A Systematic Expository Study of the Word of God


Special Study




1 Peter 1:17-21


In the immediate previous verses, Peter had reminded and challenged us of our higher calling - the calling to a life of holiness. A preacher once wrote: The church of God must be holy - it is founded by a holy God upon holy principles for holy purposes. She has been redeemed by a holy Saviour with a holy sacrifice and dedicated to holy service. Her great glory is the Holy Spirit whose influences and operations are all holy. Her law Book is the holy Bible, her armoury is the holy covenant, her comfort is holy prayer, her convocations are holy assemblies, her citizens are holy men and women; she exists for holy ends and follows after holy examples. The whole purpose for which God has called us into fellowship with Him is that He might display His holiness through us and be examples of holiness in a dirty world.


Peter, inspired by the Holy Spirit, continues in our present text by instructing us to consider the great price of our redemption which is also the means of our holiness. We are sojourners or pilgrims here, he reminds us and while walking through this wilderness, we should be conscious of the heavenly Father who is watching all our steps, actions, thoughts and lives. His judgment is pictured as immediate and impartial, yet fair and future.


Always holding the purpose and price of our redemption in our minds will make us to uphold the priority of holiness in our lives. And with the power of Christ's resurrection working in our hearts, there is the possibility of having a pure heart and living a holy life consistently.



1 Peter 1:17; 1 Chronicles 29:15; Hebrews 11:13-16; 1 Peter 2:11,12; Romans 2:9-11; Colossians 3:25;  Romans 11:20-22; Philippians 2:12-15; Hebrews 12:28,29.


"Ye call on the Father ... " so "pass the time of your sojourning here in fear". We are sojourners or pilgrims here, life is short; but our walk and work in this short life determine our eternal destiny and condition hereafter. We are not yet "at home", we are journeying home. This season of desert-wandering is appointed by Divine wisdom. Throughout life, God, our Father and Judge, evaluates our walk and work, and at the end of life, He as the impartial Judge will examine our work to determine our eternal destiny.


Our fellowmen may regard us highly because of what they see of us and because of what they do not know of us, but each of us must eventually appear before Him who is "no respecter of persons",  and who will estimate us and our service with justice and impartiality. Men may praise us and approve of our actions, but their praise and approval is nothing now and will be much less than nothing on the day of judgment. Standing higher, God looks deeper and sees the purpose and motive behind all our actions. "By Him actions are weighed"! (1 Samuel 2:3).


Because "the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear" (1 Peter 1:17). Without reverence and godly fear we cannot serve God acceptably (Hebrews 12:28). We are not to fear earthly troubles and trials, but as we think of the all-seeing eyes of God watching all our actions and we think of the end, think of the coming judgment, we live in the holy fear of God. If we think often, as we should, of ourselves standing before the judgment throne of God, we shall say like the Psalmist, "My flesh trembleth for fear of Thee and I am afraid of Thy judgment" (Psalm 119:120). The christian fears to offend God, who spared not His own Son; he fears to dishonour the cross of Christ; he fears to grieve the Holy Spirit of God. Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, said, "Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do. But I will forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear Him, which after He hath killed hath power to cast into hell; yea, I say unto you, Fear Him" (Luke 12:4,5). The Old Testament commands, "serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling". Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man" (Psalm 2:11; Ecclesiastes 12:13). The New Testament also commands us, "Be not highminded, but fear". "Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling". "Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear". "Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear" (Romans 11:20; Philippians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:17; Hebrews 12:28).



1 Peter 1:18,19; Psalm 49:7,8; 1 Corinthians 6:20; Matthew 20:28; 1 Peter 2:24; 3:18; Matthew 26:28; Ephesians 1:7; Hebrews 9:12-14;  Acts 20:28; Isaiah 53:3-7,11; 1 Corinthians 5:7,8.


Our redemption was effected at a great cost. "Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold ... but with the precious blood of Christ". That redemption is through our Lord's death, not through His life, or example, or holiness, or mediation, but, as Scripture invariably says with unwavering consistency, by "His Blood". God Himself bore the penalty of human guilt that He might righteously extend His mercy to the guilty.


The meaning or the original idea of "redemption" is 'purchase from slavery'. We are redeemed, that is, delivered by Christ's blood from guilt and condemnation, from the love and practice of evil. Redemption includes deliverance from the bondage of sin - sin no longer holding the will and the affection. Sin masters a man, fetters his will, and binds him with iron chains of habit, which holds him in spite of resolutions and a pricking conscience. Redemption through Christ's Blood breaks the chains and fetters and sets him free from slavery to sin.


"Ye were redeemed from your vain conversation (conduct, manner of life) received by tradition from your fathers" (1 Peter 1:18). The word "vain" shows the emptiness, hollowness of sin. No man gets the good which he expected by his sin". It is as when an hungry man dreameth, and, behold, he eateth; but he awaketh, and is empty" (Isaiah 29:8). Sin is vain, it yields no result that satisfies. A godless life is a wasted and barren life. "The precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot" redeems us from sin and its vanity. Christ makes us free from sin, from the penalty and guilt of sin, from the love and practice of sin, from the bondage and dominion of sin. Sin's reign had its fortress in our will and affection but Christ's death, His redemption, has broken the yoke and cast out the usurper; now Christ is enthroned as the rightful Lord in our hearts.



1 Peter 1:20,21; Genesis 3:15; Micah 5:2; Galatians 4:4,5; 2 Timothy 1:9,10; Acts 2:23,24,32; 3:14-16; 4:10-12; Romans 4:22-25; 1 Peter 1:3; Romans 10:9,10; Philippians 3:10.


"Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifested in these last times for you" (1 Peter 1:20). The incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ were not the result of a change of purpose to meet unforeseen circumstances; they were foreseen and foreordained in the eternal counsels of God. The sacrifice of Christ was foreordained from all eternity. Christ was manifested in due time. Christ's manifestation - His death, His resurrection, His ascension - was all for us sinful men, that our faith and hope might be in God. We are not worthy of this unutterable love, this tremendous sacrifice but He loved us so, and counted it not too great a price.


"Who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory" (1 Peter 1:21). The New Testament is a continuous witness to our Lord's resurrection. The Gospels carefully record it; the book of the Acts presents it as the chief theme of apostolic preaching; the Epistles base the whole of Christian doctrine and life upon it. God, who raised Jesus from the dead, gave Him glory. It was in obedience to the Father that Christ endured pain, humiliation, and death. So it was by the will of the Father that Christ partook of glory.


What a redemption this is which is based on God's eternal purpose! And what a hope which goes back through all time, and finds its foundation in the everlasting thought of God! "That your faith and hope might be in God" (1 Peter 1:21). God did all this that we might believe in Him! The resurrection of Christ encourages faith in God, a righteous Ruler, a gracious and forgiving Father. A risen Christ also awakens and sustains hope. His resurrection fills us with hope. Christ had promised that where He is there we will be if we believe in Him. He is in heaven, on the right hand of God. Believing in Him, we have the purifying hope to be where Christ is, to see Him as He is and to be made like unto Him.





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