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:
1 Peter 1:1b-2 (NIV)

I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the lands of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, the province of Asia, and Bithynia. 2God the Father chose you long ago, and the Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed Jesus Christ and are cleansed by his blood.
1 Peter 1:1b-2 (NLT)

I love the intros to many of the letters. There’s so much packed in those two and a half verses. Let’s unpack it a bit. It’s hard for me to be succinct because each phrase could be a whole sermon. Peter is writing to…

1) “God’s elect” or “God’s chosen people” – Those of us who have accepted Christ, those of us who bear the name Christian, are God’s elect or chosen people. It does something wonderful in my heart to know that God has chosen me, from the beginning of time, to be His. Wow! What encouragement that is to me. I am a chosen one of God and that ought to be the most significant piece of information and driving factor in my life.

“Lord, help me to make it so when I get misdirected.”

2) “Who are living as foreigners (strangers) in the world” – Our home is not this world, no matter where we live. Our home is in heaven with the Lord for all of eternity. Christ is preparing a special place for us there that will be perfectly suited to us. We are just passing through this world – let’s not get over attached to it! As strangers, this world ought to feel a bit “foreign” to us – we ought to be a bit uncomfortable in it. If we are comfortable in this world, it means that we’ve adjusted our actions, thoughts and deeds to conform to the standards and practices of this world instead of God’s world.

“Lord, remind me of my true home when I begin to get too comfortable in this one.”

3) “God chose you” – It is important to remember that it was God who did the choosing. Declaring with Joshua “me and my household will serve the Lord” is a good thing – but it is important that God chose us first. Otherwise, we can become prideful knowing that we made the correct, the best, decision, while some others still wander in darkness.

“Lord, as for me and my household, we will serve You…with humility and eternal gratitude for Your magnificent grace. Thank You for choosing me.”

4) “the Spirit has made you holy” – It is not our good works that makes us holy, or our regular attendance at church, or the wonderful time we had in worship this morning. It is the “sanctifying work of the Spirit.” He is the only one who can make us holy enough to stand before a perfectly holy and righteous God. The Holy Spirit teaches and guides us into holy living. Even better than that (from a worldly perspective), the Spirit teaches and guides us into loving holy living. In the natural, we think that sin is fun and holiness is boring. We have bought into a horrible lie of satan. Sinful living is hurtful and carries many, many negative consequences. Conversely, holy living brings life in greater abundance and joy.

“Holy Spirit, thank You for your sanctifying work in my life. I give you full permission to change me and change my thinking to make me holy.”

5) “for obedience to Jesus Christ” – We were not chosen on a whim or for no reason – we were chosen for a specific purpose – for obedience to Jesus Christ. I like to forget that sometimes and prefer to act in obedience to my own wishes and desires. It is our obedience to Jesus Christ that sets us apart as foreigners in the world in which we live. The aim of the sanctifying work of the Spirit is to conform us to the image of Jesus Christ who learned obedience through suffering (Hebrews 5:8).

“Lord, I submit to You. I submit to Your will for my life. Help me to become a better servant in Your kingdom.”

6) “for…sprinkling by His blood” – The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sins (1 John 1:7-9). We have been chosen for obedience to Jesus Christ and for the forgiveness of sins through the blood of Jesus Christ. Hallelujah! I am forgiven! No more shame, no more guilt. He has cleansed me.

“Lord, again – thank You! Thank You! Thank You for choosing me and for forgiving me of all my sins. I so need it because I am a sinner and cannot wash that sin away. But You can and You did. Thank You.”

Friends, have you been cleansed from your sins? Are you one of God’s chosen people?

If you have accepted Christ as your Savior, you are, and all of this applies to you.

If you have never before recognized your need for a Savior, or don’t even understand what that phrase means, read more about it here. If you are feeling a tug at your heart or curiosity at what you’re reading, that is God motivating you to begin or continue your journey toward Him. He is calling you – He doesn’t want anyone to die without knowing Him – you need simply to respond. Pray simply –

“Lord, I want to know more about you. Come into my life, forgive me of my sins and send Your Holy Spirit to teach me how to live for You.”

If that’s the prayer of your heart, you are called and chosen by God. E-mail me ( or send me a message through Facebook so that I can celebrate with you and help you get started on the right foot. To God be the glory, great things He has done!

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