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:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Who Are we?
As we sat in small group tonight it became a sobering realisation: Most of us see that we have an identity in Christ that we do not live out. We see ourselves as athletes and performers at best, but do we see ourselves as Jesus sees us? We have:
- A new birth into a living hope.
- We have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade.
- We are shielded by God’s power.
- We love him and believe in him.
- We have an inexplicable joy which causes us to rejoice.
We want these things to be true, but in practice something rang hollow for some of us. Circumstances leave us somewhere short of rejoicing. We do not see ourselves in a new life of expectancy looking forward to heaven. We have not cultivated a stance where we look to heaven each morning and set our bearings with the beauty of heaven in our view. However, if we can see the futility of our money, our possessions, and our status we would be more motivated to throw off the things that entangle us and press on to heaven.
Fear of rejection, fear for our safety, and fear of losing control occupy us. If we accepted that we are secure and accepted, shielded by his power, we would not be robbed of our joy by various fears. I am in the process of releasing my fears to God and gradually watching the tide turn as I accept these truths which lie obscured beneath. We have an inexplicable joy that is available to us. I have experienced it recently, but I have allowed circumstances to cause me to forget. This is why Peter wrote this letter to remind people. This is who you are. Speak it to each other. God has your back.
This identity seems hard to grasp. However, it is what we are born into. This reality is mine for the taking, but I have not realised it as a daily reality. How did the exiles receiving the letter change their perspective. Teach me to fret less and redefine my identity.
- How does Peter identify himself?
- How does Peter identify his recipients?
- Why did his recipients need to hear this?
- How do you identify yourself? How does this change how you feel?
- How can you change your view to how God sees you?
Peter introduced himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ. He identifies his audience as God’s elect. Since there was persecution and suffering taking place for the faith, Peter was reminding them their identity in Christ and the “bigger picture.” By God’s grace, I identify myself as being in Christ, a new creation. I love Him, believe In Him, and He is my living hope. More recently, the Lord has instilled me a greater joy than usual for Him, regardless of circumstances. However, I need to really grab hold of the fact that the inheritance He has given me can never perish, spoil or fade. Sometimes I feel like if i’m not perfect, I can lose that… which is my flesh talking and not the truth. Also, it’s easy to forget that I am shielded by God’s power. Although He has proven this true over and over again in my life, sometimes I tend to think like I am not. I praise the Lord that He is sanctifying me in His truth and I don’t need to depend on my feelings.
Peter immediately identifies himself with Jesus Christ. Peter shows us that he is not causality with Christ but that he is an apostle of Jesus Christ. Peter then moves onto the people he is writing to and lets them know they are God’s elect but are exiled through the land. He reminds them that they are God’s elect but how did this happen? It happened by the foreknowledge of God through the sanctifying work of the Spirit. All this so that they are able to be obedient to Jesus Christ. Believers needed this because they were scattered caused by extreme persecution. They need to here this because they would of been somewhat worn out and discouraged.
If I am writing I always identify myself as a Christian first but when it comes to speaking, it is not always the first thing I direct people to about me. It is very refreshing and it encourages me that I am more then just a Christian.
Changing my view can be easily changed by being in His word daily.
Peter first identifies himself as an apostle. Apostolic authority was generally respected in the early church because they had known the one in whom they put their faith and had specifically been commissioned to build the church. Peter identifies the recipients as the elect of God, by whom they were chosen before they even existed to partake in eternal life.
Despite persecution, despite hardship, they were the chosen of God. It was not an indication of a faith foolishly chosen, their being rejected by God, etc. This would be encouraging and remind them of the big picture of life and their final end with God.
I naturally view myself in terms of my success and in who I am apart from God. But this is following the identity of an unbeliever who has nothing else to hold onto. This is something I struggle with often. I know what my identity is in Christ and thereby what true success and worth is…but this is not how I feel so often. It is the vestiges of my life apart from Christ whispering failure in my disappointments and ironically so often in my life choices which I know to be God’s direction. Consciously embracing who I really am and what God expects of me–this is what stays and alleviates my discouragement. Peter has been a letter I have come back to a few times upon my decision to come to Moody.
Peter identifies himself as a representative of/messenger for Jesus Christ. He belongs to Him. It’s interesting that he says that the recipients of his letter “reside as aliens.” “Reside” is a word you associate with home. But Peter wants to remind those he’s writing to that they are foreigners here, as he does later in the text (1st Peter 2:11). They live here, God does want them to live physically, spiritually where He’s put them on earth, but Peter is also reminding them that they don’t and will never belong on this sinful planet. They’re “aliens.”
Since coming to Moody I have been learning more the significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Verse 3 reminds me that if Jesus hadn’t been raised, I would never have been saved because it’s through His resurrection that I am born again by God the Father. Speaking of being saved, it’s important to note that in one solid, real sense we are saved, but in another very real sense we have not yet been saved! Our souls are not yet saved, we have not yet seen Jesus. Judgment Day has not yet happened. It’s like in Romans 5:9-10 which says, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall (future tense) be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall (future tense) be saved by His life.”
I love the word “hope” in this passage. It’s a word that I’ve struggled with in the past because what I “hoped” for in life didn’t happen. And that resulted in much pain. But the word “hope” here means “anticipate with pleasure.” It means to trust in something with confidence. It implies a measure of security. The object of our hope is not our own dreams, which are fleeting. But the object of our hope is the risen Christ and the inheritance that we have in him. Living with this hope changes everything.