July 17, 2022 The Elect
You are a 1st Century believer in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen from the dead. You’ve heard secondhand the Words of the Risen Christ’s Ascension into heaven, when He promised,
Matthew 28:18 (NIV) "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
You are “banking” on these Word of Christ,
Matthew 28:20 (NIV) And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."
Now, because of Your faith and hope in Christ, you find yourself in “exile.”
The ESV bible offers this beginning note as the reason for first letter of Peter,
The readers of the apostle Peter’s letter were confused and discouraged by the persecution they were encountering because of their faith.”
You are confused. If Christ is sitting on His throne in heaven, why are you, His “elect,” His chosen One, still struggling in the world? Why is Christ not coming to your aid? Why is Christ’s bride, the Church in exile? What does it mean to be His “elect,” Christ’s chosen ones.
The Father called Jesus, His chosen one. Remember?
Luke 9:35 (NIV) 35 A voice came from the cloud, saying, "This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him."
Being chosen by God the Father meant dying for the sins for the sins of others. It meant Jesus willingly taking the blame and the punishment that other “sinners” deserved, the very reasons why Jesus came.
Matthew 20:28 (ESV) 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
You are a 1st Century believer. You’ve heard Christ’s earlier promise spoken to Peter,
Matthew 16:18 (NIV) 18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
Where is this “overcoming” Christ promised? You don’t see Christ overcoming. What you see is persecution is on the rise. You’re wondering if you will ever return home. You worry that you, or worse your spouse and children, may be the next to be offered up for Roman Sport.
So, Peter writes this letter of encouragement,
To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion…” 1 Peter 1:1
Peter’s first words are the remainder that you are among the “elect”. The rest of the preface notes from ESV bible read like this,
“Peter explained how Christians should respond when they suffer because of their beliefs. Called the “apostle of hope,”Peter’s primary message is to trust the Lord, live obediently no matter what your circumstances, and keep your hope fixed on God’s ultimate promise of deliverance. Suffering is to be expected, but it is temporary and yields great blessings for those who remain steadfast.”
Peter isn’t the only one writing to remind the followers of Christ, the church is still on earth and therefore, must deal with sin, satan and death until Christ returns or until they are called home, because the Church is still “on earth.” John wrote at the turn of the first century, in the book of Revelation, chapter two, verse 10:
Revelation 2:10 (NIV) 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life.
We join with these first century believers with our doubts, our fears, and our discouragements. We can feel like the early church at times, wondering about the validity of our prayers to heaven? Wondering alongside all believers for all times, if Christ is ruling all things for the sake of His church, then why? You fill in the blank with the question on your mind.
Yet, Paul is very clear regarding Christ’s church on earth.
Colossians 1:24 (ESV) 24 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,
Paul rejoices in His sufferings, for the sake to the church, and these sufferings will go on until Christ returns. BUT, when we compare our present sufferings, with our future glory, Paul writes, there is no comparison.
Romans 8:18 (ESV) 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
In fact, suffering plays a part in our discipleship development:
Romans 5:3-5 (NIV) “…we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not disappoint us,
Rare is the life that at some point isn't affected by great distress in this world. Jesus warned the 11, the night before His suffering and death,
John 16:33 (NIV) 33 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
On this planet earth, where tragedy seems to be a constant, where sin, misery, and grief are evident all around us, the shedding of tears is all too familiar in our lives. Everyone knows or will know some personal sadness, suffering, pain and loss.
But the reason we can we live in this broken world, where sin, satan and death seem out of control is this:
We are the Elect of God through Christ.
Twice, times in as many verses, Peter writes that the believer is “the elect” or chosen in Christ,
1 Peter 1:1 (NIV) 1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To God's elect, strangers in the world, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia,
1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
WE are the “elect” and the Chosen of God through Jesus Christ.
Our election comes by grace through faith in Christ, faith in the ONE God elected or chosen to suffer,
Isaiah 53:3 (NIV) 3 He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering.
Christ was elected, chosen by God to be rejected by men,
1 Peter 2:4 (NIV) 4 As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him—
This ONE was chosen by God, Peter proclaims, to be laid on a cross in the CITY Of ZION to become the cornerstone of the church.
1 Peter 2:6 (NIV) 6 For in Scripture it says: "See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame."
This one has become the cornerstone of the building of God, the church. We have hope, because God has elected us, chosen us through Christ.
Romans 5:5 (ESV) 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.
The Spirit of God made our election a reality, Therefore,
Romans 8:37 (ESV) 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
We will stand before God on the day of Judgment, holy and blameless, because God chose us in Christ.
Ephesians 1:4 (NIV) 4 For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight.
Despite the struggles of this life because we are the elect, the chosen, we who have been baptized and believe,
Galatians 2:20 (NIV) “…have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Christ Jesus is either the rock upon which WE build our LIVES or He is the stumbling stone by whom WE fall. Either your faith leads you to live eternal or THE LACK OF FAITH IN Christ to everlasting condemnation.
Mark 16:16 (NIV) 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.
In the first chapter of his second letter, Peter encourages us, who are the elect, the chosen in Christ,
2 Peter 1:10-11 (NIV) 10 Therefore, my brothers, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We confess and believe that our works cannot save us, but our works may lead other to the Savior. Apart from faith there are no good works before God, our good works are the fruit that unbelievers see and enjoy that can lead them to know the Savior. Therefore, elect in Christ,
Matthew 5:16 (NIV) let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
You are the elect, the chosen of God, spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
Hebrews 10:24 (NIV) 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.
You are the elect, the chosen, Peter announces,
1 Peter 5:12 (ESV) 12 By Silvanus, a faithful brother as I regard him, I have written briefly to you, exhorting and declaring that this is the true grace of God. Stand firm in it.