The Expository Files


The Work of Deity in Our Salvation

1 Peter 1:1-2

There is much to discuss when studying 1 Peter 1:1-2. At first glance, the Bible student might quickly dismiss these verses as merely the standard greeting the apostles used when writing an epistle. But, these verses, comprising of just fifty-six words in the New American Standard Version contain two powerful doctrinal statements concerning the Christian faith. In short and concise statements, Peter establishes gospel doctrine on the Godhead and on Deity's desire for mankind's salvation.

In verse two, three Persons of the Godhead are mentioned. God the Father, the Spirit, and Jesus Christ are all mentioned as active participants in the salvation of mankind. The work of the Father is seen in His choosing those who reside as aliens through His foreknowledge. Because God has chosen Christians, after their birth in Christ, they become as aliens in a strange land while living on earth. Later in his epistle, Peter reiterated the fact that Christians are only temporary residents on earth, 1 Peter 2:11. See also Philippians 3:20. The Father is responsible for our transitory stay. Peter says that He chose or selected Christians. This selection is based upon our willful compliance with His terms of forgiveness. Our calling and election is purely conditional. In his second letter, Peter would write, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you, for as long as you practice these things you will never stumble, 2 Peter 1:10. As long as we choose to remain faithful to God through obedience to Christ we can remain part of the chosen few. The plan to redeem mankind from sin was implemented before the foundation of the world. Through His foreknowledge, God set into motion His design to save mankind from sin.

The work of the Spirit in our salvation is seen through His sanctifying work. What is the "sanctifying work" of the Holy Spirit? We might say that it refers to the active process of making mankind holy. The Spirit constantly works to make us holy and acceptable in the sight of God. But, the Spirit's work is not alone. We must respond by putting on holiness. Later, Peter writes, like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all of your behavior, 1:15. Of course, we learn how to put on holiness through our reading and application of the Word of God. Note verse two very carefully. Why does the Spirit sanctify those that are chosen? The answer is seen in that they obey Jesus. When we do our best to become imitators of God (Ephesians 5:2), the Spirit pronounces us justified and acceptable in the sight of God.

Finally, we see Jesus' part in our salvation. If the Father in His foreknowledge, devised the plan of man's redemption and the Holy Spirit revealed the message of salvation through the word of God, then it is Jesus who executed God's plan by willingly coming to earth and shedding His blood for our sins. Jesus redeemed and purchased Christians through the shedding of His blood. Peter writes, you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ, 1:18-19. Those who obey Christ have been sprinkled in His blood, 1:2. This phrase is metaphorical in that it alludes to an Old Testament practice mentioned in Exodus 24:1-8. Just as those under Moses' law were purified after being sprinkled with blood, we are purified when coming into contact with the blood of Jesus through the waters of baptism, 1 Corinthians 6:11; Hebrews 10:22.

God, in His foreknowledge, devised a plan whereby mankind can be saved. We have the right to freely accept or reject His terms of pardon, grace, and forgiveness. When we choose to obey the commands of Jesus then we can be assured that salvation is ours! Deity has and continues to do its part in helping mankind be saved.

Have you been saved from your sin? Do you believe that Jesus Christ has the power to forgive you of your sin, John 1:29? Do you believe that He is the Son of God, resurrected on the third day, and now reigns in heaven? Will you repent of your sins, Luke 13:3? Are you willing to confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Romans 10:32-33? And, will you submit to Jesus by being baptized, coming into contact with His blood, Mark 16:16? Why not respond today?

By Matthew Allen
From Expository Files 14.10; October 2007