Author: Ron Graham
We here begin a study of the First Epistle of Peter. First we will look at the merciful and just manner in which God has treated us. In chapter one, Peter mentions seven things which God has done, or is doing, that show his great mercy and kindness toward us. Here we look at the first three of those.
God has made a choice about who shall be saved. This choice or election was made "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" (1Peter 1:1-2). There is a lot of theory and misunderstanding about the nature of this foreknowledge. However Peter makes it clear that it was Christ the Lamb who was "foreknown before the foundation of the world" (1Peter 1:19-20). God makes his choice according to that foreknowledge and purpose, namely that Christ should "appear in the latter times" (1Peter 1:20).
It was always God's purpose that Christ would come, and that all those who believe and obey him would be chosen. There is a doctrine that God's purpose in election is unclear, his counsel secret, and election is unconditional. That doctrine is wrong. God's purpose was to save every person who would respond rightly in faith and obedience toward him who, in grace and mercy, provided the "precious blood of Christ as of a lamb unblemished..." (1Peter 1:18-22).
1Peter 1:2, 10-12
Salvation is accomplished "by the sanctification of the Spirit" (1Peter 1:2). The sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (whom Peter calls "the Spirit of Christ") began when he inspired the prophets of old, and later those of Peter's time. They "preached the gospel... by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven" (1Peter 1:10-12). Those who respond rightly to this message, are sealed by the Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Popular doctrine has the Holy Spirit entering into those who are being saved before they hear, believe, and obey the gospel. However the Spirit entered into the prophets and preachers who gave us the gospel in our scriptures. He waits for a right response of faith and obedience, and then he enters into the person being saved. Peter preached this very thing on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:38-39).
The term "sprinkling" here refers to purification and "the sanctification of the Spirit". The term "sprinkling" and is a figure of speech where the type is put for the antitype. A "type" is a symbol that foreshadows some aspect of Christ's kingdom and priesthood.
The Hebrew writer uses the same figure when he refers to "the sprinkled blood" of Jesus (Hebrews 12:24). He had earlier explained what symbol he is referring to as the type. He says that Moses took the blood of calves and sprinkled the book, the people, the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. In fact, he says, according to the law almost all things are cleansed with blood (Hebrews 9:18-23). However this was only a symbol. The sprinkled blood of animals could not really sanctify and cleanse. This could be accomplished only by, "the precious blood of Jesus" (1Peter 1:19), which is the "antitype".