1 Peterby David Burge
It is common for Christians to feel as though we don't really belong. Some of us have been forcibly removed from our homes because of our faith in Jesus. Others may be living in foreign settings for the sake of the gospel.
In Peter's day, under Emperor Nero, many Christians were persecuted and displaced from their homes. The truth is, all of us, as citizens of heaven, are living in a land to which we don't truly belong. The sin and sadness in our world remind us of this daily. In that sense, all Christians are ″exiles, scattered″ (1 Peter 1:1), longing for our Promised Land. Just like the character called Christian in John Bunyan's classic book, The Pilgrim's Progress, we Christians are pilgrims on our way home.
We may feel saddened by this description, and lament the reality that we, too, are exiles. But for Peter, the sadness of exile is overshadowed by something far greater-he calls Christians ″God's elect″ (v. 1). God has ″chosen″ (v. 2) us to be His people! We know this because we have faith in the Lord Jesus (see Ephesians 1:3-6; 2:8-10).
What does it mean to be God's elect? Peter explains in 1 Peter 1:2. He chooses Old Testament sacrifice words (″sanctifying″, or making holy, and ″sprinkled with his blood″), and New Testament Trinitarian language to help us understand. The persons of God-Father, Son, and Spirit-are each and together responsible for our holy status as God's chosen people. Notice how the Father foreknew and chose us, even before the world began; the Holy Spirit made us holy or ″sanctified″ people (definitively when we became Christians, but also progressively day by day); and the Son offered His blood so that we enjoy the benefits He purchased on the cross. Reflect on the significance of Jesus' blood sprinkled over you. How might that influence your day?
How conscious are you of the work of the Father, Son, and Spirit, for you? Our triune God has made a way for us to enjoy these rich realities of ″grace and peace″, not in small measure, but, as Peter prays, ″in abundance″ (1 Peter 1:2). As a Christian, you could speak or even sing these truths to yourself: ″I am chosen by my Heavenly Father! His Spirit works mightily in me to obey His Son! Jesus' blood guarantees my holiness!″ You may feel far from home in this life, but God tells us through the rest of Peter's letter just how good it is to be one of His chosen, holy people.
When you look in the mirror, how much does God's description of you influence the way you see yourself?
How might the portrait of you in these verses change your day?