1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,

To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, 2who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:

Grace and peace be yours in abundance.
1 Peter 1:1-2

I love the epistles – the letters written to the early Christians by their fathers in the faith. I am often stopped by the greeting. That’s how it was today as I read the Resting at the River’s Edge recommended reading. The Apostle Peter writes to “God’s Elect.” That would be those of us who have trust Christ as our Savior – God’s chosen people. Peter doesn’t stop there, though. He goes on and gives us a stronger or clearer definition of who we are. Let’s look at the list:

  • God’s elect or God’s chosen – The people God has chosen. You and I are special, chosen by God.
  • Strangers in the world – This world is not our home. Our home, our ultimate destination and the place where we will experience the security and peace of home is heaven. We ought never to allow this world to feel like “home.” We ought never to be so comfortable with those who are of the world that we don’t feel like strangers around them. I don’t mean to say we cannot be friends with unbelievers. But there ought to always be a distinct difference between us such that we remain strangers to them. That doesn’t mean we don’t become vulnerable with our unbelieving friends – Christ became vulnerable to all so that we might come to know Him. But not all make that choice and those who don’t, those who remain “of the world,” create a place in which we are strangers, just passing through on our way home.
  • Scattered – We are not to be cloistered, but scattered, as seeds are when they are planted.
  • Chosen according to the foreknowledge of God – I’m not going to get into a debate on Calvinism, I’m simply going to accept that I am chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. It is part of who I am. And that makes me special. I like it!
  • Through the sanctifying work of the Spirit – I was chosen through the sanctifying – cleansing, purifying – work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit made me holy – set me apart for sacred purposes – as a part of being chosen by God.
  • For obedience to Jesus Christ – I was chosen and sanctified for a purpose – obedience to Christ. That’s a lofty purpose because I know that Christ has plans for my life that can only be accomplished by my obedience and through His power. I like having a purpose, even if that purpose is to be obedient to Christ. Some might consider being chosen to be obedient a calling unworthy. No so. The Creator and Sustainer of the Universe has asked for and deserves my allegiance. I will give it gladly. (Yes, I will fail at that sometimes, but it is my heart to give my allegiance gladly.)
  • And sprinkling by His blood. – Chosen for sprinkling by Christ’s blood. The blood of Christ carries salvation, deliverance and healing. As I write this I’m reminded of times when I have run through sprinklers for relief from a hot summer day. Sprinklers come in many varieties, intensities and speeds. Lord, I’d like the kind that gives more of a soaking than the kind that just leaves a few drops on my clothes. I’d like full deliverance, healing and refreshing.

I am thankful for my identity in Christ. The greeting in many of the epistles go way beyond the “Hi, How are you?” greeting I usually give. The greetings in Scripture remind me who I am and why I am here. Thank You, Lord.

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