Notes On Peter’s First Epistle (4)

Pondering Peter

The way, the truth and the life!
The way, the truth and the life!

Praise Be Unto God
(Chapter 1 Verses 3-12)

You see the Church is never to be just one single community, in one place in the world. But scattered like oases in a desert, like islands in the seas, this fits Peter’s description of the Church here. They were small minority groups surrounded by great Pagan majorities, just like the scattered Old Testament Jews, who were often scattered by God himself, but ultimately that is how it began with these (Acts 8.1). God’s purpose in dividing up and spreading his people was to carry the gospel to those who otherwise wouldn’t have heard it. But always they remained God’s people, nothing could alter that, not their persecutors, not their circumstances, not their isolation, not their stress, nothing in all the world could separate them from God’s love and concern for them (Romans 8.35-39). He had put a guard, a sentinel on them (1Peter 1.5). The praise that Peter bursts into here is similar to that of Paul’s (Ephesians 1.3-14). It comes from the spontaneous, powerful, surge of emotion overflowing from within, as he reminds his readers of the tremendous truth of what he has been telling them. What God has done for, and made them (vv1-2). His praise is fitting indeed, and ought to stir our hearts too. Peter’s theme if you like, is consolation, but it is comfort too that is centred upon this great God whom he eulogizes (Psalm 103). Is there a need for more reflection upon the being of God, for more praise of him in our hearts, and specially so in times of trouble, distress? It is only the doctrine of God that will be our stay in such times.

This praise is not simply the adoration of a name, but of God himself and all that has been done for us. There is nothing should give us greater delight. There is contemplation here also. Of all that Scripture shows our God to be, there is if you like a great concentration of confession here. The humanity of Jesus, the Son of Man who came to minister to us (Mark 10.45). The Lord who purchased us with is own sacrificial blood (Acts 20.28). The Lord Jesus, truly God and truly man, whom without there would be no salvation to glorify and praise God for:
Meekness and majesty,
manhood and deity;
in perfect harmony,
the man who is God. (G. Kendrick).
Praise be indeed to him, who has given us a living hope (Rom.15.13)!

(© James R Hamilton, written May, 1998)

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