Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 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:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
- Peter is an apostle of Jesus Christ
- The letter is written to the elect who are in exiles as a result of the dispersion.
- The letter is written to the exiled elect in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Birthynia
- God knew beforehand who were the elect and that they would be exiled.
- The elect were exiled according to God’s foreknowledge.
- The elect exiles were in the sanctification of the Spirit.
- The elect were exiles for obedience to Jesus Christ.
- Peter prayed that grace and peace to increase among the elect exiles.
Peter is writing this letter to the elect. That is to those who have been redeemed by the atoning death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God knew before the creation of the world who He would elect for salvation.
The whole idea of election and predestination is controversial in the church today. And we need to carefully consider it before we teach one thing or another. Some will claim that there is absolutely no such teaching as predestination in the scripture. They claim the holy thing was made up out of whole cloth by John Calvin. Not only does such a statement demonstrate extreme ignorance of church history, but even worse denies the scripture. The scriptures themselves use the very word, predestination. Ephesians 1 is a prime example, where Paul repeatedly says we have been predestined. Therefore, the concept of predestination is obviously taught in scripture.
Others will claim that we are predestined because God foreknew we would respond positively to the gospel. This view obscures the grace of God. It claims it is our merits, foreseen by God, that distinguish the reprobate from the elect, or sinner from saint. In this view, we prove ourselves worthy of salvation by what we choose or will choose. Scripture says repeatedly it is God’s will which determines our salvation, not our merit. Therefore, when Peter calls them elect according to the foreknowledge of God, he is saying the cause of their election depends on nothing else but God. It is God’s foreknowledge. But knowledge of what? Knowledge of us. God chooses based on his will not ours. It is God’s own will that has chosen us. (Ephesians 1:5,11) This excludes everything done by us, what we will do or want to do. It depends on God alone. (Romans 9:16)
God then sanctifies us by an effectual call, that is, God’s calling us results in our obedience to His righteousness. When Peter mentions the sprinkling of the blood of Christ he is invoking the image of the sprinkling used under the Law. It was not sufficient for the sacrifice to be made. The blood needed to be sprinkled on the people. The contrast Peter is making is that the priest sprinkled the blood of the sacrificed animal. It is the Holy Spirit who sprinkles our souls with the blood of Christ for the reparation of our sin.
Our salvation comes from the gracious election or selection of God but it is made fast or certain by the experience of faith as God sanctifies us by His Spirit. Therefore, election is not separate from calling or faith.
Because our salvation is depends on the grace of God and not on our works or our will, we can rest confidently in our salvation. If I sin I know it is covered by the blood of Christ. I know God will preserve me and protect me. Why? It is not because I have earned it or deserve it. I most assuredly have not. It is because God the Father has made a promise to God the son. God keeps His promise. He cannot lie. God does not change. My hope has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with me, it rests entirely on God. That is why I can be sure of my salvation and my inheritance.