I Peter 1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Peter is writing to people who once had no place in society let alone with God but now they have access to His mercy, privileges, and grace. “Once the people who had been different from others were the Jews; now the people who are different are the Christians.a” People like us. I have been using the word “exile” in regard to being isolated as a result of coronavirus. I know “exile” is not a perfect comparison but it certainly fits the bill as far as being kept from activities and places that are easily defined as native to us is concerned. In that context we are people experiencing exile as a modern-day wake-up call to another even a more important comparison.
God gave those early exiles a bridge to get to His great mercy. Exile completely changed their focus from what was familiar to them and opened their eyes to Someone with the power to “elect” them “through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Jesus became their “living hope” for that moment in time. It’s an interesting idea to consider that what God did for them…then…He may be doing for us now; changing our focus from exile to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.
Please consider this idea as you read I Peter with me over the next few weeks: today we are the “elect exiles.” God intends what we read in His record of the past will prepare us for our future and open our eyes to a “living hope” today. Today in the midst of our “exile” and “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, we still “are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Jesus is still the bridge between our exile today and our inheritance tomorrow.”
a William Barclay on I Peter