Safe In God: The Glories of the Son
August 19th, 1973 @ 7:30 PM
1 Peter 1:1-5
SAFE IN GOD: THE GLORIES OF THE SON
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 1:1-5
8-19-73 7:30 p.m.
On the radio of the city of Dallas, you are sharing with us the services of the First Baptist Church; and this is the pastor bringing the message from the first chapter of 1 Peter; the message is an exegesis. It is the message I had prepared for the morning hour, but because of the launching of our second year of our First Baptist Church school, and because the evening message I had prepared so fit the launching of that school in its second year, Feeding the Lambs, taking care of our children, I delivered the evening sermon at the morning hour, and now the morning sermon at this hour. It is an exegesis, that is, we are going to look at the inspired words and see what it is the Holy Spirit moved the apostle Paul to write. Turn then with me, on the radio and the great throng here in this audience tonight, to 1 Peter – almost at the back of your New Testament, to 1 Peter – and we shall read together the first five verses. First Peter chapter 1, the first five verses, now read it together out loud with me:
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.
[1 Peter 1:1-5]
Now we begin with the exegesis, "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers, to the diaspora" [1 Peter 1:1]. The diaspora was a word that referred to the scattering of the Jews after the destruction of Jerusalem and the Judean state and the temple; the diaspora refers to the scattering of the Jewish people over the earth. And the apostle Peter here uses it to refer to the scattering abroad of the believers in Christ; the Jewish people who had accepted the Lord as their Savior, the diaspora through Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia; they were Roman provinces in what we now know as Asia Minor. Simon Peter was well able to direct an epistle to them because for over thirty years now he had been an emissary from Christ, preaching among those people the blessed gospel of our Lord. There is no scintilla of evidence that Simon Peter was ever in Rome; he was never in Rome. I studied that, wrote an article on it; we can follow the life of Simon Peter through every day that he lived until he was crucified. He never was in the West; he was always in the East. So he addresses his letter to the people that he knew in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, Bithynia; the great mass of the eastern portion of the ancient Roman Empire.
Now he speaks to them, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ"; so he believes in the Trinity, doesn’t he? "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God, of the Spirit, and of Jesus Christ" [1 Peter 1:2]. He is a Trinitarian, just as we are today. And he speaks of those diaspora as being Eklektos; and we have our word "elect" from it. "Elect," the called out, "eklekt," God’s saints, whom He, and the Greek word is prognōsis and is spelled exactly as you spell that word in English; according to the prognosis," pro gno," according to the foreknowledge of God [1 Peter 1:2]. There is not anything that surprises the Lord; don’t ever think it. Nor is there anything that happens except under His divine sovereignty. Satan doesn’t run this universe; he thinks he does, he supposes he does, but all of the issues of time and life ultimately are in the hands of Almighty God and according to the prognosis, the foreknowledge of God Himself. He knew we were going to be saved, and He wrote our names in the Book of Life before the foundation of the earth [Revelation 13:8], "Elect according to the prognosis, the foreknowledge of God" [1 Peter 1:2].
Then he addresses them with a Greek word of salutation and with a Hebrew word of salutation, "Grace," that’s one of the most beautiful words in the language, charis. The accusative form of it is charin; and many of our girls are named Karen. "Grace unto you, and shalom," there is hardly anyone today who is not familiar with that Hebrew word shalom, "peace." In Greek it is spelled eirēnē. If you have a girl named Irene, that is the exact Greek spelling of the word for "peace," Shalom, "Grace to you" [1 Peter 1:2], a Greek greeting, "Shalom to you," a Hebrew greeting, "be multiplied." Then he begins, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who 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]. So, he would have us believe that we are saved, begotten again, born again, by the mercy of God. As Paul would write it in Titus 3:5, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us," not because we were worthy, not because we did good, not because we merited God’s favor, but according to the abounding mercy of God. When you get to thinking about that – O Lord! How shall I praise Thy name enough that You chose me? How was I not born a Hottentot in the heart of Africa? Why was I not an Australian aborigine? Why was it that I was born in a Christian home; that I heard the gospel of Christ, that I was saved, begotten again by the Holy Spirit? [John 3:7-8]. I praise His name; according to the mercy of God, the Lord "born me again" into the kingdom of our Savior.
Now he has four things here that he says happens to us when we are born again, begotten again, into the kingdom of our Lord. When we are born the first time, we are born with gifts – with a body, with breath, with life, with mind, with heart – we are born with these gifts. But when we are "begotten again," when we are born again, we are born into the glorious riches of the gifts of God in His blessed kingdom, and he names four of them here. Number one: we are born again, begotten again, "into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." I want you to look at that a moment, "We are born again into a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3]. Now that is something that he writes out of his own personal experience, and then we are going to see how that same experience obtains for us also. That came out of the experience of the apostle Peter.
You see, there was a time when he believed that the kingdom of God was going to be an earthly, messianic empire. And then he thought that he was going to have a mighty, and a worthy, and a significant place in that earthly kingdom [Luke 22:24-30]. That is what Peter thought. Maybe he would be prime minister, or maybe he would be chancellor of the exchequer. The mother of [Zebedee’s children] asked that one of her boys, John, or one of her boys, James, sit on His right hand and His left hand [Matthew 20:20-21]. Simon Peter thought of the messianic kingdom in terms of a great world empire and it would be "King Jesus," and he’d be a marvelous leader in that earthly and glorious domain. Now, the crucifixion of Christ decimated that hope. When Simon Peter saw Jesus arrested, and He died in shame on that cross, it dashed every hope he had to the ground. And not only that, but his own personal defection and denial ruined him. He was crushed to think that, "I would do that, curse and deny my Lord" [Matthew 26:74, Mark 14:71]. And what added sorrow – ineffable, indescribable, immeasurable – to the sorrow of his heart, sorrow on sorrow; the One to whom tears might have sought forgiveness is dead and buried. You can’t imagine, we can’t enter into it, how high were the hopes of those apostles for the building of an earthly messianic kingdom, and how dashed to the ground were those hopes when they saw Jesus die [Matthew 27:45-50].
Now that’s what happened to Simon Peter, and that is why he says that, "God hath begotten us again unto a living hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" [1 Peter 1:3]. When Jesus was raised from the dead, He said to the women, go tell His apostles, His disciples, and Peter [Mark 16:7]. Again we cannot imagine the raising of the exaltation in the heart of that apostle when he saw Jesus raised from the dead [John 20:19], and when Jesus talked to him and forgave him, and loved him, and mandated him out to the glorious, marvelous work to which God had called him – all of it in the raising, the living hope of Jesus Christ from the dead [John 21:15-19].
Now that is our experience. The apostle Paul writes of us in the second chapter of Ephesians when he says, when he says, "All of us are dead in trespasses and in sins" [Ephesians 2:1]. And then later on in the second chapter of Ephesians he says, "We are without God and without hope in the world" [Ephesians 2:12]. A lost man is like that. We are without hope. All that lies ahead of us is to die some day. And beyond that is the horror of a judgment [Hebrews 9:27]. And we are lost, we are dead in trespasses and sins, and we face the judgment of Almighty God in our sins; lost, lost without hope, without God. Now that is what happens to us when we are "begotten again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead [1 Peter 1:3]. For the gospel tells us that when Jesus died we died with Him, and when Jesus was raised from the dead we were raised with Him [Romans 6:3-5]. That is why we are baptized: it is a picture, it signifies death – we are dead with Christ, when He died, we died – and our sins are buried deep, deep, deep. And when Christ was raised from the dead, when we were raised in those baptismal waters, we also were raised with Him; that is a picture.
It is the same kind of a thing as you have in the story of Goliath and little David [1 Samuel 17:1-58]. Goliath stands there representing the uncircumcised Philistines, who blaspheme, and curse, and damn the name of God! And then nobody would challenge him; and all of God’s people cringed in fear like slaves, like cowards [1 Samuel 17:1-11, 16, 23-24]. And there comes out a champion, a champion; and he represents God, and he represents the people of the Lord, and he represents every hope of the chosen family [1 Samuel 17:32-37]. And when Goliath fell and was slain [1 Samuel 17:47-51], and when David triumphed, that represented the triumph of the people of God. For the young boy said, "You come to me with a sword, and a shield, and a spear; but I come to you in the name of the Lord God which thou hast defied" [1 Samuel 17:45]. And when David slew Goliath, he was our representative, and that is exactly what the resurrection of Christ has done for us. The Lord died for our sins [1 Corinthians 15:3; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 10:5-14], for us; He was buried, our sins were buried with Him; and when He was raised from the dead [1 Corinthians 15:3-4], He was raised for our justification [Romans 4:25] – to raise us, too; to declare us righteous in the presence of God. He is our representative and we have been born again unto a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead [1 Peter 1:3].
That is why we sing about His death, glorify God in the resurrection. That is why, always, always in the household of faith there is ever that turn; no matter how dark, or how sad, or how disastrous, or destructive, or full of despair any situation may be. That is why in the house of God there is always in it that note of a better tomorrow, a resurrection day; Easter is coming, Jesus – Jesus still reigns on the throne! And that is why you will find here, "We who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed, apokaluptō, revealed at the last time" [1 Peter 1:5]. Did you ever hear of that word apokaluptō before? In the seventh verse of the same chapter he says, "That we might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the apokalupsis of Jesus Christ" [1 Peter 1:7]. And then he says again in the thirteenth verse, "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 apokalupsis of Jesus Christ" [1 Peter 1:13]. Man, that Revelation begins, "Apokalupsis," the unveiling, the Apocalypse, the uncovering of Jesus Christ [Revelation 1:1]; that’s the way it begins. It just suddenly begins like that: "Apokalupsis Iēsous Christos;" the unveiling, the apocalyptic uncovering of Jesus Christ." Three times in that passage he says we also have an apokalupsis, an unveiling, an uncovering, ready to be revealed at the last time [1 Peter 1:5, 7, 13]; all of the glories that are in Christ, every one of them. We are to share in all of them; we are "fellow heirs" [Ephesians 3:6]. That is the passage there that I haven’t time to exegete, "We are fellow heirs with Him" [Ephesians 3:6].
And when you read of all the glories of God’s Son, apokalupsis, the uncovering [Revelation 1:1], they are your glories too; God says it. If there is glory for the Son, there’s glory for His joint-heirs [Romans 8:17]. If Christ is triumphant, we are triumphant. If He comes into a kingdom, we shall come into a kingdom. If He is reigning, we shall reign [2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 22:3-5]. If He is exalted, we shall be exalted. If He is Lord of all the earth, we also shall sit on thrones [Revelation 3:21, 4:4]. It is just the most marvelous thing that mind could conceive of, what God hath done for us who place our trust in Him.
In a moment we stand to sing our hymn of appeal, and while we stand to sing it, a family, a couple, or just you, to give your heart to Jesus, to come into the fellowship of the church, to take from God’s gracious hands the gift eternal that God has for you, "Pastor, here I am, and here I come; I make the choice now, I’m coming down that stairway." Or, "I’m coming down that aisle here at the church. I’m on the way." Come, angels attend you while you respond with your life, while we stand and while we sing.
SAFE IN GOD
Dr. W. A. Criswell
1 Peter 1:1-5
A. Peter writes to the diaspora(1 Peter 1:1)
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
B. The personal experience of every regenerate man
1. Lost man is without hope(Ephesians 2:12)
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)
C. The reason we glorify God in the resurrection
1. We are to share in the glories of Christ – we are joint heirs(1 Peter 1:4)