From Peter, “an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the scattered refugees… elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification by the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.”
Have you ever had a “scattered refugees” experience? Where you feel alone, or isolated or like there is just no one who really gets that you’re going through? The “scattered refugees” (or “exiles” as other translations put it), Peter wrote his first letter to were struggling with the same issues! They were all within the same country (modern-day Turkey) yet living isolated, separate lives as spiritual refugees because of their firm commitment to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Living a life set apart is not easy! “…Broad is the road that leads to destruction,” Jesus said, noting that many will choose that path. (Matthew 7:13-14)
Though you will experiences times of rejection, when people misunderstand your heart, or feel “judged” by your choice to pursue holiness, you have something in Christ that will stand the test of time into eternity.
Peter wrote to encourage those who were living a life set apart, and paying the price for it, to remind them of these things in 1 Peter 1:1-12:
- To you, God, in His abundant mercy, “has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Because Jesus Christ overcame the enemy, you can too! He is the hope you have of victory in the trials that come in seasons of feeling exiled for your faith. Draw near to Him and He will draw near to you, (James 4:8)
- God has given you, “an incorruptible and undefiled inheritance that does not fade away.” Though you will experiences times of rejection, when people misunderstand your heart, or feel “judged” by your choice to pursue holiness, you have something in Christ that will stand the test of time into eternity. Having done all… stand! You may feel isolated in the natural, but in the spiritual realm – you are not alone. (Ephesians 6:13)
- You are, “are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Your faith will be a protective covering for your heart, mind and spirit so you must remain in the Word to stay strong. When you feel exiled or adrift, dig in deeper and worship Him to stay connected to Him. You’re going to need His strength and He will reveal it to you within His presence.
- Take heart! “…even though now, if for a little while, you have had to suffer various trials,” because of your decision to follow God wholeheartedly, without wavering, there is purpose, a Kingdom purpose, in your decision to be holy as He is holy – the total annihilation of the works of the enemy in your life, the lives of your friends and family, because you didn’t waver in your commitment to Him. (1 Peter 1:16)
Why?? Why put yourself through all of this? Why live feeling like an exile in your family, at your job, among your friends? Why walk the line? Why live a life set apart unto Him?? “…in order that the genuineness of your faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tried by fire, may be found to result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom, having not seen, you love; and in whom, though you do not see Him now, you believe and you rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:7) That is a powerful “WHY”!
Thought for today
God chose and elected all of mankind to enter into heaven with Him, but those who are actually called “chosen” and “elected” are those who have responded to His calling. Peter said we were all chosen for “obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ” – but does everyone choose to obey? No. Does everyone choose to be washed clean by His blood? No. And God knew that would happen when He granted humankind free will to make their own choices. You have chosen to respond to God’s calling, but that doesn’t mean it will be easy, quite the opposite sometimes! But it does mean that, as you walk through your experiences on earth – good and bad – your life will result in “praise, glory and honor” as Jesus Christ is revealed to others. That is the whole point! Your sacrifices and hardships and trials aren’t for nothing. As Jesus Christ is revealed in your life, He will be revealed to others through you.