Lesson 1
I Peter 1:1-5

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The writer of this epistle is SIMON PETER. It is called his GENERAL EPISTLE because it is not addressed to any particular person or church but to Christians in several places. It is thought by some to be the oldest of all the epistles. I Peter 5:12-13 gives us the place from which it was written (Babylon) and the brother by whom it was sent (Silas, the friend and companion of Paul). Also found here is the design of the epistle, "to declare to you that this is the true account of the grace of God."

(Vs. 1) Peter does not call himself the vicar or successor of Christ nor the head of the church, but only an apostle of Christ. He writes to the people of God who were driven from their homes and lands by persecution and for the sake of the gospel (Acts 8:1-4; Acts 11:19).

(Vs. 2) "Elect." Believers are called the elect of God because God has chosen them to salvation (II Thess. 2:13; Mark 13:20; I Cor. 1:27-30; I Thess. 1:4; Rom. 11:5-7; Rom. 9:11; Acts 13:48).

The CAUSE of election is "according to the foreknowledge of God." The reasons for our election are not found in us but in God (Eph. 2:4-5; Matt. 11:25-26; I John 4:10). God knows because God foreordains (Rom. 8:29-30).

The MEANS God uses to carry out the design of election are "sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth" (II Thess. 2:13). The Holy Spirit quickens, convicts of sin, reveals Christ to the heart, and works true repentance and faith in the sinner (Eph. 1:12-14; Rom. 10:13-17).

The END or GOAL of election is obedience to Christ and to be cleansed and justified through His blood. Election is not salvation; it is UNTO salvation.

Those who are elect WILL hear His voice and WILL believe on Christ and WILL be saved (John 10:24-28; Rom. 8:28-30). The sprinkling of the blood of Christ alludes to the sprinkling of the blood of the lamb in the Old Testament.

(Vs. 3-4) Here we have an example of the sacrifice of praise Paul mentioned in Hebrews. Every time Paul talks about God's electing, regenerating, and redeeming grace, he blesses or praises God (Eph. 1:3-4; II Thess. 2:13).

The CAUSE is again according to His abundant mercy.

The MEANS is the resurrection of our Lord from the dead. Christ died for our sins and arose for our Justification. "Because I live, ye shall live."

The END or GOAL is a living hope and a certain inheritance. This hope is called a living hope because it is based not on dead works but on the Person and work of a LIVING CHRIST! Our inheritance is INCORRUPTIBLE– neither moth, nor rust, nor decay, nor years have any effect on it. It is UNDEFILED– pure and holy and untouched by sin. It FADETH NOT AWAY as the world and its fashion. It is RESERVED IN HEAVEN for you–it awaits your coming (John 14:13).

(Vs. 5) Our Lord Jesus Christ has assumed full responsibility for His people–to REDEEM them, to KEEP them, to INTERCEDE for them, and to finally PRESENT them all before the Father (Rom. 8:34; Jude 24; John 6:37-40; Phil. 1:6). We are kept through faith (not in rebellion and disobedience), looking to Christ, living by Christ, and leaning on Christ. We have been saved, we are being saved, and our final salvation (or deliverance) is ready to be revealed. There is the preservation of the believer by the power of God and the perseverance of the believer in faith. He will not leave us, and we will not leave Him. It is impossible to have one without the other (Jer. 32:40; Psalm 74:24, 28; Heb. 3:6, 14).

Henry Mahan is pastor of
Thirteenth Street Baptist Church
Ashland, Ky.