Summary: Sermon 2 in a study in 1 & 2 Peter
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7 so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 8 and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.”
In the introduction to this study we saw that Peter began with some very matter of fact statements about God’s foreknowledge of those who were His.
Peter told the believers in these regions to which this letter would go that they were chosen by God in accordance with His foreknowledge of them, and we learned that Peter wasn’t just referring to advance knowledge of men and events but a divine foreordination. That’s why he uses the word ‘chosen’. It is why Jesus told His disciples, “You did not choose Me but I chose you”. Jn 15:16
This was not like a new coach coming to an existing team and saying to himself, ‘well, this is what I have to work with; might as well make the best of it’. He did the choosing before anyone knew they would be on His ‘team’.
When Paul first went to Corinth he wasn’t there long before he was rejected by the Jews there and went to the Gentiles with the gospel.
During the night the Lord spoke to Paul by a vision, encouraging him to go on with the work and not fear, saying, ‘for I have many people in this city’. (Acts 18:9-10)
Well, humanly speaking He did not yet have many people in that city. But He knew who was His and who He had predestined to respond to the gospel message, and the church thrived there and Paul stayed with them for 18 months before moving on.
As I’ve already noted, Peter makes no effort to defend his doctrine here, he just states matter of factly that they were chosen of God according to His will and for His glory.
Should we be proud that we were chosen for adoption by God? Puffed up maybe? Absolutely not!
We were all children of wrath, we were all dead in trespasses and sins and deserving of eternal separation from God; in fact, separated already and without hope. Listen to Paul writing to the Ephesian Christians (2:1-7)
“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”
Rather than being puffed up that we are saved and going to Heaven, as the church in our society has acted so often over past years, we should be amazed and deeply humbled that He would bestow His grace on sinners such as we. Like the song asks, ‘Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?’ Isaac Watts
Listen folks. Think about those t-shirts and those bumper stickers, please. I’m not knocking them, except that I think bumper stickers devalue a vehicle once they start looking torn and faded. But I do wear the shirts on occasion and I have no place to criticize for that. I’m just asking that you please think about the message you’re sending.