1 Peter 1:20-25 Devotional Commentary

No longer victims: Devotional Commentary for January 19-25

1 Peter 1:20-25 (NASB)

This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.

1:20-21
20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
21who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Peter was quite aware of the plight of his suffering fellow believers. But he viewed their trials more in a spiritual context than as a religious or social evil which could be resolved by the behavioral adjustment of either the victims or the perpetraters. So he sought to draw the attention of the persecuted to the common faith and common hope confessed by the redeemed and also to our Savior Jesus Christ by Whose precious Blood salvation is given.

Peter exhorted the persecuted to live in a constant awareness of the unimaginable sacrifice offerred for the salvation of the lost. This is the Son of God the Almighty Who came to earth in the flesh to be offered up as the unblemished and spotless Lamb of God, the only One Who was able to pay the penalty for sin now and forever. God's provision for the redemption of the lost is eternal, foreknown, and preordained by God before creation was ever brought into existence by His Command.

This is incomprehensible to the finite human mind. It is a great mystery surpassing all mysteries. Jesus Christ is God's eternal Son Who, in obedience to His Father's Will, also became the only eternal sacrifice worthy to satisfy the just demands of the eternal Holy and Righteous God. This eternal mystery was manifested in time and space to aid the finite comprehension of the redeemed, when Jesus Christ was born from virgin Mary, lived on earth in righteousness, proclaimed the Good News to the lost, tried and condemned guilty by a court of wicked men, died the death of a common criminal by crucifixion and was buried, and was resurrected by God so that the faith of the believer is in God through Christ's finished work.

Peter sought to remind the persecuted that their lives as believers in God is anchored in the timeless finished work of the eternal Sacrifice of the eternal Son of the eternal God. Therefore, their confidence and dependence upon God should not be undermine by the shifting tides of passing trials and persecutions. In other words, Peter comforted and encouraged his suffering brethren by exhorting them to recognize trials and persecutions for what they are, fleeting episodes of hardships appointed by God to fulfill His specific Purposes along the timebound path of His children's earthly life. This is not denial. It is total dependence upon God's transcending Providence. It is faith in its practical reality.

1:22-25
22Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
23for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
24For,
"ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,

25BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER."
And this is the word which was preached to you.

Having exhorted them to be transformed in their perspectives, and having reminded them of their New Birth in Christ from an imperishable Seed, Peter now urged fellow believers to reflect their faith in God through their relationships with one another and through their response to sufferings and trials. That is, live as believers in the true and eternal God. Live as believers in His transcendent and pervasive Power. Live as believers in His sovereign Lordship.

Focus on God's revealed Truth through His living Word. It would purify the soul and would lead to obedience. Peter reasoned, if you obeyed the Spirit's regenerative prompting unto salvation, and if you obeyed His guidance and direction unto a godly life, then your souls would be purified by the Truth which had already set you free from ungodliness in all of its ways and forms. Therefore, love one another with God's fervent love. Do not give room to the ways of the world so that both your godly perspectives and love for one another are not undermined.

Peter reminded the persecuted, the Word you heard and believed was clear and direct. It was preached in person. You were taught the Truth that:

"ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER."
So does our redemption in Christ, our hope and security in God despite trials, sufferings, and persecutions.

Notes/Applications

As he concludes the first chapter of his first letter, Peter focuses on a few crucial aspects of our journey as believers. He speaks of fervent love we must share with one another as children of a loving Father, but also identifies two major sources of influence upon us to which we must respond in some way. These are God the Almighty and the ungodly world.

First he mentions the world which views us with disfavor because it resists the Spirit in us. It actually aligns itself with our own old nature and misdirects our attention away from God. Second, he refers to God the Almighty Who, through the finished work of His Son, redeemed us from His judgment and made us His children for the second time: first by creation then through redemption.

The essence of Peter's exhortation is then: despite present sufferings and trials, we are free from the grips of the world and its evil allies. There is now no condemnation to those who are in Jesus Christ because we now belong to God. Therefore, to the world and its evil allies we should never return. But from God, we should never deviate. He is our Creator, Redeemer, and our eternal Father.

This profound Truth comes alive in us only when faith is effectively expressed through trust, obedience, and total surrender of our will and inclinations to God. Several good things happen when such transformation takes place in our renewed hearts and minds. We rest in God's redeeming Grace and His unfailing Providence. We respond to sufferings and persecutions as children with secure eternity, sure hope, and profound faith. We focus on our relationship to God and our fellowship with one another. God's Love flourishes in our hearts in lieu of the pain inflicted upon us by the world and its evil allies.

We are no longer pushed around by the hostile actions of the world. God is not only our future hope, but also our present strength. In Him, we are firm in our convictions, real in our faith, and fervent in our love. We are no longer victims. We are the redeemed of God, the children of the Sovereign LORD.

Here at Practical Christianity Foundation we believe that God has mercifully extended His Grace toward us and has given us His living and Holy Word to guide us in our journey in this world. We count it privilege to come alongside you and minister to you through prayer and the sharing of God's living and holy Word. Please contact us if you have any questions concerning your faith and journey as a Christian.

We encourage you to frequently visit our website where you can find weekly devotional readings and helpful blogs.

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1 Peter 1:20-25
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