Kept By The Power of God
June 26th, 1960 @ 7:30 PM
1 Peter 1:3-5
KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 1:1-9
6-26-60 7:30 p.m.
Almost to the back of your Bible, turn to 1 Peter, and we read the first nine verses. The letter of Simon Peter, a general epistle, not addressed to one person, not addressed to one church, but addressed to a large group scattered over the empire, called a general epistle, a general letter, 1 Peter the first chapter, the first nine verses. The sermon this morning was an introductory one on Simon Peter himself, and the sermon tonight is going to be on the election of God, the gifts of heaven. Now everybody let us read it together, 1 Peter 1:1-9:
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:
Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
[1 Peter 1:1-9]
That is one of the finest passages ever to be read in literature, in the Bible, one of the most meaningful. It is so filled, so packed, every syllable so full of spiritual connotation, pretty hard reading it, to assimilate it all. So the sermon this evening will be a breaking of it up. We will just start with the first word and proceed right through the text, through the fifth verse, and see if God will not bless us as He speaks to us through this inspired passage.
Simon Peter says that he is writing a letter to the parepidēmos , to those strangers living in a foreign country, in another land, in a strange land, to the Diaspora, translated "scattered abroad throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" [1 Peter 1:1]; all of those Roman provinces in what you now call Asia Minor, in what you now call the Asian continental part of modern Turkey. Now when he refers to them as parepidēmos, sojourners, strangers, he does not mean that they are not natives of say, Cappadocia or Galatia or Asia or Bithynia or Pontus, but he means by that, that they are strangers in the earth; they are pilgrims in this world. Their inheritance, as he shall mention later, and their home is in another land, it is in another country, it is in another place; it is not here, it is in heaven. So he calls them parepidēmos, strangers, sojourners, pilgrims.
Then he delineates them further, he calls them the Diaspora. Now the Diaspora is an ancient word which first referred to the Jewish families that were scattered abroad when Samaria was destroyed, when Jerusalem was destroyed, when the kingdoms of Israel and of Judah were taken captive [2 Kings 17:23-24, 25:11]. The Jews that were scattered abroad were called the Diaspora, the scattering. Now, Simon Peter refers to Christian Jews, these who are pilgrims and strangers in the earth, who are scattered among the cities and the provinces of the Roman Empire [1 Peter 1:1]. And the reason Peter writes to the Diaspora of the eastern part, the Byzantium part of the Roman Empire, was that the ministry of Peter was in that part of the world. Simon Peter never ministered in the western part of the Roman Empire. Simon Peter was never in Rome; he was never a minister of the gospel of the Son of God to the Gentiles, but his ministry, according to his own definition, and according to which he gave the apostle Paul and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, his ministry was to the circumcision, to the Jewish people [Galatians 2:9]. And the ministry of Paul and Barnabas and the rest of them was to the Gentiles, to us. Simon Peter never ministered to the Gentile people, nor was he ever in the western part of the Roman Empire, nor was he ever in Rome. And when somebody comes along and on the authority of somebody else, who on the authority of somebody else, who on the authority of somebody else, who on the authority of somebody that somebody conjures up out of some limbo of a wild imagination and says that he is buried on the Vatican hill in the city of Rome and over that hill is built a certain great church that is the figment of the wildest imagination! There is not a shred of foundational truth for it. It is something that somebody has conjured up. It is something that somebody has imagined. It is something that somebody would like to be true. There is not a grain; there is not a part; there is not a smidgen; there is not a speck; there is not an iota; there is not a minutia of truth in it. "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the parepidēmos, to the strangers, to the pilgrims of Jesus, of the Diaspora scattered throughout Pontus" [1 Peter 1:1], that’s in the east, "Galatia," that’s in the east, "Cappadocia," that’s in the east, "Asia," that’s in the east, "and Bithynia," that is in the east." That is, the ministry of Simon Peter was altogether over there in the east; and in that east, he died.
Now, Simon Peter was a great apostle and believer and exponent of the unsearchable riches of the message that he delivered from God. He believes in election, and he believes in foreknowledge. "Elect," he says, "according to," he says, "the foreknowledge of God" [1 Peter 1:2]. Doesn’t that wipe away and destroy a whole lot of the theology that is manmade, and written in these tomes? This man says the elective purposes of God chose even you, and the reason you are saved, the reason you know Jesus, and the reason you are here tonight is because of the elective purposes of God for you!
Why were not you born a Hottentot? Why weren’t you? "Well," you say, "preacher, I wasn’t born a Hottentot because I chose to be born an American citizen." You are a liar, that’s all you are. You don’t speak the truth, nor do you know the truth. You had nothing in the world to do with the fact that you weren’t born a Hottentot. It was the elective purpose of God that made you white and made you an American and set you down here in this earth. God did that by His elective foreordained purpose.
Why weren’t you born a hundred years ago? "Well," you say, "preacher, you don’t know me. I chose to be born in this twentieth century instead of being born in the nineteenth century;" you don’t know what you’re talking about. The elective purpose of God reached down to you, to the smallest fragment and parcel and piece of your life! And the reason you are where you are is because of the mercy and grace of God.
Why aren’t you dead? Why are you alive here tonight? "Oh, preacher, you don’t know. I am the master of my soul, and I am the captain of my fate." That’s what the infidel says. There are a lot of folks here in this town that are out there in the cemetery. And they’re out there in the cemetery, most of them, not because they chose to be there, but there is the providence of heaven that guides life and destiny into the grave, just like it guides life and destiny into this service tonight. Let me tell you something, any time you get blue and discouraged and down and out and think everything is against you, just remember, there’s a lot of folks out there in that cemetery that would like to change places with you. You are better off than you think. You are better off than you think. "Elect," he says, "according to the foreknowledge of God" [1 Peter 1:2]. These things do not surprise Him, nor do they take God unawares, nor do they slip up on God’s blind side. "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God."
Then he believes in the Trinity. He speaks of God the Father, and the sanctification of the Spirit, and the blood of Jesus Christ [1 Peter 1:2]. He is a great fundamentalist, isn’t he? He believes in the Trinity. Then he makes a beautiful salutation, greeting. Charis, grace, was the Christian greeting; and shalom, peace, was the Hebrew greeting. "Grace unto you, and peace; charis and shalom," beautiful indeed [1 Peter 1:2].
"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again, unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3]. Grateful to God, he says, for the abundant mercy that led us into the kingdom of Christ. And he’s speaking of the glorious salvation that we have in Him. "Blessed be God, how grateful we are to Him, who hath begotten us again according to His abundant mercy" [1 Peter 1:3].
Then He didn’t choose us because we were finer than anybody else, or better than anybody else. He didn’t choose us because we are handsomer or prettier, nor did He choose us because of our good works or because of our deserts or because of our merits. Like Titus 3:5 says, "According to His mercy He saved us . . . Not by works of righteousness which we have done." Not because you are a good man, because you are not a good man; not because you are a superior somebody, you are not a superior somebody; not because you are not a vile sinner, you are a vile sinner; not because you do not deserve the damnation and judgment of hellfire, you do deserve the damnation and judgment of hellfire. The reason you are not damned and the reason you are not lost and the reason you are not condemned is because of the elective purpose of God in you: "According to His mercy He saved us" [Titus 3:5]. Whenever you walk down the street and you see men that are lost, and you know Jesus and are saved, it is nothing that you have done, and it is nothing that you have deserved; it is just according to the grace of God that you have not been electrocuted, or that you are not in somebody’s gas chamber, or that you don’t face death tonight as a vile, undone, lost sinner. It’s the grace of God, it’s the mercy of God, that has led us into the kingdom and patience of our Savior.
"Blessed be God," he says, "the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us" [1 Peter 1:3]. We are born again into the kingdom of God by the love and grace of Jesus [Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:5]. I cannot understand. Just according to His mercy; His goodness to us; He saved us. The same mercy that made it possible for me to be born in a country where the gospel is preached, the same mercy that let us open the doors of this church and gather this great throng together, the same mercy reached down and touched my soul when I was a boy and led me to give my life and my heart in trust to Jesus, and the same mercy has reached down even unto you. "According to His mercy He hath begotten us again" [1 Peter 1:3].
Now when we are born the first time into this life we are born with gifts. Here is a body that clothes my soul. There are talents and abilities and opportunities and things that God gives us when we’re born into this life. We are born with gifts when we come into this life. When we are born into the life that is yet to come, when we are born into the kingdom and patience of Jesus, when we’re born into the kingdom of heaven we are born into gifts. And he names four of them here. We are born "unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3]. We are born, when we are born again, "to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" [1 Peter 1:4]. Third, we are born, we who are born again are kept by the power of God through faith [1 Peter 1:5a]; God holds us. And fourth, we are born again unto "a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" [1 Peter 1:5b]. That is what the apostle says. I don’t think those things up. I don’t conjure them up. I don’t initiate this message. All I am is a voice, and a loud one at that. All I am is a harbinger; I’m a trumpet, I’m a proclaimer. I don’t originate the message, I just read it here in the Book, and I tell you what God says.
What does God say? He says first that when we are begotten, when we are born again, we are born "unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3]. Now Simon Peter knew all about that, "born again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead." There was a time when the hope of Simon Peter was in this world and in this life. Simon Peter was looking forward to the establishment of an earthly kingdom, and Simon Peter was looking forward to the day when he would be the prime minister of that earthly kingdom. And when he looked on his personal fitness for that place, he said, "All of these other disciples may deny You, but not I. I will be true and stand by You to the end" [Matthew 26:33-35; Mark 14:31]. And when Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross [Matthew 27:32-50], every hope that he had for that earthly kingdom perished in the dust of the ground, and when he himself fell into cursing and swearing and denying the Lord [Matthew 26:69-75], he lost every bit of the boastful vanity of his own personal egotism. It died there, that awful night and day of the cross [Luke 22:62]. But it didn’t stay dead. He fell into the despond of despair and into the nadir of bitterness, but he didn’t stay dead. "He has begotten us unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3]. And when the Lord was raised from the dead He said to those messengers, "Go tell the disciples and Peter that I am alive, and I go before you into Galilee" [Mark 16:7]. And when Simon Peter heard that message, hope revived again, and he lived in the presence of God. Every regenerated man is like that; every man that is saved is just like that.
The second chapter of the Book of Ephesians says that we are without God and without hope in this world [Ephesians 2:12]. The first verse of that second chapter says that we who are unregenerate and unbelievers, we are "dead in trespasses and in sins" [Ephesians 2:1]. But we who were dead, and we who had no hope, and we who were strangers to God, we have been adopted into the household of faith; we have been quickened in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead [Ephesians 2:5-6]. When He died, we died; and when He was raised from the dead, we were raised from the dead. And our hope is a living hope for it is in our union inseparable with Jesus. And if Jesus fails, we fail. If Jesus doesn’t live, we don’t live. If Jesus is not victorious, we are defeated. But if Jesus is alive, we are alive. And if Jesus is victorious, we shall be victorious; for our souls are knit with Him, and we are identified with the cause and the program and the kingdom of Jesus our Lord. "We are begotten unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3].
I couldn’t illustrate that any better than in baptism. In our baptismal services that you saw tonight, those who were baptized, they were buried with our Lord in the likeness of His death, dead with our Lord; they were raised with our Lord in the likeness of His resurrection, a new life, living with Christ [Romans 6:3-5, 8]. It is the same thing as that battle between Goliath and the Philistines and David and the people of God. Everything hinged upon that identification. The people of God identified themselves with David, and the people of the uncircumcised Philistia identified themselves with Goliath. And those two champions met face to face. And David was triumphant and victorious [1 Samuel 17:40-50]. We have identified ourselves with our greater David, with Jesus Christ the Son of God, the Son of Adam, the Son of Abraham, and the Son of David. And when He was victorious, we were victorious. When He won the victory, we won the victory [1 Corinthians 15:55-57]. When He died to the world [Matthew 27:32-50], we died to the world. And when He was raised to live in the sight of God [Matthew 28:1-7], we also were raised to live in the sight of God. "We are begotten unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3]. That is why death is nothing to a Christian. We are already children of the resurrection [Luke 20:36]. And this thing you call death is but a translation from this weary world of tears and toil to the glorious liberty that comes with the redemption of our purchased bodies in the everlasting kingdom of our Lord [Ephesians 1:14].
"Begotten unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" [1 Peter 1:3-4]. Those are beautiful Greek words that he uses there. I had it all prepared to make an exegesis of that passage there. I haven’t time, I haven’t time. "To an inheritance, klēronomia an inheritance," that is a paternal estate; the thing that the boy inherits who is the firstborn son of his father, a klēronomia. And a klēronomos is an heir, as Paul says in the eighth chapter of the Book of Romans, "We are heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ" [Romans 8:17]; an inheritance. And what about that inheritance? It is incorruptible, aphtharia, it is incorruptible. It is undefiled. It is amianton. It is one that fadeth not away, amianton [1 Peter 1:4]. You have a beautiful, poetic word. An amaranth flower is one that doesn’t fade. An amaranthine hope or kingdom or message or gift would be one that doesn’t fade away; it stays forever. So this unfading kingdom that God had given to us.
Could I illustrate that inheritance? One of the Rothschild’s, one of the Rothschild’s, one of the richest men in the world, thought to support his family and to take care of them as long as they should live through their generations by establishing a trust for them, and he bought,. Just like today, if you were setting up a great surefire trust for your family or your children you would do a lot of it in government bonds for the best securities in the world, we say, are the bonds of the American government. The taxing power of the American government – and believe me that’s big – the taxing power of the American government is back of those bonds, and the word of the American people is back of those bonds, and the destiny of our nation is back of those bonds. So we were doing something that would never fade away, never dry up and never wither away, we’d establish a trust with government bonds in behalf of a family or a child or somebody that you wanted to love.
Look what Rothschild did: in his day the finest government bonds were German and Russian, and he bought German and Russian bonds in order to secure an unfading – that word, that word "fadeth" [1 Peter 1:4], not to wither away, not to dry up" – he bought German and Russian government bonds in order to have an estate that would never perish, never fade away, never wither away. You know what happened: the government bonds of Germany were not worth the paper they were written on; the government bonds of Russia were even worth less than the ink that it took to print them. And the estate that he made dried up and withered away.
"Our inheritance," he says, "is incorruptible, and undefiled, that fadeth not away, where moth and rust doth not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal [Matthew 6:19]; reserved in heaven for you" [1 Peter 1:4]. There it is, where it can never be defiled, where it can never be touched, where it never can be corrupted, where it can never dry up and whither away. There it is in heaven, waiting reserved for you, tēreō, to keep firmly, to hold endlessly and forever." There it is in heaven reserved for you [1 Peter 1:4]. You! God has your name written on an estate up there in glory [John 14:2-3]. There’s a mansion up there with your name on the mailbox. There’s an estate up there that God is holding for you by the mighty power of the Almighty, it is yours! And some of these days you will enter into the possession of it because it is kept in heaven for you!
I read this week of a poor fellow that was dying in a slum in London, and a minister had been called for to go see the poor wretch before he died. And when the minister walked in the door and looked, the room was so squalid and the poverty was so regnant and felt, and the dire illness of the man was so tragic that the minister unconsciously, without thinking, uttered an exclamation of sorrow for the pitiful condition of that wretched dying man. And when the poor fellow heard what the minister said, he said, "Why man, why man, no, no," he said, "think of my prospects, think of my prospects; may be poor in this world, think of my prospects, may be wretched and miserable in this world, think of my prospects, "an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you" [1 Peter 1:4].
Then the third thing, "Who are kept by the power of God through faith" [1 Peter 1:5]. Isn’t that a magnificent thing? You know he uses a language there that comes out of the military administration by which the Caesars held the Roman Empire. The word phroureō means to garrison. And it comes from an old, old military term phrouros. And phrouros is the old military term for a sentinel, a guard, a soldier watchman, a sentinel, a phrouros. And on that old military term of a sentinel the Greeks built that verbal form of phroureō, which is translated here "who are kept, phroureō, who are kept by the power of God." What Peter uses is a word that has a great deal of imagery and meaning to these people who live in that day. "Who are garrisoned by the power of God."
Now, in Simon Peter’s day the empire was kept, it was held by the strong fist of the Roman Caesars with Roman outposts that were everywhere. All through Pontus and through Galatia and through Cappadocia and through Asia and Bithynia and all the other of the provinces of the Roman Empire, everywhere there were those military garrisons that protected the interests of Rome. Now that is the word, the military word, that Simon Peter uses with regard to our souls and us who are in the kingdom and patience of our Lord Jesus. "We are garrisoned," he says, "by the power of God" [1 Peter 1:5].
Like America is garrisoned. And that’s why the communists fight us in Asia, they fight us in Africa, they fight us in Japan, they fight us in the Pacific, they fight us in the east and the west, and the north and the south, what’s the matter with Russia? It is because our country is protected by these outposts that are in the Pacific; they are in Africa; they are in Asia; they are surrounding Russia like you were to put a display in a hardware store, and in the center of it you put a hammer, say, and then saws all around it, pointing to that hammer. That is the same way that the American government has done, and our military has done with Soviet Russia. We have ringed Soviet Russia around with military establishments in every section of this globe and in every point of the compass. And don’t you be afraid, my friend, if Russia does anything, if they start any war, they may hurt us, but the minute that Russia begins that war there will come down on them from the north and the south and the east and the west and from the isles of the sea, and from these flattops we have floating on the bosom of the ocean, there will be rained down on Russia hydrogen bombs and atomic bombs and every other kind of incendiary that you can conceive of. That’s why Russia is not going to start a war: they don’t dare. And any time the free American world kowtows or bows to the threatening and blustering of that crackpot Napoleon named Khrushchev, we are soft in the head as well as in the hand or the arm. Stand up to him and say, "Yes and no," and mean it. We can.
Same thing they had in the Roman Empire. The whole empire was garrisoned by those outposts, just like the United States of America. Do you remember when we were in the Second World War and these convoys were taken across the sea to fight on the battlefields of the Pacific and in Europe? Do you remember how they went? They were convoyed by an umbrella of air power overhead, by a fleet of submarines in the ocean underneath, and by those destroyer escorts to the right and the left and before and behind. That is the way God says He has us. "We who are phroureō, who are garrisoned by the power of God through faith" [1 Peter 1:5].
Now that word "through faith," that is the medium by which God keeps us [Ephesians 2:8]. That’s the medium by which God reaches down and holds us. That’s like the electric wire through which the current goes. That’s like the radio, television set, the receiver. That’s what faith is in a man. God gives us that. That’s built in the soul and in the heart, and that’s the medium by which we receive this keeping power of God. And we who are born into the kingdom of God, we are kept by that power unto that salvation, ready to be revealed at the last time [1 Peter 1:5]. We’re down here in enemy territory, Simon Peter says. We are besieged on every side by Satan, he says. We’re in this world of sin and death, Simon Peter says. And we face our enemies everywhere we turn, Simon Peter says. But don’t you be afraid, don’t you be afraid. You may be besieged, but you’ll never be swept away. You may be attacked, but you’ll never be overwhelmed and overcome. To change the figure, you may fall down on the deck again and again, but you never fall overboard. Or to change the figure, you may be scorched and burned, but you’ll never ultimately be burned up. You are kept by the power of God [1 Peter 1:5].
May I reason on that just a minute? When we are born into the kingdom of God we are given eternal life. "And I give unto them," says Jesus, "eternal life; and they shall never perish," John 10:28. "And whosoever believeth on Him shall not perish, but have eternal life," John 3:16. And how long is that? That’s forever, because God keeps us by the power of His mighty arm. We are garrisoned by all of the celestial hosts of the forces that roam through the heavens and direct the destinies of the nations of this earth. You’re not going to lose the battle, and you’re not going to fail of that inheritance. You’re kept by the power of God [1 Peter 1:5].
For one thing, if your salvation depends upon you, then you are doing the saving and not God. But the Book says God’s the One that does the saving. Another thing, if you are born into the kingdom of God, you can’t unborn anybody. If you have a son or a daughter, you can’t unborn that son or that daughter once that son or that daughter is born. And another thing, if your salvation depends upon your being good, then brother, let me have a gun and let me have ammunition and the best thing I could do for you is to shoot you in one of your better days so I’d know you’d go to heaven and not to hell. There’s no sense to it. There’s no rhyme or reason to it. If a man is saved and really saved, he may go away, he’ll always come back. If he doesn’t come back, he was never really saved. If a fellow’s got a sheep heart in his soul, he may fall in the mud and the mire and the muck and the dirt, but he doesn’t like it, he’ll get out, he’ll get out, he’ll get out. "Who are kept by the power of God through faith" [1 Peter 1:5a].
And this last, "Unto a salvation ready to be revealed at the last time" [1 Peter 1:5b]. There are three ways – and I have a sermon here and haven’t time to deliver it – there are three ways in which the Bible speaks of our salvation, speaks of it as past sometimes, speaks of it as present sometimes, speaks of it as future sometimes. Our salvation is spoken of sometimes as past. That is, God has delivered us in the faith of Jesus Christ [Ephesians 2:8]. When we come down this aisle, when we tell that preacher, "I take Jesus as my Savior," God has delivered us then and there from the wrath of God [John 3:36], and the judgment day of God, and the damnation of sin, and from the penalty of iniquity and wickedness [Romans 6:23], and God has delivered us from hell and the fires and the flames of all of the burning torments that lie ahead [1 John 3:14]. That’s past. When a man is saved, when he trusts Jesus as his Savior, he is delivered from the penalty of sin [1 John 2:2].
Then sometimes salvation, in the Book, is spoken of as being present, we are now being delivered from the power of sin [Romans 8:2]. The Holy Spirit sanctifying, the Holy Spirit of sanctification in our hearts [1 Peter 1:2], He is delivering us from the present evil world that beseeches us.
And then sometimes, as here, salvation is presented as being in the future [1 Peter 1:4]. It’s going to be full and complete some day from even the presence of sin. "Unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time apart from sin unto salvation," Hebrews 9:28. The last verse in that glorious ninth chapter of the Book of Hebrews – on which I preached for six solid months here in this pulpit – salvation in the future, a full deliverance from even the presence of sin. There will be a new heaven; there will be a new earth; there will be a new society; there will be a new fellowship; we shall live in a new body [1 Corinthians 15:42]. "A salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" [1 Peter 1:5b].
Look at the word he uses here, "ready to be revealed, apokaluptō, to be unveiled, apokalupsis, the unveiling," and he uses that word three times in this chapter. Look over here in the eighth verse, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory" [1 Peter 1:8]: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of Christ [1 Peter 1:9],unto the praise and honor and glory as at the appearing, the apokalupsis, in the seventh verse, "the apokalupsis of Jesus Christ," translated there "appearing" [1 Peter 1:7]. Over here in the thirteenth verse it’s translated revelation, "Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" [1 Peter 1:13]. Simon Peter believes that there’s something other greater and beside than what we see in this life, and what we see in this world. To die is not the end of it, and the ultimate reach and purpose of life is not for the worm and not for the dust and not for the grave. But the great outreach of a man’s life goes clear up to heaven, to the highest glory of God. "Unto a salvation ready to be apokalupsis, apokaluptō, to be unveiled at the last time" [1 Peter 1:5].
There is a veil that separates that other world from us. We don’t see the Savior; He entered into the veil, beyond the veil [Hebrews 9:7]. And we don’t see these that have preceded us into the glory land that is yet to come. There is a veil that separates; the veil of our flesh. But someday, he says, there’s going to be revealed, there’s going to be an apokalupsis, there’s going to be an unveiling of all of that glorious world that is yet to come, when our Lord Jesus Christ is unveiled before our eyes [1 John 3:2].
Oh that beautiful, glorious home of the soul. In my visions and dreams, I see its bright lights, the jasper walls, the glory of a new world that is yet to come [Revelation 21:10-11]. And sometimes, but thinly veils in between, that glorious celestial city, and the pilgrims and strangers who not in Pontus or Galatia or in Asia or in Bithynia, but the strangers and pilgrims of God in the earth who live in America and who live in Texas and who live in Dallas, and who are here in the divine presence tonight, hearing this preacher expound and exegete a passage from the immutable, enduring Word of God our Savior [Psalm 119:89; 1 Peter 1:25].
What a prospect. What a hope. What a life. What a glory. What a triumph.
O Grave, where is thy sting? O Death, where thy victory?
Thanks be unto God, that giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your work is not in vain in the Lord."
[1 Corinthians 15:55-58]
We are headed toward heaven. We’re on the glory road. We’re marching to Zion.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto, one, a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
To an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled . . . reserved in heaven for you.
We who are kept by the power of God, garrisoned, and to a salvation ready to be apokalupsis, unveiled, revealed, in God’s elective purpose and at God’s appointed time.
[1 Peter 1:3-5]
Man, hold my hand while I shout. Why shouldn’t a Christian sing? Why shouldn’t he live triumphantly? Why shouldn’t he be bright and triumphant and victorious and happy and glad through all of the vicissitudes of life and all the turns of fortune? Man, think of our prospects.
Bless His name. While we sing this song, somebody you in that balcony round, give his heart to Jesus tonight, would you come and stand by me? Somebody you on this lower floor, tonight, giving your heart in faith to Jesus, would you come and stand by me? Is there a family here, come down that aisle; give your heart to the Lord, the whole family of you? Is there somebody here tonight to give his life with us in this church? Would you come? "Pastor, I belong to a church somewhere; I’m putting my life with you in this, we’re going to pray together, we’re going to work together, we’re going to worship together, going to be down here to listen to you preach when you open that Book and try to expound unto us the unsearchable riches of the Gospel of the Son of God."
While the Spirit of the Lord makes appeal to your heart, and He opens wide the door, would you come? "Here I am, preacher, and here I am; I make it now, I make it tonight. God helping me, here I stand." Would you? "I’ll trust Him for the rest. Don’t understand, may not be able to see my way through. He understands, and He has the power to see me through. Here I come. Just by faith and just as I am, here I stand. Here I stand, right by your side, preacher. Give you my hand, giving my heart to God, trusting Him for the way today, tomorrow, to the end of all this life, for the world that is to come, forever and ever, here I am." Would you? Would you make it now? While we stand and while we sing.
KEPT BY THE POWER OF GOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 1:1-5
A. Peter writes to the diaspora(1 Peter 1:1)
1. Parepidemos – strangers, sojourners, pilgrims in the earth
2. Christian Jews scattered among eastern part of Roman Empire
B. He believes in the Trinity, election and foreknowledge(1 Peter 1:2)
C. We are saved, begotten again, by the mercy of God(1 Peter 1:3, Titus 3:5)
1. First birth born into world with gifts
2. Second birth, born into gifts of the kingdom of heaven
II. A living hope through the resurrection of Jesus(1 Peter 1:3)
A. A personal experience of Peter (Matthew 26:33-36, Mark 16:6-7)
B. The personal experience of every regenerate man
1. Lost man is without hope(Ephesians 2:1, 12)
2. When Jesus died, we died with Him; when He was raised, we were raised with Him
a. The picture of baptism
b. As David was representative of people of God, fighting Goliath, Christ our representative in the crucifixion(1 Samuel 17:45)
III. An inheritance incorruptible(1 Peter 1:4)
A. Kleronomia – a settled possession, the paternal estate (Romans 8:17)
B. Aptharia – incorruptible, undefiled
C. Amianton – does not fade away
D. Tereo – to keep firmly, to hold on endlessly and forever
IV. Kept by the power of God(1 Peter 1:5)
A. Phroureo, "to garrison" – from phrouros, an old military term for a sentinel, a guard, a soldier watchman
1. A strong imagery and meaning to the people in that day
B. With regard to our souls – we are garrisoned by the power of God
1. Like America is garrisoned
C. Faith the medium by which God keeps us
1. When we are born into kingdom of God, we are given eternal life(John 3:16, 10:28)
V. A salvation ready to be revealed at the last time
A. Three ways the Bible speaks of our salvation – passed, present, future
B. Our salvation will be full and complete some day(Hebrews 9:28)
C. Apokalupsis – the unveiling (1 Peter 1:5, 7, 13)