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#8 PRAISE BE TO THE GOD AND FATHER OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

As Christians we do not often notice similarities between Peter and Paul. But we have already seen in the previous meditation that both greet their readers with a benediction of ‘grace and peace to you’. We have also seen Peter’s strong teaching about election and Christians being chosen by God, a teaching usually associated with Paul.

Moving on to 1Peter 1:3 we read Peter’s introduction to his teaching about salvation – ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’. This is identical to Paul’s introduction to his teaching about salvation in Ephesians 1:3.

Like Paul, Peter is convinced that salvation is the work of God, not something that we gain or maintain by our own efforts. And he is careful to clearly identify who this God who saves us is. The God who saves us is not any ‘god’ concept that we humans might imagine, not any idea of god, but a very specifically defined God. The God Peter and Paul speak about, the God who saves us, is ‘the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’.

This teaches us that the God who is to be praised for saving us is:

The God acknowledged and obeyed by Jesus Christ during the years of his incarnation.

The God revealed by Jesus Christ by his miracles and in his teaching.

In addition God is the Father of Jesus Christ, not in the same way that he is ‘our Father’ by virtue of creation and by virtue of salvation, but because he is the eternal Father of Christ, the eternal divine Son. Because of this eternal Father/Son relationship the New Testament teaches that the Son reveals the Father:

The Son is ‘the image of the invisible God’.

The Son is ‘the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being’.

We learn from the Son that, although the Father and the Son are two distinct persons within the Godhead, there is an essential unity and equality between the Father and the Son, so that –

To know the Son is to know the Father.

To see the Son is to see the Father.

To believe in the Son is to believe in the Father.

To receive the Son is to receive the Father.

Jesus, in fact, said that if we fail to recognize him we simply do not know God, his Father. He also said ‘No one knows the Father except the Son, and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.’ And ‘I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’ The only way to know the God of whom Peter and Paul speak is by knowing Jesus Christ.

Any other concept of ‘god’ is not the God spoken of by Peter and Paul, and is not the God whom they praise for salvation. It is this God – the God acknowledged and revealed by Christ the Son – who saves us. No other ‘god’ has done what the God and Father of Jesus Christ has done. Indeed, no other ‘god’ could do what the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has done.

The work of saving sinners is not an easy work, and not a simple work. It is the work of God – the same God who powerfully created the universe and all that is in it, the same God by whose almighty power Jesus Christ rose from the dead. The gospel, Paul affirms, ‘is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes’.

We cannot save ourselves. No religious rituals or formulas can save us. No man-made god can save us. But God, the God and Father of Jesus, can and does save us. For this reason, because he has saved us through the death of his beloved Son, let us join whole-heartedly in Peter’s ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!’

Scriptures: Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; John 8:19; 12:44,45; 14:6-9; Matthew 11:27; Romans 1:16.

© Rosemary Bardsley 2017