Are You Up to the Challenge?
Welcome to our study of 1 Peter! This is an excellent book of the Bible for helping us understand our salvation through Christ: how we are saved, what it means to be saved, and why God saved us. I pray that you will decide to give God a chance to work in your life this fall. We ask that you devote some time in your daily schedule to read the blog entries on your own each time before your homeroom teacher discusses them in class. On other days of the week, you might read another book of the Bible like Proverbs (great practical wisdom) or Psalms (great for helping you express your heart to God). The point is to try to make a habit of reading your Bible on your own each day. If you miss a day or two or even three, don’t beat yourself up – it happens to all of us in this busy world. But keep trying. Pick up where you left off and press on after Jesus. The Word of God is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12); if you to come to the Lord each day with a desire to hear and obey His voice, He will speak to you through the Bible. God’s Word never returns empty – it always accomplishes what it is sent to do (Isaiah 55:11). God loves you and wants to do a great work in your heart through your study of His Book. Are you willing to let Him?
Let’s Get Started!
Right from the beginning, two big themes of 1 Peter show up in these first two verses: (1) being chosen by God, so that we would (2) be holy like Him. The apostle Peter, the leader of Jesus’ 12 disciples, writes this letter to encourage Christians in their faith. He wants us to know that we are saved because God chose us (that’s what he means by calling us “elect”; God voted for us!), and He chose us because He loved us. We were sinful and did not love the Father, but He loved us and sent His Son to rescue us from our sin and the judgment that awaited us. Our salvation is a gift from God that we received by faith in Jesus Christ. When you accepted Jesus, you were sanctified or made holy by the Holy Spirit (hey, that makes sense…). He came to live in your heart and brought your dead spirit to life. That’s called being born again, and it happened through your faith in the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed for you (“sprinkling of the blood”). But that was just the beginning of our spiritual life. God saved us so that He could begin transforming us to be like Him. He has already declared us forgiven and accepted through the power of the cross, so that we no longer have to fear the judgment. But we still struggle with sin in this life. The Holy Spirit inside us is at war with our old, sinful desires, thoughts, and habits. Our mission now is to grow in actual holiness as we learn to walk in obedience to our Father. God wants to help us become the people He has called us to be. He wants us to be the Christlike people that our hearts wanted to be when we first accepted Christ and started saying “yes” to Jesus.
The Text (1 Peter 1:1-2)
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
Background and Observations
• The Christians to whom this letter was first addressed were scattered across several regions in an ancient place known as Asia Minor, which is the country of Turkey today (hey, you learned that in 6th grade history!). They were living in very ungodly cultures and were suffering because of their loyalty to Jesus Christ. Peter wanted them and us to know that we have an eternal home in heaven waiting for us; our suffering now is just getting us ready for the glory to come.
• Peter was very old when he wrote this, probably between AD 62 and AD 64. He has the tender heart of a pastor. Before he dies, he wants to help these struggling Christians to enjoy the “grace and peace” that God wants them to have. My prayer is that grace and peace would be multiplied in your lives, too! Jesus came to give us life and life abundant! He wants you to understand the incredible grace that He has given you so that you can know His peace each day.
Questions to Think About
1. What are the obstacles that are keeping you from spending time with God each day? We make time for things that matter to us. Could it be that a change in your heart’s desires might be what you most need? If you are willing, God can change your heart.
2. Have you ever thought about what God wants for you now that you are saved? Have you ever thought about His mission to make you holy, His plan to make you like Jesus? Does the idea fill your heart with joy and hope, or does the idea of being holy bother you in some way?