1 Peter 1 – 2
‘What a great passage! This’ll be easy to turn into a relevant and helpful blog entry . . .’
. . . is not what I thought when I read the passage today! At first reading (and second and third, to be quite honest about it) it seemed long. The sentences seemed complicated and were full of expressions like ‘the proven genuineness of your faith’ and ‘the grace to be brought to you’ which I find hard to get my head around.
But that’s the Bible for you. Great passages, exciting stories, easy to understand points, right beside long lists of genealogies, obscure laws and convoluted arguments – but all useful, all valuable, all needed to fully understand what it is God is showing us through this book. So today we wrestle a little – trying to understand what it is we can learn from this.
At least it is for us! Have a look at verses 10 – 12 again. How annoying would it be to spend ages trying to understand what God is saying through a prophesy only to get to the point where you finally understand it, and realise it is a message for people who will live ages in the future!!
The jist of it is that Peter is reminding his readers (including us) what an amazing new life it is that we have because of our faith in Jesus, and encouraging us to behave in a way that shows we understand and appreciate what we have been given. Here are my notes!
God has given us:
- New birth into a living hope
- An inheritance –
- That can never fail spoil or perish
- Kept in heaven for us
- We are shielded by God’s power
- Salvation of our souls
- We are a ‘chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession’ (let’s face it. There is a whole blog entry and more in this sentence alone. If you get nothing out of the rest of this entry, come back and read this sentence again. Think about what each of those phrases / titles actually mean and let them excite you!)
- Rejoice – although we may also experience grief
- Love Jesus
- Believe in him and be filled with joy
- ‘set your hope on the grace to be brought to you … ‘
- Be holy:
- Live ‘as foreigners’ in reverent fear
- Obey the truth
- Love one another
- Abstain from sinful desires
- Live good lives
Our relationship with God is something incredibly precious – it was bought for us, and using the most precious commodity there is – Jesus’ life, which is why our attempts to live a holy life should be in ‘reverent fear’. An awareness of just how precious this gift is will fill us with awe and gratefulness.
And as we come to him, we become like him, which in this passage means we are like stones. Yes, stones. Another image which takes a little while, but is really cool once you get your head around it!
The picture here is that we are being built together in to a building, with Jesus taking the most important place – the place that holds it all together, but with each of us part of it too. This building is itself a sacrifice to God, an act of worship, but is also a conundrum to those who don’t share our faith. Something about us when we are together can trip up those who are trying to avoid God, hopefully getting their attention!