Saturday, November 24, 2018

Devotional: Our Living Hope, 1 Peter 1:1-12

Outline 1 Peter 1.1-12

1 Peter is a letter that calls believers scattered throughout this present chaotic, ungracious, and often evil, world to live the gracious life of the age to come. This only makes sense because God's promises guarantee that God will bring glory from the present oppression and persecution his people face. Peter gets right to the point of the letter in the greeting (1:1-2). God's people have a guaranteed inheritance (4) because he has chosen them for holiness and glory Thus, they can joyfully serve God, despite trials, as the prophets did. This is guaranteed by the Trinity: the Father’s choice, the Son’s blood and the Spirit’s work, and all are sure because of God's power. This future inheritance is the outcome of our salvation: the sharing of the glory of Christ in God’s future kingdom. This kingdom awaits the return of Jesus (6-9). In the meantime we are called to live out God's grace now and the message of the gospel now, just as Jesus did. The standard for this is the Word/gospel written and preached that grows us into the image of Christ. The proper response to this gospel is a desire to be like Christ, resist evil and love others deeply, despite trials and persecution. The promise of God and Jesus’ resurrection guarantees the ultimate success of his plan.

First, Peter is written to a church undergoing great persecution. (1:1-2) But Peter calls us to take great comfort in the fact that the whole Trinity is working within us and within the world to bring about this kingdom plan. Though we seem to be “exiles” in this world, we are actually the front line of the kingdom bringing its blessings (grace and peace) to those who receive us. This is our mission and God guarantees its ultimate success.

Peter then thanks and praises God for the living hope (1:3) of the glorious eternity which is the “outcome of your salvation.”(1:9) God’s new world has actually already begun in the life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, and his distribution of the Holy Spirit. Our lives are renewed and transformed so that we are able, in the Spirit, to live the life of the future age now. We Christians are set apart and enabled to be walking, talking outposts of God’s kingdom wherever we go. Like Jesus, we will face opposition, but also, like Jesus, as we trust and connect to the Father, we become his agents to change the world. It’s a scary task but God does it through us.

Finally, all of this was what the Old Testament prophets were pointing to (1:10-12). The message of the gospel, Christ’s incarnation, suffering, overcoming of death and evil and “subsequent glories” is the climax of God’s revelation to humanity. We have in our possession now what the prophets, and even angels, were waiting for hundreds of years. Our response should be “inexpressible joy,” and “tested, genuine faith” as we move to a future “filled with glory.” 

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