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In the first nine verses of his letter to us, Peter describes the glorious nature of redemption in Christ beginning with the big picture of election and foreknowledge, and then he moves to the more immediate picture of our life in Christ with its necessary trials. Now in verses 10 through 12, Peter reminds us that this plan of redemption was not a sudden whim of God, but the plan was investigated, studied and proclaimed by the prophets of old. Peter describes this plan as the promise of the grace that would come to us. The promise of grace should give you comfort because the promise is not a promise of salvation based upon your ability or inherent worth. It is based upon who God is and His gracious disposition toward those whom he has elected and foreknown. Without grace, the promise of salvation would be a hollow and bitter promise.
The constant searching and examination by the prophets of the time and manner of the Messiah's coming was not merely an exercise in wishful thinking or in the construction of plausible scenarios that might spring from their own minds. The text tells us something quite different. The text tells us that it was the Holy Spirit of God who signified to them what the manner and timing of the coming of the promised grace would be. This is a significant point that the apostle drives home to us. When the prophets testified to the revelation that they received, the words that they spoke and wrote were the very words of the Living God. That is, the apostle tells us that the Holy Spirit Himself spoke through them and therefore, the testimony is true, valid and authoritative. It is at this point that the battle for the truth of God's Word is lost or won. And if we turn away from this testimony of the Bible about its own character and purpose as being the Divinely Inspired account and promise of redemption through the "sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow", the war is lost and we have surrendered by default.
Then, in verse 12 Peter tells us two remarkable things: the first is that the prophets themselves knew that their ministry was not ultimately to themselves or to those who heard them. Their message and ministry are to you and all those who hear and believe! Even though the words are sometimes hard to understand, the messages of Isaiah, David, Zechariah, and the rest, are intended for you. The glorious panorama of God's grace toward, and the redemption of, His people is only seen when the entire landscape of God's plan and purpose are considered. That is a great blessing to you, but it requires some effort on your part and a reliance on the Holy Spirit's illumination. The second remarkable thing is that the gospel that is preached today is the same message and revelation of the same Holy Spirit. The testimony of the sufferings and the glories, otherwise known as gospel preaching, is the working out of the eternal purpose of God as expressed by the prophets, expounded by the apostles, and is now committed unto faithful ministers of the gospel. And this is so glorious and amazing that even the angels in heaven fail to grasp it all!