Our last reading for this week is 1 Peter 1:17-21
v17: Father: We always need to pay attention to how G-d is addressed in the Scripture. Every time ‘Father’ is mentioned we need to think of G-d who is a provider. In this verse G-d is revealing to us how we can be a recipient of His provision. Without His provision we can do nothing good, nothing pleasing in His eyes.
- Partiality: He shows no favouritism.
- Judges: Speaking about the judgment of G-d today is not popular. However, those whom the Holy Spirit inspired to write down G-d’s Word spoke frequently about G-d’s judgment. The basic name for G-d in Hebrew (אֱלֹהִ֑ים – Elohim) reveals a G-d who judges. We need to thank G-d for His judgement as it is His judgement that brings about His order. We should desire G-d’s order to be in our lives. Peter is not talking here about G-d judging in regard to the salvation that leads to eternal life. Here, G-d is judging believers for their eternal or Kingdom reward.
- Judges according to each one’s work: We are all going to be judged according to what we have done. The gospel message is foundational for us and begins everything spiritual and pleasing to G-d in our lives, but it is just the beginning. There is a need for us to mature and grow. Our works are key to positioning us and helping us to grow in the Kingdom.
- Conduct yourselves: Display behaviour that is Kingdom behaviour – this is behaviour that reveals G-d’s presence in our lives.
- Sojourning: A pilgrim sojourns – moves toward the right location. We are moving through this world to our final destination – the Kingdom of G-d.
- Fear: This fear relates to us giving G-d priority. While we are pilgrims passing through this world, we need to fear G-d by giving Him priority.
v18: Redeemed: It is G-d who does the work of redemption. We (believers) cannot earn redemption, it is something that we receive. The word redemption is an accounting term. It is a term that speaks about a payment that is made which brings about a transfer of ownership. G-d has made a payment for us – but not with silver or gold as these metals are corruptible and they perish.
- Silver or gold: The precious things of this world.
- Aimless conduct: Futility. Vanity (i.e. what they are doing has no significance from an eternal standpoint). Most people (including many believers) are living lives of futility today. Why? Because they are wrestling with G-d to try to get Him to do what they want. None of us would be happy achieving our own wills for our lives. We will only know true joy and fulfilment when we are pursuing G-d’s will.
- Aimless conduct received by tradition: Peter was writing mainly to Jewish believers. Even today, many of the Messianic Jewish believers still cling to the traditions of the sages or the elders (man-made laws handed down from generation to generation).
v19: A lamb without blemish and without spot: Yeshua was perfect. Although the lambs were examined in the temple before they were sacrificed none of them were perfect. They were good enough to pass inspection, but none of them were good enough to be called ‘perfect’.
v20: Before the foundation of the world: Yeshua was the provision for G-d’s perfect plan. G-d only provides what is absolutely necessary for us to be where He wants us to be, doing what He wants us to do in order that His perfect will can be accomplished. G-d never gives us something that is not needed or not required.
- Manifest in these last times: Although G-d’s plan was known before creation it was only manifested, or became a reality, in these last days (Peter considered his generation to have been in the last days – these past 2000yrs have been the ‘last days’ in the broad sense of the word – Acts 2:16-21).
- For you: It was on account of us that G-d’s plan was only manifested in the last days. G-d moves on account of us. G-d is perfect and lacks nothing, therefore everything He does He does (with perfect knowledge and ability) for His people. Knowing this about G-d should cause us to fully and completely submit to Him. He knows, perfectly, what we need in our lives in order to change and become more like Him. It is only when we submit to G-d that we are able to receive His promises. Every time we wrestle against G-d’s will saying we do not want to do this or that or we do not feel that what He is calling us to do is right for us etc.. then what we are doing is pushing away or refusing His promises and provision in our lives – we are our own worst enemies because we listen and we think according to the world rather than through prophecy.
v21: Through Him (Yeshua) believe in G-d: It is only through believing in Yeshua, this lamb who provided His blood, that we can believe in G-d. If someone does not believe in Yeshua of Nazareth they do not believe in, or have faith in, the only true G-d. We cannot believe in G-d without first believing in Yeshua.
- Raised Him (Yeshua) from the dead: The resurrection should remind us of the Kingdom. When we submit, when we pursue the provision of G-d, when we gird ourselves for service, when our minds are bent towards G-d’s will then we will be thinking and acting according to Kingdom reality. This is important because the Kingdom is without limitation. When we think and act according to the Kingdom of G-d (when we are Kingdom minded) then G-d’s provision to us will also be without limitation (2 Peter 1:3) It is only when we are Kingdom minded that we are equipped to do battle against the enemy.
- Gave Him glory: Unless we are Kingdom minded, unless we truly believe in these resurrection (Kingdom) promises we are not going to be those who give glory to G-d. We have two choices: either we are going to be motivated by the things of this world, or we are going to be motivated by the promises of the Kingdom. There is no position in between.
- Hope: Whenever Peter writes about hope is it almost always close to some hint or reference to the Kingdom (here it is mentioned within the context of resurrection and is speaking ultimately about what we are going to share with Him). Yeshua is called the firstborn of the dead (Col 1:18). That inheritance of the firstborn He shares with us (Roms 8:16-17).