Reading: 1 Peter 1
Be alert and think straight. Put all your hope in how kind God will be to you when Jesus Christ appears. Behave like obedient children. Don't let your lives be controlled by your desires, as they used to be. Always live as God's holy people should, because God is the one who chose you, and he is holy. That's why the Scriptures say, "I am the holy God, and you must be holy too." You say that God is your Father, but God doesn't have favorites! He judges all people by what they do. So you must honor God while you live as strangers here on earth. You were rescued from the useless way of life that you learned from your ancestors. But you know that you were not rescued by such things as silver or gold that don't last forever. You were rescued by the precious blood of Christ, that spotless and innocent lamb. Christ was chosen even before the world was created, but because of you, he did not come until these last days. And when he did come, it was to lead you to have faith in God, who raised him from death and honored him in a glorious way. That's why you have put your faith and hope in God. You obeyed the truth, and your souls were made pure. Now you sincerely love each other. But you must keep on loving with all your heart. Do this because God has given you new birth by his message that lives on forever. (1 Peter 1:13-23 CEV)
Thinking and Reflecting
Many different themes have been identified in Peter's first letter. Some of the more obvious are suffering, persecution, courage, glory, hope, and grace. As one of the General Epistles, the letter deals with Christian living and duties. Peter encourages his readers to maintain faith and pure conduct in the midst of trials. The letter is obviously a pastoral exhortation (5:1-3) and contains a series of imperatives (grammatical command forms). A brief summary might take a form similar to the following. Because God has a plan for those who put their faith in Jesus, faith is precious and leads to salvation. Conduct consistent with faith is an essential part of a new life (1:13-2:3) and a new identity (2:4-10). Christians act in such a way as to be examples in every relationship of life, even when good conduct is incomprehensible in the view of the world and results in hostility and persecution (3:13-17). Remaining firm in the faith makes one like Jesus-even in participating in his suffering, and also in freedom from sin (4:1-6). Ultimately, God is the one who establishes, strengthens, and perfects our faith (5:10-11).
Peter introduces his letter by mentioning new birth; living hope; eternal inheritance; and faith that leads to salvation, glory and honor. Hope focused on grace motivates faithful obedience that leads to holiness. This new life is based on the message of Jesus and his redeeming blood. It separates Christians from empty religion and immature attitudes, and results in sincere fraternal love among Christians.
Father God, use my time of reading and study to strengthen and perfect my faith. Give me more complete understanding of your will in my life. Thank you for the blessings of your grace in my life-new life, living hope, and certain inheritance. Help me endure during times of difficulty, keeping my mind focused on your grace exhibited in Jesus, in whose name and by whose power I pray, Amen.