1 Peter 1:10-12
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. ESV
by Andy Murray
Introduction: On God’s Heart
First Peter 1:10-12 shows us the breathtaking character of God Almighty who cares for His people. He has been actively working to bring us to everlasting joy and peace in His presence – since before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8). This passage reveals that the God who called the universe into existence has had you in His thoughts and plans even from the earliest pages of the Bible. He has been preparing for your faith for ages so that what has now been announced to you about Jesus the Messiah might be received with joy.
In 1 Peter 1:3-12 Peter is building a case for why you and I should join him in rejoicing and praising God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ even as we are now grieved by various trials.
In verses 3-5 we were told that God, according to His great mercy, has acted; He has caused us to be born of again to a living hope. God has had mercy on us and has rescued us from spiritual death and so we have a living hope because of what Jesus Christ accomplished in his death and resurrection. We have become heirs of God. The Spirit of God has been given to us as the down payment of our imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance, which is kept in heaven for us. Our eternal inheritance is safe and secure. And we were shown that we ourselves are safe and secure, guarded by God Himself for that eternal inheritance. What is crucial to see is that the means God is using to guard us and bring us safely to glory is faith.
In verses 6-9 we were told that as we wait for this salvation, ready to be revealed, Christians will experience real and diverse suffering during this short time before Christ appears. But even this suffering and grief is intended by God for a good purpose. God is in the business of keeping His children in the faith – clinging to Christ – and getting them to glory. So, He is lovingly getting our hearts off the treasures of this world and unto The Treasure, Jesus the Messiah. Tested genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the most valuable thing we can posses in this world. God cares about us and is even at work in your pain for your everlasting good.
In verses 10-12, Peter adds to his case for why you and I should be rejoicing and praising God even as you may suffer for a short time. Peter wants us to consider how incredibly privileged we are to live when we live and to posses what we possess in this hour of history. God has not abandoned you in your hour of pain. Rather He has made provision for your faith.
As we come to this third section of Peter’s argument about why we should be rejoicing in God our Savior, Peter is speaking about the very great salvation, which has been announced to us in the gospel. One of the things he is doing is drawing our attention up to the very great value of this salvation, but more than that he is drawing our attention up to the very gracious God who has loved us across the ages. Let’s see if we see that in our text.
Unpacking Our Privilege:
Salvation Has Come
First of all, we should note in verse 10 that Peter is not changing subjects. He says, “Concerning this salvation…” This is what Peter has been focused on since verse 3. And even as he is, indeed, thinking about the final salvation of our souls ready to be revealed in the last times (vs 5 and 9), he has and continues now in 10-12 to connect that future day when Christ appears to the means by which that final salvation comes to us.
So notice in verse 10 he says, “Concerning this salvation, the prophets prophesied about the grace that was to be yours…” Note that Peter does not say, “they prophesied about the grace that will be yours, still yet in the future.” He says, “[they] prophesied about the grace that was to be yours.” There is implied here a now present reality to this grace. It has come to us. It is now ours. And this implication is made explicit in verse 11 as we find that this grace, about which the prophets of old prophesied, came in the sufferings and subsequent glories of Christ.
So the salvation of our souls is not something wholly in the future anymore. Yes, we are waiting for its completion at the appearing of Christ, but the grace about which the prophets foretold has already arrived in Jesus. The Old Testament prophesies about the sufferings and subsequent glories of the Messiah were pointing to Jesus of Nazareth. As Peter says in verse 12 these things have now been announced to you in the preaching of the gospel. The gracious salvation of our souls has been accomplished in the life, death, and resurrection of the promised Messiah, Jesus, even as we still await His return and the final and full glory of that salvation.
The Holy Spirit Predicted
So Peter is calling us to get our attention up on the very great salvation that has come to us in Jesus Christ. But, Peter is also concerned here to show us the incredible preparation of God for us in ages past. So look at verse 10 again. Beginning there, Peter tells us that,
Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Peter is alerting us to the fact that what has happened in the sufferings and afterward glories of Christ – is the very thing the prophets of the Old Testament were eager to search out and understand.
Now, Peter gives us a chance here to better understand how the Old Testament Scriptures came to be written. It is crucial to notice who the Initiator was in the prophecies of the Old Testament. In verse 10, you have the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours but in verse 11 it says the Spirit of Christ, that is the Holy Spirit, who was in the prophets was the One predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. So let’s make sure we understand what was going on. The Holy Spirit was the One at work in the prophets and He was the One predicting the then future gospel.
And so as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:19-21,
And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Men spoke, yes. Men prophesied, but it was the Holy Spirit who carried them along. No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man. Every prophecy was produced by the will of God as He carried the prophets along, revealing just exactly what He wanted to reveal.
Indeed, the prophets themselves did not know everything there was to know about what the Spirit of God was predicting. So, verse 10 of our passage says that the prophets searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person (it may better be translated “circumstance”) or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating. Even the prophets who spoke from God were not given every detail about the time and circumstances of the Messiah’s work. God is the one with the definite plan and with perfect knowledge of what He would accomplish and how. The prophets of the Old Testament spoke what God had given them.
Not For Them; For Us!
But here we come to an amazing thought. Peter says in verse 12, that it was revealed to the Old Testament prophets that they were not serving themselves with their prophecies. The text says that it was revealed to the prophets that the prophecies given to them were intended to minister to people yet in the future. And here is the really amazing thing: Peter says that the Old Testament prophets were told they were serving you! We are the benefactors of their prophetic ministry.
Don’t miss this. Who was God serving through the Old Testament prophets? You! God had you in mind when He carried the prophets along. The things revealed in the OT are there so that when the Christ came we would recognize Him. They were written down so that when the glorious gospel was accomplished and then preached to us, we might believe that Jesus is indeed the promised and predicted Messiah.
The coming of Christ in the gospel is not Plan B. The coming of the Messiah Jesus is the grand fulfillment of God’s foreordained purpose to ransom people out of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. And the Scriptures of the Old Testament, as they point us to Christ, were written with you in mind. They were written for your faith.
Even as God promised all the way back in Genesis 3 that the seed of the woman would have his heel bruised by the serpent but that He would bruise the head of the serpent that was for us who now know that the Seed is Jesus of Nazareth who defeated Satan at the cross and rose victorious over death. The entirety of the Old Testament as it reveals and unfolds and foretells the redemption accomplished by the Messiah was written for our faith. The Holy Spirit had you in mind. God has been making preparations to strengthen you faith in Christ for millennia. And it is the same Holy Spirit by which the gospel announcement has come to you.
I want you to listen to how Peter addresses the men of Israel in Acts 3. They are astounded that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth a man lame from birth has been made well. I bring this up because of how Peter understands God’s gracious preparation. Peter uses the Old Testament Scriptures to show that Jesus is the One God had promised and it is through Him that restoration with God comes. Peter says to them,
Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things – about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people. ’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. ’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.
This is addressed to the men of Israel, but as Acts 10 and following records, this salvation – consisting of the blotting out of sins and times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord and restoration – this salvation has broken over the banks of Israel and has come even to the Gentiles. This salvation in Jesus the Messiah has come to us.
But what we need to see in this passage is that God used the prophets to proclaim the gospel before hand so that when it came to pass we would see and understand and love the Redeemer when He came. God has prepared the former words for your present faith.
Blessed in this Age:
In our passage this morning, Peter is saying, “Set your mind upon the depths of God’s love for you. His provision for you in Christ Jesus was foretold and that prediction was His preparation for your faith. This very great salvation all the prophets of old longed to understand and longed to see come to pass but it was revealed to them that their prophetic ministry, given to them by the Spirit of God, was intended to serve you, a generation when the prophetic word would be confirmed. And it is indeed this longed for salvation that has now taken place in the sufferings and subsequent glories of Jesus the Messiah. And this has been announced to you by the Holy Spirit. Consider the quality and depths of God’s love and wisdom and mercy toward you!”
You and I are incredibly privileged to live in the days of the fulfillment of the predictions of the Messiah and in the days when the good news is going to the nations in the power of the Spirit, in the days when the announcement of salvation in Jesus the Messiah has overflowed the banks of Israel and come to us.
God planned, God predicted, God prepared, and then God sent His Son and God accomplished His very great salvation in Jesus Christ, and now God has sought you out and announced the good news to you – if He has done all this, you can trust Him to finish what He started. He will return for you.
These things lead me to ask two questions. The first question is this: do you love and study the Scriptures that were written for you? They were written for your faith. Do you know what the prophets wrote?
Consider the last phrase in verse 12,
It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
Angels long to look into this gospel. Angels are interested in what God promised and revealed before, and, what God has done and is doing for your salvation. They are interested to know the glory and richness of salvation in Jesus Christ – Are you?
Do you long to look into these things? Angels understand that this is were the glory is – and its not even for them – God did not take on an angelic nature to redeem the angels that fell, but He has joined Himself to the human race to bring us to glory! Are these things, the things you long to look into?
Let us be people of the Scriptures. The prophets were serving us. The Holy Spirit wrote the Old and New Testament for our benefit, for our faith and salvation.
The second question is this: does 1 Peter 1:8-9 describe you?
1 Peter 1:8-9
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Peter is writing to stir the affections of believes, reminding us of the wealth of God’s grace toward us in Christ Jesus. Peter’s intention is to strengthen us, encourage us, and draw our hearts again to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: as we live awaiting the appearing of our great Savior and the inheritance He has purchased for us, as you live in this time when we don’t yet see Him, do you love Him? Thought you do not now see Him, do you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory?
Here is a truth we need to come to grips with: without genuine faith in Jesus of Nazareth there is no salvation, no refreshing, no restoration with God. He is the Man who God has appointed, the Lamb slain and the Lion triumphant.
If we do not love Him, if we do not believe in Him, if we do not rejoice in Him with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, than we will not obtain the outcome of faith, the salvation of our souls, because we do not have faith. It is faith in Christ that will result in praise, honor and glory at the appearing of Christ. It is love and affection for Christ; it is joy in our inner person as we consider His Person and work for us that will result in the salvation of our souls. The question is does 1 Peter 1:8-9 describe us?
Now, if you are hearing this and you don’t know if 1 Peter 1:8-9 describes you. You fear that it does not. Or perhaps you know that you love Christ but you feel that your faith is weak and your love is not what it should be. What should you do?
I’ll tell you what you do: pick up the Scriptures which have been written for those loved by God to strengthen our faith – and you pray that the Spirit who wrote these words would convict and convince and strengthen your faith in Jesus the Christ. Pray that the Spirit would give you eyes to see the glory of Christ Jesus in the Scriptures. And you get around people who love and know the Scriptures and who love and know Christ. Do not let this provision of God lie unknown and unstudied and uncherished.
The salvation that has been accomplished by Jesus Christ is the very salvation which the prophets of old foretold and longed to see take place. These Old Testament predictions were given by the Spirit of God for our faith. The Spirit revealed what would take place so that we, now, would love and rest upon the Messiah Jesus. The grace shown to you in Christ Jesus is not some whim or fickle decision of God. It has been long planned and long foretold and long hoped for.
Are you experiencing trials and grief? God has not abandoned you in your hour of pain. He has made provision for your faith in His wonderful Word. The God who planned and foretold and sent and accomplished and announced grace to you in Christ Jesus will bring that grace to completion – no matter what trial you may be facing.
Brothers and sisters, the end of the ages is upon us. The salvation long promised and predicted has come in Jesus Christ our Lord. The promised Holy Spirit has been poured out on all flesh and everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:28-32).