Suffering To Worship
God has called a people out of darkness and into his marvelous light. They are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation. They have been born again to a living hope, ransomed from the futile ways of their forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ. They are being built into a spiritual house, stewards of God’s grace. This is the imagery that the Apostle Peter uses in his letter to first century believers who, like us, needed to be reminded, encouraged and challenged by these truths. God’s people have identity, security and purpose. These believers were most likely Gentiles – that is non-Jews - scattered across Asia Minor, facing trials and learning what is means to be the people of Yahweh. Peter wrote to these “elect exiles” in hopes of seeing their “grace and peace” multiplied. In his letter he reinforces their identity as a “people for God’s own possession”. He reminds them of the salvation that they have through Jesus and the example that their savior gave them for how to live. He instructs them on what it means to be God’s chosen people, how to act as husbands, wives, church leaders and citizens. He encourages them in their suffering, even giving them purpose for it. In a letter overflowing with powerful imagery, Peter reminds us that this world is not the ultimate home for those who embrace the saving mercy of God. We have a future and a hope that we set our eyes to. But in the time that God has for his people on earth, we are called to obey Jesus, who is our Lord, and live in the Spirit, who transforms us. We are called to be holy, both in times of plenty and in suffering. We are to be set apart, shining as lights in a world that is still captive to the futile ways of generations past. God has called a people out of darkness and into his marvelous light. We are his and in him, we find our grace and peace.