Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Peter an Apostle in agreement with Paul no less.

1 Peter 1:1-2 (ESV)
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cap-padocia, Asia, and Bithynia, [2] according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:
May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Well after that little foray into the antilegoumena, we are back on the solid ground of legoumena, Letters that carry the full weight of apostolic authority, and at the same time preach Christ, funny how that happens. Well that is what apostles are meant to do, speak on behalf of the person who sent them. Apostle means one who is sent. In the first century anyone could have an apostle. This was a man who went to represent you with what amounted to full power of attorney. There are records of people sending apostles to stand in for them at their wedding! (though I doubt they attended to the honeymoon.) So here is Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, a disciple of Christ and he is writing to the sheep entrusted to him in Asia Minor (present day Eastern Turkey.)
There are those who would talk of Election and foreknowledge as Pauline themes. Peter seemed to like them too though. He too equates sanctification to the work of the Holy Spirit. And right off you see all three persons of the triune God represented in the salvation of the Elect.
“For obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood,” now there is a sentence fragment to unpack. Obedience, I chafe at the word. Not that I don’t want to obey Christ. Well part of me doesn’t but that’s a Romans 7 thing. I really do want to obey Christ in everything, thanks to the sanctification that the Holy Spirit has accomplished in me. (I don’t do such a good job at that, again see Romans 7!) But I just don’t think that is what the word translated means, not here. I think it might be better translated listen (even that has connotations of “obey”). I say this once again because the word is a contraction of two Greek words, one meaning “hyper,” the other “to hear.” It is in hearing Christ and listening to him that the Christian finds salvation. Listening is the response to hearing from which faith springs (Romans 10). A word about this faith comes through hearing bit, hearing does not exclude reading. The Holy Spirit is bound to the word of God, not to the ability of someone to hear audible noise. (More on that Later) So in reality the verse, rather than reading For the obedience, might actually read in listening and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
Sprinkling the blood, I love it. Sorry, but as a Lutheran I love that salvation is found in sprinkling. I know many will say foul play this isn’t a reference to baptism. I’m not so sure myself. Most commentaries point us back to Exodus and the sprinkling of blood there, the blood of the “covenant.’ Well I see that, but in that I tend to also see a type for the coming of baptism. I just do. I’d love to debate with someone about that and see how far one could push it. In any case I have other reasons for carrying on the grand tradition of sprinkling when it comes to baptism.

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