Peter writes to dispersed and persecuted Christians, reminding them of their identity in Christ and encouraging them to live holy lives in the face of challenges. In these verses, he connects the believers' reverence for God as Father with the transformative reality of their redemption through Christ.
- Calling on God as Father:
"If you call on him as Father..." The relationship with God as Father is foundational to Christian identity. It signifies intimacy and trust in approaching God with confidence.
- Judgment and Reverent Fear:
"...who without respect of persons judges according to each man’s work, pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear." The acknowledgment of God as a just judge prompts believers to live in reverent fear, recognizing the importance of holy living in their temporary earthly sojourn.
- The Cost of Redemption: Precious Blood:
"Knowing that you were redeemed, not with corruptible things like silver or gold..." Peter contrasts the perishable nature of earthly wealth with the imperishable value of the believers' redemption.
- The Lamb Without Blemish:
"...but with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish or spot, the blood of Christ." The imagery of a sacrificial lamb without blemish refers to Christ, whose perfect sacrifice redeems believers from the futile way of life inherited from their ancestors.
- Foreknown Before the Foundation of the World:
"Who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world..." This phrase emphasizes the eternal nature of God's redemptive plan. Christ's role in redemption was not a reactionary measure but a part of God's sovereign plan predating the creation of the world.
- Revelation in God's Timing:
"...but was revealed at the end of times for your sake." The revelation of Christ at the appointed time underscores the intentional and purposeful nature of God's plan. It was revealed in the fullness of time for the benefit of believers.
Biblical and Theological Significance:
- Judgment and Holiness:
The connection between God's judgment and reverent fear underscores the biblical theme of holy living in response to God's character. Believers are called to live distinctively, recognizing the implications of God's judgment.
- Redemption as a Priceless Transaction:
The contrast between corruptible wealth and the precious blood of Christ highlights the incomparable value of redemption. The imagery of the spotless lamb emphasizes the purity and efficacy of Christ's sacrifice.
- Foreknowledge and Divine Sovereignty:
Christ's foreknowledge before the foundation of the world emphasizes God's sovereignty in orchestrating the plan of redemption. It reinforces the biblical truth that salvation is a divine initiative rooted in God's eternal wisdom.
Application to Our Lives: Living in Reverence and Gratitude:
- Reverent Fear in Daily Living:
The call to "pass the time of your living as foreigners here in reverent fear" invites believers to navigate their earthly journey with a consciousness of God's judgment and a commitment to holy living.
- Appreciating the Cost of Redemption:
Recognizing that believers were redeemed "with precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish or spot, the blood of Christ" prompts gratitude and a deep appreciation for the costliness of their salvation.
- Living in Light of God's Timing:
Understanding that Christ was "revealed at the end of times for your sake" encourages believers to trust God's timing in their lives. It instills confidence that God's redemptive plan unfolds in His perfect timing.
Romans 8:29-30: "For whom he foreknew, he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son..." The concept of God's foreknowledge is linked to predestination, emphasizing God's predetermined plan in the salvation of believers.
Ephesians 1:4-5: "Even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and without blemish before him in love..." Paul echoes the theme of God's choice and foreknowledge in Ephesians, emphasizing the call to holiness.
Conclusion - Reverence, Redemption, and Divine Timing: 1 Peter 1:17-20 weaves together themes of reverence, redemption, and God's divine timing. It challenges believers to live with a reverent fear of God, recognizing the costliness of their redemption through the precious blood of Christ. The emphasis on God's foreknowledge before the foundation of the world underscores the sovereignty and intentional nature of God's redemptive plan.
1 Peter 1:18-20. You were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from the useless way of life handed down from your fathers, but with precious blood, as of a faultless and pure lamb, the blood of Christ; who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of times for your sake.