Chapter # 1 Paragraph # 4 Study # 1
May 24, 2009
17 And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
20 Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,
21 Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
1901 ASV Translation:
17 And if ye call on him as Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to each man's work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear:
18 knowing that ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers;
19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb without spot, even the blood of Christ:
20 who was foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but was manifested at the end of times for your sake,
21 who through him are believers in God, that raised him from the dead, and gave him glory; so that your faith and hope might be in God.
- I. Peter's Focus: Each One's Own Work.
- A. There are those of us who make an art form out of focusing upon the failures of others. Peter, knowing this, set out to correct it. When it comes to God's evaluation of each of us, the only thing being able to criticize others will do is make us more responsible (Romans 2:1-3).
- B. The preliminary issue: calling upon the Father.
- 1. Previously Peter insisted that we "focus" upon the grace that is to be brought to us.
- 2. Such a "focus" is impossible without three factors: God as Father; God as a Fair Judge; and the Caller as one who is focused upon his own actions rather than those of others.
- a. "Calling upon 'Father'". This term is used rather extensively in the New Testament (32X), but it is used in the middle voice only three times. In Acts 25:11 Paul "appealed unto Caesar" as a legal maneuver to keep from being turned over to those who wished him dead. In 2 Corinthians 1:23 Paul called upon God as a witness to his real motivations in not returning to Corinth. And Peter uses it in this text. It appears that the middle voice turns the word into one that is used when there is a particularly personal issue involved that has to do with "fair judgment" (motivations being key to such fairness).
- 1) The "Father" reference clearly reminds us of the prior paragraph that began with "As submissive children...". The issue before Peter is this: we are dealing with reality here. Children who "hear and submit themselves" are acknowledging the reality-claim of the things heard.
- 2) The Father is He Who judges without permitting the "face" of the child to interfere with His evaluation of what was done. With men this is almost impossible. With men, the "face of the child" is either a basis for leniency (this is my child) or greater severity (I won't have my child setting a false standard). But with God only two issues matter: what was done and why.
- b. "Passing the time of your sojourning".
- 1) The word translated "passing" has overtones of "backtracking". It may well have been used by Peter because of his previous focus upon "the former lusts". There has to be a lot of "backtracking" if we are to abandon the former patterns. We have a totally new standard ("the things heard") by which to operate. This requires a fairly ruthless intolerance of the motivations of those former lusts, but that intolerance must be tempered by the distinction Peter makes here: it is to be more ruthlessly applied to my own actions than to those of others.
- 2) The "sojourning" is tied backward to 1:1 where the word "strangers" is used and forward to 2:11 where both terms are used (the translators do not help much here as they switch the words around).
- 3) The primary descriptive terms: "in fear".
- a) "Love" would be better, but is far more elusive.
- b) The "fear" thesis arises because the tendency is very great to focus upon the failings of others instead of one's own business. We should "fear" doing this.