1 Peter 1:9

1 Pet 1:9

“Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls”

Next, we see the reason for these Christians’ rejoicing.  Peter calls this the salvation of their souls.  Salvation.  It is one of the most important subjects in the whole Bible.  Many have devoted their lives to the study of salvation.  Salvation has been proclaimed since the time of Adam and Eve.  Peter wrote, “of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you.” (1 Pet 1:10)  This is the subject that brings great joy to the sinner’s heart.  The unspeakable joy of Salvation!  It is not by works of the law, nor by the pride of ancestry, but by grace through faith.

The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689 states, “God gave to Adam a law of universal obedience, which was written in his heart.” [1]  Furthermore, it states this law binds all of Adam’s descendants to obedience.  This law was also given at Mount Sinai, see Deuteronomy 10:4.  It was summarized by our Lord when he told the lawyer in Mathew 22:37-40, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”  The law is a law of perfect obedience.  First perfect love to God, and then perfect love to your neighbor.  The love expressed here encompass the whole individual.  It requires all the heart’s affections, all the soul’s power, and all the mind’s intellectual devotion.  This love to God must be first above all external objects, family, and self.  Christ said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” (John 4:34)  Jesus was stating that his sustenance was to do his Father’s will.  Thus fulfilling the command that man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God, see Deuteronomy 8:3 and Matthew 4:4.  Now, this is what the law is talking about.  Our sustenance, our true bread is from doing the will of the Father.

What does perfect obedience mean?  Perfect is defined as, “being entirely without fault or defect” [2]  Perfect obedience is without fault or defect.  Perfect obedience is from the heart.  Its motives are genuine; its purpose is pure.  It seeks to obey out of love instead of servile fear.  Moreover, perfect obedience is unwavering, trusting, and does not question the command or author of the command.  Christ, the Son of God, obeyed perfectly the Father’s command to suffer death on the cross.  Furthermore, Christ’s obedience was constant.  It never lacked.  It was never short of what the law demanded.  His obedience was always perfect.  Christ was without blemish, just as the Passover lamb, see Exodus chapter 12.  Christ obeyed the law perfectly when looking at the different qualities of perfect obedience we cannot keep the law.  We are born dead in sin. We are naturally dead to the law of God, and we are insensitive by nature to the things of God.  From childhood, we seek out selfish desires in one form or another.  The command of God is therefore broken by mankind going all the way back to Adam.  The only one to have ever kept the Law perfectly was Christ.

Second, this salvation did not come by heritage.  Many people assume that since their parents were members of a church they will be too.  They assume that since they grew up in a good household with Christian parents they too will be Christian and without any need to be born again.  This is simply not true.  This was the attitude of the Jews during the time of Christ.  “They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?” (Joh 8:33)  Next we see an earlier warning to the Pharisees and Sadducees by John the Baptist, “And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.”  (Mat 3:9)  The Jews viewed themselves as God’s chosen people because they were the descendants of Abraham.  John tells them not to trust in this.  He uses an extreme to point out God was in control of who was his.  Salvation was not determined by heritage.  You could not go around and say, “I am from Abraham, therefore I am a child of the living God.”  God had told Israel what were the marks of his children through the law and prophets.  In Micah 6:8 he shows what is “good” and required of man, “to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.”  Time and time again Israel is called out for the hypocrisy between its conduct the profession of faith.  If you just read through Judges and the book of Jeremiah you find a people who time and time again backslide into sin despite their ancestry, and what would seem as a promise given to a particular bloodline of people.  Paul deals with this in Romans 9:6 when he wrote, “they are not all Israel, which are of Israel.”  What he is getting to is the difference between the children of the flesh and the children of promise.  “That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.” (Rom 9:8)

Now hopefully we see that salvation is not by keeping the law, we cannot do that, nor is it due to or ancestors.  Salvation is by grace through faith, see Ephesians 2:8.  When the child of God comes under a sense of guilt under the law the ground has been prepared for the Gospel, see Matthew 13:8.  This is the salvation that gives the child of God reason to greatly rejoice.  The miracle of the great exchange that took place on the cross ought to give us reason to rejoice each day.  Christ died in our place.  He died instead of us.  He did no wrong, committed no sin, nor did he deserve to die.  He as God the Son, took our sins upon himself to satisfy his Father’s will.  He redeemed us by his blood.   The faith Peter wrote of is a faith that rests in Jesus as accomplishing all the tenets of the moral law.  It is a faith that rests on Jesus satisfying God’s justice. It is a faith the relies on his promises.  It is a faith that works sanctification through the power of the Holy Spirit.  This is a faith by which we receive the salvation of our souls.

[1] The Baptist Confession of Faith of 1689, section 19.1

[2] https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/perfect?utm_campaign=sd&utm_medium=serp&utm_source=jsonld

Notes on 1 Peter 1:8

1 Pet 1:8

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:

Peter continues, by commending these, “strangers” for loving Christ despite having never seen him.  He also connects love with faith by stating, “in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing…” Faith and love, love and faith.  What Peter writes here is praiseworthy to the Holy Spirit of God.  We cannot see where the Spirit comes from or where the Spirit is going, but we can see the effects of the Spirit, see John 3:8.  Peter had seen Christ in the flesh, in sufferings, in his resurrection, and in his transfiguration.  However, scripture is replete with evidence disproving the saying, “seeing is believing.”  See John 10:25, Matthew 13:13-15, Matthew 21:15 and consider the many instances of public miracles followed by outright denial, read John 6.

The Christians Peter writes to, like us, never saw Christ with their own eyes.  Yet, they loved him and they believed in him.  Their affections were set towards him because he first loved them.  They received the Gospel with joy and rejoiced in the excellency of the knowledge of Christ.  His office as priest, his work on our behalf, his paying our sin debt ought to stir all the greater sense of duty within ourselves.

They laid their total trust in what Christ had said and did.  They laid their all in the sufficiency of his crucifixion and the power of his resurrection.  Behold the marvelous work of God’s Spirit!  Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 4:6, “For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”  This light comes from God.  This knowledge is due to Christ’s work and ministered by the work of the Holy Spirit.  Here is something for us to hang our hats on.  This light does not come through the intellectual powers of the mind, nor does it come from the strength of youth, but this knowledge comes from the divine revelation of the Spirit through the Gospel.

Having this in mind, we see that Peter had cause to commend their love and faith.  I do not know if Peter knew any of these Christians personally or via good reports from other Elders, but for Peter to commend them for their love and believing in Christ means that were working works according to the faith given to them.  How do we outwardly measure a person’s confession of faith? When they keep his commandments such as loving each other and following presenting the fruits of the Spirit in their daily or our daily lives, see John 14:15; 1 John 2:5, 3:11, Gal 5:16-25. If we love the Lord, let us seek a deeper fellowship with him.  One way to do this is through daily reading his word, prayer, and serving each other according to our gifts.

Lastly, this love and believing in Christ results in, “joy unspeakable” that is to God’s glory.  Our trials may be many, and our worldly comforts at times few, but here is a well from which we may draw never ending streams of grace, mercy, and comfort.  We may look to Calvary the place at which our burden was rolled off and we proceeded forth on the narrow pilgrim’s walk.  Here we see the joy in Christ is such that words cannot describe it.  It is beyond description and quantification.  It is a joy which is given from the infinite to the finite.  Such a joy glorifies God.  It does not seek to exalt self or achievements.  This joy is to the glory of God.  This joy ought to fill us the more we study our scripture and the more we pray for each other and ourselves.  I hope and pray God will keep us by his power that we should be partakers of this joy springing forth from love and faith.