“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.”
This is the way the Apostle Peter begins his first letter. I should say, his first letter that we have on record. I am certain he wrote many more letters, both personal and in the line of his apostolic ministry. However, this is the first one we have recorded for us by the Holy Spirit. These beginnings are so revealing regarding the writer and their relationships with those who were the recipients of the letter.
First, it is Peter. Beloved Peter who went from having his foot in his mouth, to being one of the foremost apostles of all times. Here he is writing to “God’s elect,” a term of fondness to those in the 1st century church. They are the ones who have chosen to believe and follow the Lord in a time of persecution and difficulty. Let’s watch as we study this letter, the terms Peter uses for what we group as “church.” Nothing right or wrong intended here, just an observation.
He also calls them strangers in the world. He returns to the term “strangers” later in the chapter. Again just watching. They are scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. If you will look at the New Testament maps at the back of some of your Bibles, you will find those designations to the top of the maps above Israel’s area. Many of you will remember that Paul wanted to go this direction on his second missionary journey but was restrained by the Holy Spirit from going through some of them (Acts 16:6-7). It is thought that Peter visited these areas on his journeys.
The Holy Spirit is the one to govern our actions. If we are to follow Him, He will lead us to do and go where He needs us to go and do. The Holy Spirit is best able to direct us (and all ministry and church work). Our minds, demographics, observations of obvious needs, etc… are very poor substitutes for His direction.
We need to return to listening. He lives within us to lead and guide. Yet, we choose our own thoughts over Him so much of the time. May He help us to be alert to His presence – every moment. Really good to do when God Himself actually lives inside us, don’t you think? More later.