The Pilgrims’ Guidebook

I Peter 1:1,2

Peter’s first letter has been described as ‘a travellers guide for Christian pilgrims.’ It is addressed to those who have been chosen by God to be His people, and it is a handbook for Christian living in a world that is all too often hostile. Although still living in the world, we have become citizens of Christ’s Kingdom. But this means that we no longer ‘belong’ in this world; we have become aliens – refugees, even. If the culture clash is significant, Christians can become marginalized and despised, and from there it is a short step to persecution (John 15:19). Because of this estrangement from society, it is possible to feel very isolated – and so we need to be reminded that we are special to God.

So Peter begins his letter – and what an introduction! For before we can begin to live as Christians should, we need to understand the reasons why. Verse 2 is a definition of Christianity: pretty much a summary, in a single sentence, of what Paul writes in Ephesians 1:3-14. Here Peter lists our election by the Father (Ephesians 1:4), our setting apart by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13), our submission to Jesus Christ as Lord, and our redemption through the blood of His sacrifice (Ephesians 1:7). Father, Son and Spirit are all involved in our salvation, and each member of the Trinity plays their own distinctive role. Brothers and sisters, this is our God, and this is what He has done for us!

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