Peter addresses his readers as "elect exiles" (ESV), but his words could also be translated as "chosen sojourners." I prefer this description in part because sojourner not only communicates the idea of being a temporary resident, but also the sense of movement, of being on a journey. Indeed, as followers of Jesus we are on a narrow road that leads home (Matt. 7:13-14). What Peter emphasizes in this first letter of his is that hope of another home, a place where we belong.
Victor Frankl was a holocaust survivor who succeeded Sigmund Freud in Vienna Austria after World War II. While in a Nazi concentration camp he made the observation that when a man no longer possessed a motive for living, no certain future to look forward to, he would curl up in some corner and die. "Any attempt to restore a man's inner strength in camp," he wrote, "had first to succeed in showing him some future goal." Hope. We cannot live without it.
Read I Peter 1:3-9 and let the questions below help you meditate on this joy-filled description of our hope, our salvation!
- After the theologically rich salutation in verses 1-2, Peter erupts into praise: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!" What is the cause of Peter's praise (vv. 3-5)?
- What is mercy, and how is it different from grace? What does mercy have to do with God causing us to be born again? (v. 3)
- What does it mean to be born again, and what are we born again into? (vv.3-4; John 3:1-8; II Cor. 5:17).
- What is hope? How would you define it?
- What do you think Peter has in mind when he writes that we "have been born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (v. 3)? What is living hope?
- What is an inheritance, and what does Peter say is true about our inheritance? (v. 4)
- John Calvin raises this question: "What does it avail us that our salvation is laid up in heaven, when we are tossed here and there in this world as in a turbulent sea? What can it avail us that our salvation is secured in a quiet harbour, when we are driven to and fro amidst a thousand shipwrecks?" How does Peter answer that question in verse 5?
- Two aspects of the resurrection of Jesus are referred to here and they play a significant role in Peter's joy-filled praise (vv. 3, 6). What are they?
- How would you describe what Peter is doing in verses 3-6? What response is he hoping to produce in his readers?
- What is your response to these four verses?
- What one thing do you think the Lord wants you to know or do from these verses?
God be with you and see you on Sunday!