1 Peter 1:1-9
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cap-padocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
A few thoughts for meditation:
1) Redeemed Exiles:
Peter wrote to the “elect exiles”, Christians scattered throughout several provinces. The theme of exile is a dominant theme in this letter and crucial to developing a Christian identity in this fallen world. This is who you are, exiles who don’t belong to this world anymore, foreigners who belong to new world and culture. Even though they feel like strangers in this world, they are not strangers to God. Peter pointed them to their unique communion with Trinity. They are known by the father, and set apart by the Spirit to follow Christ. Through Christ’s death, they are redeemed and belong to God as his children. Is this how you think of yourself now? Despite all your sin and shame and failure, you are a beloved child of God. Is that your identity now, as one who is purchased and loved and belongs to God?
2) Resurrection Land:
Peter praised God for the salvation given us through Christ. If your hopes in life only reach to this world, then you will be sadly disappointed, because death comes to everything in this present world. How many billions of people with hopes and dreams and ambitions and achievements have lived and died and been forgotten already? But Christians are “born again” into a living hope. Through union with Christ, we belong to a world where resurrection life is the way of life. And all our labors in this world actually prepare us for the next world. The pattern of Christ’s life and hope is the pattern for his Church. We suffer in exile for a time, but we shall rise again to our new home. Compare this to an inheritance the world may offer. Even the greatest mansions in the most beautiful paradise will perish and fade into dust. How often are families torn apart arguing over an inheritance that will eventually crumble to dust? But Peter described our inheritance in Christ as ” imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you”. Not only will it endure, but it is “imperishable”, its impossible for it to perish or fade. Decay is a result of the sin, but in heaven there is no more sin or death. Jesus conquered that for us through his death and resurrection. The inheritance is “kept in heaven”. It’s protected. Evil, decay, and death in this world have no power over that new world. The only way to access this inheritance is through faith in Christ. Finally, not only is the inheritance protected for you, but you are protected “by God’s power” for that inheritance. Through faith in Christ, you are irreversibly bound to Christ and his resurrection power. Though you live in exile among corrupt and fading kingdoms, you belong to a kingdom that will never perish, and will one day be revealed in it’s full glory when Christ returns.
3) Grief and Glory:
Peter’s introduction gave the proper context to understand their painful trials. They were “grieved by various trials”. Our relationship to God and our future inheritance does not prevent us from pain and grief in this life. But through that suffering we are “refined”. Our faith is more precious to God than silver or gold. So he will refine us and make us into beautiful treasures and trophies of grace, fit to honor our Savior and his sacrifice for us. And though we experience grief, we also mysteriously experience hope and love and joy at the same time. Christ died to save great sinners like us and secure for us an eternity of glory beyond all comprehension. And all he asks is to endure such refining trials for Jesus “for a little while” before going on to that glory. Is that too much to ask after all he has obtained for us?