Study 3 SOME OF THE THINGS PETER CALLS PRECIOUS
THE SECOND LETTER OF PETER
by Francis Dixon
Scripture Portion: 1 Peter 2: 1-12
One of the simplest and most rewarding methods of Bible study is to take one word and see how it is used in different parts of the Bible. In this study we are to consider the word ‘precious’, which Peter in his two Letters uses in seven different connections. When something is precious it means it is of great worth, or it is very highly esteemed. If someone or something is precious to me then he, she or it will bring about certain reactions! (1) My thoughts will be full of that person or thing. (2) I will cherish or guard that person or thing. (3) I will dread any thought of harm or loss coming to that person or thing. (4) I will find it almost impossible to live without that person or thing. What is it that fills Peter’s mind and that he cherishes and guards? – take your Bible and look up his use of the word ‘precious’: 1 Peter 1:6-7; 1 Peter 1:18-21; 1 Peter 2:3-5; 1 Peter 2:6; 1 Peter 2:7; 2 Peter 1:1 and 2 Peter 1:4. At once you will notice that these references speak about the precious Person of our Lord Jesus Christ and the various things that become precious to us when we believe on Him. It is the Lord Himself who is precious and He is only so to believers – see the contrast Peter makes in 1 Peter 2:7. He is precious to believers because of all that He is in His glorious person, but also because of the blessings He gives. Let’s consider the precious things that become ours when we come to know Him as our Saviour and Lord. Why is Jesus precious?
1. 1 Peter 1:18-21 tells us He is precious because He shed His blood for us.
The expression “blood of Christ” needs explanation. It occurs many times in the Old and New Testaments, and to some it has a crude and perhaps an unintelligible meaning. The word ‘blood’ in reference to the Lord Jesus always refers to His sacrifice when He laid down His life on the cross, to make atonement for our sin and to redeem us. The word ‘blood’ is equivalent to His redeeming work (1 Peter 1:18-19). The shedding of His blood accomplished our redemption (verse 18). Because Christ shed His blood every believer may know certain things: (1) he has been redeemed (verse 18); (2) Christ is his substitute (verse 19; compare Isaiah 53:5-6); (3) in eternity God was making provision for his salvation and in time Christ “was revealed” for him (verse 20); (4) because Christ was raised from the dead His sacrifice was accepted by God (verse 21). All this is true because the blood was shed. No wonder it is precious, and as we see how precious the blood of Christ is we are helped to see how precious Christ Himself is.
2. 2 Peter 1:1 tells us that the Lord Jesus is precious because of the faith we have received from Him.
All believers have faith – that is what makes them believers! Did we attain it? No, we ‘obtained’ it – not as a result of our own efforts, but it was implanted in us by the Lord and through the work of the Holy Spirit, and this faith is precious because it brings us into union and communion with the Lord Jesus. Some people have strange ideas about faith: they imagine it comes and is increased by self-effort – but look up Romans 10:17, and compare Ephesians 2:8. The ‘it’ in this latter verse refers to the grace, the salvation and the faith. As we see how precious this ‘faith’ is we are helped to see how precious Christ Himself is, for it is His gift to us and it unites us with Him.
3. 1 Peter 2:3-6 tells us that the Lord Jesus is precious because of the grace He has given to us.
The Church of God is described here as a building. Christ Himself is “the living Stone”, or foundation (verse 4; compare 1 Corinthians 3:11 and Matthew 16:13-18); believers are “living stones” (verse 5) built into the building, the Church. We are precious stones because we are built into the Precious Stone, who is Christ; we are bricks in that great building which is the true Church of God. Christ is the living stone; in Him is life, and when we are united to Him by faith we become living stones, for we share His life (1 John 5:11-12).
4. 2 Peter 1:4 tells us that the Lord Jesus is precious because of the Word He has given to us.
Peter declares that in His Word God has given us promises to cover every possible need. It is a great day in the Christian’s life when he sees this and he begins carefully and prayerfully to search out God’s promises, to lean upon them and prove them in his experience. How foolish we are if, when we are placed in conditions of need, we do not turn to the sure words of hope and confidence that God has given to us.
5. 1 Peter 1:6-7 tells us that the Lord Jesus is precious because of the way He deals with us.
Peter declares the fact that faith has to be tried or tested, just as gold has to be. Why does God deal with us in this way? Among many reasons consider the following: (1) In order that our eyes may be taken away from the things of time and sense and set upon the things of eternity (1 Peter 1:4). (2) In order that we may prove in our own experience the wonderful keeping power of God (1 Peter 1:5). (3) In order that we may rejoice even in the midst of trials and testings (1 Peter 1:6, and compare Acts 5:41; Acts 16:25 and James 1:2). (4) In order that we may be purified (1 Peter 1:7, and compare Malachi 3:3). (5) In order that the Name of the Lord Jesus might be glorified and that we might have a special opportunity of proving our love for Him (1 Peter 1:7-8).
The Lord Jesus is precious. We realise this because of the precious Blood He has shed for us; the precious faith we have received from Him; the precious grace and His precious Word He has given us, and the precious way He deals with us. How precious He is!