Introduction: Persecution can cause either growth or bitterness in the Christian life. Response will determine the result. In writing to Jewish believers struggling in the midst of persecution, Peter encourages them to conduct themselves courageously. Both their character and conduct must be above reproach.
Verse 1 – Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
Verse 2 – elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
Verse 3 – Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
Verse 4 – to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
Verse 5 – who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
James was writing to the temporary residents which had been dispersed to that region – in this case, the five Roman provinces located in what is now modern Turkey.
Divine foreknowledge is the basis on which a believer is chosen. It is more than just God’s prior knowledge of everything; it also includes His predetermination.
All members of the Trinity work to bring about our salvation. The Father chose us before we chose Him (Ephesians 1:4).
For those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, they have an inheritance with the Father for all eternity.
Verse 6 – In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,
Verse 7 – that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
Verse 8 – whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
Verse 9 – receiving the end of your faith – the salvation of your souls.
When Peter talks about sufferings he is not talking about natural disasters or experiencing God’s punishment, but the response of an unbelieving world to people of faith – persecutions.
All Christians will suffer trials, fiery trials, that burn away impurities and prepares us to meet Christ. Trials teach us patience and helps us grow into the kind of people God wants. Just as gold is heated to remove the impurities, likewise we are strengthened through trials of our faith.
Verse 10 – Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, when prophesied of the grace that would come to you,
Verse 11 – searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
The Old Testament people didn’t personally know Christ, but they believed God and His promise of a Messiah. That promise that the prophets had looked forward to had now been revealed – salvation through Christ.
The Spirit of Christ is another name for the Holy Spirit.
Verse 12 – To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things which angels desire to look into.
Verse 13 – Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
When Christ is revealed to you, grace is supplied. When Christ is accepted, hope takes hold of an eternal rest with the Savior.
Verse 14 – as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance;
Former ignorance: suggests that the recipients of this letter were mostly Gentiles who, before coming to Christ, practiced pagan religions.
Verse 15 – but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
Verse 16 – because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Holiness means being totally devoted or dedicated to God, set aside for His special use and set apart from sin and its influence. This is in contrast to the way we used to live. Always keep in mind, we are all accountable for our actions.
Verse 17 – And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your sojourning here in fear;
Verse 18 – knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
Verse 19 – but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
We are not to take our salvation, that was bought with the precious blood of Christ, for granted. That alone should make anyone want to live a holy life.
Verse 20 – He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times for you,
Verse 21 – who through Him believed in God, who raised Him form the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Christ was not an afterthought after man sinned. The plan was set in motion by the all-knowing, eternal God long before the world was created.
Verse 22 – Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,
Verse 23 – having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever,
Verse 24 – because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away,
Verse 25 – but the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
Do you know a self-centered person cannot truly love. Everything is only temporary except the Word of God, which is eternal! Why is it that something that is so important to our very life and destiny after death, do so many know so little about? If people want a spirit filled life, then they need to go to the word of God and get filled. It makes all the difference in the world how your life will turn out.