1 Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
The passage immediately after this is to me one of the most glorious in the whole Bible, but it strikes me right now to whom it is addressed. As far as the world was concerned, they were the dregs of society, scattered strangers. However, from God’s perspective they were chosen holy ones, purified by the blood of Son of God. The Bible says repeatedly that God does not judge as man does, and that’s a very good thing indeed. The “foreknowledge” that is referred to many times is the fact that since God sees the end from the beginning, He knows how people are going to respond to the opportunities He gives them to repent, believe, and serve Him. He doesn’t force anyone to do that, but being outside of time He knows what we will do because from His perspective we have already done it. Thinking about that too much can get us really confused, because we are very much in the flow of time and we don’t know what the future holds. That’s where faith and trust come in. When we have that faith and trust, we indeed “are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for [we] are receiving the goal of [our] faith, the salvation of [our] souls.” (1 Peter 1:8-9) We are not to see ourselves as the world sees us, but know that in Christ we are children of God, heirs of the universe and more, whatever condition we might be in at the moment, and rejoice!
I have always loved 1 Peter. Part of that comes from being very aware of just how human Peter was, and how badly he had stumbled. That gives me hope for myself! I am aware that the beauty of the flowing prose of 1 Peter owes a lot to the literary gifts of Silvanus (Silas) who acted as Peter’s scribe, (1 Peter 5:12) but the content itself comes from Peter’s own experience, anointed and guided by the Holy Spirit. 2 Peter betrays how rough Peter’s Greek really was, but that doesn’t make him any less God’s instrument of truth. Rather, it shows how we are to work together to do God’s will, bringing His kingdom to this earth. I am never to think I can accomplish God’s will by myself, nor am I ever to despise the contributions of anyone toward His kingdom. He involves us all, and we need each other. We may be scattered strangers, but in God’s economy we are a mighty, glorious army, empowered by the Creator to destroy the works of the devil.
Father, sometimes I look at the church here and I wonder how You are going to fulfill the vision You have given us. Thank You that we couldn’t possibly do it on our own! Thank You for the recent reminders of the fruit of the past 34 years of ministry, indeed scattered around the world. Humanly speaking, I’d like it to be more concentrated right here where I could see it, but Your plan is best. Help me continue to grow in faith and obedience, so that all of Your plans involving me may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!