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1 Peter 2

2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

We are sometimes told that the idea of the Trinity was a late addition to Christianity, well, here we have a Trinitarian description of how Christian people are called and redeemed.
We are chosen in the foreknowledge of God the Father. All that happens is part of His eternal plan (Acts 2:23, Peter’s own speech). This, too, St. Paul tells us in hisEpistle to the Ephesians 1:3-10.

The calling takes place through sanctification by the Spirit. If we are sanctified we are made holy, we are set apart for God. In 1:15 Peter will call them to live a life which imitates that of God who is holy, but he makes it clear here that our holiness is grounded in the sanctification which has come to us through the Holy Spirit.

We are called to obedience and sprinkling with His blood. The whole Epistle is a call to obedience to God (1:14, 22; 3:6), but we should pause to try to explain ‘sprinkling with the blood’.

Hebrews 9:13-14 speaks of the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus in the New Covenant for the forgiveness of sins. This would have taken the listeners to the Exodus 24:1-8 where Moses sprinkled the children of Israel with the blood of the lamb which sealed the covenant between God and His chosen people; now we, the new chosen people, are also sprinkled, but with the blood of the Lamb, for the forgiveness of our sins.

The listeners might also have been reminded, as we are, of our being cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ through baptism. We are obedient to the Gospel and members through it of a new covenant.

Peter concludes his greeting with a prayer. In the Greek culture of the day it was common to offer grace (charis) as a form of greeting. But, in the New Covenant, ‘grace’ takes on a new significance because of the work of Christ; Peter will make it a key theme of this epistle. The offer of ‘peace’ was a typical Jewish greeting. It is significant that even at this early date, Christians combine the two in a greeting of ‘grace and peace’. This is a common marriage of terms in Paul’s epistles (Rom. 1-7; 1 Cor 1:3; 2 Cor 1:2; Gal 1-3; Eph 1:2).

The opening blessing, which marks the next stage, is one of the most inspiring passages of the New Testament and will take more time than I have now, but, God willing, I shall be able to return to it soon.

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