DAILY DEVOTION - MAY 1
Listen to excerpts from today's daily devotion on this video.
This Daily Devotion is from A Living Hope, by Sarah Viggiano Wright, published by Bible Study Media, and made available to us through Presbyterian Women.
“[To God’s elect]...who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead...”
1 Peter 1:2–3 (NIV)
In Luke 7:36–50, a woman who is called “a sinner” washed Jesus’ feet with her tears, dried them with her hair, and kissed them with her lips. Jesus delighted in her gratitude, saying that those who have been forgiven of much, love much (v. 47). Knowing that we’ve been delivered from much ought to inspire deep gratitude, love, and praise to God.
In 1 Peter 1:3–12, Peter is lavish with his gratitude! Having been saved himself, Peter reminds these elect exiles that they too have been saved. He models the primary response this grace should yield—doxology, praise of the triune God.
Verse 3 opens with an exclamation of praise, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...!” While the English breaks verses 3–12 into sub-sections, this is one long run-on sentence in the Greek. Peter is literally gushing about the grace that we have been given through the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. To the elect exiles who are feeling scattered, ostracized, and rejected, Peter jumps at the opportunity to greet them according to their true identity. They are known, loved, and chosen by God. They have been elected and saved by him, born-again to a new hope, raised in the resurrection of Jesus, and set apart for good works in the Spirit.
Take a moment to notice who does all the acting in this passage. It is God. It is solely and completely through God’s actions that grace and peace have been multiplied to us. God invited us into grace. His invitation wasn’t a serendipitous event nor a half-hearted decision. It was a whole-hearted, synchronized effort of our Triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—out of his lavish goodness to us. Every member of the Trinity is at work in saving us. Peter showcases this truth by unpacking each Person’s participation.
The love of the Father is evident in verse 3 as Peter praises him for his “great mercy” (éleos in Greek or hesed in Hebrew), meaning his covenantal (promised by contractual agreement), steadfast, and loving faithfulness. Peter introduces this saving grace of the Father earlier, describing it as being given to the “elect” (v. 1), “according to the foreknowledge of the Father” (v. 2). The Father’s foreknowing is not just informational, and it’s much more intimate than mere recognition, acknowledgment, or awareness. In the Greek, the word translated “foreknowing” is prognōsin, which means “to know beforehand,” or “to ordain.” This language of fore-ordaining assures Peter’s hearers that they belong to the Father and are of great significance to him. God’s foreknowledge really signifies a fore-loving. Before the foundations of the world, those foreknown by the Father were chosen to have a deep, personal, gracious intimacy with the Divine! For them and for us, this is God the Father’s deliberate, unconditional, and permanent choice—to claim us and to love us. He invites us into the loving fellowship of the Trinity.
God’s love for us is revealed to be even more abundant when we look at the participation of the Holy Spirit. According to the will of the Father, the Spirit starts a work in our hearts that enables us to respond to God’s incredible invitation into fellowship with the Trinity. We respond willingly “through the sanctifying work of the Spirit” (1 Peter 1:2, NIV).
Grace is more abundant still with the participation of the Son. Jesus’ sacrifice—his life exchanged and his blood shed for ours—was the will of the Father. Astoundingly, Jesus, “for the joy that was set before him” endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Why? To rescue us. His rescuing us, claiming us, forgiving us, and giving us his goodness were facets of the joy that made his suffering worth enduring. Furthermore, there is a continuing purpose to Christ’s sacrifice for us—it is for us “to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood” (1 Peter 1:2b, NIV).
The illustration Peter uses of sprinkling with blood is an allusion to the ceremony in Exodus 24:3–8 in which God established his covenant with Moses. The people of Israel pledged obedience to God and were then sprinkled with the blood of the sacrifice. Peter’s referring to this ceremony serves as a reminder to his readers that they are a covenant people. In the same way as their forefathers pledged obedience to God during the time of Moses, so they too are now to live transformed lives, “obedient to Jesus Christ,” because of the sacrifices made for them and the promises given them.
All of these gracious aspects of God’s invitation to us engender in us a new identity, one that God gives us. All of the Trinity’s work changes who we are. Peter expounds on the Trinity’s work as hopeful encouragement for his audience to remember what is true. It’s as though Peter is pleading with his readers, “I know you may feel insignificant, unimportant, and ostracized. But you are truly chosen, ‘fore-loved,’ sanctified, and set aside for a glorious purpose. Your suffering doesn’t define who you are. God does, and he says you’re loved!”
Most mercifully, God doesn’t just invite us; he identifies with us. Jesus is the one who relates to us in our suffering and our sorrow. He is the one who voluntarily chose to save us through his identification with us in his life and death. Though he was perfect, and though he was seated at the right hand of the Father, Jesus came down to be our Immanuel, “God with us.” He further identified with us by taking our sin upon himself and giving us his righteousness. He lived the perfect life we could not live, and he died the death we deserved to die.
Peter is reminding his exiled readers that Jesus chose to be exiled. He chose to be separated from the Father to save us. He was expelled, rejected, banished, and shamed on the cross. He suffered a death we never will experience. But, Jesus conquered, rose, and triumphed! And because of his victory, those in Christ are reborn to hope—a living hope—given to us by the love of the Living God.