1 Peter 1:20-21

“He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was revealed in these last times for you. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Peter writes here that Jesus was foreknown before the foundation of the world. What does he mean by this? Hasn’t Jesus existed in eternity as part of the Trinity? Yes! Peter is writing about the plan of salvation. God foreknew that he would send his Son as the Savior of mankind. Peter described this in his sermon at Pentecost. He said, “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words: This Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through him, just as you yourselves know. Though he was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you usedlawless people to nail him to a cross and kill him.” In Genesis 3:15, God tells the serpent (Satan), “I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” When Jesus took on human form, he brought himself into Satan’s domain. Satan thought he won when he had Jesus crucified on the cross. But Christ defeated death and Satan. David Guzik writes in his commentary, “There is no doubt that this is a prophecy of Jesus’ ultimate defeat of Satan. God announced that Satan would wound the Messiah (you shall bruise his heel), but that the Messiah would crush Satan with a mortal wound (He shall bruise your head). It was as if God could not wait to announce his plan of salvation, to bring deliverance through the one known as the seed of woman.”

He uses the phrase “foundation of the world.” This is a New Testament phrase used for the creation of the world. Jesus uses it several times. One example is in Matthew 25:34, where Jesus uses it in the parable of the sheep and the goats. He says, “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.’” Another is when Paul uses it in Ephesians 1:4. He writes, “For he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless in love before him.” There are many more examples of this phrase in the New Testament.

Peter tells his readers that although this plan has been foreknown by God since before creation, it is just now being revealed to them in these last times. The commentary on 1 Peter by the Gospel Coalition website gives a good explanation for the phrase “last days.” The redemption plan was foreknown by God before the foundation of the world. “But the work of redemption took place in time, within human history, in what Peter calls ‘the last times’, a reference to the period inaugurated by the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Christ and extending until his return at the close of history (cf. Acts 2:17; 2 Tim 3:1; Heb 1:2; Jas 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3).” Paul finished his letter to the church at Rome in this way: “Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the proclamation about Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept silent for long ages but now revealed and made known through the prophetic Scriptures, according to the command of the eternal God to advance the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles—to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ—to him be the glory forever! Amen” (Romans 16:25-27).

Peter goes on to write that through him (Jesus), we believe in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory. There are so many verses in the New Testament that I can use here. The first one that came to my mind was Philippians 2:7-9, where Paul writes, “Instead he emptied himself by assuming the form of a servant, taking on the likeness of humanity. And when he had come as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death—even to death on a cross. For this reason God highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name…” Paul also writes about this other times. “He exercised this power in Christ by raising him from the dead and seating him at his right hand in the heavens—far above every ruler and authority, power and dominion, and every title given, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he subjected everything under his feet and appointed him as head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of the one who fills all things in every way” (Ephesians 1:20-23). “For we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you” (2 Corinthians 4:14). I think you get the idea!

Why did he do this? So that we can see that our faith and hope are rightly placed. Paul writes in Romans 5:2, “We have also obtained access through him by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” In his letter to the Colossians, he writes, “But now he has reconciled you by his physical body through his death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before him— if indeed you remain grounded and steadfast in the faith and are not shifted away from the hope of the gospel that you heard. This gospel has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and I, Paul, have become a servant of it” (Colossians 1:22-23). And lastly in 1 Thessalonians 5:8, he writes, “But since we belong to the day, let us be self-controlled and put on the armor of faith and love, and a helmet of the hope of salvation.” Once again we see this reference to the armor that we are to put on, just as we studied in Ephesians.

This paragraph began with verse 13, where we are told to be sober-minded and to set our hope on the grace of Christ. We are told to be holy because God is holy. We are reminded that God judges our works impartially and we need to conduct ourselves with reverence here on earth. We have been redeemed from our old way of life with the precious blood of Christ. That redemption was planned by God before the creation of the world. I am going to wrap up with this quote from Wayne Grudem. I think he sums it up perfectly. “The God whom Christians fear is also the God whom they trust forever, the God who has planned and done for them only good from all eternity.”

Grace be with you!


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