Friday, May 31, 2013

Bible Briefs: 1 Peter

Series Introduction: Bible Briefs are a short introduction and summary of the overview of a book of the Bible, with a view to helping people take up their Bible and knowing what it's about.

Towards the end of Peter’s first letter, he writes that ‘I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.’ (1 Peter 5:12) While there may be false notions of God’s grace, Peter has written about the true grace of God, encouraging those who received the letter (and us too!) to stand fast in God’s grace.

What does it look like? How could we summarise it? It’s possible by jumping from the end of the letter to the very start, in two ‘e’ words: elect exiles.

Peter is writing to God’s elect - chosen by God the Father through the Spirit for the Son (1:2); born into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus, being built up into the spiritual temple on Christ the cornerstone. From 1:1 to 2:10, Peter describes what it looks like to be elect, ending in his great statement: ‘But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God...’ (2:9)

It’s a great reminder of the wonderful privileges we have in Christ; the hope that is ours in Christ; the way we are being knit together as the church. Yet as we look around, things aren’t how we would like them to be. It’s plain to see we’re not home yet, that we are still exiles.

The rest of the letter (2:11 - 5:14) is taken up with Peter helping us to see how we should live as the elect who are still in exile. We should submit to one another as we follow the pattern of our Saviour; we seek to live for the will of God, and not our own evil desires; we may even suffer as Christians in a world and culture that is hostile.

In our exile, as we journey towards home, we’re to remember that we are elect - God’s chosen - and that he will finish what he has started: ‘And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. To him be the power for ever and ever. Amen.’ (5:10-11)

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