Being a Christian in the world has always come with its share of identity issues. Who are we, exactly, and why does it even matter? How do we interact with a world that doesn’t think and believe as we do? How are we to live in the midst of a depraved generation?
First Peter answers all of those questions and more. This is why I believe First Peter is one of the most important letters in the New Testament for Christians today. Frequently we base on interest and the level of importance of an epistle on what it has to say about what happens in “church.” That is hugely important. Just as important is what the New Testament has to say about how we live outside the assembly. This is where we need to turn our focus. This is why we need to be studying First Peter and this post marks the beginning of that study here at Kingdom Living.
Peter begins his letter with these words,
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.” (1 Peter 1:1-2)
If you pay close attention to Peter’s words you will notice our parallel with their situation, which is what makes the letter so relevant. They are elect and yet scattered throughout the world. They are God’s people in a world that is far from God. How should one live in such a situation? How should one understand their identity in light of those circumstances? Their questions are our questions and Peter’s answer should become our answer. As we step into 2018 let us also step info 1 Peter. So buckle up and let’s dive in to First Peter together.
The letters mostly focus on what happens to the church, that is to say the people, as opposed to what happens in assembly or “in church”. Only twice does Paul make reference to people assembling within the letter of I Corinthians 1) coming together to exercise spiritual gifts and 2) coming together for the Lord’s Supper. Most preachers preach about what we should or shouldn’t do in assembly, but rarely focus on where we spend most of our time…not in assembly.
It is low hanging fruit to focus on what you can control within the four walls for a few hours at a time vs. what we should be doing in the real world towards others where we spend most of our time.