Through Sanctification

1Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. 

‘Peter’ he was one of the 12 apostles (1Pet. 1:1; Matt. 10:2); called Simon and Cephas (John 1:42); a native fisherman of Bethsaida (Matt. 4:18; John 1:44. Peter was a married man (Matt. 8:14; 1Cor. 9:5). He ministered primarily to Jews (Gal. 2:7) and was an elder among many others (1Pet. 5). Peter went east and wrote an epistle from Babylon. Nothing is given of his death other than what is given in John 21:18-19. The theme of this epistle is to exhort believers to stand true in all kinds of suffering, and to set forth the true grace of God (1Pet. 5:12).

‘An apostle of Jesus Christ’ the Greek word apostolos meaning a delegate, one sent with full power of attorney to act in the place of another, the sender remaining behind to back up the one sent. In the case of Christians it means God sends them to do what He, Himself would do if He went.

There are twenty-four apostles recorded in the Word: Simon Peter and his brother Andrew (Matt. 10:2); James, son of Zebedee and John his brother (Matt. 10:2); Philip and his brother Bartholomew (Matt. 10:3); James, son of Alphaeus and Judas his brother (Luke 6:16) and Matthew, son of Alphaeus, perhaps brother of James and Judas (Mark 2:14; Luke 6:15); Thomas Didymus [twin] (Matt. 10:3; John 11:16; 20:24; 21:2); Simon Zelotes, brother of James and Judas, according to tradition (Luke 6:15); Judas Iscariot (Matt. 10:4); Matthias (Acts 1:26); Barnabas (1Cor. 9:5-6; Acts 13:1-3; 14:4, 14; Gal. 2:9); Andronicus (Rom. 16:7); Junia (Rom. 16:7); Apollos (1Cor. 4:6-9); James, the Lord’s brother (Gal. 1:19; 2:6; Jas. 1:1); Silas (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6); Timothy (1Thess. 1:1; 2:6) Titus (2Cor. 8:23); Epaphroditus (Php. 2:25); Paul (Gal. 1:1; 2:8); Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1). Lists of the twelve apostles are given in Matthew 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13, 26.

‘Strangers’ the Greek word parepidemos. They were Jews of the dispersion (Jas. 1:1). They were the elect or converted Jews (1Pet. 1:2).

‘Pontus’ an ancient kingdom of Asia Minor, originally part of Cappadocia, between the Black and Caspian Seas and south to Armenia (Acts 2:9). ‘Galatia’ a province in Asia Minor west of Cappadocia and south of the Black Sea (Acts 2:9). ‘Cappadocia’ a province east of Galatia and south of the Black Sea (Acts 2:9). ‘Asia’ in some places refers to the whole of Asia Minor, but here it no doubt means the province of Asia Minor with Ephesus as its capital. ‘Bithynia’ an ancient kingdom of Asia Minor south of the Dead Sea and west of Pontus (Acts 16:7).

‘Elect’ the Greek word eklektos meaning to be picked out, chosen. Four elects’ of God are mentioned: Christ (Isa. 42:1; 1Pet. 2:6); all Christians (Rom. 8:33; Col. 3:12; Tit. 1:1; John 15:16; Eph. 1:4; 2:10; 2Thess. 2:13; 2John 1:1, 13); Israel (Isa. 45:4; 65:9, 22; Matt. 24:21-31; Mark 13:22, 27; 1Pet. 1:2); and angels (1Tim. 5:21). Anyone chosen of God at any time, Jew or Gentile, is the elect of God (Rom. 9:11; 11:5, 7, 28; 1Thess. 1:4; 1Pet. 5:13; 2Pet. 1:10). All men are called to become God’s elect or chosen ones and can be if they will choose God (Matt. 11:28-30; 20:16; John 1:12; 3:16-20; 6:37; Eph. 1:4; 2Thess. 2:13; Jas. 2:5; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 17:14; 22:17).

‘Foreknowledge of God the Father’ the Greek word prognosis meaning to have a perceiving beforehand. Here and in Acts 2:23 refers both to God seeing ahead that He would have to send a Saviour to redeem man from the fall (Rom. 8:29-30). No single individual is chosen, elected, foreknown, or predestined to be saved or lost without his personal choice and responsibility in the matter (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17). It would be cruel impartiality – an unjust regard for one and an unjust disregard for another – and not divine justice for one to be chosen by God to be saved and another to be damned. God offers grace to all alike. His invitations, promises, provision, and warnings of punishment are general. All people are invited to choose life and are warned of eternal punishment if they do not do so. It is inconsistent with man’s probation for God to elect some to be saved and some to be lost.

‘Sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ’ Three ways to become God’s elect: Through sanctification of the Spirit; through obedience to the gospel and through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. All three things take place at once – when we get salvation. This is plainly taught here and in 2Thessalonians 2:13. God has from the beginning chosen us to salvation through the sanctification of the Spirit and to believe in the truth (John 17:17). No man can receive salvation except through these two things. It is folly to claim salvation without sanctification and belief in the truth.

‘Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied’ we are constantly warned to be diligent that we may be found of Jesus Christ in peace, without spot, and blameless, and to beware that we, like the backsliders of 2Peter 2:1-22, who are being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from our own steadfastness and that we might grow in grace, and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2Pet. 3:14, 17-18).

Jesus and Thomas

John 20:24-31 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. Then said he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. Jesus said unto him, Thomas, because thou have seen me, thou have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name. 

‘Thomas’ the third mention of him in John (11:16; 14:5; 20:24). He is one of the 12 apostles, called also Didymus (twin, 20:24; 21:2; Matt. 10:3; Mark 3:18; Luke 6:15; Acts 1:13). He is known as “doubting Thomas” because he doubted (20:25), but on the same basis, we can call all the apostles doubters and unbelievers (Matt. 28:17; Mark 16:11-14; Luke 24:11, 25, 41). He simply had not been with the others when Christ had appeared. He missed out by not being faithful to gather with the rest, and so it is today (Heb. 10:25). He is thought to have laboured in India and left many Christian converts. There, idolatrous priests tortured him with red-hot plates. Then they cast him into an oven which had no effect on him. They then pierced him with spears while in the furnace until he died. Jerome says that his body, unconsumed, was buried at a town called Calamina.

‘I will not believe’ all unbelief is unreasonable, obstinate, rebellious, prejudiced, presumptuous, insolent, stubborn, self-willed, boastful, insensible, hardening, and deceitful. Thomas’s unbelief was temporary as we can see how much faith he had in the eternal life Christ provided for all who choose to believe.

‘After eight days’ the 8th day after the last meeting of Christians on the first day of the week (20:19) the second Sunday after the resurrection – Thomas went to the gathering where the other disciples were. Again Christ appeared with them and gave the usual salutation (20:19, 21, 26). The doors were again shut, emphasizing again that resurrected bodies can go through material substance without an opening. He simply appeared in their midst, as on other occasions and after teaching them He vanished out of their sight (Luke 24:31). Six more Sundays after this 18th day after the resurrection made 50 days, the day of Pentecost. His time on the other 4 Sundays while He remained on earth with them was spent in teaching (Acts 1:3). The 40th day, or Thursday, He ascended (Acts 1:11), leaving 10 days until the 2nd Sunday after His ascension and the 7th Sunday after His resurrection, which was the 50th day or Pentecost (Acts 2:1; Lev. 23:15-16).

‘Thomas with them’ Thomas was not with the first gathering of Christians (20:19), but when he heard that they had seen Jesus alive and that He had appeared to them on the first Sunday, he was determined to be present on the next time when they were to gather again. Jesus, as usual, satisfied the doubting and unbelief of Thomas (20:27-28).

‘My Lord and my God.’ This is not a mere exclamation, but one of the plainest and most irresistible testimonies of the deity of Jesus Christ. Whether he did feel the nail prints and the spear wound in the side is not stated. He was the first to give the title of God to Jesus, other than the prophets in predicting these events (Isa. 9:6-7; Psa. 45:6-7; etc; cp. John 1:1-2; 5:17-47; 10:33-36; Acts 20:28; Php. 2:5-11; Col. 1:15-18; Heb. 1:8-9).

‘Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed’ no special blessings are pronounced on those who have seen God over those who have not seen Him.

‘Signs’ referring to the two signs of 20:19 and 26, or to all the many signs of the gospel (Acts 1:3; Heb. 2:1-4; Mark 16:15-20; etc.).

‘Which are not written in this book’ here was the chance for the writers of the apocryphal gospels, of which they were not slow to avail themselves. What we need to know have been written, adding or taking away from God’s Word have serious consequences (Deut. 12:32; Rev. 22:18-19). The apocryphal books were not written or approved by prophets; they were not recognized by the Jews as inspired and a part of Scripture. The last Old Testament prophet predicted that the next messenger coming to Israel from God would be the forerunner of Christ (Mal. 3:1). Most of the Apocryphal books were written during the period between Malachi and Christ when God did not give Word. The books contain statements at variance with the Bible history and they are self-contradictory and in some cases opposed to doctrines of Scripture.

‘That you might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you might have life through his name’ To prove beyond all doubt that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah and God’s Son and that we might have full redemption and the benefits of the gospel by faith.