Sunday, April 15, 2007

1 Peter 1:2—the saving work of the Trinity

κατὰ πρόγνωσιν θεοῦ πατρὸς ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος εἰς ὑπακοὴν καὶ ῥαντισμὸν αἵματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη.
I connect κατὰ πρόγνωσιν θεοῦ πατρὸς with ἐκλεκτοῖς in v. 1, and understand foreknowledge as God's active, distinguishing love set on persons, not his passive awareness of events. So sovereign election is in line with (κατὰ) the Father's distinguishing love.

Note then that this sovereign-grace election is in connection with the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος), setting the elect apart from the mass of humanity to God's ownership and service.

This sanctification has a twofold effect or result (εἰς 2X), the first of which is ὑπακοὴν. This ὑπακοή refers to listening-from-under, listening submissively and responsively. I don't think the object of the submission is expressed, but can be inferred from the other two uses in 1 Peter, both of which are in this chapter:

1:14 ὡς τέκνα ὑπακοῆς μὴ συσχηματιζόμενοι ταῖς πρότερον ἐν τῇ ἀγνοίᾳ ὑμῶν ἐπιθυμίαις
1:22 Τὰς ψυχὰς ὑμῶν ἡγνικότες ἐν τῇ ὑπακοῇ τῆς ἀληθείας εἰς φιλαδελφίαν ἀνυπόκριτον, ἐκ [καθαρᾶς] καρδίας ἀλλήλους ἀγαπήσατε ἐκτενῶς

It is submission to the Gospel, which is to say saving faith. See similar uses of the noun also in Peter's man Paul, in Romans 1:5; 16:26. See also the similar uses of the verb ὑπακούω in Acts 6:7; Romans 6:17; 10:16; 2 Thessalonians 1:8; Hebrews 5:9. It isn't the obedience that should characterize the Christian life that is in view, but the submission to the Gospel that begins and characterizes the Christian life.

The second effect of the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit is ῥαντισμὸν αἵματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. This is an obvious allusion to OT sacrifical imagery. I take it that this means the personal application of the benefits of Christ's redemption, purchased on the Cross by the shedding of His blood.


In eternity past the Father sets His distinguishing love on us in sovereign election
This involves the Spirit setting us apart to God, with two results:
—The first is our submission to the Gospel
—The second is God applying Christ's blood to us personally

Glorious passage.


Unknown said...

One of my favorite passages of all Scripture. Good work and thank you.

Terry Rayburn said...

Wow, Dan!

I just discovered this blog. What a terrific job!

Dumb question: How do you put Greek text in Blogger?

Terry Rayburn said...


Skip my last question. I just read your method in a previous post comment. Thanks.

DJP said...

Thanks, Terry; glad to have you.

I've also found, away from home (or if you don't have BibleWorks) that can work. But the browser has to be, well, basically anything other than IE6, or the characters won't all show.

Dave Marriott said...

Dan, I am not looking to start an elaborate discussion on foreknowledge, I am just wondering how you can define foreknowledge as "God's active, distinguishing love set on persons?" I understand that the basis of election is more than God's simple knowledge of future events, but is it not possible that a more simple definition is being highlighted in this particular text? If your definition of foreknowledge were applied to Peter's words in Acts 2:23, he would be pretty redundant...Jesus was then delivered by the determinate counsel and determinate counsel of God.

DJP said...

It's a fair question, Dave. First we should consult Peter's usage in the letter. In v. 20 of this same chapter, Peter describes Jesus as "foreknown before the foundation of the world," using the verbal form of the same word. Clearly Peter means far more than that God was aware of Jesus.

In such contexts, the passive ideas of being aware of something, or (worse, but popular) God passively knowing about a thing or act (i.e. that we would choose Him), and responding to our foreknown activity, doesn't do justice to the word. Regularly the object is persons (as here, and v. 20), not activities (cf. Romans 8:29 and 11:2).

Dave Marriott said...

Dan, that's a fair answer. The whole issue is difficult to deal with from any theological frame of reference - I will probably come out less Calvinistic than you, but I am glad that you are seriously grappling with this issue on the exegetical level.

I enjoy this blog. It is a bit beyond my Greek abilities at present, but I love the challenge of reading your posts. Thanks.

BethsMomToo said...

I also looked at Acts 2:23 in defining "foreknowledge". I thought the TSKS construction in Acts 2:23 refers to 2 ASPECTS of the same act ["definite plan" and "foreknowledge"]. I didn't EQUATE the two because they aren't personal nouns, as would be required in a G#. But they are in a TSKS construction, which I believe demonstrates some kind of relationship between the two words, and that they do refer to the same act.

I thought ἐν ἁγιασμῷ was Instrumental, showing "means", "by means of sanctification of [the] Spirit"...for [the purpose of] obedience [to the gospel Rom.10:16] and sprinkling [i.e. purification] of [the] blood of Jesus Christ.

I like how you pointed out earlier the working of the Trinity in this verse. God the Father chose, God the HS effected and God the Son cleansed, with the result of a response of Faith [obedience (to the gospel)].