Cover Photo by Kipp Teague *
How Then Shall We Live? | Part 2
Have you reached that place yet where you feel totally at a disconnect with what is developing around us?
“To God’s elect… strangers in the world… scattered…” I Peter 1: 1-2
This is how the Apostle Peter addressed the first of two letters that he sent to the region of Asia Minor. It is probable that Peter wrote from Rome where he witnessed first-hand the horrific persecution unleashed on Christians by Emperor Nero. His purpose in writing was to encourage the believers and give them knowledge about God that would help them endure what was shortly coming their way.
He begins his letter by reminding his readers that they ‘have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father through the sanctifying work of the (Holy) Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling by his blood.”
The Greek word translated as Foreknowledge is “Prognosis”
Wait a minute, we know what that means. A prognosis is “a forecast of the likely outcome of a situation.” There is a lot here for us to consider
- God already knew that these people were going to go through a terrible season of persecution.
- Peter reminds them that nothing concerning us escapes The Lord’s notice, and that He has made a way for them to go through it.
- The way through is to first recognize that the Lord is with us even when (perhaps I should say ‘especially’ when…) we are suffering.
- The next thing is to recognize that we are where we are, and we are experiencing what we are experiencing…as part of His plan for us to be sanctified by the Holy Spirit with the express goal being obedience to Jesus.
- This whole process has something to do with the blood of Jesus.
Many times in my life and ministry people have asked me if God is mad at them. They ask because they are suffering. They have prayed and the situation didn’t immediately change. Is this God’s will? they ask. My honest answer is that I have no idea if what they are experiencing is God’s will…but I do know that He wants us to trust Him in whatever state we find ourselves.
When I read that Peter described the readers of his letter as ‘strangers’ who were ‘scattered’, two things occurred to me:
1. This world is not our final destination. In fact, this present world is slated for destruction. What goes on in this world cannot and should not be compared to heaven.
2. ‘Scattered’ can be translated ‘dispersed’…or ‘sown’ like seed. What appears to be a scattered people is in fact, an elect group, sown by God for purposes all His own.
Could it be (in the economy of God) that we are where we are, going through what we are going through as ones ‘sown’ in the world right now for the express purpose of modeling obedience to Jesus in the midst of a turbulent time? If so, then the reference to the ‘sprinkling of blood’ begins to make sense.
The ‘sprinkling of blood’ has to do with the New Covenant. In the Old Testament, animal sacrifices were offered. The blood of the slain animal was sprinkled to atone for sin. The Pulpit Commentary has a very helpful note on these verses
“If we abide in Him we have our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience. If we walk in the light as he is in the light…the blood of his son Jesus keeps on cleansing us from all unrighteousness (sin) Those who are ‘elect unto obedience’ are elect unto the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus; the loving obedience of faith keeps them in the presence of the cross, within the cleansing range of the one all-sufficient sacrifice.”
We would not be wrong to make this assumption. Things are unravelling around us. The prognosis appears to be more turmoil and conflict and shortages and masks and angst. Perhaps the Lord wants us to obey Jesus, and keep in within the cleansing range of his shed blood—to have our consciences cleansed so that He can use us to minister to those around us.
No vaccine or booster is going to bring peace in abundance…no, we need to be the ‘in range’ of a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ; sprinkled with the blood of His sacrifice. Dare to believe with me that God has you right where He wants you…for such a time as this…to lead people to the cleansing range of His solution to the human condition. We don’t need a panel of lab-coated experts or a cadre of politicians, or any human scheme. We need a Savior.
For now, WE ARE STRANGERS. WE ARE SCATTERED.
But we are in range….
* Cover Photo by Kipp Teague : https://www.flickr.com/photos/retroweb/3907041046