Monday, January 26, 2015

Aliens Clarified (1 Peter 1:1,2)

“To those… who are chosen
According to the foreknowledge of God the Father,
And the consecration of the Spirit,
For obedience
And sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ.”

Peter describes the recipients of his letter, these “aliens” in the NAS, in such an interesting way. Firstly, it would behoove all followers of Christ to read this letter and be reminded that we are all foreigners, immigrants just passing through. This world is not our home. Or, for many increasing numbers of Christians, neither the United States nor Europe are “God’s country.” We need to drop all the political posturing that claims these governments are somehow saved. The recipients of Peter’s letter were being persecuted by their governments, and that is the way Jesus had warned His followers it would be. With that in mind, do you really want to be on the side of the persecutors?

Peter goes on to describe the salvation we have received in an explicitly Trinitarian fashion. We have been chosen by God the Father before the world was created. That is to say that the decision was made independent of anything we had done or deserved. It was made entirely in God’s sovereign will through the action of His grace. We have been consecrated by the Holy Spirit. This may also communicate the ongoing sanctifying work of the Spirit in the life of the believer (sanctification), but it also clearly has an aspect of being set apart for God and His purposes. Finally, we have been washed in the blood of Christ. His sacrifice on the Cross provided the means for our sin to be overlooked, forgiven, cast away, and for us to regain our relationship with God in His kingdom.

The little aspect I jumped over in that Trinitarian description of our salvation is the prepositional phrase that describes the purpose of our saved life. We are saved for obedience. Obedience to Jesus Christ, to the Gospel and God’s redemptive plan for creation. This is a key to keep in mind while reading the message of 1 Peter. We have not been saved for our convenience. We have not been saved for our benefit, our comfort, nor our dreams and plans. We are rescued from our sin and death to surrender our lives to our Creator and Lord for His purposes and His plans. The rest of the letter makes much more sense when we understand this truth.

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