Notes on 1 Peter 1:2 (part 2)

Apostle_Peter_Georgian_mosaicκατὰ πρόγνωσιν θεοῦ πατρός, ἐν ἁγιασμῷ πνεύματος, εἰς ὑπακοὴν καὶ ῥαντισμὸν αἵματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ·χάρις ὑμῖν καὶ εἰρήνη πληθυνθείη.

according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by sanctification by the Spirit into obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. Grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Some Theological Notes:
1. There is a temporal progression here from foreknowledge of God the Father to sanctification by the Spirit. One has to do with God’s eternal plan and the other has to do with an action that happens when a person becomes a child of God. Also, the members of the Trinity all appear together in this verse.
2. By sanctification by the Spirit into obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. Commitment to obedience and sprinkling with blood are both part of becoming people of the covenant in Exodus 24:1-8, which is anticipated by Exodus 19:5-6. God’s covenant with his people calls for obedience on their part (19:6). After Moses receives God’s Law (Exodus 20-23), Israel commits to be obedient to it and enters into a covenant with him (24:3-7). They are then sprinkled with “the blood of the covenant” (24:8) and become God’s “kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (19:6). This OT event involving the blood of the covenant is typological.
In Matthew 26:28 (and Mark), Jesus refers to his blood as “blood of the covenant” at the Last Supper. Like 1 Peter 1:2, this is an allusion to Exodus 24:8. Jesus can regard his own blood as blood of the covenant, because his blood will sanctify the people of the New Covenant (see Luke 22:20, Heb. 9:18-21, 10:29, 12:24). In Exodus 24:8 Moses sprinkles the blood of the covenant on the people. Peter picks up on this. He talks about the people of the New Covenant being sprinkled with Jesus’ blood? What is he referring to? It is important to notice who does the sprinkling. The Spirit sprinkles us with Jesus’ blood. When? A NT analogy helps. In Romans 2:29, how does the circumcision of believers take place? It is a circumcision of the heart by the Spirit. Similarly, the people of God are sprinkled with the blood of Jesus when they become believers and enter into the covenant people of god. It is an internal sprinkling of the heart performed by the Spirit.
An important element to notice here is obedience. The Spirit sanctifies the people of God with the blood of Jesus “into or unto obedience” (1 Pet. 1:2). Obedience and covenant go together. Thus, Peter is anticipating his upcoming emphasis upon obedience in 1 Peter 1:13-2:3 (and elsewhere in 1 Peter). Notice the OT commandment that Peter cites, “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1:16). For more on the sanctification by the Spirit, see Hoskins, That Scripture Might Be Fulfilled, 65-73.

Coming Up: Notes on 1 Peter 1:3

This post is part of a series of posts on 1 Peter. To read the other posts in the series, click here.

Related Resources:

1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text
Mark Dubis, 1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Baylor Handbook of the Greek New Testament)
1 Peter: A Handbook on the Greek Text
Greg Forbes, 1 Peter (Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament)