Good Morning!There is just a tiny bit of coolness in the air this morning!! Celebrate – Fall in the Keys!!
1 Peter 1.17-21
17 If you invoke as Father the one who judges all people impartially according to their deeds, live in reverent fear during the time of your exile. 18You know that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20He was destined before the foundation of the world, but was revealed at the end of the ages for your sake. 21Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God.
The author goes on – if his readers there in the Roman provinces of Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (or if I or you today) call on God the Father of all, they / we should be aware that God is the judge of all of us, and that he judges all people without partiality, not according to who they are – the color of their skin or the denomination where they worship or the nation where they live or their gender or their age or any of a myriad of things that we today tend to judge people on – or whether they grew up in a Roman province or in Jerusalem in Peter’s day; but according to their deeds. The way we live shows our heart, our love for God and neighbor. As John Wesley said, the fruit of our salvation, or our love of God, is the good deeds which we do. Remember, this is not to say that by doing good deeds we buy our way into God’s favor, but the opposite, our love of God, the sense that we are loved by him, results in the fruit of kindness and love to others, results in growing more like Jesus, in being holy.
And so, if we call on this God, we should have a reverent fear of God – this is not to say that we are frightened, cowering, seeing God’s judgment as a terrible thing, but that we are reverent of God, aware of the awesomeness of God. The author says that those to whom he writes should have this fear during their time of exile – he could be speaking of their exile from their homes following the destruction of Jerusalem – or he could be speaking theologically, of the exile of believers waiting for their return to their true home with Christ.
Now the author reminds them that this waiting is not in vain – that they / we are already ransomed – someone has already paid the enemy to free us, and paid, not with silver or gold, but with his life, given for us on the cross. The enemy here is the futile ways in which they/we lived before knowing Christ. The coming of Christ, and his sacrifice for us, was not a last minute thought by God, not an act of desperation, but a part of his plan since the beginning of time, a plan that was only just revealed to the people of the first century, which the author believes to be near the end time.
It is through Jesus that they / we have come to trust in God, to renew relationship with God – it was God who raised Jesus from the dead and shared his glory with Christ. And now, through Jesus, our faith and hope return to God and are in God.
Have you read through 1 Peter before? I have read it many times, and had never stopped to ponder these things – I am blown away here by the depth of the theology we are encountering. This is why we are moving so slowly; every sentence contains concepts to be reviewed, discussed, and understood! I would love to hear from some of you – what you are thinking!