1. Peter draws upon the Jews’ tradition of ransom. In our “sanitized” western civilization we may find it difficult to relate to the concept of a slave or a captured countryman being redeemed from slavery or from behind enemy lines. Tragically, human trafficking and slavery remains to this day. Some Christian organizations actively pursue the redemption of these unfortunate souls. Pray for those who are in need of redemption, both from wicked human masters and sin, and for those who actively seek to redeem them with the Gospel of Christ.
2. No matter the situation, whether a real slave or a slave to sin, we are, in many respects, another’s property. By virtue of the atonement Christ redeems us and He claims us as His own property. How does it feel to know that you belong to another and you are not your own? What kind of a Master do you suppose Christ to be?
3. Have you ever heard of a slave redeeming himself? Imagine, if you will, a slave approaching his master and saying, “I have enough money to redeem myself from you, so set me free.” What answer do you think that master will have for that slave? How would God react to one who approaches Him with a similar proposition?
4. Examine “you shall be holy for I am holy” from I Peter 1:16 in light of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:1-17). In what ways is Peter’s statement similar to the Ten Commandments? In what ways is it dissimilar?
5. Foreknowledge. It’s one of those theological, doctrinal words that only seminary professors understand, right? Peter writes that the crucifixion of Christ was fixed in eternity past. Is Peter using hyperbole for emphasis? Have you ever thought, “I know that he will say this” or “I know what you are thinking?” When you are right, was that foreknowledge? How about when you are wrong? Is foreknowledge like déjà vu’? Is foreknowledge a human quality? God, who is outside of space and time, knows what is, was and will be and not necessarily in sequence as is our experience. Examine this topic further by reviewing Matthew Henry’s commentary on I Peter 1 (See www.e-sword.net to obtain the commentary)
6. Even though we are redeemed, a memory of sin remains. The authors trot out the common explanation that in God’s eyes our sins are covered in and by Christ’s blood and are gone. I agree, but perhaps an illustration from the law completes the picture better. In God’s court of law, we are the accused, despicable enemy of God. Christ, our mediator and advocate, freely offers His perfect and holy life for our sins. In doing so, Christ satisfies the indictment against us, as well as God’s just wrath against us. Our sins, those things thought, done and not done, as well as the nature inherited from Adam are decreed, “paid in full and gone.” The decree continues in declaring that redeemed sinners are holy, just, perfect and His own possession. God looks at this decree written in the spilled blood of Christ, which serves as a judgment from His holy throne that a redeemed sinner is holy on account of Christ. So, when you hear someone say, “in God’s eyes, it’s just as if never sinned,” consider a written judgment from God Himself printed with the precious, spilled blood of Christ that declares your sin debt paid and you innocent, holy and just, and yes, even His child. In this context, does the decree represent definitive or progressive sanctification? Explain your answer.
7. Again the law provides an illustration of this principle. When someone is granted certain rights under a court order, everyone must yield to the terms of the decree. Will you yield to the terms of God’s decree concerning you and Christ? To whom could you appeal God’s decree?
8. Again, a decree is usually sober and formal. Is God’s decree sober and formal? What about the part that sets forth a celebration for the redeemed and the Redeemer? What about the part that decrees joy for the redeemed or union with the Holy One?
9. What does it mean to be “atonement-minded?”
10. Harkening back to the earlier decree analogy, what about the part of the decree that declares that sin will no longer have dominion over you? In this context is the decree representative of definitive or progressive sanctification? Explain your answer.