The Old Testament form of this blessing is on the lips of David: May the Lord now show you kindness and faithfulness. It counterpart in the New Testament heightens the meaning of God’s mercy and grace. Grace signifies God’s love in action in the person of Jesus Christ on behalf of sinners.
Peter opens his letter, a letter that is not written to the faithful in Jerusalem, but to those that are spread out upon the earth. Those that have been dispersed by the dispersion. He writes it to the very elect.
How are they the elect? Because they have a foreknowledge of God the Father. They have a knowledge of the process of sanctification of the Spirit. They have a knowledge that they must obey and preach the gospel message of Christ’s sacrifice. To those that are the very elect, “Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
Although Peter worked with Gentiles, his primary work was among the Jews who had accepted or by the prompting of the Holy Spirit were about to become Christians. His words hold true to us today. His words are written for the Christian, or the one who is about to become a true follower of Christ. But his words can also bring encouragement and conviction upon the non-believer as well.
Some find Peter a little difficult to follow for he adheres to the style of writing that modern writers no longer use. That being the of long descriptive sentences. Modern writers are encouraged to break along descriptive sentences down to smaller sentences making it easier for the reader to follow. Lost is some of the beauty and detail that came through from the more descriptive writers of the past.
Researching and studying history is my hobby and having literally read hundreds of diaries, letters and books from the early 17th century to the end of the 19th century, I have learned to love and appreciate the longer more descriptive sentence structure of past writers. Perhaps that is why I have grown to enjoy the two letters of Peter.
One last statement about early Christian writers is that they typically start their letter with their name and then the name of the recipient. Peter and most of the other New Testament letter writers include some type of statement about God, Christ or the Holy Spirit and some sort of blessing to those that would be receiving the letter. In first chapter of I Peter we see this same thing in verses 3-12 which in the Greek was one long sentence. Some modern translations have broken it into three separate sentences.
As we will see, the book of I Peter speaks of salvation through the resurrection of Jesus through the faith of the believer. It looks to the future inheritance of those that remain faithful. But, it does leave the smallest hint that to those who remain faithful, they will experience temptation and persecution.
Because we have been saved by the sacrifice of Christ, verse 13 shouts out “Therefore” getting our attention and calling each Christian to action. The New Revised Standard Version perhaps better captures the meaning of this phrase “Gird up the loins of their mind” where it says, “Prepare your minds for action” (I Peter 1:13).
Whether you are asking that special boy or girl out on a first date, preparing for a job interview, or going off to war, there is a certain amount of preparation that must take place. You must be mentally prepared for whatever happens.
Chapter one of I Peter is about letting go of past mistakes and becoming obedient children of the heavenly Father through our brother Christ Jesus. Because we strive to be Holy through Christ Jesus, we become Holy. Not of our own effort, but as it says in verse 22, “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart. “
How is this possible? Because we have been born again, not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible. What is incorruptible? The pure word of God which lives and abides forever” (verse 23).
Because of sin we are all susceptible to death and unless Christ returns soon we will all enter the grave. But we have the hope, that because we have prepared our minds with the word of God that we will be resurrected on the great day of Christ’s return, because God’s word is sure.
“But the word of the LORD endures forever, Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (I Peter 1:25 – 2:3).
When we gird our minds, prepare our minds, to receive the gospel truth, then as babies desire their mother’s milk, so must we desire, as new born Christians, the pure milk of the gospel. Why? That we may grow in Christ, and as we grow in Christ we leave behind our old self that is made up of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and all evil speaking. Instead of these things we now desiring to reflect the character of God.
Because the word of the LORD endures forever and all else passes away when we prepare our minds to receive the things of God. Therefore, let us gird our mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Christ, through the Holy Spirit is calling you, calling me, calling all his earth children to be holy.