1 Peter 1:1-2
Today, we take just one verse, but one so full of wonder. Speaking of those exiles scattered abroad Asia Minor, Peter calls them, “elect,” another word for “chosen.” And about their having been chosen, the Apostle continues, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood.” That’s quite a mouthful which affords so much theology and comfort for the people of God. Let’s take each phrase one at a time.
“To those who are elect exiles…according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Please understand that when the New Testament speaks of God’s foreknowledge, it does not mean that which God saw ahead of time that we would do or would happen. We do not worship a God who reacts to our decisions or the world’s doings; we do not worship a God who mops up after us. We worship a God who is sovereign over all. He foreknows because He foreordains, and one thing He has foreordained are those who will be His people. Jesus said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me…that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me” (John 6:37-39). God calls those whom He predestines and foreknows (Romans 8:29-30). There are too many passages of Scripture to post here, so let us suffice it to say, the Father gives unto the Son a people for whom he gives his life on the cross.
But we move too quickly. Interestingly enough, Peter does not move from the Father to the work of the Son but to the work of the Holy Spirit whose task it is to apply the blood of Christ to our lives in that sanctifying work which begins with our rebirth. It is that new birth that is the manifestation and proof of the Father’s prior election of the believer, for it is the new birth—that work of the Spirit within—that causes him to believe the good news. That good news concerns the “sprinkling with his blood” which is the forgiveness of our sins. But it is even more than that: Through the Spirit’s continual sanctifying work in our lives, the blood of Christ continually cleanses us of sin as we submit to and obey him. Hear 1 John 1:7: “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.”
The purpose of God’s choosing us, the Son’s shedding his blood for us, and the Spirit’s birthing us anew is so that God may have a holy people to worship and obey Him that He may call His own. And we couldn’t be that on our own—God had to make it happen. And that’s just what He did!