(If you haven’t read April’s first article on Peter, check it out here.)
Thoughts on 1 Peter… continued.
As mentioned before, Peter uses the word chosen several times in his letter to the exiled Jewish believers. It seems such a contrast to how they must’ve been feeling though…these believers are exiled from their home! They’re suffering persecution. They’ve fled for their lives. They’re experiencing everything but “chosen-ness” at this time, are they not?
However, herein lies the beautiful tension of being a chosen people of God, we are chosen to accomplish much more than our own narrow plans, our personal agendas, our finite purposes. We are chosen for the glory of God, to glorify the One who has indeed chosen us. And then there’s more…
The richness of Peter’s letter begins early on in just the first few verses. He says these believers have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit…
And there’s the more… The sanctification process.
He’s working to make me holy.
He’s working to conform me to the image of His Son.
He’s working to sanctify me by the Holy Spirit.
I recently finished reading through the books of Exodus, Leviticus, and on into Numbers. God is teaching the children of Israel how to be His people, how to live as holy. He gives them the guidelines and demands of receiving His blessings within this chosen community. And, He’s giving them the Tabernacle where He will dwell with them.
The utensils in the Tabernacle are deemed as holy and are set apart, sanctified, for service in the Tabernacle. So often those utensils and other pieces were sanctified or made holy by blood or even fire. The process was intense and – if I may say so – quite gruesome at times. In order to purify an instrument for service, blood had to be shed, and sprinkled or applied or poured; a fire had to be lit while the instrument or the sacrifice itself endured or was consumed by the flame.
From the beginning, God has demonstrated to us that holiness doesn’t come by way of sheltered pampering and soft caresses. No, not at all. It comes in a violent way. Fire. Blood. Pain. Struggle. Trial. And if I may be so bold, we shrink back from this because we are not aware of the un-holiness that lies within, the depth of our un-cleanness. We cannot possibly recognize and acknowledge our colossal need for the strenuous cleansing that is required to make us holy. Glory to God for His abundant Grace. Amen!
Peter knew these things and he knew his fellow Jewish believers simply needed reminding. The trouble is seeing by faith the holy outcome while we’re in the midst of the fiery making. He reminds them, “You’re being sanctified by the work of the Spirit. Hang in there. The outcome will be worth it.”
So often we lose sight of these precious truths. The truth is we are a chosen people. The truth is we are being made holy. The truth is that God is working on our behalf and for His glory.
In the midst of the trial, there is a Craftsman and He knows exactly what He’s doing.