To those who are elect exiles

1 PETER 1:1-9

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood:

May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

REFLECTION

  • From just the first (long) sentence, what is Peter telling you about the recipients of this letter?
  • Peter talks of a “living hope.” What do you think of that phrase? How is our hope better described as a living hope?
  • What is described as more precious than gold? What tests and refines this precious thing?
  • Our living hope and our faith rest in Jesus Christ. Peter says the church has shown that they love Jesus, even though they haven’t seen him. How difficult is it to love like this? What are ways we can love Jesus ourselves, even though we do not see him?

ARISE & SHINE

The openings of New Testament letters can be difficult to read as they are full of dense and long sentences. But if we are patient, we can see how rich they are. We see that we have much cause for rejoicing, knowing we are kept and guarded by God. He has prepared an inheritance—unchanging nor diminishing in any way—for us that is kept safely in Heaven.

Patience is again needed as we live in anticipation of all God has done. We may face trials and persecutions, but Peter reminds us that the only way forward is to remember who we are in Jesus, and whatever we may face today our tomorrows are securely in God’s hands.