Faithlife Sermons

The Divine Work of Savlation

1 Peter  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Peter Greets a wide group of people, mostly from Turkey. Peter describes these as the elect who are exiles to this world in the same way as Israel was the exiles in Babylon. These believers find themselves as heavenly foreigners under persecution and descrimnation. This descrimination has caused them to doubt the reality of Christ's Divine work on calvary. He reminds them of who they are (the elect,) how they became the elect (work of the Holy Spirit), and the purpose of the election (obedience/membership in the people of God). The purpose of telling us about the election of God is to help the believers trust in the divine work of God in their lives. Trust in the divine work of God is exactly what will help persecuted heavenly refugee's overcome the suffering they are facing in this world.

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INTRODUCTION
Many Christians are plagued with doubt about their Salvation.
This problem is common for those who are not mature in the faith.
That is those who are new believers, or for various reasons have been distracted by the world around them. They are not regularly studying the scripture or participating in the membership of local church.
But this struggle is not just a struggle of the immature Christian, but of mature Christians who are faithful confessing believers.
Those who make up the membership of our church and many other churches.
How do believers doubt their own salvation?
ILLUSTRATION:
How do believers doubt their own salvation?
a. Sometimes this is because we rightly recognize our unworthiness for salvation.
Our works are not good-enough to stand before God. Our thinking fails to recognize that it is not about my worthiness, but God’s glory.
b. Sometimes this is because we struggle with Sin we know is forbidden.
Our sin causes us to doubt whether God is really able to save us. We might say things like,
“I’m to old to change”
“I gave it my best shot, and I failed”
“I am to bad for even God to help”
Sin has caused these people doubt their salvation.
c. Sometimes suffering causes us to doubt our salvation.
Some event comes into my life and I don’t understand why God would allow me to suffer that way. Because I do not understand why a good God would allow this, maybe I am wrong about my salvation.
The reality is we are not the first to struggle under these concerns. There was another group who doubted their salvation. That was the Christians who were dispersed across modern day Turkey, who faced suffering at the hands of persecutors.
1 Peter 1:1–2 ESV
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Who are these people and why is Peter writing to them?
Who are these people and why is Peter writing to them?
Geographically, these people live in what we call modern Turkey.
Show slide of ESV Study Bible Map.
It is also clear that these people are social outcasts because of their faith in the Gospel. In a very unique and interesting way Peter describes these people as foreigners in a foreign land.
The text in v. 1 describes them as exiles of the Dispersion
Exile here means foreigner.
This is the same word as used by Abraham in Genesis 23:4 to bury Sarah in Canaan.
Genesis 23:4 ESV
“I am a sojourner and foreigner among you; give me property among you for a burying place, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.”
Dispersion is a very specific and technical word. It is used to describe Jews who were dispersed across the Gentile world.
Now think about this, he is writing to mostly Gentiles who probably grew up in this area. Yet they are described as foreigners dispersed across the Gentile world.
What does Peter mean that these Gentiles are exiles?
What does Peter mean that these Gentiles are exiles?
He is telling them, that though they are living where there they are born, the new faith in the Gospel makes them foreigners in the world itself. Therefore, they are going to be treated as foreigners.
Understand, you as believer are a foreigner in a foreign land. As a believer, you may feel as an outcast at times because your customs and believes are different than what people are used to. Or at least it should be.
For these believers, they not only felt like outcasts, but they were treated like outcasts.
It is clear that these people who are beginning to face social, political, and government discrimination which eventually will yield to outright persecution of Christians in these Romans provinces.
This is observed in our text in a number places, but beginning in 1 Peter 1:6-7.
1 Peter 1:6–7 ESV
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
You can imagine if you have come to belief in:
Jesus Christ
Recognize him as the all-powerful and all-knowing ruler over this world.
But you are suffering, and you are suffering because you believe in this all-powerful and all-knowing person.
Why are the believers doubting their salvation?
It mighty cause you to doubt your salvation.
That is the same struggle we have. Because of suffering we often doubt the reality of what’s true. God has saved us.

We should trust in the Divine work of God.

Transitional Statement: And This text gives us the who, the how, and the why of our salvation. When we understand God’s purpose we understand why we ought to trust God’s divine work in salvation.
This text gives us the who, the how, and the why of our salvation. When we understand God’s purpose we understand why we ought to trust God’s divine work in salvation.
So how about the Who of Salvation?

1. Who of Salvation.

Who does God save?
Who does God save?
Lets read who God saves in the text.
1 Peter 1:1–2 ESV
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
We observe first that Peter is writing to the elect.

a. The elect.

The Elect means the chosen.
Romans 8:33 uses the same word to describe the chosen.
Romans 8:33 ESV
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
According to what are these people chosen (elected)?
According to what are these people chosen (elected)?
1 Peter 1:2 ESV
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

b. The Criteria: The Forethought and Election of God.

The word foreknowledge is a controversial word in which believing Christians sometimes disagree.
The word fore-knowledge is the word, to know, with a prefix that means before. It literally means “to know before”.
The real heart of this debate is what does God know.
What does God know according to the text?
- Some have proposed that this means God knew we would believe in advance.
- Others have proposed that God fore-chose in advance.
The reality is that the word could mean forethought or foreknowledge.
What is the relationship of “elect” and “foreknowledge” in this context?
What does Acts 2:23 teach us about this words meaning? (This is the only other time used in Scripture)
Even if this means only knowledge in advance, the fact is the word elect designates Christians as chosen. The context suggests this word is forethought- God chose in advance to accomplish his Will.
Combined together; God choose in eternity past to make you one of His.
ILLUSTRATION:
Now, I say that today, if you are not a believer, then you need to consider the work of Jesus Christ. It would be my privilege to help you understand and belief in the Gospel today.
However, as believers, understand this great truth and why Peter is telling them that they are elected by the forethought of God.
Why did Peter tell the believers they are the elect chosen by God’s forethought?
How should God’s election give us confidence and trust in our Savior?
They are being treated as outcasts and suffering because of it. This causing them to doubt the reality of their salvation. We can understand this because when we suffer, we doubt God’s salvation.
I knew a friend who had a child born with down syndrome. That is a difficult reality to face in the midst of your hopes and dreams for your children. That is hard and hurts, and causes you to doubt the reality of your salvation.
However, Peter declares that as believers we are the chosen of God. What is happening to us is not something that is outside God, but apart of his foreknowledge in which he choose to allow suffering to happen. Because this is not by accident, but in the forethought of God, we also should have great peace through God’s foreknowledge.
This is exactly the point that Paul makes in Romans 8:33.
Romans 8:33 ESV
Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.
God’s foreknowledge and election of believers should help us trust God’s divine work in salvation. The who of salvation should give us confidence in the midst of struggle, whether sin or suffering.
We also should trust God’s divine work because of the how of salvation.

2. How of Salvation.

We are told in 1 Peter 1:2 how a person becomes the elect of God.
1 Peter 1:2 ESV
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
“in the sanctification of the Spirit”
[Note: in - sphere, incorrect; by - means; most understand it this way. ]
The word, “in” could also be translated as “by”. This is how the NASB and NET bible translate this word as well as many commentators. In this context, the word “by” is more helpful because it communicates how we obtain this election.

Election is accomplished “by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit”.

ILLUSTRATION:
Perhaps, you are struggling today because you realize your righteousness is but dirty rags.
When I worked at a car wash we periodically were given clean rags. They would start out as nice new, fresh smelling rags. But in a few months of cleaning grime off vehicles, they didn’ look new anymore. They smelled musty, had brownish tinge, and were spotted with holes. After a few months those new rags became dirty hole rags.
Our righteousness is like that. Even if we started out with a clean nice clothes, after a few months the stain of sin has turned them into dirty rags.
Which begs the question, how can I ever stand before God? I am a sinner.
According to this text, how can I ever stand before God?
The answer to that question is salvation is not accomplished by your Good works, but by the work of the third person of the trinity - the Holy Spirit.
The Holy spirit is the one who sanctifies you. We often think of sanctification in terms of having less sin. We are becoming more like Christ. But as we continue to understand this text we will find that Peter understands Sanctification as beginning with bringing us into faith and belief in Jesus Christ.
Understand the implications of that:
1. That means your salvation is accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
2. That means your good works have nothing to do with your salvation.
3. That means your bad works have nothing to do with your salvation.
Further,
4. That means the Gospel transformation of our lives is not our own work, but the work of God.
THEOLOGICAL CLARIFICATION:
Now there is a tension here regarding the believers command to yield to the Spirit and the Holy Spirits work.
What about the responsibility to submit to the Holy Spirit?
What about the responsibility to submit to the Holy Spirit?
If you recall our study in Changed Into His Image by Jim Berg, he said this about the balance between Human responsibility and the Holy Spirit's work in our lives.
"While every believer has a personal responsibility to carry out these commands, the Bible clearly teaches that these activities can be performed only in the power of the Holy Spirit. Keep in mind that sanctification has been designed by God to be a cooperative venture between God and us. "
EXHORTATION:
Thus, we can say that our salvation and our obedience is not of our own, but the work of God.
We become the elect of God, the chosen people of God, by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
The implications of this is that we should trust God's Divine work of Salvation. It is overseen and accomplished by the third person of the Trinity, the omnipotent and omniscient Holy Spirit.
Finally, the Why of Salvation should give us confidence in the Divine work of God.

3. Why of Salvation.

There are a number of questions that surround the election of God.
Why did God choose us?
Why did God choose us?
For what purpose were we chosen?
For what purpose were we chosen?
In the introduction and greeting of Peter’s letter; he tells us why God chose us. The why of Salvation.
1 Peter 1:2 ESV
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
The word “for” communicates why the Holy Spirit Sanctifies us.
According to the text, he does this for two reasons.
[Jesus Christ is understood as in apposition two both Genitives because of the coordinating καὶ.]

a. Obedience.

We are told we should be in Obedience with respect to Christ.
What does it mean we are sanctified for obedience with respect to Christ?
What does it mean we are sanctified for obedience with respect to Christ?
Our chief example of righteous living is Christ. Because all of the attributes of God rest in him, He is the one who we are to look to as an example righteous obedient living. That through the Gospel, he becomes the standard by which we live. We are probably familiar with this idea more from Paul than Peter because of Colossians 3 and Galatians 5. However, Peter is preparing the readers to understand that we are called to negatively, not obey the flesh, and Positively to be characterized by the holiness of God. This holy living is found beginning in 1 Peter 1:13 and throughout the most of the Epistle.
We are told that part of God’s purpose in salvation was to make us obedient to God.
ELABORATION: (On the Implications)
How did this disobedience begin?
How did this disobedience begin? (1 Peter 1:2)
Christ and the Holy Spirits work was meant to redeem the world from the great effects of the fall. Many of us recall the story of the fall of man in Genesis 3. From that point on sin and death entered the world. (Romans 5:12-21) From that point on every human being has been born with a spirit and passion for sin and disobedience. But by the grace and mercy of God, through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, we are transformed as believers in Jesus Christ into obedience to Christ.
Praise God we are not under the dark shadow of sin and death any longer. We are redeemed to obedience. This is why God saved us. That should yield us to trust in his Divine work. He accomplished what nothing else has accomplished since the fall of humanity.
Peter also tells us that the reason we have the sanctification of the Spirit is to initiate us into the faith.

b. The Initiation of the Believer.

Our text introduces us to a second purpose of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.
1 Peter 1:2 ESV
according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
“the Sprinkling with his blood”
For us as modern readers this may seem a little odd.
What does Peter mean by the Sprinkling of the blood?
What does Peter mean by the Sprinkling of the blood?
Much of this Epistle is written in common Jewish language. We first saw this in the use of the word diaspora. We again see this in the description of the “sprinkling blood”. As modern Gentile readers this is a vague reference. However, as Jewish readers this would have immediately perked their ears.
There are only two times in Jewish history that blood was Sprinkled on people. There were many sacrifices, but only twice was that blood sprinkled on people.
When were people sprinkled with the blood in the OT? (1 Peter 1:2)
What is the significance that the blood was Christ’s own blood?
The first example is found in Exodus 24:3-8. This is the consecration of Israel to the Mosaic Covenant.
Exodus 24:3–8 ESV
Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the LORD has spoken we will do.” And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. And he sent young men of the people of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the LORD. And Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar. Then he took the Book of the Covenant and read it in the hearing of the people. And they said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient.” And Moses took the blood and threw it on the people and said, “Behold the blood of the covenant that the LORD has made with you in accordance with all these words.”
The second example was the initiation of the priests for tabernacle worship. This is found in Leviticus 8:30.
Leviticus 8:30 ESV
Then Moses took some of the anointing oil and of the blood that was on the altar and sprinkled it on Aaron and his garments, and also on his sons and his sons’ garments. So he consecrated Aaron and his garments, and his sons and his sons’ garments with him.
Thus, the meaning of the Holy Spirits application of the blood is two-fold.
a. It consecrates us as the elect of God under the blood of Jesus Christ. It initiates us as God’s chosen people; the church.
b. It consecrates us as a priesthood for continued purified service before God.
We are initiated as God’s people for Holy service to our God.
So back to the question, why did God save us?
The why of Salvation is that we would become useful to God. We would become faithful obedient servants of God. The why of salvation should give us confidence in the divine work of God.
If God choose us to make us his servants, will he fail at accomplishing his work?
If God choose us to make us his servants, will he fail at accomplishing his work?
The emphatic answer is that the one who is all-powerful, all-knowing, who choose us by his own divine plan in eternity past, will surely complete his work. Therefore, the purpose of God’s divine work should encourage us to trust his Divine work.
CONCLUSION:
If you are a heavenly people facing persecution and discrimination, how might you feel?
If you are a heavenly people facing persecution and discrimination, how might you feel?
They would doubt the divine work of God; their salvation.
If you were writing to a people who are a heavenly people in a foreign land facing discrimination, what would you tell them?
If you were writing to a people who are a heavenly people in a foreign land facing discrimination, what would you tell them?
You would tell them the who, how, and why of salvation.
The who of salvation:
They are the chosen of God elected by his forethought; his planned purpose since eternity.
The how of salvation:
The election is not based on their own work or obedience. In fact, the Holy Spirit is working because of their disobedience. Their salvation is accomplished by the Holy Spirit’s sanctifying work. God accomplished their salvation.
The why of salvation:
God did this in order to make us an obedient chosen people consecrated to Service for God.
There are at least two ways this truth should change the way we think.
How should the election of God by the Holy Spirits sanctifying work for the purpose of obedient service transform our thinking?
1st, it should lead us to cast every doubt aside. It should lead us to trust in God’s divine work.
2nd, it should inspire us to strive to be faithful obedient servants who have been bought by the sprinkling of Christ’s own blood.
There are at least two ways this truth should change the way we think.
1st, it should lead us to cast every doubt aside. It should lead us to trust in God’s divine work.
2nd, it should inspire us to strive to be faithful obedient servants who have been bought by the sprinkling of Christ’s own blood.
Have you been struggling today with doubt over your salvation?
Have you been struggling today with doubt over your salvation?
Have you been striving to accomplish your own righteousness?
Have you been striving to accomplish your own righteousness?
Have you yielded to the Spirit’s sanctifying work to make you a faithful servant?
Have you yielded to the Spirit’s sanctifying work to make you a faithful servant?
I challenged everyone of you this morning, as the chosen people of God, to trust in the divine work of the father and yield yourselves to the divine work of God.
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