Read 1 Peter 1.
This letter was written by the Apostle Peter to churches scattered (1:1) across Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey). Peter exhorted these Gentile believers to stay true to the Gospel in the face of persecution and cultural temptation. He used a theological argument rooted in an eschatological reality to motivate his readers to stay true to Christ and live pure lives regardless of the consequences.
Our identity in Christ – In 1 Peter 1:1-3, Peter refers to our identity in Christ. We are God’s “elect” – His chosen ones. God has chosen to work through the church. He has called the church to be His instrument on earth (Matthew 16:13-20) and He will display His wisdom to the heavenly realms through the church (Ephesians 3:10).
We are “exiles” – sojourners or pilgrims. We are living our lives on earth, but our real citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20). We are called by God to live as His pilgrims “scattered” in the midst of the people of this world. We are on an adventuresome journey with Him.
God’s work of salvation – in 1 Peter 1:3-12, we read of the miracle of salvation accomplished on our behalf. This salvation is what Peter uses as motivation for his readers to live pure lives (1:13-25). Our salvation is connected to a new birth (1:3) that leads to a living hope (1:3) that is rooted in the truth of the resurrection of Christ.
Because we have been re-born into God’s kingdom, we now have an inheritance that is eternal (1:4) and we are being shielded by God for the day of redemption (1:5). We still have to live real lives on earth and face real trials (1:6-7). But – our faithfulness in these trials will be rewarded at the return of Jesus (1:8). And – God will reward us with the gift of salvation (1:9).
Peter reminds his readers that this salvation is precious. In fact, the prophets of old longed to know the fullness of the salvation that is now available through the Messiah (1:10-12).
Call to purity – Once Peter establishes the reality of our condition in Christ, he challenges all of us to live lives that are worthy of this salvation. We put our hope in Christ and not in the things of this world (1:13). We are to remain alert and sober. We are to resist the temptation to give in to the desires of our flesh (1:14). Our calling is a calling to purity and holiness (1:15-16).
God’s power is at work in us. He has purchased us with the precious blood of the Lamb of God and our lives are to reflect that cleansing (1:17-21). We live in community with one another as we encourage each other in Christ (1:22). We are to live obediently, love deeply and live faithfully with respect to God’s Word (1:22-25).
Peter connects our daily lives filled with daily decisions to the eternal salvation we have discovered in Christ. God’s love for us should motivate us to live above our temptations and empower us to resist impurity. We should reflect the holiness of the One who has redeemed us. We should respond to His love for us with a desire to serve Him faithfully. We need each other in community to do this effectively. We need to stay connected to God’s Word as we seek guidance each day for our lives.
Peter also encourages us to look forward to the day when Christ returns and all will be set right. We live our lives in the hope of the resurrection and in the light of Christ’s return. We move through this world as pilgrims who are serving the interests of God’s Kingdom first.