Faithful: Faith and Hope
1 Peter 1:20–21
1 Peter Lesson #052
June 9, 2016
“Father, we are thankful we can come together this evening. We are especially in prayer for these two families, for the Yeamans and the Dietrichs. We pray for Your comfort. We’re thankful that for those who were taken to be with You, we are confident in their salvation. They have clearly trusted in You for their salvation. They have trusted in Christ alone for their salvation. We know that You will comfort the families and that they will be able to have a clear and vocal testimony related to the death of their loved one.
Father, we pray for us that we might recognize that any day You may call us home. We need to live each day in light of eternity. We need to live in preparation. We need to be ready at a moment’s notice because we have no guarantee how long we have on this earth or in this life.
Father, we pray for us tonight as we continue our study in 1 Peter, being reminded that we are to live each day in the light of eternity, living in light of the hope we have, that confident expectation of a future reward and a future destiny in the kingdom and in eternity. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
Let’s open our Bibles to 1 Peter, chapter one. Tonight as we get into the 21st verse we’ll look at this idea of faithful and faith that are brought up in this passage.
We need to do some correction in the translation but before we get to 1 Peter 1:21 we need to complete verse 20. I want to remind you a little bit about the context. Not as much as we covered last week, these verses from verse 13 down through verse 25, relate to four basic imperatival verbs.
One of the things I try to emphasize with pastors is to let the text determine what the focus is. Your thoughts are always conveyed through sentences. Sentences may be one verse or they may be multiples verses. They may be compound or complex or compound and complex sentences. We have to look for those independent clauses and the main verbs.
Often when we look at English translations, we can be distracted because each translation has its own idiosyncrasies. The King James Version, as well as the New King James translation, has a tendency, rather the translators had the tendency, to try to make each verse stand alone as an independent clause or as a sentence, hopefully as a sentence.
They often broke long sentences in the original Greek into two or three different sentences, sometimes more. It’s important because we lose the thrust or the thought of the original if we’re not dealing with it in terms of the thought that is communicated in the original.
What we have in the overall structure of 1 Peter 1 is an opening introduction. You have your salutation in the first two verses. Then you have an introduction which focuses on the main themes of the epistle; which is encouraging a group of Jewish-background believers to hang tough, to persevere, and to stick with their spiritual growth in the midst of difficulties.
Their difficulties are described as “various trials” in the introduction and “being tested by fire”. In 1 Peter 5 they’re described as “fiery trials”. The pattern or the model for handling suffering is the pattern of Christ’s undeserved suffering on the Cross.
He suffered first and then was glorified.
The challenge is for these Jewish believers to not give up the faith. He reminds them, almost in ways that are very similar to the epistle to the Hebrews, to remember where they are and their trust in Jesus as the Messiah is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies and promises about Jesus and to encourage them to stand firm in the midst of opposition they might meet.
I’ve mentioned in the past that a lot of this opposition and persecution they met could have come from within the Jewish community itself as it was becoming divided. It wasn’t like it would be a hundred years later, but it was becoming divided over this issue of the identification or the identity of Jesus as the Messiah.
1 Peter 1:11 talks about Christ and how the Old Testament prophets were struggling to understand what their prophecies were related to the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. This is the pattern. Glory is a key word we will see in the passage we’re looking at.
His main ideas are brought up in the first twelve verses. Then starting in verse 13 there are four basic ideas, which are on the slide. These four ideas all relate to imperatives. We’ve studied the first three.
- The first command is in 1 Peter 1:13, “Rest your hope fully on the grace brought to you …” It uses the word sober and the idea in sobriety wasn’t so much the idea of not being influenced by alcoholic beverages, but it was basically an idiom for having clear, objective thinking. Not having your thinking clouded by some sort of external influence.
In biblical Christianity that external influence is what? What’s the main external influence? It’s the world system. We’re not to be conformed to the world, but we’re to be transformed by the renewing of our minds.
The way it’s translated in English it looks as if the command is to gird up the loins of your mind. Without getting into a lot of technicalities, that’s a participle. Although there are people who have tried to make these imperatival participles, a lot of studies recently say, even though Peter uses imperatival participles, this is not imperatival.
It should be translated, “Rest your hope.” How do you do that? By girding up the loins of your mind, by being prepared mentally and having objective thinking. That’s in the genitive so that would be the idea of through objective thinking.
- The second command is to set yourselves apart. That’s the idea of being holy. Setting yourself apart to the service of God. So you have this idea that you rest your hope fully on the grace of God by always being prepared, ready to engage in the battle at a moment’s notice. That means always being sanctified, always being set apart for the service of God, and always being ready.
We would apply this in ways by consistently keeping short accounts in terms of confession of sin and also very practically by how we think and how we live. Not giving an inch to the world to take over our thought pattern.
- That’s where Peter goes in 1 Peter 1:17–21 to conduct your lives in fear of God. That idea is fearful respect, recognizing that there’s accountability eventually at the Judgment Seat of Christ. That’s where we’re headed with this and that covers verses 17–21, which we may finish tonight.
- Then in verse 22 it introduces that last imperative which is to love one another with integrity.
Everything revolves around these four imperatives. The verses there give you the sentences that contain each of those imperatives.
I’ve structured 1 Peter 1:17 by moving “and conduct yourselves” upfront. That’s the imperative. In English if we put it in the word order of the Greek we lose the thrust of that imperative, so restructuring it helps. The command is to live your life in a certain way based on that fearful respect of God knowing that accountability is coming.
That’s what is indicated in the conditional clause “if or since you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work.” The reason we conduct our life in fear is because we know there’s going to be accountability at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
When we break these commands down we see that they relate to the spiritual skills, the problem-solving devices, those basic spiritual skills that we use. Almost everything in Scripture can be categorized under those. We’re to live on the basis of hope. That’s verse 13—rest your hope fully. That is personal sense of eternal destiny.
We’re to live set apart unto God. That involves confession of sin, grace orientation, doctrinal orientation.
We’re to live our life based on the fear of God. That’s doctrinal orientation and personal love for God the Father because we know what it cost to redeem us. That’s doctrinal orientation and the doctrine of redemption. We understand we have been bought with a price. Therefore we are not our own. We are God’s.
That leads to the fourth imperative, which is to love one another, which is impersonal love for all mankind. It’s not that it’s some sort of mechanical thing but we don’t have to have a personal relationship with people in order to love them the way the Bible says to love them.
Last time we got down to 1 Peter 1:20 so I’ve expanded and sort of re-translated it to get the thrust of what is going on here. It’s a little awkward in some translations. It begins with a construction in Greek that says, “Indeed this …” It could be “But this …” which is how some translations carry it out, but I’m emphasizing more of a continuity.
“Indeed, having been foreknown before the foundation of the world, and was manifest in these last times because of you [all] …” This is a bad place to break it because the sentence continues. “Because of you [all] who through Him believe in God [the Father] who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God” [expanded translation].
Now notice that verse references God the Father twice. It’s really easy to jump into that verse and read it the first time and think that this is talking Phase One salvation or getting into Heaven when we die. But belief in God is not the gospel. Belief in Christ Jesus who died for our sins is the gospel.
Here it’s believe in God. The word that’s translated believe and in a lot of versions is translated believe is not the same word for faith which we have later on. That’s the key word usually for justification or Phase One. It’s different, so we have to look at that translation a little better.
Last time I focused on the first key word which is a complicated, highly debated term, which is one of the words at the core difference between Calvinism and Arminianism. I believe there is a middle way as many people do, that is, that neither one is right. Both of those represent extreme positions.
Foreknowledge is one of the key words. Election is another word. God’s choice, predestination, is another word. Here we have the word translated foreordained. It is the Greek word we studied last time, the verb PROGINOSKO which literally means to know something beforehand.
It means prescience. You’ll find a lot of people who are more Calvinistic who think that prescience means man is the ultimate cause of his salvation. That’s how it’s misused on the Arminian side. If you understand the knowledge of God correctly, it doesn’t means that man is the ultimate determiner.
God’s sovereignty is decreed that it works in conjunction with human responsibility and human decisions.
This word PROGINOSKO means to know something ahead of time. It’s only used five times in the New Testament, not including the passage we’re talking about.
That’s a total of six times and the noun is used two times.
Last time I went through the lexical data. I went through a lot of other information. Just to summarize that I have a quote from the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology that quotes, “The corresponding noun PROGNOSIS is attested as a medical term since Hippocrates. It denotes the foreknowledge [or prescience] which makes it possible to predict the future.” In other words, certain knowledge of future events.
Last time I began to look at the different verses where this is used. We looked at Acts 2:23. I worked through basic information here, but the important thing about Acts 2:23 is to understand that the speaker is the Apostle Peter on the day of Pentecost. How is he using the word and how does he use the word when we’re in 1 Peter, chapter one? It’s the same speaker and the same author. We’ll find there’s a tremendous similarity.
“In Him, being delivered by the determined purpose [BOULE, the will of God, which indicates His will, His purpose, and His intent] and the foreknowledge of God.”
The way some Calvinists translate PROGINOSKO is that it has the idea of a loving, intimate relationship. God chose whom He would love in eternity past. They import the idea of this word, this concept of choice and a loving, intimate relationship. This doesn’t make sense within this context.
As I said, there are six uses of this word outside of our passage in the New Testament and you have to be careful not to read into the text an external idea. This is a major problem in a lot of word studies, that is to read something in that might work. You can read the word. You can say, “Well, I think it has this idea to it.”
That idea seems to work. At least it makes sense within the sentence, but that doesn’t mean that the meaning you’ve come up with is definitely within the semantic domain of that particular word. In other words, it’s not necessarily one of its meanings. When you look at how that word is used in all the non-biblical literature as well as two passages within the New Testament, it always has that idea of prescience, of knowing something beforehand.
When you look at the three passages where it could possibly be something else, you have to have data to support that. You can’t just say, “Well, it makes more sense.” Or “It makes sense to me.” That’s not a legitimate way to come to that conclusion.
Dr. Thomas Edgar, who taught Greek for many years at Capital Bible Seminary, wrote an excellent article on this on this for the Chafer Theological Seminary Journal some years ago. He makes the point here that if you just do a simple word substitution of either “choice” or “intimate loving relationship”, which is how Calvinists want to nuance PROGINOSKO, it doesn’t make sense at all.
He says, “The meaning intimate, loving relationship is very unlikely as a definition for foreknowledge in this passage.” If you’re going to say this is the meaning for the word, it’s got to be able to fit all the passages. So if you translated it, “Being delivered by the determined purpose and intimate loving relationship of God” that would not apply to the act of bringing the 2nd Person of the Trinity to the Cross.
That’s what he is saying. He says, “Nor does the meaning of election, that Christ was delivered by the determined purpose and election or choice of God.” That doesn’t make sense. Even if that did fit, it doesn’t talk about soteriology. It would be God’s choice of Jesus for the role of redemption. It doesn’t fit. It doesn’t get the Calvinist where he hopes it will take him.
Edgar concludes, “The other alleged possibility creates a tautology.” In other words, if foreknowledge means determination or the determined plan of God, then you can’t say by the determined purpose and the determined plan of God. It’s just redundant and meaningless. A very good observation there.
We looked also at 1 Peter 1:2 that says that we’re “choice according to or on the basis of the standard of the foreknowledge [God’s prescience].” So God’s prescience precedes any other actions. That’s related to His omniscience.
Now the next verse to look at where we stopped last time is Romans 8:28–29. These are very important verses. It’s important for what we studied Tuesday night, which has to do with understanding the problem of evil. That is that God is sovereign and omnipotent in His governing of His universe so that He controls evil in such a way that He is able to bring about an ultimate good that is greater than all of the evil that occurs in human history.
This is a confident statement at the beginning. “We know that all things work together for good.” God is the One who works them together for good, “to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”
Then Paul explains what it means to be called according to God’s purpose. He gives a progression of words. First of all, “For whom He foreknew …” Now it’s important to point out that it doesn’t say for what He foreknew, which is neuter or impersonal, but for whom He foreknew. It has to do with knowing something about people. I’ll bring that point out in a couple of other passages.
“For whom He foreknew, He also predestined.” So foreknowledge precedes predestination. “He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.”
Being “predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” doesn’t mean predestined to salvation. It doesn’t say predestined to eternity in Heaven. Predestination has to do with determining a destiny beforehand. The destiny for every believer, everyone who is justified and glorified, is that we are ultimately to be conformed to the image of His Son.
It’s not talking about the selection process of who will be saved and who will not be saved. So foreknowledge has this idea related to the omniscience of God and knowing what will transpire because God is all-knowing. He knows everything, the possible as well as the actual.
The point that I make at the bottom of the slide is that if “foreknowledge” means the same as choosing to have a relationship beforehand, i.e., predestination, then the passage is redundant. That’s the idea you have from Calvinists. Remember I pointed out last time that they will go back to the Old Testament. They look at the word yada, which is used some 450 times, I think, and they’ll hone in on the fact that in about 100 or about twenty-five percent of the uses, it may have the idea of knowing someone intimately or having a more intimate relationship. Adam knew Eve and she gave birth to a son.
That’s not academic knowledge. That’s not simple recognition. Adam wasn’t looking across the Garden saying, “That’s Eve coming.” It’s more intimate than that. But that is a secondary or tertiary meaning to the word yada as I pointed out last time. It is not appropriate methodology. In fact it’s a semantic fallacy to extrapolate that to the word PROGINOSKO with that prefix PRO, which indicates something ahead of time.
If, according to the Calvinist, knowledge or foreknowledge has to do with having a relationship or selecting a relationship ahead of time, then this would mean for whom He foreknew or whom He chose, He also predestined [they interpret that in terms of election], again, you have a redundancy.
This verse is setting a progression. First there’s knowledge beforehand, then there is a decision to destine, to target, conformity to the Person of Christ to those who are justified.
Edgar comments this way, “We know this because all those God foreknew He also destined to glory just like He did His Son. In order to accomplish this purpose, He calls these same individuals, justifies them, and finally glorifies them. This seems clear enough. The passage states each step as distinct and chronologically and/or logically successive, moving from the beginning, foreknowledge, to the goal, glorification. Foreknowledge is foundational. It is prior to all the other elements.”
You can’t interpret foreknowledge in a way that makes it roughly a synonym for predestination. The passage says that God is focusing on certain persons. He’s talking about knowing something about certain persons. We’ll look at that as we go along.
So Romans 8:29 says, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined.” He’s talking about people, those in the Church Age who trust in Jesus Christ. The passage clearly makes a distinction between foreknowledge and predestination.
Edgar then says, “But it is clear from the connection of 8:28 and 8:29 that because 8:29 sets forth the purpose of God for those described, i.e., those He foreknows. Thus, if PROGINOSKO means choose, of necessity it means choose for this purpose. So God would by that very choice be predestining them to glory, which is predestination. However, in this passage predestination is carefully separated from foreknowledge and is based on foreknowledge.”
We run into something similar in Romans 11:1–2. Paul begins chapter 11 of Romans saying, “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” Obviously those whom He foreknew ahead of time.
He’s talking about the nation corporately here. That’s clear how Paul uses the term Israel throughout Romans 9, 10, and 11. He’s not viewing them individually. He’s viewing them as a corporate entity—the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
What that means is that this isn’t talking about their individual salvation status. It’s not talking about choosing some for salvation and others not. It’s talking about God’s corporate selection of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob for His plan for mankind and that is based upon His omniscience, His prescience, and His knowledge ahead of time, His knowledge beforehand.
One writer I mentioned last time, Thomas Schreiner and his commentary on Romans. He’s a major commentator out there who is really more of a hyper Calvinist and is almost a hyper lordship guy. He says that real faith has works. Therefore, he gets to the point where he basically says that you’re saved by faith plus the right kind of works. He will press it to that extent.
He says in Romans 11:4, when it talks about the remnant, that this is deterministic election to their salvation. That’s just an example of reading your theology into the text.
One of the clearest passages is in Acts 26:5. Now Acts 26:5 is pretty simple. You’ve got a situation where the Apostle Paul has been under sort of a house arrest situation in Caesarea by the Sea. He has given his testimony to the procurator, to Felix and Festus; now Herod Agrippa II is interviewing him.
- He is going to describe to Herod Agrippa his background and why he’s been arrested. In the course of this he gives his testimony to Agrippa and he reminds Agrippa about these issues that, as he states, Agrippa is familiar with. He states that in the very beginning in the first couple of verses.
He says he’s not giving him any new information, but this is exactly what Agrippa is familiar with already.
- Secondly, he reminds Agrippa in the context that Paul received his training in Jerusalem, something that all of the Jewish leaders were familiar with and that they knew who Paul was. They had known him most of his life. We know that Paul moved to Jerusalem when he was bar mitzvahed at the age of 13 and from that point on he was probably the star pupil of Gamaliel II in Jerusalem. He reminds Agrippa of this background.
- The third thing we know from the context is that he says: “they knew me [knew me ahead of time, from the beginning].” It’s very obvious he’s talking about knowledge beforehand. He goes on, “If they were willing to testify, that according to the strictest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.”
My third point is that the Jewish leaders knew about Paul before these other events, that is, his conversion and his missionary journey. He’s saying they knew me long before any of this. They knew me back when I was a hard core Pharisee.
So it’s very clear. This is one of those passages that make it very clear that PROGINOSKO means to know things ahead of time.
- The other thing that we see here grammatically is that the verb is PROGINOSKO, to know, but the verb takes a direct object. They knew something. They knew me. They knew Paul. So the object of PROGINOSKO is personal. Even though it doesn’t need the word “about”, that is the sense of the sentence. They knew about me. They knew things about me. They knew facts about me. That’s the context. That’s what we’ve been describing. So the object of the verb “knew” is me, thus indicating they knew something about the Apostle Paul.
By implication, when God foreknows us, He knows something ahead of time about us. He knows specific information about us. He knows everything there is to know about us.
- Thus, we can conclude that PROGINOSKO refers to knowledge about someone or something. It is not referring to a predetermined relationship, a loving relationship, a choice, or a pre-determined plan.
It is knowing something about someone. That fits all the extra-biblical meanings and it fits all but maybe three meanings in the New Testament. Those are the ones that Calvinists say have this elective choice idea, but you can’t just dream it up and ram, cram, and jam it into the text. You have to go with the internal evidence.
So the conclusion is that foreknowledge means to know something ahead of time. Something we’re aware of, have information beforehand. So this is a subcategory of God’s omniscience.
God knows all the knowable in His omniscience. He knows everything that could happen, that might happen under any and every situation and every alternative, and as a result, He then makes a determined plan as to what will take place.
His knowledge of all possibilities precedes the determination of His plan.
So then when we look at the verse itself, it should be translated not “foreordained” as we have in the New King James but something along the lines of the NASB or the NET.
Notice I put the NIV on the slide which translates it “He was chosen before the creation of the world …” That’s why I say the NIV is the “new international commentary”. It’s not a translation. It’s not any form of the word EKLEKTOI, which is the noun for election or its verbal cognate. It doesn’t say He was chosen. It says He was foreknown, PROGINOSKO. Yet they read their theology into the text and translate it more like a paraphrase than a translation.
So the NIV has a decent study Bible but that’s not the text. You buy a study Bible for the translation of the text, not for the notes.
One commentator makes this point in talking about this voice. He says, “Here neither Christ’s faith nor any other action or attribute of His is the object of foreknowledge; rather, it was Christ himself foreknown …”
It sounds like he’s making the point that God knew something about Him, but in a previous sentence the writer states: “foreknowledge means a loving, committed relationship.”
If we were to translate it that way in verse 20 it would read, “He indeed was the object of a loving, committed relationship before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times for you.”
Now the Greek word that’s translated “but” here can also be translated “and”. I chose to translate it “and”. It has a soft, contrastive sense to it, which it why it’s translated “but”. We see there’s this contrast. He’s foreordained before the foundation of the world.
That is being compared or contrasted to the fact that He’s manifest in these last times. So translating it with a sense of a loving, committed relationship or a choice doesn’t fit the contrast between being manifest in these last days and what it was in eternity past. It violates the sense of the whole sentence structure.
This is my point in this particular slide. In verse 20 we see “[indeed, having been] foreordained [a perfect participle there indicating completed action in the past] having been foreordained or foreknown before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.”
We see there is this soft contrast between “known beforehand” with “manifest”. “Before the foundation” is contrasted with “in these last times”.
We have to maintain this. Any sense in which you’re translating this as an election type of word violates the structure and the soft contrast that are being set up in the verse itself.
That’s why we have to go back to Acts 2:23, which we studied earlier, to show that this is the idea that we see here. Christ is being delivered by the will and the prior knowledge of God taking into account all the details, choosing the right time, as Paul says in Galatians 4:4, the fullness of times when Christ appeared.
One more thing as we look at this idea of foreknowledge. I’ve gone through the studies. I’ve talked about the word studies and the lexicons. I’ve talked about the meaning of the context and I wanted to give you a couple of quotes from some other commentaries that support what I’ve said.
Arnold Fruchtenbaum has a volume out called Ariel’s Bible Commentary: The Messianic Jewish Epistles including commentaries on 1 Peter, 2 Peter, Hebrews, Jude, and James. He says regarding the use of the word “foreknow”, “Peter again uses the word foreknown. In 1:1–2, the believer was foreknown and this foreknowledge included the redemptive foreknowledge of God. Now, Peter points out that the Redeemer Himself was included in the redemptive foreknowledge of God.”
So it’s not just who’s going to be redeemed or who’s going to believe, but it’s also knowledge of how it’s going to be brought about.
Then he says, “The word ‘foreknown’ means to know ahead of time because of pre-planning.” See, he doesn’t take this elective idea that is typical of strong Calvinists. “Before the foundation of the world, God foreknew and planned the whole redemptive program.” That’s the idea right there.
Karen Jobes in her commentary on 1 Peter, the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, says, “Thus God knew the complete program of redemption before the foundation of the world. The revelation of this program is for the benefit of those who through the hearing of the gospel would put their faith in God and enter into the living hope of the new birth based on the resurrection of Christ.”
There are two commentaries supporting the idea that this is about prescience. It’s not talking about elective choice.
Now when we look at the structure of 1 Peter 1:20 continuing from verse 19, “indeed that he has been foreknown before the foundation of the world.” There’s that contrast of what happened before the foundation of the world and the foreknowledge before the foundation of the world and the present time in which He is made manifest.
“Manifest” is an interesting word that shows up here. It’s the Greek word PHANEROO. PHANEROO is a synonym for APOKALUPTO, which means to reveal something, to disclose something. It’s a synonym and sometimes they’re used interchangeably and a lot of times they’re not.
Peter uses APOKALUPTO in several places in 1 Peter. He uses it in 1:5, 1:7, 1:13, 4:13, and 5:1 in reference to the Second Coming. Now in 5:4 he uses PHANEROO for the Second Coming. He tends to make this distinction. That He, Christ, was manifest at the First Coming. We saw Him.
We saw Him. In John’s words, we saw Him, we heard Him, and we touched Him. In 1 John 1:1–4 He will be revealed. APOKALUPTO is generally used for what will take place at the Second Coming.
The word PHANEROO is used several times by John in the gospel of John in order to refer to the First Advent. In John 1:31, John the Baptist says, related to Jesus the Messiah, “I did not know Him; but that He should be revealed [PHANEROO] to Israel, therefore I came baptizing with water.”
In John 2:11 at the conclusion of the first miracle of changing the water into wine at the wedding in Cana of Galilee, “This beginning of signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory; and His disciples believed in Him.”
In John 3:21 John says, “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen [manifest] as they have been done in God.”
John 17:6, “I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” John 17 is Jesus’ high priestly prayer.
These words describe Jesus’ First Advent, His coming.
Then in 2 Corinthians 4:10–11 Paul uses the word interestingly enough that he recognized in the First Coming, Jesus manifested Himself to us that when we saw Him we saw the Father. He is the only one who has seen the Father. He is the only one that has exegeted Him, which is John’s terminology.
Paul goes on to say that after the ascension, the way Jesus is manifested to the world is when the world looks at the church. That’s pretty sad because we don’t do a good job of manifesting Christ to the world.
A few weeks ago I talked about these incessant physical battles that take place in places like the Church of the Nativity and the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Israel where the Assyrian Christians and the Roman Catholics and the Greek Orthodox fight each other all the time. They get in literal battles so the IDF has to be sent in to break up the Christians so they don’t kill each other. That is tragic and is not manifesting the body of Christ.
That’s what Paul talks about in 2 Corinthians 4:10–11, “always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.”
We are to reflect Christ to the world.
Then Peter uses the word in 1 Peter 5:4 to refer to the Rapture when he says, “and when the Chief Shepherd appears [that is the manifestation of Jesus at the Rapture], you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.” That’s at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
I want to look at the term “last days”. When are the last times? You talk to 99.999% of Christians, even those who think they’re biblically literate, you’ll hear them comment about what’s going on in Israel and what’s going on in the Middle East, the economy, and the election, and they say we must be in the last times.
That would be a real surprise to Peter and to the writer of Hebrews and to Paul because they thought they were in the last times. They said the last times began right after the Ascension of Christ. We’ve been in the last times for almost 2,000 years.
We are in the last days … and we have been in the last days since the ascension of Christ.
Remember there are two “last days” in the Bible. There is the last days of the Church Age, which is basically the whole Church Age. We don’t know when it will end. These things that are stated are continuous trends and there’s the last days of Israel, which relates to what’s going to happen in the seven years of the Tribulation period.
In 2 Timothy 3:1, “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come.” It looks like he’s talking about something in the future, but when you read the whole context in the next eleven verses, he’s talking about what’s going on at that particular time with the false teachers that are coming in and disrupting the church at that time in the 1st century.
In Hebrews 1:2 the writer of Hebrews, before the end of the apostolic period says, “In these last days God has spoken to us by His Son.” He understood by the inspiration of Scripture that he was living in the last days.
In 1 John 2:18 John says, “Little children, it is the last hour.” It’s been a long hour. It’s like that atomic clock that has been one minute to midnight for decades. We’ve been in the last hour for almost the last 2,000 years.
He continues, “As you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.”
Satan has no more idea of when the Rapture is going to occur than anyone in this room or anyone in the world. In every decade, every generation, he has to have someone he’s prepared that he can move into the slot as soon as the Rapture occurs. So in every decade and every generation you can look out there and you can see someone who fits the profile.
We had Bill Clinton in the 90s. We have Obama now. Who knows who else? There was Bismarck. Before Bismarck, there was Napoleon. Then there was Hitler. Then there’s the Ayatollah or Saddam Hussein. It goes on and on.
There’s always someone who could possibly fit the mold. It couldn’t be Bill Clinton because Bill Clinton is a believer. He may not live like it, but based on the testimony of his pastor in the 80s, he clearly understood the gospel and trusted Christ as his Savior.
So, the last days or the last hour means the Church Age.
Now as we go on in the text the way it’s broken up at the end of 1 Peter 1:20 is really unfortunate because verse 21 continues the thought and there’s no break. There’s not a comma break. There’s not a semi-colon break. It just continues.
This is why I put it on the slide beginning with the last phrase of verse 20, that Christ was manifested in these last days for you who through Him believe in God. Now we have to look at that whole phrase.
“For you” means “because of you” or “on account of you”. The Greek uses the preposition DIA, but prepositions can govern different cases. If you have DIA with the accusative it’s one thing. If you have DIA with the genitive it’s going to be something else.
It’s going to be used with the genitive and the accusative in this verse and they have different senses. Some prepositions can come with one of three cases and you have to discern which case it is and make that decision. That’s fairly objective.
So DIA with the accusative has this idea of causality. In Ephesians 2:8–9 we read, “For by grace you have been saved through faith.” Through is DIA, but faith is not in the accusative. It is not because of faith; it is through faith. It is instrumentality. This is causation here, DIA plus the accusative: “Because of you”, and “on account of you”.
Then there is a relative clause there. “You who through Him” and here we have DIA plus a genitive and that indicates instrumentality or means. It is through Him, through Christ. Then it says, “we believe in God.”
It’s really easy for someone to look at this and say, “Okay, this is because Christ was manifested and through Him we believe in God, so this is how we get to Heaven. This has something to do with justification.
You would be wrong. The reason is that translating the Greek word here as “believe” leads us astray. There are two Greek words that are very similar but must be distinguished. There are times when they overlap.
You have to be careful. This is where exegesis involves not only science but also art. You have to understand and compare passages and have a good doctrinal framework.
“Who through Him believe in God” is the word PISTOS with an OS [omicron sigma] ending. When you translate this “Who through Him believe”, in English that is translated as if it is a verb. But it’s not a verb. It is a noun. A noun, though, that, as the dictionary points out, is sort of a verbal noun. There are verbal nouns and we understand that.
It has more the idea of faithfulness. John McArthur, in the first edition of his book, The Gospel According to Jesus: What is Authentic Faith? when he really started to explain his lordship views, translated Ephesians 2:8–9, which uses the word PISTIS as if it were PISTOS. “For by grace you have been saved through faithfulness.” That’s his idea of perseverance.
He corrected that. In fact he took the whole comment out in his second edition. There were several people who wrote book reviews, myself included, who pointed out the error there in the misuse of the Greek.
Here we’re talking about who through Christ are faithful in God, toward God. That’s important because what is Peter talking about? Peter is talking to these Hebrew Christians, that just as Christ was faithful and obedient to God in the midst of His fiery trials and was glorified, so, too, if we are faithful in obeying God, when we get to the Judgment Seat of Christ we will glorify God and we will receive rewards.
That’s the thrust of what he’s saying in the whole epistle. If you have that, you have what he’s talking about. So when it comes to passages like this, it doesn’t fit that what he’s talking about is how to get into Heaven when you die or how to be justified. What he’s talking about is the fact that they have been faithful toward God to this point “so that their faith, PISTIS [a different word, trust related to the faith-rest drill] and your hope [confident expectation] are in God.”
We read this “Through Him [Christ] are faithful toward God [EIS THEON—preposition plus a noun object of the preposition which indicates direction], who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory.” So Christ is glorified because He was faithful to the end and fulfilled His mission.
The result? “So that your faith [your faith-rest drill; they’re already justified] and your hope are in God.”
The use of the word “glory” reminds us that suffering in the present time is nothing compared with the glory to come. That was part of Paul’s argument in Romans 8.
Here in the introduction Peter brings in these ideas. In 1 Peter 1:6–7 he says, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith … though tested by fire, may be found to … glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” That’s what he’s talking about.
This is Phase Two faithfulness resulting in glorification of God at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
1 Peter 1:8 he says, “Whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.”
So when we look at faith and hope at the end of the verse, faith refers to the Faith-Rest Drill, the act of trusting God or mixing faith with the promises of God. That summarizes basically the spiritual childhood stage of spiritual growth. Those basic problem-solving devices, those basic spiritual skills: confession of sin, walking by the Spirit, faith-rest drill, doctrinal orientation, and grace orientation. That’s your foundation.
Then hope represents the adolescent stage: the sixth spiritual skill, personal sense of our eternal destiny.
Now next time we’re going to get into something that really gets fun in 1 Peter: 22–23.
Peter says, “Since [or because] you purified your soul in obeying the truth of the Spirit.” Is that positional or experiential? How are we going to understand this purification? Lots of interesting things in relation to that word.
The command is to “love one another fervently with a pure heart.” It is very important to understand that. It’s based upon the fact we have already been born again. So verse 22 doesn’t have anything to do with getting justified and it’s based on the Word of God which lives and abides forever.
Then we get this wonderful quotation that comes out of Isaiah 40:8, which I quote all the time that “the grass withers, and the flower fades: but the Word of our God shall stand forever.”
We’re going to have to go back and understand the context of Isaiah 40. The beginning of Isaiah 40 tells us that the Word of God endures forever. What does the end of Isaiah 40 say? Isaiah 40:31, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” Those are connected together in Isaiah 40, so we’ll go back and look at Isaiah 40 to catch why Peter is quoting this at that time. Great stuff.
“Father, we thank You for this opportunity to study these things, to be encouraged and strengthened, recognizing that no matter what the trial or test of difficulty or challenge may be today, we know You are faithful to us. If we live today in the light of eternity, trusting in You, that no matter what we may be going through, we can rest in Your provision. We can rest in Your strength and ultimately we are driving toward the Judgment Seat of Christ and glorifying You.
Father, we pray that You will strengthen us in our obedience and our focus. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”