01 Our Spectacular Salvation – 1 Pet 1:1-12 – Study NotesFireproof Faith
Peter’s first letter encouraged suffering believers living in northern Asia Minor who faced intense persecution. Faithfulness while under oppression. Specifically, God’s holy people should lead distinctive lifestyles as temporary residents in a foreign land. Although they will suffer for Christ while in this non-Christian world, they should remember that heaven is their future homeland. “Our Spectacular Salvation” (1 Pet 1:1-12) shows how our past salvation and our future inheritance equip us to endure trials in our present distresses.
1 Peter – Background and Setting
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Peter wrote to the “exiles dispersed abroad in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” These were the five Roman provinces that comprise most of the northern part of modern Turkey. These persecuted Gentile Christians had earlier been involved in idolatry (4:3), were ignorant (1:14) and “empty” (1:18) before they came to Christ, and formerly were “not a people” but now were “God’s people” (2:9–10).
First Peter was probably written sometime between AD 62 and 64. While Paul was under house arrest from AD 60 to 62, he did not refer to Peter in Rome. Peter likewise did not mention Paul as being in Rome; only Silvanus and Mark were his companions (5:12–13). These facts suggest that Peter wrote 1 Peter sometime after AD 62 and before the writing of 2 Peter.
The theme of suffering appears throughout 1 Peter. The recipients of the letter are the sufferers in four of its five chapters. Given a composition date of about AD 62–64, 1 Peter was written during the persecution of Christians under Nero’s reign. The persecution arose in Rome and was spreading into Asia Minor.
Peter wrote to encourage suffering believers in Asia Minor to stand firm for Christ in the midst of persecution. He urged them to do so by focusing on their spiritual privileges and, more specifically, the place where their rights and privileges lay: the next life. Believers in Jesus are “exiles” (1:1; 2:11) and “strangers” (2:11) in this world, a land of sojourn where they have no real rights or privileges. Inheritance rights, privileges, and justice for Christians really belong to another realm to which God has delivered believers—heaven, their ultimate home.
1 Peter – Key Themes
1:1-2 A Clear Identification
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
Aliens – Chosen
Three Persons, Three Functions
Saved … to Obey
Sprinkled Blood: Ex 24:4–8; Heb 9:13–21; 10:22, 29
1:3 A Living Hope
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
The Past – Born Again
Blessed = Praised
Hope = Confident Expectation (Phil 1; Heb 6)
Peter’s Failure and “Rebirth”
1:4 An Ideal Inheritance
4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
The Future: Promised Inheritance
Four Distinguishing Qualities
Contrasted with Earthly Inheritance
1:5-6 A Secure Salvation
5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
The Present: Protection – His Power, Your Faith
Joy in Distress
A Little While
Not Protected From Physical Trials. Why Not?
1:7 A Proven Faith
7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
1,900 degrees Fahrenheit. Impurities rise to the surface, where they are skimmed off. A goldsmith knows the gold is ready to cast when the liquid gold becomes mirror-like, and he sees his own face.
Dross and refining: cf. Zech 13:9; Isa 1:25-26; 48:10; Ps 12:6; 66:10-12; Pr 17:3; 25:4; Jer 6:28-30; 9:7; Ez 22:19-22; Dan 12:10; Mal 3:2-3.
1:8-9 A Perfect Combination
8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
By Faith Not Sight
Heb 11:1, 7, 13, 27
Love + Faith + Joy + Glory + Salvation
Helen Keller, 1880-1968: “Worse than being blind is having no sight.” “It gives me a deep comforting sense that ‘things seen are temporal and things unseen are eternal.’” (She was a daily Bible reader.)
1:10-11 An Intensive Search
10 As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, 11 seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.
The Spirit of Christ (Possible Hint re: 3:18-20)
2 Pet 1:20-21
Luke 24:25-27, 44-47
1:12 An Amazing Gospel
12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
Revealed to Them – for You. Heb 11:32, 36–39
The Spirit Through Them = The Spirit Through the Apostles
Intriguing, Fascinating, Drawing the Attention of … Angels!
Next session: Our Holy Commitment – 1 Pet 1:13-25
Written by Cory Collins
Cory Collins is a Bible teacher and a minister of the gospel. He serves with Keller church of Christ in Keller, Texas. He and his wife, Tanya, have been married since 1977. They have two children and one grandchild.