, with no choice, what would be the purpose of Christ's ministry and the crucifixion? There would be no purpose at all!

Election is two-fold.

The elect today are those who have trusted Christ as Savior. D.L. Moody said, "The elect are the whosoever wills and the non-elect are the whosoever won't." God's invitation to salvation is to all the world. He uses the word, "Whosoever." Christ died for the entire world, not a select few.

To say that God chooses some to be saved and some to go to Hell would contradict a number of passages of Scripture such as 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4,6; Titus 2:11; and 2 Corinthians 5:14,15.

2 Peter 3:9—The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

1 Timothy 2:4—Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:6—Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

Titus 2:11—For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

2 Corinthians 5:14-15... For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: [15] And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

If we had no choice in the matter of our salvation, then saving some folks and rejecting others would make the Lord unjust and unfair. In fact, He would in essence be contradicting His own word. He would be a respecter of persons.

James 2:9—But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

Acts 10:34—Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

Colossians 3:25—But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

1 Peter 1:17—And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:

How could God say that He loved the entire world if He showed favoritism to a select few? That does not make any sense at all! Choosing some to be saved and others to go to Hell would also leave man hopeless. A person could conclude, "If the Lord won't elect to save me, there is nothing else I can do to go to Heaven." The Gospel is a message of hope, not hopelessness. We get enough "hopelessness" from this world already.

If the Lord saved only those whom He has chosen, then there would be no need to evangelize. He has determined who will be saved already, no matter what we do. Beloved, God is not the author of confusion. For this reason, the teaching that states that God chooses to save only certain people is unscriptural. He commands us to go into the world to preach the Gospel because men and women need to make a choice to accept Christ or reject Him, God is sovereign in His mercy. His mercy is not based upon our will, our works, or our forcing Him to show mercy to us. If this was so, it would no longer be mercy. It would be something earned. God's mercy is not getting what we do deserve. We deserve to go to Hell. God's grace is getting what we don't deserve. Because of His grace, we are given salvation. God has chosen to bestow His mercy on anyone who puts his faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation. This is the chosen plan that God has chosen for mankind.

Titus 3:5—Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

Tyndale translated "by the washing of regeneration" as "by the fountain of the new birth."

Ephesians 2:4, 5—But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

Ephesians 2:8—For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Romans 11:32—For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that he might have mercy upon all.

Because of the Lord Jesus Christ, we have a High Priest that will continue to give us grace and mercy and wants to do this. God wants to give mercy if we will ask for it. He wants us to entrust our soul with Him for eternity. George Whitefield said, "I have put my soul, as a blank, into the hands of Jesus Christ my Redeemer, and desired Him to write upon it what He pleases. I know it will be His own image."

Hebrews 4:14-16—Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. [15] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. [16] Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

B. Foreknowledge

The word "foreknow" comes from the Greek word proginosko which means "to know before." It helps form our English word "prognosis" which means "the act or art of foretelling the course and termination of a disease." Foreknowledge states that God knows everything that will happen before it happens. Before creation, God knew every event in Heaven and earth.

Psalm 139:4—For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

Acts 15:18—Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

God in His divine power and knowledge can see into the future and He knows who is going to respond to the message of salvation. God forsees the faith of everyone who is saved and going to be saved. Nowhere in the Bible, however, does it say or imply that God knows all before hand only because He has foreordained and caused it.

Some may ask, "How can the Lord be sure what He foreknows will happen or that something will not intervene in man's affairs to change the outcome of the future?" The answer is God is all-knowing. He is God.... period. That is why the Lord is certain. We can't completely understand all this because we are finite in our thinking. God is infinite and knows the future. He has shown us that He knows the future.

Isaiah 42:9—Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Isaiah 46:9,10—Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

In spite of the foreknowledge of God and His sovereignty, evil is present and powerful in the affairs of mankind. God, however, is not the author of evil.

James 1:13—Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

God has in His sovereign rule given man moral responsibility to be exercised by his free choice to do right or wrong if he desires. The responsibility for men's actions are upon men, not God! God's foreknowledge does not affect man's free choices or will. Men are still making their own choices, yet, God knows what choices men will make. His foreknowledge is not based on His decrees. Men have a choice in coming to Christ and serving Him or rejecting Him.

John 7:17—If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself

The teachings of Calvinism state that the evil of men is foreordained or determined by God, yet, man is guilty and to be punished for his sin. If that were true, God would not be just if He ordained or caused man to be evil. This is unscriptural theology. If this was true, the sinner could blame God for his sin stating that God allowed him only to choose evil and not good.

Calvinism states that men cannot choose good, but the Bible says differently. We are challenged to choose the Lord and His goodness repeatedly in Scripture. Why would the Lord challenge us to do so if we could not do it? That doesn't make any sense at all. Calvinism makes the mistake of equating foreknowledge with foreordaining and predestination.

Foreknowledge or to know something in advance, is NOT the same as predetermining that it will happen. Foreordination and foreknowledge are not the same. To foreordain means "to control and force what happens." To foreknow a matter is to know what will happen and to know the free choices that men make in their lives. God sees the events that will unfold within the arena of the choices that men make.

Some folks ask, "Why doesn't the Lord put an end to suffering and sin?" The answer is again, men have a moral responsibility to the Lord. They have a choice and a will. From Adam to the present, all have sinned by their free will, not by an imposed divine decree as Calvinism teaches. Sin is an act of self, of a person's will, and a choice that comes from the heart. The Scriptures teach that men can choose to do evil or good.

Matthew 15:19—For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:

2 Peter 3:5—For this they willingly are ignorant of. that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

Isaiah 1:19, 20—If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it. Isaiah shows us here that men can be reasoned with about their choices.

C. Predestination

This word "predestinate" applies only to saved people. It means "to mark out beforehand for a special purpose or blessing." Those who trust Christ as their Savior, are destined for blessing. God does not predestine people to Heaven or Hell. This is NOT taught in the Bible. How could God be merciful and loving toward those whom He has predestined to Hell? This would be a contradiction in His character. God does not want anyone to go to Hell! Peter made this clear, "The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9)."

Romans 8:29 speaks about predestination.

Romans 8:29—For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

Notice there is no reference to Heaven or Hell in Romans 8:29. There is a reference to Christlikeness. We are to be "conformed" to the image of Christ. The word "conformed" is from the Greek word summorphos {soom-mor-fos'} It means "having the same form as another." We are going to be like Christ one day. God does not predestinate one to be saved and another to be lost. This is not a scriptural teaching. If a man goes to Hell, its because He does not know Christ as His Savior.

John 3:18—He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Predestination means "when God saves you, He is going to see you through." He will complete what He started in you. This is what Paul talked about in Philippians.

Philippians 1:6—Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

The word "perform" is from the Greek word epiteleo {ep-ee-tel-eh'-o}. This word means "to bring to an end, accomplish, perfect, execute, to complete successfully." God will successfully finish what He has started in our lives. This is the meaning behind the word "predestination." It means the redeemed will become like Jesus Christ (vs. 29). Predestination deals with sanctification, not salvation. It is a term referring to people who are born again. Predestination deals with the Christian's future. The Christian will be like Christ.

1 John 3:2—Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Spurgeon said, "Our conformity to Christ is the sacred object of predestination." It is the plan of God, determined beforehand that every believer is going to be made like unto Christ. This is what God has determined beforehand or predestined. Predestination then, is not salvation, but sanctification. We become conformed to Christ's image by reading and heeding God's Word, doing His will, and being filled with the Holy Spirit. One day we will have a glorified body. This should encourage us and comfort us. We will be like the Lord and with the Lord. Christ will be preeminent among us or first in rank. This is the meaning behind the word "firstborn." He will be praised by us because He saved us.

When we look at 1 Peter 1:2, we find the work of the Trinity in saving our souls. Notice verse two again.

1 Peter 1:2—Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

All three persons of the Trinity are mentioned: God the Father, God the Son (Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. All members of the Trinity work to bring about our salvation and provide a threefold assurance to believers. We have been cleansed by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, who indwells us, empowers us to obey the Lord and live a sanctified life for Christ.

Peter mentions that the Christian is chosen for obedience and for sprinkling by the blood of Jesus Christ. What is this all about?

* The Sprinkling of the Blood

Old Testament history may help provide the answer. There are three occasions when sprinkling with blood is mentioned in the Old Testament. It may well be that all three were present in the mind of Peter and that all three have something to contribute to the thought behind these words.

First of all, he may be referring to scouring power of the blood of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament, when a leper was healed of his disease, he was sprinkled by the priest with the blood of a bird (Leviticus 14:1-7).

Secondly, Peter may have also been referring to being set apart for the service of the Lord in this world. When the priests were dedicated for service in the Temple, they were sprinkled with blood (Exodus 29:20-21).

In the final situation, Peter may have had in his mind the importance of submission to the Lord or obedience. The nation of Israel had a covenant relationship with the Lord. Obedience was a requirement in this covenant relationship. As a token of this relationship of obedience between the people and God, Moses took half the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled it on the altar, and half the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled it on the people (Exodus 24:1-8).

Peter said we are elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Notice three key prepositions in this verse which convey an important truth that leads to the importance of our obedience to the Lord.

  1. According to = This suggests the fact or reality of our salvation.
  2. Through = This speaks of the means of our salvation and spiritual growth.
  3. Unto = This expresses the purpose of our salvation. We are to obey the Lord. God puts a premium on obedience to Him. Samuel said, "To obey is better than sacrifice (1 Samuel 15:22.)

To live a life that is set apart and obedient to Christ, the Holy Spirit plays a vital factor in our attitude and ability to obey. The Spirit of God energizes and empowers us to do the will of God. He helps us to do what we desire to do for the Lord. He convicts us of sin when our desires are wayward and sinful. Peter speaks several times about the Holy Spirit in this first epistle and His ministry. We will note five thoughts about the Holy Spirit.

* The Holy Spirit in First Peter

A. He's been Sent to Us

Gordon Brownville's Symbols of the Holy Spirit tells about the great Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the first to discover the magnetic meridian of the North Pole and to discover the South Pole. On one of his trips, Amundsen took a homing pigeon with him. When he had finally reached the top of the world, he opened the bird's cage and set it free. Imagine the delight of Amundsen's wife, back in Norway, when she looked up from the doorway of her home and saw the pigeon circling in the sky above. No doubt she exclaimed, "He's alive! My husband is still alive!"

So it was when Jesus ascended. He was gone, but the disciples clung to his promise to send them the Holy Spirit. What joy, then, when the dove-like Holy Spirit descended at Pentecost. The disciples had with them the continual reminder that Jesus was alive and victorious at the right hand of the Father. This continues to be the Spirit's message to us today. The Christian is not alone. We serve a living, risen Savior that will never leave us or forsake us.

1 Peter 1:12a—Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, hut unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven;....

John 14:26a—But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name....

B. He Supplies Strength and Suggestions for Our Submission to the Truth

1 Peter 1:22a—Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren,...

1 Peter 4:6—For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

The Spirit of God gives us direction, guidance, and understanding.

John 14:26—But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

C. His Stimulating Power in Resurrecting Christ

1 Peter 3:18—For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

The Spirit of God revives, encourages, energizes, and empowers us to do the will of God.

Ephesians 3:20—Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

D. He is Our Source of Joy in Times of Suffering

1 Peter 4:14a—If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you:....

The Holy Spirit is our Comforter. He indwells every believer, providing fellowship, comfort, power, courage, grace, peace, patience, love, and stability. He multiplies these things in our lives as we yield to Him.

John 14:16-17... And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [17] Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

E. He Sanctifies Us

1 Peter 1:2—Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

The process of becoming more like Christ and growing in godliness and grace is called "Sanctification." This doctrine shows up about 1060 times in the Bible. Sanctification means "set apart, consecration, holiness, or dedication." It comes from the Greek word hagiasmos {hag-ee-as-mos'}. The root meaning of this word means "to be different."

Christians are to live differently than people who do not know Christ as their Savior. We are to be "set apart" unto the Lord. There should be a difference in our actions, appetites, attitudes, attire, and acclamations (words). We are to be separated from evil and set apart for God's use.

A young college student, who plastered the walls of his dorm room with magazine pictures of beautiful women that had very little clothing, received as a gift from a friend, a copy of Holman Hunt's famous picture of "Christ Knocking at the Door." The picture was handsomely mounted and framed. The student felt that out of courtesy to the donor, the picture should be hung in his room.

Nonchalantly, he placed the picture of Jesus right in the middle of the poster girls on the wall. Something seemed wrong, however. So he removed a few of the pin-up posters of these women. There was a great improvement, but still, as he looked at the picture of the Lord and the surrounding walls of pin-up girls, a subtle sense of unrest prodded him. One by one, he removed the sensual pictures of these women until at last, the only picture of Jesus Christ remained in quiet preeminence.

Beloved, should not this be the transforming effect of the Lord Jesus in all of our lives? Christ is to be lord of our lives. His presence in the heart of the Christian should bring about change. This will happen as we yield to Him and make Him our master. It is the Holy Spirit that helps us to live a changed life and one that pleases the Lord.

We are sanctified through the power of the Spirit of God. There are three stages to sanctification.

* Three Stages of Sanctification

1. Positional Sanctification

When you trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you were immediately set apart for God, permanently, once-and-for-all.

1 Corinthians 6:11—And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.

Hebrews 10:10—By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Before we were saved, Satan was our father (John 8:44). In Christ, God is our Father, and we belong to Him for we have been bought with a price.

2. Progressive Sanctification

As the Christian yields to the Lord and attempts to be set apart for Him, the Holy Spirit empowers and helps him to grow in grace and make him more like Christ.

2 Peter 3:18—But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

2 Corinthians 7:1—Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

3. Perpetual, Eternal Sanctification

Someday we will be perfectly set apart unto the Lord and His service. We will be without sin and failure. Our day of total redemption will have arrived when Christ returns at the Rapture. Max Beerbohm wrote a story entitled, "The Happy Hypocrite." The title sounds like a paradox, doesn't it? The story was about a character whose face personified evil. The man was faced with a dilemma. The woman he loved refused to marry him because he didn't look saintly. To solve the problem, the suitor put on a mask with a kind, gentle face. The young woman married him despite the face underneath the mask. Her husband proved to be an attentive, unselfish husband.

One day in a moment of rage, an enemy abruptly tore off her husband's mask before his wife's eyes. Instead of a cruel, grotesque face, the man had become what he had lived for many years. Kindness, not evil, radiated from his face! The Bible urges us to "keep the faith" because someday we will be like Him in whom we have believed.

1 John 3:2—Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Ephesians 5:27—That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

God wants us to grow and live our lives for Him. What keeps us from doing this? What hinders our sanctification? The Bible gives us some answers.

* Hindrances to Sanctification

a) Backsliding

Psalm 12:1—Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

b) Satanic Temptation

1 Timothy 5:15—For some are already turned aside after Satan.

1 Peter 5:8—Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

c) Worldliness

2 Timothy 2:4—No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.

d) Double-Mindedness

James 1:8—A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.

e) Indifference or Apathy

In 1928, a very interesting case came before the courts in Massachusetts. It concerned a man who had been walking on a boat dock when suddenly he tripped over a rope and fell into the cold, deep water of an ocean bay. He came up sputtering and yelling for help and then sank again, obviously in trouble. His friends were too far away to get to him, but only a few yards away, on another dock, was a young man sprawled on a deck chair, sunbathing.

The desperate man shouted, "Help, I can't swim!" The young man, an excellent swimmer, only turned his head to watch as the man floundered in the water, sank, came up sputtering in total panic, and then disappeared forever.

The family of the drowned man was so upset by that display of callous indifference that they sued the sunbather. They lost the case. The court reluctantly ruled that the man on the dock had no legal responsibility whatever to try and save the other man's life. In effect, the law agrees with Cain's presupposition: I am not my brother's keeper, and I have every legal right to mind my own business and to refuse to become involved.

Man's law may have ruled that apathy for others was OK, but that is not the case with the Lord. Apathy for the things of God will rob us of God's power and blessings. It was Samson's apathy for spiritual matters that ruined his life.

James 4:17—Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

Luke 12:47—And that servant, which knew his lord's will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes.

There is an old Greek story of a soldier under Commander Antigonus, who had an extremely painful disease that was likely to bring him soon to the grave. This soldier was always first in the charge, rushing into the hottest part of the fray, as the bravest of the brave. His pain prompted him to fight, that he might forget it; and he was not afraid of death, because he knew that in any case he had not long to live.

Antigonus greatly admired the valor of his soldier, and discovered his malady and had him cured by one of the most eminent physicians of the day. From that moment, however, the warrior was absent from the front of the battle. Now he sought his ease; for, as he remarked to his companions, he had something worth living for—health, home, family, and other comforts, and he would not risk his life now as he had before in previous battles.

In the same manner, when our troubles are many, we are often made courageous in serving our God by His grace. We feel that we have nothing to live for in this world, and we are driven, by hope of the world to come. We are inspired to exhibit zeal, self-denial, and courage for Christ, but how often is it otherwise in better times! When we are on top of the mountain, then the joys and pleasures of this world make it hard for us to remember the world to come. We then tend to sink into glorious ease. Beloved, don't let the frills and thrills of this world make you apathetic toward the things of God and stunt your spiritual growth. We have studied two verses in this chapter thus far.