Wednesday, October 3, 2012

1 Peter 1:1-5

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. “


1 Peter was written by the apostle, Simon, who Jesus surnamed (or nicknamed) “Peter.” After following Jesus as one of the 12 apostles, Peter eventually became one of the leaders of the newly established Christian church. In his capacity as a leader, Peter found it necessary to teach and write doctrine for the benefit of other, younger Christians. This specific epistle (or letter) is to the group of churches located through the middle of Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey), and especially along the coast of the Black Sea. Peter and the Christians he was writing to lived during the reign of the three Roman emperors, Caligula, Claudius and Nero. All three emperors were known for their insanity to one degree or another. That insanity spilled over into their mistreatment of the people living in the Roman Empire, and especially Jews and Christians.
In this epistle, Peter really strives to encourage the Christians to focus the lens of their life beyond the circumstances. Often the Christians would be torn from their families, thrown in prison, and many eventually would be killed. Peter offers an admonition to see beyond the things here and now that they are losing, and instead see the things in the future that God has saved for them: “an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” There was great hope set for the Christians in spite of their circumstances. In the midst of loss and tragedy and persecution, they could rest, assured that there were far greater things that could never be lost, or destroyed. Best of all, these things are “kept by the power of God,” so that no man or army or empire could take them away. This is why the apostle Peter tells those he is writing here, that we are saved “unto a lively hope.” The Christian life is a life that doesn’t focus its lens on the broken circumstances of today, but rather sets its hope and focus on the things promised by God because of Christ.