Foundation of Salvation | 1 Peter 1:8-9 Meditation

As the ol’ Gospel song goes, “This joy I have the world didn’t give it to me… The world didn’t give it and the world can’t take it away.”

The foundation of Christian joy is salvation through Christ. Because of our past, present, and future (i.e., final) salvation, our present circumstances do not ultimately deter joy — indescribable joy.

  1. Text
  2. Translation
  3. Commentary
    1. Structure
    2. Foundation of Salvation
    3. Salvation Already, Now, and To Come
    4. Believing Without Seeing (Fully)
    5. Cause for Joy
  4. Memorization (Tutorial Video)

Text

8 ὃν οὐκ ἰδόντες1 ἀγαπᾶτε, εἰς ὃν ἄρτι μὴ ὁρῶντες, πιστεύοντες δὲ ἀγαλλιᾶσθε χαρᾷ ἀνεκλαλήτῳ καὶ δεδοξασμένῃ 9 κομιζόμενοι τὸ τέλος τῆς πίστεως ὑμῶν2 σωτηρίαν ψυχῶν.1





C4C Translation

Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Even though you do not see Him now, in Him you are believing, and you are rejoicing with indescribable and glorious joy, (because you are) receiving the outcome of your faith — the salvation of your souls.

Commentary

Structure

In the original Greek, 1 Pet 1:3-12 is actually one long sentence. However, scholars detect a certain structure of 1 Pet 1:6-9 — an inclusio beginning and ending with rejoice: 

You rejoice in this
     although you have had to suffer grief
_____for a little while now
_____in all kinds of trials
_____in order that the genuineness of your faith … may be found… ;
     although you have not seen him, yet you love him;
     although you do not see him now, yet you believe in him.
You rejoice with a glorified joy beyond words because you are obtaining the goal of faith, your salvation.2 (underscores added for formatting purposes).

Foundation of Salvation

Peter is writing to Christians who are being persecuted (i.e., suffering cf. 1 Pet 1:6-7) for their faith (i.e., active trust) in Christ.

In true biblical fashion, he begins not with the imperative but with the indicative. That is, he indicates what God has done before relaying what God would have them do.3 He lays out the foundation of salvation before telling his audience how they ought to behave in view of that salvation.

This three-dimensional salvation includes “the determining knowledge of God, the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, and the obedience-generating covenant of Jesus Christ, the Son of God”4 (cf. 1 Peter 1:1-2).

As McKnight points out:

While it has been popular since the Enlightenment in the Western world to reduce Christianity to morality and ethics (especially in the United States through the rise of Jeffersonian morality and liberal Protestantism’s ethic of tolerant love), Peter will not let ethics come to the fore until he speaks of salvation, the foundation of morality. He blesses God for salvation; in light of that salvation, he goes on to say, “Therefore, live a good life” (see [1 Pet 1:13–2:10])” (emphasis added).5

Salvation Already, Now, and To Come

As we often read in the New Testament, salvation is both past, present, and future.

In the past, God has given us new birth and hope through Christ’s Resurrection (1 Pet 1:3). In the present, Christians are being shielded by God’s power (1 Pet 1:5a) — until the coming end-time (eschatological) salvation is consummated in the future (1 Pet 1:5b).6

Paradoxically, Christians are already saved, are being saved, and will be saved.7

Believing Without Seeing (Fully)

Whereas Peter saw the Resurrected Lord (Mt 28:16, Lk 24:34f., etc.), his audience in Asia Minor had not. Yet they love Him and believe in Him (1 Pet 1:8).

It is almost important to remember that biblical “belief” or “faith” is not mere intellectual assent (belief that), but belief in — indicating a “commitment to Jesus,”8 a continual trust in the Lord.9 And, this “belief” / “faith” is made manifest by obedient actions (cf. 1 Pet 1:2b).

Jesus tells Thomas, who needed to see the nail marks in His wrists before he believed that Jesus had risen, something very similar. For Peter’s audience

“…are truly walking by faith, not by sight [2 Cor 5:7], and therefore are blessed as Jesus himself promised in John 20:29: “Blessed are those who do not see [me] and believe.”10

Biblical faith is not “blind” yet it does not come with complete (in)sight. As we read in the popular “love chapter” (1 Corinthians 13), “For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Cor 13:12).11

Cause for Joy

There is no “for” or “because (you are receiving)” in the original Greek of 1 Pet 1:9, and  some scholars and translators take the participle κομιζόμενοι (“you are receiving”) as a simultaneous participle (cf. 1 Pet 1:9, NASB).12 However it seems best to interpret the participle as a causal participle.13

Thus:

“…the interpretation proposed by the NIV is most satisfying, understanding the participle as providing a reason, “For you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”51 Peter was explaining why believers are filled with love and joy for Jesus Christ (the two main verbs from v. 8). They have love and joy because of the prospect of future salvation”14(emphasis added).

The indescribable joy Christians have is based not merely on present circumstances — which can often include persecution (1 Pet 1:6-7) — but on the past-present-and-future salvation of our souls (i.e., our total selves).15

Memorization

Memorize 1 Peter 1:8-9 after watching a brief video tutorial demonstrating the How to Memorize Any Bible Verse in Less Than Five Minutes method below:

Sources

  1. Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, et al., eds., The Greek New Testament, Fifth Revised Edition (Stuttgart, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2014), 1 Pe 1:8–9.
  2. Karen H. Jobes, 1 Peter, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005), 91–92.
  3. R. Michael Allen, ET101 Law and Gospel: The Basis of Christian Ethics, Logos Mobile Education (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).
  4. Scot McKnight, 1 Peter, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), 69.
  5. Scot McKnight, 1 Peter, The NIV Application Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), 69.
  6. David H. Wheaton, “1 Peter,” in New Bible Commentary: 21st Century Edition, ed. D. A. Carson et al., 4th ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994), 1374. “Salvation, as we have seen in v. 5, is eschatological, consummated only on the last day” Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 70.
  7. “In NT thought, to say “I have been saved” is incomplete without a present sense of continuing deliverance or disentanglement from the clutches of sin (“I am being saved”) and a future sense of final deliverance at Christ’s revelation (“I will be saved”).”Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 60.
  8. Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 59.
  9. “The verb translated ‘believe’ (pisteuō) means here to ‘trust’ or to ‘rest one’s confidence in’ or to ‘depend upon’. It is followed by a preposition (eis) which prior to the New Testament was apparently never used with this verb and which carries the surprising nuance of ‘into’, almost as if this personal faith were going ‘into’ the Lord Jesus Christ and resting or remaining there.” Wayne A. Grudem, 1 Peter: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 17, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 70.
  10. Karen H. Jobes, 1 Peter, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005), 93.
  11. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 1 Co 13:12.
  12. “A participle the activity of which is portrayed as occurring at the same time as the main verbal action of the superceding clause.” Albert L. Lukaszewski, The Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament Glossary (Lexham Press, 2007). I do not see why Grudem believes that translating it with “for” or “because” makes “the reason for the believer’s rejoicing to be his or her own personal spiritual growth…” Wayne A. Grudem, 1 Peter: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 17, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 71. On the contrary, I think translating it this way actually makes it clearer that the reason for the joy is outcome (or end result) of their faith — their salvation (1 Pet 1:9, NIV).
  13. “In the New Testament, an adverbial participle is often either temporal (indicating when an action takes place) or causal (indicating why an action takes place)…” David Alan Black, It’s Still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1998), 123.
  14. Thomas R. Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, vol. 37, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2003), 70.
  15. “Peter refers to the salvation of “your souls.” In this he is using “soul” (Gk. psychē) not as a contrast to the body nor, as Paul often does, in a negative way for the natural fallen human self as opposed to a spiritual person (e.g., 1 Cor. 15:45), but, as is typical of Hebrew (and thus of the Septuagint, Peter’s Greek Bible), for the total person, the self (Gen. 2:7; Matt. 16:25; Rom. 13:1; Heb. 10:39.” Peter H. Davids, The First Epistle of Peter, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1990), 60.
About @DannyScottonJr 133 Articles
Imperfect servant striving to be an unapologetically apologetic ambassador for Jesus the Christ. Princeton University Alum | Palmer Theological Seminary Student