Wednesday, July 22, 2015
God's Untrendy People
1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you. 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time (1 Peter 1:1-5 ESV).
Why is it that when we are at our best – as God’s people – we are often un-trendy? What is it that sets our feet solidly on the ground while society swirls around with some kind of emotional and moral vertigo? Here in 1 Peter 1.1-5 Peter gives us clear clues of how the God-made, God-treasured people are able to stay the course – which often makes us his untrendy people.
The God-Made, God-Treasured People (1-2). Peter charges out of the chute with declarations about God and about his people. The God-made, God-treasured people are Chosen yet alienated (v.1 – elect exiles). In fact this tension between being chosen and desired by God while being rejected and alienated from society runs throughout the letter. For example: Jesus – 2.4-5; Themselves – “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles …. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (2.11-12).
But how? How did they – and how do we – become elect exiles? By means of God’s world rescue project (2). Don’t miss how the whole God is wholly involved in this – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: 1. The Plan – The Father’s Foreknowledge; 2. The Process – The Spirit’s work of sanctification; 3. The Purpose – Obedience to Christ and his sprinkling of the blood of liberation (see 1.17-21!!!) [made free, living free]
Because God has made us his people, emancipated us, and is now radically transforming us, our aims and our orientations, we march to a different drum-beat; we have different standards of morality, of marriage, of power, of honor, of success, and of worth. He redefines us, who we are, what we’re about, etc. He has thus made us his untrendy people. Therefore, this untrendiness means trouble is possible.
And so, the God-made, God-treasured people are un-trendy. But how do we stay on this untrendy task? … Peter tells us how and why in v.3-5.
The God-Treasured People Made Untouchable (3-5)! (a) Birthed-again according to his abundant mercy. Not based on anything in us, or any qualities of ours, but simply and solely upon his great mercy. 2 Timothy 1.9-10. (b) Birthed-again into a living hope through the irreversible, irrevocable, unalterable, unchangeable resurrection of Christ. The One who died a shame-filled death for us and yet was vindicated and certified on the third day in the resurrection. (c) Birthed-again unto an unfading, kept inheritance (4-5). They are guarded by God’s power thru Faith.
Peter is encouraging these Christians in the face of trouble – and all God’s special-made people – to take heart, to have a brawny, beefy, burly confidence, a tough-minded assurance, because the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has happened and it is irreversible, irrevocable, unalterable and unchangeable; and that, therefore you are securely held in the hands of the crucified, triumphantly resurrected Christ; and so, you will never be disinherited, no matter what the world may do. You’re the untrendy God-made, God-treasured people through the crucified and resurrected Jesus! And so, like Peter, we too can break out in rejoicing: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ….!”