Home » Various Sermons » The Salvation Longed for 1 Peter 1.8-12

The Salvation Longed for 1 Peter 1.8-12

[Quick Note, this was the sermon I did for Easter this year, figured why not post it).

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. ” – 1 Peter 1.8-12

Introduction –  The remembrance of Easter is the remembrance of that singular event that has had an effect on the world ever since. It is the event that accomplished what so many had hoped for and longed to see. It is the hope of the prophets that we can experience easily. This event was the coming of their messiah, Jesus, who died and rose again, breaking the power of sin in our lives. It is Salvation.

We have what has been sought since the fall, we have the hope yearned for by all the saints of the Old Testament. It is a “living hope,” as Peter says in 1.3, “through the resurrection of Christ.” This was not just some event hoped for in a blind sort of way, something that was accepted and left at that. No, this was an event that the prophets sought to know all they could of it, the who, what and when.

Simply put we have and experience the hope that the angels do not understand and that prophet’s longed to see fulfilled. We have every reason to set aside a special day and to celebrate this is what God has done for us, this day is the remembrance of that event that has allowed you and I to say I am a child of God. Do we truly appreciate what happened this day?

We look this day, at a passage in Peter’s first epistle that readily speaks to us as it did to those believers in the first century and as we think about this resurrection day, it should bring to mind some of the wonders that happened on this day over two centuries ago. For as we look back, over what Christ has done, we need to look forward as well, for Christ is going to do, what it is we hope for, and for that matter, what our hope is based upon.

“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,” – 1 Peter 1.8

Peter is speaking to a group of people who in some ways are quite like ourselves in that though they had come to believe in Christ they had never seen him in his earthly ministry.[1] If we were to read the previous verse we would read that we have this living and true hope of one day seeing him, when Christ returns, but as for now he is unseen.[2]

But our passage opens us with Peter reminding his readers that their faith and certainly our faith is based upon a person whom we do not see and yet our hearts are filled with love and joy at his very mention.

Though we have not seen Christ we love him, the Greek word is agape here, that strongest form of love there is.[3] Moreover, Peter was not commanding his original readers to love with an agape love, but instead as result of Christ’s work in them, they naturally love him.[4] This too, is the sort of love that is within the heart of ever true believer, that when we think of Christ we are filled with a love that more than temporary and that is stronger than a sort of friendship love.

We love him with the utmost that is within our being. And why not? Remember what it is that we are celebrating in part this Easter. Remember what Christ willingly did for us!

Alongside this love of Christ we have, and perhaps a very key part of it, is the faith we have in him as well. As John Phillips noted, “Faith and love go forward into the future hand in hand.”[5] And as Schreiner wrote “Believing is not based on seeing.”[6] Besides as Jesus related in John 20.29, “Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Though may be a little disconcerting that we have never seen the object of our faith and love, this element of the Christian belief is no different from the vast majority of believers, even in the early apostolic church. It is the power of God. It is the test of our faith. We have not seen our savior, but still we know he is there, and though doubt may appear here and there something within us, compels us to acknowledge him as lord. That even in the moment of a twinkling of disbelief we can say God I belief, help me unbelief.

The main point of this verse however, is not our faith and love, but rather that these produce within us a joy and a desire to worship Christ despite lacking the sight of him![7] Moreover if we take into account Peter’s audience and the reason why he is commending them for the joy they show, we would realize that they were under persecution, they had lives filled with troubles, but that nevertheless, they have risen above because of Christ and had joy despite everything else.[8]

We have a living hope, we have hope that despite everything that we go through, there is coming a time when Christ will return. This time, is a time of future blessing which will make our present suffering seem as nothing.[9] As our minds our tuned to the Cross and resurrection of Christ, this day above all days, we need to remember that this is temporal. That there is coming a better a day. We need to stand up and shout with joy and worship and thank God for what he has done! This day above all days may God be praised.

“obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” – 1 Peter 1.9

What is the outcome of our highest love and our deepest belief? It is salvation. The salvation we receive is of our whole souls, and Peter is not just talking about the immaterial part of us, instead he is referring to our whole self, as Schreiner put it, “our life, our self-identity.”[10]Peter tells his hearers that they are “receiving,” their salvation, his point here is that we immediately experience the affects of salvation, but in there is further blessings later at Christ’s return.[11] We daily see that the Lord is good, that God is good despite whatever else is happening, that we have evidence of his care.[12]

Our belief in Christ is centered on what he has done for us in the past, his actions on the cross bringing us to salvation. However, our belief extends beyond that, and looks toward the hope of his return.  We do not have a dead savior and we do not have God who is far away. Instead, Christ is alive, and God is always with us, but there is coming a day when Christ will return and when he returns what day that’ll be. We look not only for what has done for us, but our God is so amazing that we can look forward and see what is going to do.

“Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully” – 1 Peter 1.10

We may be sure of this future hope and our salvation because Christ’s death and resurrection is a fact, but it is also fact based upon prophesy.[13] Peter gives us this truth, that as we are believers in Christ we are fufillers of ancient prophecy.[14]  Like Peter’s original hearers we have this privilege of being in a time when salvation has been fulfilled; Christ has come.[15] That is what Peter means by the “grace that was to be yours.” This salvation that we can have so freely is far different from what the old testament prophets had experienced. [16]

In many ways the prophets were only given bits and pieces of the future, they in reality were left with quite a riddle and yet they searched and inquired trying to solve this mystery.[17] Their search was one of intention and one of the greatest care, they sought with all of their being to figure out what this grace that we know so freely was all about.[18]

An example of this appears is seen in Daniel 8:15; “When I, Daniel, had seen the vision, I sought to understand it. And behold, there stood before me one having the appearance of a man.” Moreover, it seems likely that the latter OT prophets made use of the earlier in trying to figure out what was to come.[19] They would also have sought the Lord as the Psalmist in 119.2 LXX(NETS) said “Happy are those who search out his testimonies; wholeheartedly they will seek him.”

We have the gospel to look back on and we can read all that God deemed important for us to know of Christ and his ministry, his death, and his resurrection. What the prophets sought to know, we can easily, and we too need to search and inquire of the scriptures with the utmost care and seek to know God to know the Gospel.

“inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.” – 1 Peter 1.11

The prophets were aware of a time that was coming that was unique and special, that it was not in their time.[20] The prophets knew little about this time, but they did know it to be “a time of grace.”[21]

That their prophecies came from God is indicated by Peter’s comment of the Spirit of Christ working within them, the prophets of the Old Testament were looking forward based on God’s words not their own.[22] By the by, it is the same Spirit who spoke through the Prophet’s that speaks through the Gospel.[23]

Part of what was seen in the Old Testament prophecy was that of Christ’s suffering, note for example Psalm 22; 60; or Isaiah 53.[24] (One could also look toward the Old Testament types, like Joseph’s rejection, Moses, etc).[25]  Christ moreover, is not just an example of how to respond to persecution and trials in our lives, but he went through the ultimate test, and why, to save us from our sins![26] Why should we not honor him this day of all days?

The main content of the prophecies of the Old Testament is in many ways the content of the Gospel especially as it is seen within the New Testament.[27] That is Christ died and rose again, that he did so for our sins. The time of these things were, however, unknown to the prophets.[28]

But also tied to the passages of the suffering messiah, are those that spoke of his glory, that spoke of what maybe called his millennial reign.[29] The prophets as we do looked toward a time when Christ was going to come again and when God would rule upon the earth.

The prophets long desire to know at what time the messiah was to come, they knew that the Messiah was coming, but never the time.[30] In many ways their longing to know the future is no different from the longing of the apostles or even Christians today as to what time Christ’s return will be.[31] However, we have seen partial fulfillment of God’s prophecy, Jesus has come, Christ has brought salvation.[32] Because of this, we can have hope that in the future Christ is going to come

“It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. ” – 1 Peter 1.12

Though the prophets longed to see the days of the Messiah, God revealed to them that it was not to be in their day.[33] As much as the prophets tried to figure out about their message and as much of it that they remained in the dark about, the prophets did know that the message was for a future generation.[34]

Peter here reveals that an aspects of the Old Testament’s prophet’s ministry was a ministry directed not to themselves or their community, but instead to those on the other side of the cross.[35] Some of these prophecies belong to the age of the church and thus they truly are directed toward us.[36] It is more than that these prophecies also apply to the Church, it is that they were intended for the Church.[37]

The prophets’ message was one of looking forward to fufillment, but Peter also announces that this has been made known through the Apostle’s message, through the preaching of the Gospel, which actively speaks of its fulfillment.[38] And as already noted both are divinely led. This, by the way, is a further indication that the authoritiy of the New Testament and Old Testament are both based on God.[39]

The main point of this section is that believers are blessed, we are blessed to have here in full the salvation long promised for, but we are also blessed to see the fulfillment of prophecies of the Old Testament.[40] It is a similar statement Christ noted, “But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17  For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” Matthew 13.16-17

“The angels reflect with delight on God’s saving actions. More specifically, angels do not experience the gopsle in the same way as human beings since they are not the recipients of redemption.”[41] Schereiner goes on further, “Old Testament prophets saw it from afar, and angels marvel  when gazing upon what God has done in Christ, while the Peterine readers, actually experience.”[42]

 


[1] Schreiner, 69.

[2] Schreiner, 69.

[3] John Phillips, Exploring the Epistles of Peter: an expository commentary (Grand Rapid: Kregel Publications, 2005), 50.

[4] Schreiner, 69.

[5] Phillips, 51.

[6] Schreiner, 69.

[7] Schreiner, 69-70.

[8] Schreiner, 70.

[9] I. Howard Marshall, New Testament Theology (DownerGroves: IVP Academic Press, 2004), 644.

[10] Schreiner, 71.

[11] Schreiner, 70.

[12] Marshall, 644-45.

[13] Marshall, 645.

[14] Schreiner, 71.

[15] Schreiner, 71.

[16] Schreiner, 72.

[17] Phillips, 55.

[18] Schreiner, 72.

[19] Schreiner, 72.

[20] Phillips, 57.

[21] Phillips, 57.

[22] Schreiner, 73.

[23] Schreiner, 73.

[24] Phillips, 58.

[25] Phillips, 58-59.

[26] Marshall, 649.

[27] Schreiner, 73.

[28] Schreiner, 73.

[29] Phillips, 59.

[30] Schreiner, 74.

[31] Phillips, 57.

[32] Schreiner, 74.

[33] Schreiner, 74.

[34] Phillips, 59.

[35] Schreiner, 74.

[36] Phillips, 60.

[37] Schreiner, 74.

[38] Schreiner, 75.

[39] Schreiner, 75.

[40] Schreiner, 75.

[41] Schreiner, 75-76.

[42] Schreiener, 76.

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