Summary: By His grace, God had done at least three things in your life. Believe and live accordingly.
“This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithyn-ia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace” (1 Peter 1:1-2, NLT).
Do we know the meaning of “atheist”? He is one who believes there is no God.
A theologian said that though many would say they believe in God, but actually they are “practical atheist”!
Meaning there are those who claim that they believe in God, but they live as if there is none.
Do we have here with us who are “practical atheist”?
This time, let us learn to live as true believers, which is our topic as we go through in our text (1 Peter:1-2).
So, how do we live as true believers of God?
But, before we answer that question, let’s remember that we have learned before, Peter was the writer of 1 Peter. We know him so well that he denied Jesus three times. But, before the event of his denials and even before Jesus said he would deny Him, He told Peter:
“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift all of you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:31-32, NIV).
In 1 Peter, he was writing both to the Jewish and Gentile Christians before A.D. 68. He ad-dressed to the Christians then who were scattered throughout Asia Minor and were suffering local persecutions, which included “insults (4:4, 14) and slanderous accusations of wrong-doing (2:12; 3:16).” Also, “Beatings (2:20), social ostracism, sporadic mob violence, and local police action may have involved as well.”
During that time, ”…churches and individual believers may have been encountering differ-ent degrees of reception or resistance in different places.”
Those were the difficult conditions being suffered by the original readers of 1 Peter and Pe-ter was aware of them. So, he would like to encourage or to strengthen them in the faith. At the very start of his letter, He channeled their thoughts on what God had done to them and live accordingly.
He implied that the Christians then should live or react not according to their trials, but ac-cording to what God did to them. They should not focus on what their persecutors were doing against them and so they should not live as persecuted, oppressed, or threatened. They should live as true believers.
In like manner, in our time, if we also realize that there is God, who extended His grace to us, how should we also live?
I – First, live as an elect (verses 1-2A).
We read, “This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. God the Father knew you and chose you long ago…” (NLT.)
Again, let’s read the portion that says, “God the Father knew you and chose you long ago…”
Peter pointed out to his suffering readers that it was God the Father who knew them and chose them or elected them. Whether others would regard them as weird, or an outcasts of society, or even criminals, they ought to regard themselves as how God regarded them, as His elect. And he did not only wrote, “God the Father chose you Jewish Christians…” – he did not refer exclusively to the Jews, but he stated, “God… chose you…” meaning, all who were reading his letter then in various areas, including Gentile Christians who were in those places.
Peter would like them to realize who were really they are – not just the persecuted or op-pressed people, not just Jewish or Gentiles, but “God’s elect” or “God’s chosen people.”
When those Christians, then, could read those words, “God’s chosen people,” especially those who were familiar of the story in the Old Testament, they could easily identified themselves with the Israelite slaves in Egypt who were suffering greater oppression than them.
Consider further what Peter wrote, “God the Father knew you and chose you long ago…”
Notice very well this precious truth. Peter reminded or made them to realize that it was God who chose them. They did not become chosen, because they chose or volunteered to be-come His chosen people – unlike the elected officials in our government, who became elected because they even campaigned, for they wanted to become elected.
But, in the case of the Christians, it was God, the Father in particular, who knew and chose them “long ago” – not just during the time they believed or when they began to have their consciousness to know and decide, but “long ago”! This realization would be like a precious gem, especially for the Gentile Christians, because they never considered themselves before as God’s elect.