August 15, 2022
“Peter, an apostle of Messiah Jesus; to the temporary residents of the Dispersion in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia...”
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“Peter, an apostle of Messiah Jesus; to the temporary residents of the Dispersion in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for the sprinkling with the blood of Jesus the Messiah. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.” 1 Peter 1:1-2
Peter’s introduction is similar to that of James’. He begins his letter to the dispersed Jews. But Peter adds that their situation was only “temporary.”
Driven from the land and persecuted for generations, the dispersed Jews felt forsaken by the Lord. They first needed to be reminded that they were still “chosen, according to the foreknowledge of God.” They needed to understand that God still loved them, and He had a purpose for their lives, both personally and for the Jewish community altogether.
That is what we all need to hear. Before we were even born, God knew we were sinners yet chose to love us.
“In that while we were yet sinners, Messiah died for us.” Romans 5:8
The next thing these Jews needed to hear was that they were “set apart for obedience” by God’s Spirit. God’s purpose for us is that we enter into a saving relationship with Him, which affects us to the point that we live to honor and obey Him. God offers the same challenge to people of all nationalities, calling us to “bear fruits worthy of repentance.” Luke 3:8
The Diaspora (Dispersion) was part of God’s rebuke towards Israel for not following Him as He had prescribed. Peter tells his Hebrew brothers that the Lord had not forsaken them altogether. It is a message to us as well. No matter how far you have fallen, God has one message for you: “Follow Me!” Jesus’ blood has provided atonement for the sins of all who would repent and receive salvation. More than temporary situational forgiveness, Messiah’s atonement covers ALL sin: past, present, and future.
Here, in the introduction to Peter’s letter, we have the whole gospel. 1) God is Tri-unity (Father, Spirit, Messiah). 2) God knew our sin yet chose to love us. 3) By the power of His Spirit, we have been set apart to obey Him. 4) We are guaranteed God’s approval, not because of our righteousness, but because the object of our faith is the infinite worth of Messiah’s atoning blood, shed for the remission of our sinfulness.
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