"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure” (1 Peter 1:1-2).
In beginning a personal study of Peter’s epistles, I decided to record some thoughts here with the idea to share encouragement and to keep myself accountable to work consistently through both books :)
Peter established his credibility by stating his position as an apostle of Jesus Christ. “In its more restricted and common New Testament usage, apostle refers to “an apostle of Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 1:1). Those apostles included the original twelve (with the deletion of Judas and the addition of Matthias after Judas’s defection) and Paul. In contrast to the apostles of the churches, these men were commissioned by Christ Himself. They were chosen by Him (cf. Luke 6:13; Acts 9:15) and learned the gospel from Him, not other men (cf. Galatians 1:11-12)” - John MacArthur.
In the next phrase, we see who his audience is: “aliens”, “who are chosen…”. “Alien” was the term used to describe the position of the Christians during the time of the early church. Whether you were a Jew who turned away from Judaism or was a Gentile who came to faith in Christ, you felt the stigma of new life in Christ deeply in the practical areas of business, home, church, and family. Services were denied and the cost of living was raised exorbitantly. When someone became a Christian, families, and friends would often consider them to be dead. Their world was suddenly divided with no restoration in the foreseeable future. Becoming a Christian was (and is) not the way to wealth and happiness. Peter reminds his readers that while life as an alien is real and hard, Christ is the Christian's All-Sufficiency and He has provided a supportive community in the lives of fellow believers throughout the entire world.
Even now, we who believe are aliens, too. This world is not our home, and it can be very lonely, painful, and difficult to live in it. Fixing our eyes on the One who has chosen us is the only way to live here in hope, excited for His return and seeing Him face to face for eternity.
How were (and are) the aliens chosen?
Peter tells us the reason we experience and live in the midst of all this turmoil: God the Father, existing outside of time and space, foreknew (or set His love upon) every person whom He was going to save from His wrath. God never has or will change, and His plan for the salvation of His people has always been in His mind. Not from one thought to another, one ‘emotion’ to another, nor from not knowing to knowing. He is not like us for He is infinite and eternal, and we are finite and temporary (on this earth).
In addition to being fore-loved by the Father, those who are chosen also receive the covering of the righteousness of Christ and have been changed to love Him. The Spirit is our constant Helper. The Trinity is completely invested in each believer, crafting the inner person to love and serve Him for His glory and praise. We are most certainly not alone. “God for us, who against us?” (Rom. 8:31).
God fore-loves: Being an object of God’s love has nothing whatsoever to do with mere created beings. We who have a beginning cannot fathom the reasoning (humanly speaking) of One Who Has Always Been. God’s plan for everything has always been in His mind (even that is a mystery, and rightly so). We who are dead in trespasses and sins, and are so from conception, have no ability, desire or compunction, to choose to follow a holy God. Only the Holy can make that choice. Imperfection cannot make itself perfect.
Christ covers: As Christ laid down His life for His people and raised it up again, He raises us alive from our sin-death, clothes us in His righteousness, and presents us faultless before Him with exceeding joy (Jude 24). To be clothed in His righteousness means just that. We aren’t made righteous, for we are still in these earthly bodies not yet free from the presence of sin, but we no longer pay the penalty of sin (being subject to the wrath of a holy God) and are seen by Him as if He were looking at Christ. “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” God changes our hearts from stone into flesh (Ezekiel. 36:26), and we love to obey Him. The work of the Trinity continues, for we have no part in our resurrection and heart transplant. Our salvation is of great delight to us, for He alone receives all the honor, glory, and praise!
Spirit sanctifies: He is our constant companion. Never failing, never gone, always working and shaping us. A true testament to God’s omnipresence is to know He is in each believer at all times, never leaving one for another. A mystery for finite minds!
Grace and peace over-abound in the believer’s mind, heart, and life with all of this at his back! Storms and people may assail, but the Rock is firm, the Shepherd is kind, and the King reigns.
Until next time,