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1 Peter 1:1-2



… To God’s elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood:


Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

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Peter speaks of two realities. The first connects with the very physical, geographic place and community in which we find ourselves. I’m in Canada. You’re in the Philippines or USA or South America or Africa or Asia or wherever. We call it home. But is it? This “reality” is perhaps less real than it seems. Certainly, Peter thinks so. He calls us “strangers in the world.”


Those to whom he writes were living throughout Asia Minor in the first century, situated in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. Peter says they were “scattered” in those places, the word adding to the sense of rootlessness. Yes, those ancient cities provided a home address for each one for the moment, but even though living there, year in, year out, these believers weren’t truly at home. Not really. They were simply “strangers.”


It turns out, as the old song says, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passin’ through.” Or, as Paul said, even longer ago, “our citizenship is in heaven” (Phil 3:20). The solidity of this place, wherever we happen to find ourselves, whether comfortable or trying, is no match for the reality that our home is actually elsewhere.


The second reality is more foundational, more bedrock-real, than any physical dwelling could ever be. It’s the reality of our relationship with the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Although unseen by human eyes, this reality stretches back behind the confines of time, into the far reaches of eternity, before the foundation of the world, yet fully embracing us in this present moment.


The Father’s fingerprints are all over this. It turns out that before any of our own reality even began, he was already shaping it. Indeed, he was shaping us. We are “God’s elect” – this is foundational to who we are. By his own “foreknowledge” he chose us to be his very own – in other words, he knew us before time began. A.W. Tozer says that “God is always previous.” He is always there first. Always will be.


Further, the Spirit has shaped our reality. If this world were truly our home, we would remain mired in the dirt and grime it continually kicks up. But instead, we have been cleansed by the Spirit’s work in our lives. “Sanctifying work” – that’s what it’s called. He washes us clean, thoroughly. Paul rejoiced in it: “You were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor 6:11). And long beforehand, the Lord promised: “I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean … I will put my Spirit in you …” (Ezekiel 36:25, 27). Now it’s happened. In the Spirit, we are made clean, through and through.


And, yes, the Lord Jesus Christ himself is the rock of our reality. His sacrificial death allows the cleansing to happen. But the reality of his cross shapes us further. Priests in ancient Israel were sprinkled with the blood of animal sacrifices, setting them apart for obedience to God’s calling. So, too, for us. Having been sprinkled by Jesus’ own sacrifice, we are indelibly marked and set apart exclusively for obedience to him. This is our foundation, our purpose.


So, look around. What your eyes see is not what’s most real. Reality is rooted in relationship with the Sovereign Lord – Father, Son, and Spirit – who has called us, sanctified us, set us apart for obedience. Praise his name.

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Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – thank you that you have chosen me, called me, cleansed me through and through, and set me apart for your service. May I have eyes to see you, undistracted by the glare of the world.

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Reflect: What action can you take today to remind yourself that this world is not your home?

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