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. (1 Peter 1:2)
Today’s congregational reading takes us to the beginning of the epistle of 1 Peter. I find myself perplexed trying to decide which part of the first chapter to use as the subject of this article. This chapter is jam packed with many different doctrines some of which go to the deepest part of God’s word. Most of you that know me well would expect that I would be drawn to the second verse in which Peter mentions one of my favorite subjects of scripture, the doctrine of election. Proper understanding of this doctrine is what I would call a sea change. It radically alters our view of self. The heart of man is naturally against it. We will not come to it easily and yet when God opens our eyes of understanding it begins to sink into the soul and overwhelms us with His graciousness. It is not popular doctrine because it is designed to take away our bragging rights. It removes any thoughts that in any way we have part in our salvation.
The second verse also contains the doctrine of sanctification. Not only is the sovereign God singularly responsible for His choice of lost sinners, but it is also His work alone to make them fit to enter into fellowship with Him. The scriptures teach that we are vile and wicked while God is perfectly righteous and holy. If I could put it this way, we cannot sit in the same room with God. His holiness cannot allow any sinner to approach Him. For this, we must be changed. We must be made holy in order to come into His presence. This is what the Holy Spirit does in our sanctification.
A third doctrine taught in this verse is the end to which we have been chosen. We are chosen to obedience. We are chosen to follow Christ and produce good works for His kingdom. We are chosen to obey the commandments of Christ which is the evidence of our salvation. The absence of these good works reveals that sanctification has not taken place—that we have not been purged from our sins. All those that are chosen, called, justified, and sanctified will be conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29-30).
A fourth doctrine found in this verse is the means by which all of this is accomplished. It is by the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. It is by His sacrifice on the cross that our sin debt to God is satisfied. We are released from the guilt of our sins and justified in the sight of God by this once for all offering that Christ made on the cross. All of the doctrines of God’s word are centered on this all important fact. If not for Christ’s blood, our election could not result in salvation. If not for the cleansing of His blood, we could not be sanctified in order to fellowship with God. If not for the power of His blood to change our wicked hearts, we would never have the desire to obey God.
This brings us to another wonderful doctrine that differentiates the chosen from all others on the planet. We have peace with God and we have the peace of God. Peace with God is achieved because we have been reconciled to Him. The hostility that exists between us has been removed. God’s wrath has been appeased and now we are considered children of God and recipients of His divine favor (grace). We have the peace of God—a calmness and quietness in our souls that tells us as the song says, it is well with my soul.
Isn’t it amazing that all this is found in just one verse? We haven’t even begun to consider the rest of the chapter! It is easy to see why I am perplexed about what to choose for an article since we will read the first twenty-one verses. What does this tell us? You need to do some investigation. Don’t let the congregational reading be your only venture into God’s word in this week. As Jesus said, “Search the scriptures.” There is much to be discovered that will thrill your soul!
Pastor V. Mark Smith