Sunday, December 27, 2009

1 Peter 1:17-21 – Faith and Hope in God

Lesson 6 -- Written by Marcia McCance
1. What it says:
17  And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
18  knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
19  but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
20  He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you
21  who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
2. What it means:
17  And if you call on the Father,
What does “call on the Father” mean?
If we call on the Father as our own, if we have been saved by His mercy, if we are true Christians , if we have faith in Him, …
who without partiality judges
… we know that He is The Judge… and we know that He judges without partiality
What does “partiality” mean?
We should thank God for His impartiality!  God is impartial because of His Great Love. What if God only loved some of us and the rest of us He did not care for? Would Jesus have died for the whole world if God were not impartial? Would He have died for you? Would the gift of salvation be the saving grace of the entire world, if God loved only some of us? God judges us with the same heart that He loves us with: His great loving impartial heart. Thank God, that He also judges us impartially -- by our works.
John 3:16-18  "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that who ever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
He gives us the choice of heaven or hell!  When we choose Jesus and heaven, we are no longer under condemnation !!  God is impartial. He condemned us all when Adam fell. Not one of us was righteous. No… not… one ! Thank God, Jesus came to save us from condemnation. (To be condemned is a final judgment.) If we do not choose Jesus… we are condemned already. To go to hell, all you have to do is refuse to believe in Jesus Christ and conduct yourself according to any way you want. To go to heaven you have to believe in the redemptive power of Jesus Christ and conduct yourself in His ways. By faith in Christ, we are no longer condemned!  That’s what “being saved” means!
Ro 8:1  There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
This may bring up the question of how God will judge those who have not heard of Jesus or even of the law which Paul addresses in the following verses:
Romans 2:14-16  for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them) in the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel.
Personally, I trust the perfect judgment of God who loves perfectly, and judges perfectly because He is all-knowing, faithful, just and true.  He sees our hearts. The part I have to play is to make sure that I share the gospel by being a light. And that I support (through monetary contribution, service, or prayer) those who are missionaries and evangelists who do the work of preaching and teaching the word to those who do not yet know Jesus. That I may not be found lacking, nor be the cause of another’s stumbling.
Now back to 1st Peter 1:17
according to each one’s work,
Peter is not talking about salvation, here. He has already established that we call upon the Father – we are Christians. He is talking about the works that we do because  we have already  received faith in Jesus Christ. Remember, this letter is written to the pilgrims who had been scattered because of their faith in Christ!! And there are works that we’ve been called to do:
Eph 2:10  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
Tit 2:14  who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
Do you see how having faith in Christ changes the focus of what we do? We now focus on conforming ourselves to Him, instead of rebelling and demanding to have our own way!  We now desire His way – which is the way of peace and good works.
James 2:26  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here
Peter is continuing his treatise on “conduct” – Be holy for I am holy – do not conform yourselves to your former lusts; and now: conduct yourselves. Manage yourselves. Cultivate self-control and persevere in it. Throughout the time of your stay here -- which is for as long as you live on this earth:
Ge 4:7  "If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
This is what God said to Cain when he wanted to know why his sacrifice was not good enough – God had judged his work unfit but had graciously told him what he should do.  He should control himself and rule over the sin that sits at his door desiring him. This is still what God wants from us!!  God has not changed!  We are to have self control and serve Him and others. Sin is not to rule over us, we are to rule over sin by refusing it and following Jesus.
Mt 6:1  "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven
Notice that there is a reward from our Father in heaven. And we must respect Him.
in fear;
These two words are always difficult to interpret. We cannot leave them out because God put them there. I often hear Christians quickly insert that they mean “reverence and respect,” which they do mean, but they also mean dread and terror – just like we know the word “fear” means. I think they are meant to keep us on our toes knowing that God is gracious and kind but just like every good father, he is not to be toyed with. The verse that ALWAYS comes into my mind in response to “in fear” is:
Heb 10:31  It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God
 And if you read the verses around  Heb 10:31, for context, you will see that they concern someone who has been blessed and filled with the Spirit and then trashes it all and insults the Spirit of Grace!  But we have no need to worry about that.  If you were one of them you would not be reading this lesson! :
Hebrews 10:39  But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul.
We are believers!  And it is continuing to believe in Christ that continues to save us. It is still by faith that we are saved. Real faith creates a new “state of being” in us – a state of being obedient to God!  Our former state was one of disobedience – but we are not there anymore. We have eternal salvation – now -- not temporary salvation. Keep your eye on Jesus. Keep walking with Him. Keep fearing and trusting and loving God:
Phil 2:12-15 ¶  Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling;  for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Paul is telling the Philippians “as you have always obeyed” when I was with you – now that I am not with you – continue to obey -- you be responsible for your “salvation” – the state of having received salvation. He is telling them, “I cannot be with you to hold your hand all the time. You must step up to the plate and begin to be responsible, yourself. You are the ones who have received the salvation, now you must live as if you have been saved; because it is God who is doing a work in you and He does it for His own good pleasure!  You don’t need me to teach you anymore.” Paul told them to let their lights shine so they would stand out like beacons in the night to their neighbors. If they took the bat in their own hands and stepped up to the plate, then Paul could be glad that what he had taught them as their coach, they had taken on and his own hard work would be a blessing to him -- and them -- on judgment day. Hold fast the word of Life!! Continue to believe the Living Word – Jesus!
18  knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
Who is doing the “knowing” here?
What does “redeemed” mean?
What are “corruptible” things?
What is “aimless” conduct?
From where did they get this “aimless conduct?”
What would be the opposite of “aimless” conduct?
19  but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
What were we redeemed with?
Why is Jesus called “lamb without blemish and without spot?”

20  He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world,
What does “foreordained” mean?
Peter is reminding us that God made provision for our redemption even before He established the world! And also we are not to forget what a high price was paid for us. Jesus had not sinned, but he took the punishment for our sins. He did not just go to jail in our place…. He died in our place. (Oh, God, I am thankful for you. Thank you, Lord Jesus!)
but was manifest in these last times for you  21  who through Him believe in God,
What does “manifest” mean?
For whom was Christ manifest?
What does “who through Him believe in God” mean?
God wants us to know Him, so He sent His Son that we might believe in God.
who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
What was God’s purpose in raising Jesus from the dead and giving Him glory? 
3. What it means to me:
(Believe, Trust, Conform)       ­

Read again: 1 Peter 1:17-21, at the top of this study – and in another translation – Read also: 2 Cor. 5:8-11
Definitions and Synonyms:
1.      aimless  -- purposeless, goal-less, wandering, unoccupied, idle, at loose ends; undirected
2.      blemish -- a moral defect or fault; mark or flaw that spoils the appearance of something
3.      called -- to call aloud, to invite, to give a name to, to inspire or urge (someone) to do something, a vocation (calling), a powerful force of attraction
4.      conduct -- the manner in which a person behaves, manner of life, behavior, actions in life
5.      corruptible -- in a state of decay; rotten or putrid; dishonest, evil or unreliable
6.      establish – set up, institute, start, create, begin, launch, found, determine, prove, confirm
7.       faith -- complete trust or confidence in someone or something
8.      fear –terror, dread, horror, fright, concern, regard (God) with reverence and awe, stand in awe of, revere, respect and fear Him
9.      knowing -- the state of being aware or informed.
10.  foreordained  -- (of God) appointed or decreed (decided) beforehand
11.  grace -- God’s freely given gift of good will, loving-kindness, favor
12.  hope -- expecting something good to happen, a person that may help or save someone
13.  manifest -- clear or obvious to the eye or mind, display, show, exhibit, demonstrate, present, reveal
14.  partiality –bias, prejudice, preconception, soft spot, favoritism, preference, unfairly favoring one person above another
15.  Purpose – reason, principle, intention, aim, objective, target, goal, determination, resolution, resolve, persistence, tenacity, single-mindedness. Antonym: indifference
16.  redeem -- buy the freedom of,  regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment
17.  traditions -- customs, beliefs, or actions handed down from generation to generation

No comments:

Post a Comment