1 Peter 1 tells the Christian that they are chosen. They are plucked from the meaningless angst of existence and assigned a purpose. It is not necessary to delve into the fine points of Calvinism versus Arminianism. It is enough to think about a life without meaning against a life that has purpose. God has a divine story to tell and there are those who want to play the role of villain, there are those who trundle along as though God were silent, and then God chooses some to be agents and workers in his design.
The Christian needs to see that they were not saved from hell for heaven. That is, they were not saved for their own ends that they might have a room in a celestial hotel when they die. God is redeeming the earth in time and foreshadows the future shalom (peace and harmony), by repurposing people who would otherwise be refuse. Refuse people are those who lack the divinely given capacity to serve in ways humans were designed to serve. This is why hell is an incinerator. Gehenna, the Valley of the Sons of Hinnom, is the picture of hell in the New Testament. It is the place where idols were once served, and so the devout designated it the city rubbish tip, or garbage dump. Those who want to escape the natural results of estrangement from God are swept up by God into a life of purpose. We are vessels that carry living water. Once we were cracked and broken and now we have been destroyed and recast – reborn. This life ceases to be random and meaningless. We can not be existential journeymen who are making sense of the absurdity of life in the face of the certainty of death. We are builders of a Kingdom; we are soldiers in an army; we are servants of the King. All the multiple facets of reality point to him and bring him glory. We have been chosen to be transformed for his glory. Chosen from an orphanage, we lay in the lap of Abba, Father once more accepted, safe, and at home.
Having read 1 Peter, I want to explore my identity. I want you to define who I am. The lies I tell myself lead me to empty self-loathing. The truth that you tell me leads to victorious, righteous living. I want to be holy because you have chosen me and set me apart.
- 1 Peter 1 tells sojourners and exiles that they are chosen. How does that challenge their self-image?
- How would a Jewish mind interpret the word ‘chosen’?
- What does it mean to not be chosen? Would those who are not chosen be angry with God?
- Why would God choose you?
- How does the image of adoption in the New Testament enrich the idea of ‘chosen’?