o the joy of being a reject for the glory of god pt. 2

     This second part actually picks up right where the first post left off. You may need to review the first post to get the context of where this one starts.

1.) According to the foreknowledge of God the Father.

     Peter first gives his readers the origin of election, it is found in the foreknowledge of God the Father. It is not uncommon that the phrase “foreknowledge of God” can be taken in completely the wrong way. Most of the time, readers will interpret the foreknowledge of God as something like God just knowing a fact in advance. So the end result is that God chose those to be elect based on the fact that he saw that they would chose Him, but this is a false understanding of the text.

     To correctly understand the foreknowledge of God in this text, the reader must understand that this foreknowledge is a fore-knowing of a person in a personal context. Very much like a father knows his child, or Adam knew Eve. There is an intimate understanding to the word foreknowledge in this text. Very much like Ephesians 1:3-14, God chose us (believers) in Him (Christ) before the ages began to be as adopted sons. God intimately knew His exiles.

2.) In the sanctification of the Spirit.

     Next, Peter gives his readers the experience of election that is found in the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. The term sanctification literally means to be “set apart”. As believers, God has set us apart to become more like His son Jesus and to be holy as He Himself is holy. Consider these two verses,

Hebrews 12:7-11,

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of Spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”.

James 1:2-4,

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing”.

     When Peter speaks of “sanctification of the Spirit” he means to portray the idea that we as believers in Christ are surrounded by the atmosphere of the Holy Spirit being sanctified through various trials as discipline. So as God’s chosen exiles of the dispersion, we are being trained and disciplined by God to produce a greater yield for His kingdom. Remember that we are chosen exiles in a foreign place that is hostile towards us because of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3.) For obedience to Jesus Christ.

     We have seen that due to God’s foreknowing of His elect, it is by the Holy Spirit that we are involved in daily sanctification to make us holy as He is holy. But what does it mean to be holy as He is holy? There is a greater purpose and that is for us to have complete obedience to Jesus our Lord. But what does this obedience look like? Consider these two passages of Scripture,

Ephesians 2:8-10,

“For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”.

1 John 5:2,

“By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandments”.

     As God’s chosen exiles, He has pre-ordained that we should walk in good works because of what Christ has done. It is when we as believers are active in these good works that we are showing our love for God because we are keeping His commandments. What should some of these good works look like? We are to love the lost and share the gospel just as Jesus says in Matthew 28 before He ascends into heaven, we are to abstain from any sinful actions against God or our brothers and sisters as is seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-7. There are pages full of commands from God in Scripture and all are what would constitute obedience to Christ Jesus.

     Finally, we come to our last point in the passage. It is not only by the foreknowledge of God, the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, or for obedience to Christ, but also for the sprinkling of Christ’s blood as well. So far we have seen the origin, experience, and goal of election, but it is here that we see the how being put into action. We all know the Romans 3:23 passage about all being sinners and falling short of God’s glory, so how are we to keep moving toward obedience in Christ if we continue to sin?

     The question addresses the heart of the gospel message of Jesus Christ. It seems as if Peter has taken truth of the latter part of verse two and compared it with what we find in the book of Leviticus about those who suffered from leprosy. Not only was this physical disease deadly in a biological way, it was also unhealthy in a communal way. Consider this passage,

Leviticus 13:45-46,

“The leprous person who has the disease shall wear torn clothes and let the hair of his head hang loose, and he shall cover his upper lip and cry out, unclean, unclean. He shall remain unclean as long as he has the disease. He is unclean. He shall live alone. His dwelling shall be outside the camp”.

     Peter too recognized that because of our sinful human condition, our spiritual status was also in the same kind of trouble. This time, we were not outside of a physical camp, but the spiritual camp of God. As a result, there needs to be reconciliation happening. A cure needs to be administered, because without one, all sinners are as good as dead! Again consider this passage of Scripture,

Leviticus 14:6-7,

“He shall take the live bird with the cedar-wood and the scarlet yarn and the hyssop, and dip them and the live bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the fresh water. And he shall sprinkle it seven times on him who is to be cleansed of the leprous disease. Then he shall pronounce him clean and shall let the living bird go into the open field”.

     It is from this passage that we see the connection with Jesus’ blood. Just as it took the sprinkling of blood from an animal to cleanse the leper, it takes the blood of an innocent lamb to cleanse the sinner. Now the unrighteous sinner can be seen as clean by a holy and wonderful God. It is through the sprinkling of Christ’s blood that we are able to have restoration with God even if we succumb to sin in this life. It is truly an amazing concept!

     Now we as Peter’s readers are able to step back and see the majestic work of our Trinitarian God in the opening verses of 1 Peter. We should now have a fuller understanding of what it means to be God’s chosen exiles. We know that we do not belong in this world, but God has us here to do good works, even if it costs everything. Thankfully however, we can have restoration in our relationship to God through the blood of our Lord Jesus. To Him be the glory forever!

Blessings,

D. Rowland

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