It is an amazing, humbling realization to know that the eternal God of the universe knows who you are, cares about you, and chooses to invite you to be part of His eternal family. In his first letter, a fisherman-turned-preacher named Simon Peter wrote to a group of churches to encourage them and instruct them in the ways of Christ. He begins the letter this way:
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ:
To the temporary residents dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ.
May grace and peace be multiplied to you. (1 Peter 1:1-2)
Five truths emerge from this power-packed greeting by Peter. This truths demonstrate how incredibly God can change a person’s life and how focused that person’s life can be. Peter was not a trained rabbi or theologian. He was simply a follower of Jesus whose life had been totally transformed by the person and the power of Jesus.
1. We are saved by the blood of Jesus Christ. In verses one and two we see several phrases that talk about our salvation. Peter reminds the Christ-followers to whom he is writing that they have been chosen by God (v1) and that they were chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father (v2). They were saved by the blood of Jesus Christ and saved for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ (v2), meaning that as a saved person, one chosen by God, their testimony would declare to others that Jesus’ blood can save them too.
2. We are strangers in a foreign land. Chosen ones, do you ever feel like this world is not your home? Peter initially pens this letter to churches scattered throughout Asia Minor (modern day Turkey). These people for the most part had not fled to those areas; these were people who lived in those areas. When he said to them that they are temporary residents (v1), he was not implying that they would be moving soon. Rather, he was reminding them (and us) that we are citizens of heaven. It is no wonder that it feels like the world’s system is against us. The world’s system is not the way of Christ. Realize, Jesus-follower, that you are a stranger in a foreign land.
3. We are set apart by the Spirit for obedience. In verse two, Peter reminds us that we are set apart. This is part of what it means to be chosen by God. We are set apart for His purposes. 1 Peter 1:2 clearly states that we are “set apart by the Spirit for obedience.” It is the Holy Spirit who sets us apart. We do not set ourselves apart; He sets us apart. And we are set apart with a purpose. The purpose is not to judgmental or arrogant. We are set apart for obedience to Jesus, to be just like Him in every way. We are chosen by God to be obedient to Jesus, the best life a person could ever live.
4. We are sent out by Jesus to change the world. Simon Peter started as a fisherman, working with his family’s business and business partners. He was chosen by Jesus to be one of Jesus’ disciples! What a high honor. After three years of learning from Jesus, traveling with Jesus, eating meals with Jesus, and ministering with Jesus, Peter knew Jesus very well. No doubt that the crucifixion, resurrection and ascension of Jesus rocked Peter’s world. Jesus’ original disciples now became apostles of Jesus. The word apostle (v1) means “sent out ones.” They were sent out by Jesus with a message that would change the world. It’s the same message we declare today: the message of Jesus Christ, crucified for our sins and raised again to give us eternal life. This is how Christ-followers change the world, by sharing that message far and wide to everyone who will listen.
5. We are supplied with grace and peace. The typical Roman greeting for a letter was the word, “Greetings.” But Peter and other biblical authors changed that greeting to display their faith in Christ. Rather than the word “Greetings,” they used the word “Grace.” And on top of that Peter added “Peace.” Peter spoke a blessing of grace and peace (v2) to the readers of the letter (including us!). Peter can proclaim grace and peace even though he is not the source of grace and peace — God is. For all those who are chosen by God, we are filled with His grace and peace, and that changes our lives!
Chosen by God. What an amazing blessing. Live like a chosen one today.