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First Epistle of Peter 1: 1-9 (NIV) (ii)
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, exiles, scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2 who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
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, 5 who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 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. 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 honour when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in 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.
We exiles have been chosen by God the Father to be obedient to Jesus Christ! No wonder the Apostle Peter’s letter rings with praise. So much has been accomplished through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!
- We have been given new birth (in other translations we have been “born anew”);
- we have been reborn into a living hope (this hope prevails in our lives now and will continue to prevail in us for as long as faith endures); and
- we have been reborn into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (this inheritance is assured us; it is an inheritance beyond life on this earth for it is kept in heaven for us).
Moreover, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, we who have faith in him are shielded by God’s power. The power of the Almighty who sent a flood to cleanse his creation of all except those he entrusted to Noah’s care, who led his chosen people out of Egypt through turbulent waters then waterless deserts, who established a kingdom through his servant David and who sent his only Son to be a perfect and complete sacrifice for the sins of humankind – this power is sufficient to shield us from earthly grief as we endure all kinds of trials.
Why then has the Apostle placed into the future “the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time”? It is a present reality for those of God’s elect and yet the genuineness of the faith of these same elect is continually being proven through the trials of life on this earth and the hostilities visited upon God’s elect by the evil one. This demands unswerving faith, however the end result of that faith will be the salvation of our souls. The salvation we will know when our Lord Jesus returns will be so much more glorious than anything we can now imagine. That hope which keeps us focused on him should be giving us, even today, inexpressible and glorious joy!