Hope for all who believe – Part 2
“Peter rose up, and said unto them, … ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel and believe” (Acts 15:7).
The Epistle itself witnesses to the general character of its message. There is no allusion to the Law of Moses, an omission, which would be surprising, if the Epistle were addressed exclusively to Jewish Christians.
Passages such as 1 Peter 1:14; 2:10; 4:3 show that the Lord sent Peter with this message of hope to us, the Gentile Christians, as part of the Church that He is preparing for a fruitful life on earth and eternal bliss in heaven.
The word “strangers” in 1 Peter 1:1 is used metaphorically as in 1 Peter 2:11 and Hebrews 11:13 to represent all true believers in Christ, who are dispersed here and there among unbelievers in different parts of the world. Strangers are temporary residents in a foreign country.
Christians are citizens of another country, members of another nationality. We belong to “a better country that is an heavenly” (Hebrews 11:16).
We must keep ourselves separate from all entanglements of the world, keeping ourselves apart as oil from water. We must always live in the consciousness that we do not belong to this world. We are “strangers and pilgrims on the earth” (Hebrews 11:13).
We are not of this world, as our Lord and Master Jesus Christ was not of this world. Our governing principles, motives, ambitions and pursuits must not be of this world.
“Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” The elect are those who are chosen. “Many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14). Certainly, man is free; he is given the power of choice (Deuteronomy 30:19), he is commanded to repent and believe (Acts 17:30; 16:31), and he is held responsible for not believing and obeying to be saved (Matthew 23:37).
Salvation is offered to all; God is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9). Yet God knows what each man’s choice will be, because “known unto God are all His works from the beginning of the world” (Acts 15:18).
“Through sanctification of the Spirit.” Supposed “election” or “predestination” without sanctification will meet with eternal disappointment. The Bible tells us that, “without holiness no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14).
This holiness or sanctification is the heavenly-mindedness that fills the believer with strong and deep love of God. It rules his heart and leaves no room for sin in his heart or life. No power of man can effect this complete change of heart, it is the peculiar work of God.
Sanctification makes us fit for unbroken fellowship with God, the Holy One. God reveals to the saved, the chosen, “the elect,” the surpassing beauty of Christ, so that the heavenly vision kindles the flame of divine love in his soul.
That love so dominates his heart, and spreads itself through the heart, driving out all law and earthly desires, lifting up our souls to God. The sanctifying influence of the Spirit results in unquestioning, implicit obedience to God.
Obedience is the work of the Holy Spirit: for the “fruit of the Spirit is love,…” “and if a man loves Me, he will keep My words” (Galatians 5:22; John 14:23). Whatever experiences you may be going through as a Christian, never forget that God loves you, and He cares about your plight.
Further Reading (King James Version): 1 Peter 1:1,2; 1 Peter 1:1; 2:11; Hebrews 11:13-16; John 17:14-16; Psalm 119:19; 2 Corinthians 5:6; Acts 8:4; John 15:18,19; 1 Peter 1:2; Matthew 22:14; 23:37; John 15:16; Acts 15:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; Acts 20:32; Romans 15:16; Hebrews 13:12-14,20,21; 5:9; 12:24; 2 Peter 1:2.
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