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First Epistle of Peter 1: 1-9 (NIV) (i)
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.
How intense is your devotion to life on this planet? How much do you embrace the locality you consider to be “home”. How much do you cling to those earthly surroundings you regard as familiar, comforting and essential to your own sense of well-being?
Are you feeling vulnerable because a pandemic is bringing painful and premature death to hundreds of thousands worldwide? Perhaps for the first time you sense that what you have relied upon, regarded as a certainty as you plan for the future, is no longer assured.
The Apostle Peter addressed his letter, “To God’s elect, exiles …”. He intended that his readers should understand that their presence in any of those provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia was temporary. This was not because they were citizens of any other part of the Roman Empire. It was because they were on earth for a limited time in accordance with the will of the God in whom they had put their trust. Sooner or later, however, they would return to be with him for for eternity.
And these were God’s “elect”. Peter expanded on that description: they have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. That foreknowledge dates back to a time before their conception, a time determined by God’s overall creative plan.
The same status applies to all who, today, have committed themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ. We too are “exiles”, temporarily here on earth and in a wonderful way conscious of our own election to be children of God, fellow heirs with Christ, in a kingdom already established but the detail of which has yet to be revealed.
Peter’s Trinitarian description of the call of God’s elect is mind-blowing! We 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. Thanks be to God that we exiles have, elsewhere, a home to which he will call us when the time is right.