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?