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About-Him.Com Devotional 11-07-2009

First of a Series on I Peter

I Peter 1:1 ¶  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,  

Peter addressed his first epistle to Jews who were living throughout Asia Minor, as a result of the Babylonian and Assyrian captivities and later the invasion of the Romans. He writes as an apostle of Jesus Christ.  Jesus set the office of apostle first in the hierarchy of His church (Eph. 4:11). The original  apostles had been personally called by Jesus (Mk. 1:17, Eph. 4:1). They left their jobs and followed Jesus for three and a half years.  
After the resurrection, over a period of forty days, Jesus gave them commandments pertaining to the kingdom of God (Acts 1:3).  Jesus sent them forth with a commission to preach the gospel  to the whole world ( Mt. 28:19-20, Mk. 16:15-16).  The authority of the apostles was recognized from the very first days of the church. We read that after the Spirit fell at Pentecost, the early church continued steadfast in the apostle’s doctrine.  A holy fear and respect came upon each of them and signs and wonders were performed by the apostles (Acts 2:42-43), even to the extent that people were healed by coming under the shadow of Peter (Acts 5:15). I would say that the  credentials for the office of an apostle are were pretty well established.  

Ephesians 2:20 tells us that are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. Ephesians 3:1:5 lets us know that the mystery of Christ has been revealed to the holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit of God. Given that, I believe that we can bank our eternal salvation on what they wrote in God’s word. The words of the apostles and other ministries ordained by Jesus are timeless. They were ordained to instruct us in the knowledge of the Son of God so that we might be perfect and measure up to the stature of the fullness of Christ  (Eph. 4:11-13).  

2  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 wrote to the elect. Israel was primarily God’s elect (Isa. 45:4), but after their rejection of Christ, the gentiles were grafted in (Ro. 11:17). We are all children of Abraham by faith in Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:7). We are the elect according to the foreknowledge of God. God knew that Adam would disobey and that a sacrifice for sin would be needed.  He also knew who would obey the gospel and who would reject it.  Jesus shed His blood for our redemption and His blood is the only basis for our salvation.  The gospel is preached to all. Some will accept and some will reject, according to their own free will.  When we hear the word preached the Spirit of God quickens our spirit to receive it. If we receive Him, we are  born of God’s Spirit and receive power to become His sons (John 1:12-13).  

II Thessalonians  2:13  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:  

Obedience to the gospel is essential in first believing and to continue in the faith.  

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?  

Judgment is promised to those who do not obey the gospel.    

II Thessalonians  In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ:    

1Peter 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?  

Romans 16:19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all [men]. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.  

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;  

Jesus made an unequivocal statement: Those  who believed and were baptized would be saved and those who rejected the sacrifice of Christ  would be damned (Mk. 16:15-16).  Those are hard words but Jesus also said that He would never cast out anyone who came to Him (Jn. 6:37). In John 7:36-37 the invitation is given to “any man” to come and drink from the living water of the Spirit, and in  Revelation 22:17 the same invitation is given to “whosoever will” and as the old song says, “Whosoever surely meaneth me.”  

I found this quote on the internet, “So, election involves: God’s redemptive plan, Christ’s sacrificial death, the Holy Spirit’s revelation of the truth, and man’s obedience to the same!” I believe that sums it up pretty good.  

3 ¶  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,  

We bless God because it is by His abundant mercy that we are born anew into His kingdom. Do you fully comprehend His mercy? I don’t but I thank Him for it.  His word fell on the fertile ground of my heart and is in the process of springing up and bringing forth fruit.  

Matthew 13:23 But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth [it]; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.  

James 1:18 Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.  

When we heard the word of how Jesus died for our sins and rose again, we were quickened by the Spirit to believe, repent and  forsake our sins (Mt. 4:15; Mk.1:15).  Obedience to the gospel is an absolute essential. We have to enter into God’s kingdom through the door that He had provided. Jesus said that He was the door to the sheepfold. If we enter in, we will be saved and can go in and out and find pasture (Jn. 1:9) There is no provision for the one who refuses to accept God’s free gift.  

4  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,  

Isn’t it great to know that we are heirs of God. Some rich men of this world, leave vast fortunes to their children. If perhaps that fortune was in G.M. stock, that great fortune is now worth next to nothing. Not so with the inheritance that we all will receive from our Father. It is incorruptible, undefiled and it won’t fade away.  It is reserved in heaven for us. That is an absolute promise from an absolute God.  

In the meantime we have been blessed with a down payment  of the inheritance  that we shall receive. We sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3,2:6) and  have become recipients of God’s Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13-14), and we function as kings and priests unto Him (I Peter 2:9; I Cor. 1:30).  

The Lord willing, we will continue on in I Peter next week.  
Somebody Has Said
"Nobody ever got anything from God on the grounds that he deserved it. Haven fallen, man deserves only punishment and death. So if God answers prayer it's because God is good. From His goodness, His lovingkindness, His good-natured benevolence, God does it! That's the source of everything." -  A.W. Tozer in The Attributes of God.  

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Don and Marie Spooner
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