1 Peter 1:1-2 Rewind

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Rewind

I had a mindset of getting 1 Peter ‘done’, but it is troubling me.  I have to go back to the beginning.  As I have traveled through Matthew and Mark and looked deeply at who jesus is, I am now left with a second question that I keep coming back to:  “Who am I?”  The focus in the gospels on the identity of jesus must be the source of my identity.  My life is hidden in his, he is my everything.  My career and my family are centered around him, but who does that make me?  Peter addresses his letter to the ‘exiles’ or ‘sojourners’ in the land.  They have no political or social status, their primary identity would have been in the church.  These people, unknown in their community, are known by the Father. They are sanctified in the Spirit, and they are obedient to Jesus.  They believe in Trinity and they live with a Trinitarian perspective.  My life is marked by a Trinitarian God.  I am known by God the Father, chosen by him.  This means that I am secure and set apart for good work.  I have a purpose.  However, I sometimes live and feel like an unknown who is not accepted.  I feel insecure sometimes.  Why this disparity?

The Holy Spirit is sanctifying, or changing, me.  I can see that I have had to open up a heart that resisted vulnerability and change for many years.  Because I was reluctant to accept criticism and a right view of myself, I was unable to change.  Yet, I do not feel secure when I remember that I have got many things wrong.  I believe that people, who wrongly believe they have it all together, will judge me.  Somehow I will lose my precious status and security because proud people will see my transparency and mock me as I go back and give over to the Holy Spirit the things that I want to change.  Why this discord?

I obey Jesus, but he leads me to places where I walk with fear and trembling.  It is not an awesome stepping onto the slopes of a blazing Mount Sinai, but it is a fear of my safety, a fear of rejection, a fear of giving over control.  I obey, but I do not see where this obedience will lead.  We have our house on the market, open to its sale.  We have adopted two children without knowing who they will become.  I have committed myself to following Jesus on a path of healing, but I don’t know how the healing happens.  Why the dissonance?

Peter reminds his readers of who they are.  I sometimes remind Daryl, my son, that beyond his fears and timidity, he is a hero.  The heroes of the Bible are heroes, not because of their own strength, but because God raised them up for a task.  Under my anxiety, God has created a man of God who is irresistibly drawn to deeper holiness.  I am a warrior of Jesus and I fight for him whether the enemies are without or within.  God has called me and who resists his will?  If God has called me in Christ, I will walk on.  I walk as a head of a household; I walk as a teacher of men and women;  I walk a path behind the Master – and though the narrow path may be unfamiliar to me, as I trust that he know the way, others will see my tremulous faith in one who lavishes strength and authority, and they too will follow.

Prayer

Although I do not feel strong, my feelings are born from a false identity I have woven out of fear.  The web of tangled lies that are deep in my chest ache as I try and cast them off.  Jesus, cut through the false identity that I have created from falsehoods I have been told and have retold.  Father, let me know the calling that I have received with a stronger trust and belief.  Holy Spirit, lead me out of the darkness of doubt and into the radiance of a new name.  What you have called me, God, let that be the name that identifies me.  I am your child.  Let me know your love.

Questions

  1. In what two ways are the recipients exiles and sojourners?
  2. How is the recipients’ identity rooted in the Trinity?
  3. How are election and security related?
  4. How is your identity rooted in the Trinity?
  5. How can you cultivate a Trinitarian lifestyle?
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About Plymothian

I teach at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. My interests include education, biblical studies, and spiritual formation. I have been married to Kelli since 1998 and we have two children, Daryl and Amelia. For recreation I like to run, play soccer, play board games, read and travel.
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6 Responses to 1 Peter 1:1-2 Rewind

  1. Eric Wildermuth says:

    Those who have received this letter do not live in Jerusalem, they are estranged from their homes and homeland. In society, there is persecution to go along with what is common and not Christian. They are also sojourning toward their true home, where they will live in perfect community with God. Each part of their life is rooted to the Trinity–particularly foreknowledge, sanctification, and the power for obedience–those being the ones mentioned here. God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) is sovereign over all pieces and parts of a Christian’s life, from the moment of salvation until glorification culminates.
    Those whom God foreknew he has and will sanctify. If He is sovereign in election, He won’t let His elect go on without being conformed to the Image of His Son. I am a Son of God, through my union with Christ by the sealing power of the Holy Spirit. The 3 persons (forgive if this is not a proper term to use here) of the Trinity, being One carry out their mutual and one purpose with which I have been united.
    I can begin to speak of God as more than just Jesus and the Father and the Holy Spirit separately (Not that there are 3 separate Gods) but recognizing His role in all facets of my life. More than just Union with Christ. but what that reality brings to bear on the rest of my life. The Trinitarian God will not fail to finish the good work that He has begun in me. That is a beautiful truth

  2. Christina Zezulak says:

    In what two ways are the recipients exiles and sojourners?
    The believers that Peter is addressing are exiles from the Dispersion, which means they were dispersed into different areas. After reading the Rewind section, I am starting to see another way that the recipients are sojourners. They, like us, are temporary staying in their location. Even if they never relocate on earth, the earth is not their home. Their home is in heaven.

    How is the recipients’ identity rooted in the Trinity?
    The believers have their identity through the foreknowledge of the Father, the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, and through the obedience of Jesus Christ through the sprinkling of His blood.

    How are election and security related?
    Since we are chosen by God, and all the aspects of our salvation are done by God and not by our own efforts, then we can be certain that our security is in who God is, not in who we are.

    How is your identity rooted in the Trinity?
    Like the recipients in 1 Peter, I was chosen beforehand by the Father. When I became a new creation in Christ, the Holy Spirit started and to sanctify me. The Holy Spirit continues to conform me to the image of Jesus Christ. My salvation was bought with the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He was obedient to the Father, giving His life as a ransom, so that I could have eternal life in relationship with the Triune God. Thus, my identity is – chosen, a new creation in Christ, and a child of God. Nothing else that I say or do can have more importance than these aspects of my identity.

    How can you cultivate a Trinitarian lifestyle?
    I can cultivate a Trinitarian lifestyle by recognizing and embracing each person of the Trinity within my daily walk with God. I would see this as: submitting to the Father’s will in each moment, depending on the Holy Spirit and His transforming power in my own life and in the lives of others, and for worshipping Jesus Christ for who He is, and what He has done for us. Of course each person in the Trinity deserves complete worship and obedience, but that is how I would break it down.

  3. Bronwyn says:

    There seems to be a real feeling of the temporariness of this life in 1st Peter. 1:17 says, “If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth”… “During the time of your stay” implies there’s a time limit!

    My ESV Study Bible says that the recipients of Peter’s letter were not physically exiles, but they were actual ones- spiritually.However I know there may be disagreement about this. I read that all those places (Pontus, Galatia, etc) refer to Roman provinces in Asia Minor, north of the Taurus Mountains. If they are actual exiles, they have probably been “dispersed” and are Messianic Jews- away from Jerusalem and their homeland. I’m not convinced yet this is the case, especially because my ESV Study Bible doesn’t say this.

    What Mr. Worrall wrote brought to mind the following passage of Scripture:

    Lule 17:6, .”…If you had faith like a mustard seed, you would say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and be planted in the sea’; and it would obey you.”

    Just a little bit of faith is powerful! Tremulous faith is still faith.

    I confess I don’t think enough about the fact that my identity is rooted in the Trinitarian God. This past summer I heard a message about how all members of the Trinity are at work in a sinner’s salvation and the speaker preached clearly about election. It was so comforting and God’s Spirit encouraged me through it. There’s definitely comfort in knowing we have been elected and it’s clearly a doctrine in Scripture.

  4. kevin w. says:

    The recipients are first exiles in the spiritual sense. They belong to the kingdom of God and live in the world. This stands out as Peter continues by describing these exiles’ identity in spiritual terms. This should also play out in their lifestyle as living as foreigners by obedience to Jesus in contrast to the norm. If they were Jews, then they were outside of their homeland.
    They had been chosen by God the Father, were being sanctified through His Spirit, and living in obedience to Christ Jesus because of His atoning work.

    If God has chosen someone (elected) as part of His family (this said to be done before the foundation of the world) then it necessitates that the person would have assurance of salvation. God does not lie and is unchanging in His character. If He has said that someone is elect then that person will be a child of God and have the assurance of salvation, persevering until the end.

    I am rooted in the Trinity just as the recipients of this letter are. I have been elected, chosen, to be into the family of God by the Father (who is now MY Father). The Spirit testifies with mine that this is true (Rom. 8). He draws me closer to God by changing my heart and conforming me unto the likeness of Jesus. I have been reconciled to God and brought into the family of God through the sacrifice of Jesus and have new life because of Christ’s resurrection. Christ is my righteousness. My worth and value lie in the fact that I bear God’s image and am loved by Him. Claiming and embracing the truth of who I am in light of the Trinity draws out the richness of who I really am and the falseness of an identity by the world’s standards. Studying and meditating on God’s Word, fellowship with other believers (fellowship seems pretty key to the Trinity)…

  5. Thank you for this, LOML.

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