Tuesday, July 02, 2013

1st Peter 1 - Greetings

Today I am starting a new series on the first letter of Peter. It was written to those who were scattered abroad in the dispersion of the Jews and was written for the purpose of "exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God." (1 Peter 5:12) As we share in this journey, keep an open heart as to what is the true grace of God and how we can appropriate at it and integrate it into our lives. I hope this series will be a blessing to you.
"Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ," (1 Peter 1:1
Peter introduces himself, not by title, but by his function in the Body of Christ. What comes before our names are typically titles, for example, it could have been written, "The Apostle Peter greets you," here mentioning Apostle as Peter's title, a reference to who is is. However, it is written, "Peter an apostle greets you," here referring to what he does not who he is; a reference to his function not his title. We have become very fond of titles today, even in the Church of God. We use titles like Pastor, Executive Pastor, Leader, Teacher, Minister, and the like. While titles are not bad in and of themselves, they tend to draw attention to ourselves rather than to the calling and ministration of God. Titles also tend to set boundaries between believes, for example, between Pastor and Flock, and can also cause the formation of classes within the brethren, for example, congregant, minister, senior minister, leader, pastor, and senior pastor, and pope. Jesus never desired that such distinctions exist among believers, that is why he said, "But do not be called Rabbi; for One is your Teacher, and you are all brothers. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. Do not be called leaders; for One is your Leader, that is, Christ." (Matthew 23:8-10) It is time in the Body of Christ that we rid ourselves of all distinctions of title and return to being simply brothers and sisters. Our focus should not be on who we are but what we are suppose to do; on our function rather than our title.
"who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood" (1 Peter 1:1-2
To be chosen is merely the beginning of our walk with God; it is our entrance into the things of the Kingdom. Jesus said, "For many are called, but few are chosen." (Matthew 22:14) In Peter, the word "chosen" is used in reference to our election in Christ while, in Matthew, the word is used in reference to our acceptance by Christ. It is one thing to be the called and elect, but it is another to be accepted. Peter outlines our path into the Kingdom of God; a path that starts with our calling but also requires our participation with the Holy Spirit in our sanctification. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit, "when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment." (John 16:8) We need the conviction of the Holy Spirit to identify the areas in our lives that are displeasing to God that we might be sanctified in those areas through obedience to Jesus Christ and, having been found obedient, to receive His forgiveness and the sprinkling of His blood in every area of our lives. Many are called but few find the path of sanctification, obedience, and forgiveness by which one is chosen. Many start out well but fail to remember that it is "the one who endures to the end, he will be saved." (Matthew 24:13) We must always remember that the Christian walk is a process, not a brief meet-and-greet.

David Robison

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