1 Peter is a great letter, a reminder of the reality of our being in this world and how we as believers are to live.
He starts out with establishing who we are in Chapter 1, versus 1-4.
“God’s elect, strangers in the world scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling of his blood”
Have you ever thought of yourself in these terms? To me it sounds pretty high and lofty and above my pay grade. First, we are his “elect”, chosen by God the Father himself. Handpicked, we are no accident. We are who we are and we are placed where we are with God intentions. This gives me pause and makes me take my role in life and be aware of my surroundings and the people whom I come in contact more seriously. We are his people “scattered around” by the work of the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ.
I recently read this and remembered a flight I was on a few years ago. I was sitting in a crowded airport, in chrome and black vinyl rows of seats waiting to board. I glanced over at this guy, tattoos, piercings, long disheveled hair, embroidered skulls on his denim jacket, ripped jeans with old English lettering, heavy black boots. Thinking to myself I thought, please don’t let us be on the same flight, I just want to get to my destination in peace. And I admit, no I confess that I thought this guy was disgusting.
Well you guessed it – he was on my flight and seated right next to me. I was exhausted and thought why God? I actually pulled out my bible and started reading hoping to just bury myself in God’s Holy Word.
Then the Spirit tapped me and said: “check your attitude, dude”. Nothing audible – it just came into my mind that this was so ridiculous that it has to be a “God thing” and I really felt convicted at my thoughts about this guy who I never met and already formulated an opinion of. So as the flight progressed I struck up a conversation with him
First it was small talk then and he asked me about what I was reading. And we had a full-on gospel conversation. Sin, our Savior, death, resurrection and eternal life in Him. The funny thing is I didn’t even really notice how he looked or what he was wearing. He was now a person.
He actually was quite soft, articulate, and thoughtful. Open to discussion, even about facets of the gospel that he found hard to believe. It was a great conversation and I ended up really liking this guy and hoping, really hoping, that he would accept Jesus someday.
Peter reminds us in versus 2:9-10
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
In the times in which this was written to refer to common non-professional religious people as priests, royalty, holy and God’s special possession would have been almost impossible to believe. These words would have carried much more weight than they do to us today. But to God we do actually hold a very high position. We were not much before, we were “not a people”, but now we are “the people of God”. We are now in his “wonderful light”.
I honestly can’t say I walk around remembering this every day. I need reminding a lot! But knowing, or being reminded of this I feel so blessed and have a joyful sense of the privilege of this position and the responsibility that comes with it. We have received mercy and we get to pass this on to others.
So as we, God’s elect, are going about our days, “scattered around” let’s be obedient to Jesus Christ in where he puts us and who we come in contact with, knowing that we have received mercy and are His people, his royal, holy, priests who can share these blessings with those who have not yet arrived.