Lesson 1


The First Epistle of Peter

World English Bible translation

 Today's Scripture

1:1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen ones who are living as aliens in the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 1:2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.


Today's Lesson 

In Today's Scripture Peter greets the churches of Asia Minor to whom this epistle was written. He has heard of their persecution and writes them a letter to encourage them and to sustain them in their time of trial. He begins in a very straightforward way. "Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ…" Peter was the man chosen by Christ and by the Holy Spirit to lead the early church in Jerusalem during its initial phase. Peter was the first spokesman and delivered the first Christian sermon at Pentecost. Peter had gained power and influence in the Christian community, but he would always be an apostle of Jesus Christ. An apostle is a messenger, one sent with authority to act and speak for someone of greater status. At our best we are called to act and speak for God. It is the highest goal and ideal for humankind to be appointed by God to speak in His place. And it is the utmost responsibility to attempt to do so.

 

Though the phrase is broken up, the thought running through is that this letter is being written to those that are chosen by God in three specific ways. First, they are chosen "according to the foreknowledge of God the Father." Before man chooses God, God chooses man. God's foreknowledge does not relieve us of either responsibility or freedom. God's foreknowledge is a part of His sovereignty.

 

Second, those that Peter writes to are chosen "in sanctification of the Spirit." The Spirit of God touches the lives of believers and sets them apart, or sanctifies them, for service to God. The sanctification of the Spirit is a lifelong activity that is the work of God in our lives. We are conformed into the image of Christ by the work of the Spirit in our lives.

 

Third, these believers are chosen "to obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." Jesus Christ is the sacrifice by which we are saved. It was at the cost of His life, by the sprinkling of His blood, that He redeemed us from the slavery of sin and death. His sacrifice made the sanctification of the Spirit possible. We submit to His sacrifice and come under its protection and power. Through the blood of the Son we become obedient to the Father and the Spirit. Through the activity of all three persons of the Godhead we are chosen. Through the foreknowledge of the Sovereign Father, through the sanctification of the Spirit, and through the sacrifice of the Son we are appointed to salvation.

 

Peter writes to those that are chosen in "Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia." All of these are in the geographic area we would call Asia Minor and located in the modern countries of Syria and Turkey. It is not known whether Peter ever visited these places. Scripture places him in Judea and a strong tradition places him in latter life in Rome. Even this letter has an illusion to Rome (5:13). Paul covered much of these areas in his first and second missionary journeys and it may well be that Silas called the plight of these believers to the attention of Peter who then wrote a letter of encouragement based on the reports of Silas.

 

Peter qualifies his audience in one other fashion. They are "living as aliens in the Dispersion." The "Dispersion" or the Diaspora was a term that signified the Jewish communities that had scattered throughout the Roman Empire and the Mediterranean World. It was believed that in the end-times, all those that had been dispersed would return to the land of the Patriarchs. They would perhaps be brought back by the Messiah, as some of the prophecies suggest. By this term we are not to limit the recipients of this letter to strictly Jewish believers. Rather, it seems that Peter is using an old term in a new way. Christians were now the "People of God" and they were the true "aliens in the Dispersion." We are the scattered ones that are used by God to bring His message to a foreign culture. We are the New Diaspora.

 

Are you one of the chosen ones of God? Does the Spirit live within you, sanctifying your life to the Father? Does the blood of Christ work within you to obedience? Are you living as an alien of the Dispersion?

 

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