Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 1
1 Peter is a letter written to God’s people who were living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia (this region is now the country of Turkey). Peter knew they were experiencing hard times – trials and persecution for their faith. Their faith was scorned, their morality criticized and their hope mocked. This letter was sent to encourage them to remain faithful. As pressure increased, Peter challenged them to renew their commitment and live out their faith in order to please God and to be a witness to God’s work of grace in their lives.
Can you relate? Every year it seems like the battle against Christianity in the United States intensifies. Our faith is scorned, our morality criticized and our hope in Christ mocked. Let’s study Peter’s letter as if it was written to us just days ago. We open the mail today and there is a letter addressed to us from Peter. Perhaps this is what the letter might say (1 Peter 1:1-2:3):
Isn’t God good?! Isn’t God worthy of our praise this morning?! The God who knew you and chose you long ago (in fact, before you were even born) has given you His Spirit TO MAKE YOU HOLY. He has cleansed you by the blood of Jesus Christ and just keeps giving you more and more grace, along with a big dose of peace.
Because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead, He has also given us the opportunity to be born again – all because of His GREAT mercy! Now we can live with great expectation of a priceless inheritance that He is keeping in heaven for us. Your inheritance is pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. Until the day comes when this inheritance will be revealed for all to see, God is protecting you through faith and by His power.
Did you hear that? God is protecting you, so be truly glad! I know you are going through lots of trials right now but there is a wonderful joy ahead. These trials are showing how genuine your faith in God is. Your faith is being TESTED just as fire tests and purifies gold. Your faith, which is even more precious than mere gold, is being STRENGTHENED and PURIFIED as you suffer through these hard times. And the result of your response is that you are bringing praise, glory and honor to Jesus Christ.
I know you have never actually seen Him but it is obvious you love Him. Though He is invisible right now, you trust him as if you can see Him. You rejoice with a joy that is glorious and inexpressible! The reward you will receive for trusting Him will be the salvation of your souls. I hope this encourages you.
I know things are difficult right now, but think of how blessed we are. The prophets foretold of this great salvation – of the suffering of Christ and how He would be glorified – but it wasn’t for them to experience. They knew the messages were not for themselves but for us. They were filled with the Spirit and joined the angels in eager expectation of what was going to happen.
So, think about this. Think about this gracious salvation we have to look forward to when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. Exercise self-control and live as God’s obedient children. He chose you; He has prepared an inheritance for you – you are His! So don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. LIVE A HOLY LIFE because that’s what He desires – because He is a holy God. The Scriptures are clear when they say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”
So, as “foreigners” in this world, remember that the inheritance you received from your ancestors was an empty life but God paid a ransom to save you – not a ransom of silver or gold but of the precious blood of Christ, our spotless Lamb of God. God chose Him as your ransom SO CHOOSE A HOLY LIFE. God will judge or reward you according to what you do – You can’t just get by on being His favorite.
So live in reverent fear of this holy God. Continue to trust in God through Jesus Christ. Because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory, you have placed your faith and your hope in God. You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now show evidence of this cleansing through your sincere love for your brothers and sisters. Love each other DEEPLY with all your heart!
You have a new life that will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God! You have been born again! You no longer belong to the temporary things of this world so live for the eternal. Remember what the Scriptures say:
“People are like grass;
their beauty is like a flower in the field.
The grass withers and the flower fades.
But the word of the Lord remains forever.” – 1 Peter 1:24
That word of the Lord the Scriptures are referring to is the same good news that has been preached to you. So live for the eternal and not for the temporary, no matter how strongly your faith is tested. Get rid of ALL evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech.
Now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness – yes, all the blessings you have experienced are only a “taste” of what you will receive – crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Get hungry for it! Crave it! Seek it! Nothing else matters because nothing else will last forever. Keep this in mind no matter what difficulties you may face today.
Remember He loves you and you are His!
With sincere and deep love,