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In incorruptible Inheritance of the Strangers - I Peter 1:1-5
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 08, 2012
Posted by: Providence Reformed Church | more..
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In the introductory portion (verses 1-5) of his first letter, the inspired Apostle Peter addresses God's people in layer after layer of biblical instruction regarding the nature of God's people and the glories of their inheritance in Christ. The fact that he calls God's people "strangers" makes the promise of an inheritance even more precious and shows us that the fulness of this inheritance is yet to come and that it is not a material inheritance that can be corrupted; it is incorruptible.

The first description of these strangers is that the strangers are elect. But the word election can be used in different ways and the election of the strangers is further defined as elect "according to God's foreknowledge." God's foreknowledge cannot mean merely that God knows ahead of time what will happen and is powerless to change it. There is no past, present and future for the God who sits above the heavens. For God to foreknow His elect means that God is the one who elected (chose) them, and knew them, before the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:4) For God, our election is timeless. But the election of God's people is accomplished in time through the sanctification of the Spirit. So the implication of the election of the Father is applied by the Holy Spirit and, as the text says, it is "unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." The sacrifice of Christ for those elected by the Father applied by the Holy Spirit is so that we may be purified and walk in thankful obedience to our creator.

The second description of the strangers focuses on the regeneration of the elect. Those who have experienced what is described in the previous section have also experienced a new birth according to the Father's mercy. This new birth means that those born again have a "living hope" that is based upon the truth of the resurrection of Christ. The truth of the resurrection of Christ is the truth upon which the gospel stands or falls. (I Cor. 15:13-19) The truth of resurrection of Christ is also the focus of our inheritance and the hope of our inheritance. That is, His resurrection declares that our inheritance is sure, incorruptible and is set aside - reserved - for us in heaven.

Of course, the promise of an inheritance would be a hollow promise if the one to whom it is promised does not survive to inherit it. And so the final description of the strangers is a description of their preservation. And the first element to notice is that the preservation of the elect is based upon who God is and His power; not based upon the power of the elect, and it is a present and ongoing reality (as the tense of the phrase indicates). But we should never interpret such promises as a call to passivity on our part, for the promise is that the elect are preserved "through faith." This is not a vague faith in general, but faith in the Savior and the faithfulness of God to bring His people to their appointed end. Peter tells us that the end, the acquisition of the inheritance, is not entirely apparent now, but that we are called to exercise faith that is shown also in patience and trust. (Hebrews 12:1, 2)

All For Him,

Pastor Schlegel
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