March 2 - 1 Peter 1:1b-2

Sunday, March 2, 2014

1 Peter 1:1b-2 – To God's Elect

To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of 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, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: 

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

Who was Peter writing to? There's a lot of information in these verses.

God's elect. These are God's chosen people. This is no longer limited to just the Israelites, but now includes everyone on the face of the earth.

Strangers in the world (exiles). This means exactly what it says.  Strong's says it is "one who comes from a foreign country into a city or land to reside there by the side of the natives."  We live beside the natives, but we aren't from this world. Philippians 3:20 tells us that our citizenship is in heaven.

Scattered throughout ... The word 'scattered' is the word 'diaspora' - a term used to describe the Jews living outside of Palestine. John used it in John 7:35 and James in James 1:1.  Many Jews never returned after the Babylonian exile.  Peter is writing to Jews scattered throughout Asia as well as to Christians within those Jewish cultures.

If you read Acts 2:9-10, you will find these same cities listed.  These people had heard Peter speak on the Day of Pentecost.  In Acts 16:6-10, Luke writes that Paul wasn't allowed to evangelize there.  He had established churches in the southern area of Galatia and in the western areas of Asia, but we don't know who was in the north (which is where these communities existed), establishing churches.  Just as the churches in the Revelation of John are listed in the order that a postal messenger would travel, so are these.

1 Peter 1:2. "Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood."

Not only are the readers of this letter the 'elect' or 'chosen,' but Peter reminds us that we are chosen before we were born.  God knew us before we were born. Jeremiah was told by the Lord that God had set him apart before he was even formed in the womb. No matter what we believe our purpose to be on earth, God has chosen us for His purpose.

With Peter addressing the Trinity in this verse, he begins to set the doctrine of the early Christian church into place.

1 Peter 1:2b. Grace and peace be yours in abundance.  The Greek word for 'grace' is 'charis.'  This is very similar to a standard Greek salutation 'chaire' or 'cheers!'  Peter knows what he is doing.  Then, he offers peace and both of these are offered in abundance or better yet in multiplication ... more than just a little ...  abundance.

We have been chosen and made holy … or sanctified for obedience.  We are strangers in an alien world. We live among non believers.  Peter is writing to us. He has a lot to say.