The Mystery of our Faith – 1 Peter 1:10-12

“Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, which things the angels desire to look into.” – I Peter 1:10-12

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Everyone loves a good mystery. I am not very good at board games, however, there is one game that I tend to be very successful at and that is the game called ‘Clue’. There is something intriguing about solving a murder mystery. The mystery of our faith may not be very mysterious to us today, though it is still very intriguing. The fundamental truths of our faith have been revealed to us, therefore, it is no more a mystery. However, it most certainly was a mystery to those who lived in dispensations before us. In our previous chapter, we noted that we will share in the glory of Christ when our salvation is made complete. This is why we can endure through the trials of life, because of the hope of our future salvation, of which God has predestined us for. In verse ten of First Peter one, we find that this salvation was a mystery to the prophets of old.

Who prophesied? The prophets ‘enquired and searched diligently’ concerning this salvation that you and I enjoy today. They prophesied concerning the grace of God and the dispensation of grace that we live in today. These prophets had a great desire to understand that which they were prophesying. So, who are these prophets? The answer is very simple and undeniable. They were the Old Testament prophets. There are some, though few, who believe that Peter was speaking of New Testament prophets. However, this view is very unlikely and even impossible to consider. The great conservative Lutheran, Lenski writes, “The longing for the days of the Messiah runs through the entire Old Testament.”[1] Just a simple reading of the Old Testament reveals this to be true. Matthew 13:17 says, “For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” The prophets, mentioned by Peter, must be the Old Testament prophets for they never saw what the apostles saw and they never heard what the apostles heard. The prophecies that they prophesied, particular those concerning the gift of grace through Jesus Christ, were mysterious to the Old Testament prophets and they studied them and searched them diligently, hoping to discover the same the truths that have been revealed to us today.

How did they prophesy? The answer to this question is found in verse eleven. It mentions the ‘Spirit of Christ’ which was in them. This is none other than the Holy Spirit of God. Second Peter 1: 21 says, “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” This is what we often refer to as the inspiration of scriptures. These holy men or prophets, were ‘moved along’ by the Holy Spirit to pen the words of scripture. The same Spirit that inspired the New Testament writers also inspired the Old Testament writers. This gives credence to the validity of the Old Testament scriptures. The Old Testament prophets received their information by the Spirit and were empowered by the Spirit to speak words that were mysterious to them, yet is now revealed to us in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the same Spirit that came upon the writers of scriptures, both the prophets and the apostles, that indwells every believer in Christ today. The Spirit of God within us unlocks the mystery of the Gospel as it is revealed to us in God’s Word.

What did they prophesy? Our text tells us that the prophets testified concerning the sufferings of Christ and the glory of Christ. In other words, they prophesied the Gospel. Though, perhaps, not fully understood by the prophets themselves, yet, this Gospel has been revealed to you and me.

To whom did they prophesy? Verse twelve speaks to the fact that the prophets prophesied to us. Now that Jesus has come, the apostles as eye witnesses of His resurrection, the message of the prophets have been preached to us by the apostles and revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Now that we have accepted this Gospel, we have an obligation to preach the Gospel also even when we may face persecution for doing so.

At the end of verse twelve it mentions that even the angels have a desire to understand this mystery of our faith. We live in a time of great privilege. Never before has the Gospel been so widely available and known as it is today. With living in great privilege there is great responsibility. “To whom much is given, much is required.” May God help us to proclaim all the Gospel to all the world no matter the cost.

[1] Lenski, R. C. H. (1966). The interpretation of the epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude (p. 47). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.

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