July 13 Bible Studies for Life: Focused faith
Jul 10, 2014
By WILEY RICHARDS

1 Peter 1:3-9, 13

Peter and James, authors of New Testament books by those names, were intimately associated with Jesus. Neither Peter nor James ever directly quoted Jesus, but their epistles throb with allusions to the teachings of Jesus. Peter’s denials of Jesus did not negatively influence what he wrote. On the contrary, Peter’s writings reflect his profound appreciation for God’s grace. The opening words of the first epistle testify to the depth of his contact with Jesus and His teachings. Peter was not present when John the Baptist received his revelation from God at our Lord’s baptism. The Holy Spirit, dove-like, descended on Jesus and the Voice identified Him as the Son of God (John 1:32-34), but accounts probably spread. Further, Peter, James, and John heard the Voice from a cloud on the mountain which identified Jesus as God’s Son (Matt. 17:5).

Now turn to 1 Peter 1:1-2 for a magnificent summary of the Holy Trinity. As Peter addressed Christian Jews scattered in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, he greeted them in the name of God the Father, the Holy Spirit, and the living, crucified Jesus. The simple fisherman had been developed into a nature theologian.

Having introduced the Triune God, Peter’s first thought is a recognition of God’s abundant MERCY (v. 3). As the aged apostle thought about the hopeless despair that devastated the apostles as the Lord lay in the grave, hope had withered and died. The reality of our Lord’s resurrection changed everything. It was almost like getting saved all over again, a kind of new birth which brought a living hope. Decades after those glorious events, the memories were still fresh. In His abundant mercy, Jesus commissioned Peter, no longed crushed. He was excited about the challenge to take the gospel to the ends of the earth. Those “scattered abroad” (v. 1) were evidence of Christ’s purpose.

As Peter prayed and meditated, his vision focused on his, and our, heavenly INHERITANCE (vv. 4-5). He probably thought about the fishing nets which helped provide a living for him and his family. They had long since rotted away as had his prized boat. As far as an earthly inheritance goes, he had none. But he looked to the future to those works laid up for him, as promised by Jesus (Mt. 6:19-20). The heavenly inheritance is imperishable. Peter, remembering the promises of Jesus, used his epistle to encourage his reader to be cautious about accumulating wealth. The inheritance awaiting all believers is incorruptible, or imperishable, unlike goods that become useless just sitting in a food pantry. The inheritance is unspoiled, never having been contaminated. Neither does it fade away. The Bible then adds that the inheritance reserved in heaven is protected, as by a guard. Thieves cannot break through and steal or vandalize.

Neither can evil assault the spiritual security of believers. They are kept safe by God’s power. In the words of John 10:27-29, believers are wrapped up on the strong hand of Jesus (v. 28), with the Father’s hand on that of Jesus (v. 28).

Few of the teachings of Jesus had such an influence on Peter’s thinking about the end-time event called of our Lord’s REVELATION (vv. 7, 13). Twice does Peter refer to it. It is called His appearing in verses 7 and 13. The Greek word, apocalypse, can be found in Revelation 1:1. As used by contemporary writers and movies, apocalypse carries the idea of history-ending calamities. To us, it is the unveiling of the Messiah in His role in the climax of all the promises as well as the judgment of the ungodly. In Peter’s references (vv. 7, 13), Christians look forward to the rewards of the Lord which are more precious than gold.

Peter adds a final touch that shows our Lord’s remote APPEAL (v. 8). We ought not easily pass over the words, “Whom having not seen, ye love” (KJV). Peter undoubtedly remembered the words of Jesus to them in His post-resurrection appearance. He said to Thomas, “Because you have seen me, you have believed. Those who believed without seeing are blessed.” Peter applied the words to those scattered abroad. The Lord was talking about them and us!

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