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.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honour at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and enquired carefully, 11 enquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.
13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action,[a] and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 24 for
“All flesh is like grass
and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers,
and the flower falls,
25 but the word of the Lord remains for ever.”
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.
Identity: A Summary
I have spent a month or more thinking about who I am and I have come to some conclusions. Perhaps the most important for me right now is that I can lie to myself about who I am. I lie in thought and deed. I felt more shame when I started this study. I also felt more guilt. My shame was rooted in the thought that I am both saved and sinful in the essence of who I am. However, as I have been thinking over 1 Peter and other passages, I know that salvation brings a sanctification that gives us righteousness and holiness at conversion. Where I am thinking more clearly is in the transition from I have righteousness, or I have holiness, to I am righteous and holy. There is still a battle within me. Sin wages war in the members of my flesh. I am not yet in touch with who I fully am. I have created false personas of high same and guilt, and it is hard not to condemn myself when I am seeing the false persona and believe that it is the real me. I sometimes think that I am pointless or lost in the grand purpose of things. However, I am chosen for a purpose and I am being transformed so that the deeper reality of who I am may overcome the illusions that I have set up.
Jesus, let me be my true self. Help me to see that I already have all that I need. I am not a failure. I am not inadequate. My true self is complete in you.
- What words in 1 Peter 1 describe the Christian identity?
- How is salvation key to realizing identity?
- What lies have you believed about who you are?
- Which truth about your identity in Christ strikes you most deeply right now?
- How can you make the identity that you have in Christ more of an experiential reality?
“There is still a battle within me.” This sentence reminds me of the preaching I sat under last week in church. My pastor expounded on walking in the Spirit from Galatians 5 and compared the deeds of the flesh with the fruit of the Spirit found just a few verses later. He noted that these are not spiritual boxes to check in our quest for holiness. Walking in the Spirit is much messier than we think it is; the deeds of the flesh are at war with the fruit of the spirit and will be until the consummation. Thankfully, He who began a good work in us is faithful to bring it about until the Day of Christ Jesus. This is the hope I have when struggling with my identity and with my spiritual life. I am Christ’s and He is mine–God loves me as His own Son and I am a co-heir with Christ. Even when I fail, there is a love that will not let me go. Convicting that I would forget this and shrug it off as irrelevant: comforting that it is nevertheless true.
The identity of a Christian is unlike any other. Some choose to be identified with what they do or do not do, and some become identified with what they do or do not do. Regardless, it is about them. Their identity is in their choices, lifestyle, beliefs, successes or failures, and so on. As a Christian though, our identity rests in Him. Because of who He is, we are all that Peter has described us as being. This identity frees us from the curse of performing well and being approved by others – which is what the world gives. What freedom we have in Christ!
Last night I was walking and talking with a friend and she noted that before being even female, she’s a child of God. Her “place” in the universe isn’t established by the fact that she’s single, or a student, but the fact that she belongs to God; she holds the hand that holds the world! Or rather He grips hers!
That is one of the truths of 1st Peter that has ministered to me recently- like right now. 🙂 Even though I can feel weak and restless and confused, as 1st Peter 1:5 says, “through (my) faith God is protecting me by His power, until I receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.” Reading about how wonderful this future inheritance is in verse 4 today, I was tempted to doubt that I’d ever actually get to receive such a thing. It can sound like a fairy tale.
Or rather I can feel I will never make it. I won’t succeed in persevering in the faith in this life, I’ll stop believing, I’ll give up and I won’t gain this beautiful home and glory… But I don’t have to fear because God has provided the means to get me to the end. His awesome power won’t protect me from all suffering in this life, but He is set on bringing me home. None of His children will ever be lost. This inheritance, that is priceless and beyond change and decay, that is pure…I will have a portion therein with my God, who I will behold..because no matter how despicable I feel, God won’t forget those He chose long ago and God keeps His promises.
God’s made sure that there is a place set at the marriage supper table for me!
It is even encouraging to be the second most encouraging (though that might be presumptuous) class on the agenda, if you have aha moments like this one 😉