Peter begins his letter by addressing it to God’s chosen people. THAT’S US!!
An interesting thing to notice here is that in the Good News Bible translation he refers to;
God’s chosen people who live as refugees scattered throughout the provinces… (Some translations refer to strangers)
He then goes on to list various places such as Asia and Cappadocia. Compare this list to the list in Acts 2 v 8-11. These are the people who were in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost and witnessed the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. They had responded to Peter’s first message and then gone back to their homes taking his message with them and passing it on.
He refers to them as strangers and refugees, not only in the literal sense that they were living in an area and culture that was not their origin, but in the spiritual sense that we are living as strangers here on earth. Our home on earth is only temporary.
You were chosen according to the purpose of God the Father and were made a holy people by his Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be purified by his blood (v2)
All three members of the Trinity are mentioned here and have an active role in our salvation.
Now without going into a long discussion on the theology of who is chosen, I believe we are all chosen by God, but we are then given the choice as to whether we accept that and allow the Holy Spirit to work in us the redemption earned by Jesus’ sacrifice. What the bible refers to as foreknowledge or predestination I believe indicates God’s supreme knowledge of who will chose to accept that calling.
Even before the world was made, God had already chosen us to be his through our union with Christ, so that we would be holy and without fault before him (Ephesians 1 v 4 )
In Matthew 22 verses 1 – 14 Jesus told the parable of the wedding feast, where those invited did not go, they made excuses
Many are invited, but few are chosen(Matthew 22 v 14)
In Deuteronomy 30 we read that God gave the Israelites a choice;
I have now given you a choice between a blessing and a curse. When all these things have happened to you, and you are living among the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you, you will remember the choice I gave you (v 1)
If you and your descendants will turn back to the Lord and with all your heart obey his commands that I am giving you today, then the Lord your God will have mercy on you. (v2-3)
We see here that the Israelites too were scattered, they had not yet received fulfillment of the promise. The passage goes on to give the promise of prosperity (v3), possession of the land he promised (v5), obedient hearts to love him (v6), curses against the enemy (v7) but with conditions…
You have to obey(v 10), you have a choice between good and evil, life and death (v15) so CHOOSE LIFE!!! (v19) – we have to choose to accept it.
We can be given a ticket to an event, but unless we choose to go, we don’t receive the benefit, we have to obey his call.
So then we can give thanks to our God and Father for his great mercy and look forward to receiving the blessings he has promised us (v 3-4)
Peter too implores us to persevere though the difficult times so that we will be proved to be more precious than gold.
Gold can be destroyed (v7) but our salvation stands.
Their purpose is to prove that your faith is genuine. Even gold which can be destroyed, is tested by fire and so your faith, which is much more precious than gold, must also be tested, so that it may endure.(v7)
You love him, although you have not seen him, and you believe in him although you do not now see him…..you are receiving the salvation of your souls, which is the purpose of your faith in him.(v 8-9)
Again we see that our faith has to be active, the receiving of our salvation is in the present tense, it is ongoing not yet complete although we know that Jesus has completed the work, while we are here on earth it is ongoing within us as individuals. We have to obey and endure the testing that our faith brings with the sure hope that we have of the promised reward.
We saw in verse 3 that this is a living hope, a firm conviction that we will see the promised reward.
The second part of the chapter looks at a call to holy living so we will look at that separately in the next “blog”
Quotes from the Good News Bible