We’re reading the first epistle of Peter over two weeks, with brief explanations and applications. The Bible text (NIV 2011) is in blue, so you can tell what bits are Scripture and what bits are my explanations.
1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God’s elect—that’s you; exiles—a minority mocked and excluded by the rest of society—scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, of Sydney, of Australia, of Asia, the Americas, Africa and Europe,
2 who have been chosen, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit—chosen to be obedient to Jesus Christ, to be different from the world around, and sprinkled with his blood that sets us apart for his service: Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you…
So if you’ve lost your “inheritance” here in this life for the sake of Christ: maybe your family’s cut you out of the will; but more likely you’ve simply lost respect or career opportunity or friends or wealth or free time—look at this in light of the eternal inheritance that awaits. Held not in some bank that might become insolvent; or a property portfolio that might devalue; or in shares that might crash. But held for you in heaven. Held for you,
5 … who through faith are shielded from anything this world can throw at you by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. At which time you’ll be vindicated.
6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. Yes, there’s eternal advantage; but there’s also temporary suffering. Why is that?
7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. These struggles as an excluded minority demonstrate your loyalty to Jesus. They give you an opportunity to prove your faithfulness to the one who was faithful to you.
8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him—you pledge loyalty to him—and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. So everything you’re giving up to follow Jesus—how does that compare in light of the salvation God offers? I mean, think about it!
10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.
12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
Generations beforehand only had an inkling of God’s plan. Even the prophets of old. Even those esteemed authors of the Old Testament. Even the angels. But you—you’ve now seen it all! Far from being a neglected minority, you’re a privileged people standing in the most privileged point in history: post-Easter, post-Pentecost.
- Make a list of the privileges you have, now, in Christ.
- Compare it with what you’ve given up to follow him.
- Be thankful!