Many Christian friends have told me that they feel like outsiders at work or among friends from their “old lives.”
American Christians don’t face the same level of persecution as those in other countries, but a certain amount of rejection by society is a definite possibility.
Peter’s audience faced rejection and persecution from a culture hostile to their relationship with Jesus.
Even though they were resident aliens in the Roman Empire, they were God’s beloved children. “Resident aliens” was not a cute phrase for preachers in the first century.
Think of unwanted immigrants who have no rights and have to take menial jobs to survive and you will come closer to the meaning.
As God’s children, they were to live as redeemed resident aliens.
If you invoke as Father the one who judges impartially according to each person’s work, live in fear during the time of your exile (1 Peter 1.17).
We are children of God and can freely call him our Father. He is also the “Judge of all the earth” (Genesis 18.25) and due our reverence.
We live in reverence, knowing that God is God and we are not.
Children of God
Peter’s letter has instructed preachers for centuries in the proper way to present God’s message.
He derived his message from the Old Testament Scriptures and used them as the foundation. Ben Witherington III has counted 48 Old Testament references in the five chapters of Peter’s letter.
More than any other New Testament author, Peter based his message on Isaiah 53. Drawing from Isaiah, he shows the extent of God’s love in our salvation.
You know that you were ransomed from the futile conduct inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold
But with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish (1 Peter 1.18-19).
A ransom is a debt paid to release someone from slavery. Peter alluded to Isaiah’s prophecy and applied it to the length of God’s love in our redemption.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have all turned to our own way,
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all. (Isaiah 53.6)
The Judge of all the earth is our Father because we have been rescued from our iniquity through the shed blood of Jesus on the cross.
He is due all reverence, devotion, faithfulness, and love from his children.
Not an Accident
Jesus’ death was not an accident of history or a tragic failure of justice by the authorities. His horrific death was a part of God’s plan before creation.
He was destined before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake (1 Peter 1.20).
John Piper suggests that sometime in eternity the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit had a conversation. They knew that if they created humans with free will, then something would have to be done to redeem them from sin.
The Trinity made the decision that the crucifixion of the Son of God would be the gift of God to sinful humans.
Words can’t convey the awesome love of God for humans that destined the crucifixion of Jesus before the world was ever created.
The greatest human tragedy is to neglect and treat as unimportant this awesome gift of God.
The proper response is faith and faithfulness to our glorious God.
Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your trust and hope are in God.
Now that you have purified your souls by your obedience to the truth so that you have genuine mutual affection, love one another deeply from the heart (1 Peter 1.21-22).
A relationship with God begins with trust. We trust the good news message of God’s love and enter into a relationship with him.
What we trust about God to be true will determine how we treat other people.
We purify ourselves, so we can love one another from the heart.
Holiness is loving God with our whole heart and our neighbor as ourselves.
Rudy Ross and I continue our discussion of 1 Peter on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.