There are two ways of approaching the doctrines of the Scriptures. One way is to collect all the data throughout the Bible into logical categories (called “systematic theology”). The other way is to work through individual books of the Bible, collecting the data on a particular subject (this is called “biblical theology,” although the term is used in other ways in less than conservative circles). When we ask, what does the epistle of I Peter say about God the Holy Spirit, we are taking a kind of biblical theology approach. Our conviction in these posts is that, while some believers overemphasize the Spirit, others overlook Him. We want to do neither, but long to have a balanced view of the Third Member of the Trinity.
What do we find when we unit-read (read straight through at one sitting) the epistle of I Peter? We find that there are several significant references to God the Holy Spirit:
Ch. 1– Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood … Here in chapter one we get an insight into the Trinitarian nature of our salvation. We “have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood . . .” What a wonderful Trinitarian reference! Here sanctification seems to precede justification.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things. We also learn in chapter one that the Holy Spirit (“sent from heaven”) assisted those who preached the gospel to Peter’s audience. The “things that have now been told you”, we read, “even angels long to look into these things.” The Holy Spirit aids preachers who proclaim the truth of God.
Ch. 3– 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. Here the Holy Spirit is credited with making alive the Lord Jesus after He was put to death! [Other interpretations are possible here, but the translators of the NIV capitalize “the Spirit,” indicating the Third Person of the Trinity.
Ch. 4– 12 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal that has come on you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. 13 But rejoice inasmuch as you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. 14 If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. In this last reference to the Spirit, we learn that suffering should not surprise us. We are to rejoice that we “participate” in the sufferings of Christ so we may be overjoyed “when his glory is revealed.” There is a special blessing to those who are insulted as believers, “for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.”
The Spirit sanctifies us, assisting the preaching of the gospel. He is the One who raised the Son from the dead. And we may be confident that “the Spirit of glory and of God rests” on us! Praise the Lord!