1 Peter 1:1-2
1 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.
This letter is addressed to believers scattered throughout the region. His main message is the Grace of God and its implications and application in our lives. Peter’s reference to aliens here refers to the living conditions of the believers in the areas he listed. His meaning is that they are not in friendly territory; rather, they are living in areas that are opposed to those who follow the teachings of Christ.
Next we encounter the idea of predestination. I cannot remember distinctly if I have discussed fully my thoughts on what this means throughout the bible, so I will attempt to give a brief explanation today. God says that He wishes all to be saved. This is contrary to some beliefs of predestination that only some are set aside to be saved by grace from sinfulness and eternity outside the presence of God (Implying that others are born simply to be rejected by God). However, if we read with continuity in the scriptures, we will find that the “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” simply means that because He is God, He knows who will trust and believe in Him and it is these people whom He has chosen. If we follow the train of thought that some are brought into existence solely to be rejected by God, then we completely distort God’s message altogether. If you disagree, I’d love to hear why as this is a topic I have always wanted to explore with others who believe otherwise.
Peter’s address continues to present to us sanctification. Simply said, this is the process of ridding ourselves of our connection with the ways of this world in order to better obey Jesus Christ. It is important for us to first believe in Him and secondly learn what He says in order to obey what He says, no? This is why we claim to be followers of Christ. Peter’s desire for grace and peace is a result of his knowledge of how all this works. It is only by grace (God’s unconditional love for us) and peace (unity with the Will of God) that our sanctification and perseverance is possible amidst a world hostile to The Way.
Do we accept this grace? Do we fully understand what it means to “accept the forgiveness of Christ”? How much do we battle with predestination; have we accepted the devil’s lie that maybe some of us are not loved by God like He says we are? What does it mean to be “sanctified” and why should we care about it?
These are all things I hope we will learn by reading Peter’s first letter.