This letter was written by the apostle Peter to a large group of Gentile believers who had been dispersed over a large area of the Roman Empire. Note that Peter introduces himself with that name rather than his Jewish nomenclature of Simeon, look at footnote on Acts 15 v 14, and that he refers to the futility of his readers' previous existence (1 v 18). This would not be something suggested to Jewish readers, although it would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that these were Jewish readers, as Peter begins by calling them 'God's chosen people': Peter uses the same phrases for the Gentile believers as were traditionally only used to refer to Jews! Those who had once been believed to be outside God's mercy had now been shown the full grace of God and welcomed into His family with the full birthright as sons and daughters of the living God, a title which had once been used exclusively for the children of Israel- Deuteronomy 7 v 6. We read in historical texts of the DIASPORA of the Jewish nation-particularly referring to the exile of Israel after Jerusalem and the Temple had been destroyed. Well, what to some is a word only to be used in reference to Jews is here used by the Jew, Peter, to refer to Gentile Christians! Peter goes on to summarise the hope which is every Christian's in just a few words. The Church was facing enormous persecution-possibly by Nero-and Peter urges his readers to look heavenward, to see what is ALREADY there's. I know that believers can be too heavenly-minded to be any earthly good, but what is on earth is passing and we cannot rely on it: what is prepared for us in eternity is pure and undefiled, an inheritance KEPT FOR US! God has drawn close to those who were once not His people and brought them into His Kingdom! They have been born again into a LIVING HOPE! To many Gentiles, the world was a place where all things faded and decayed, Paul the apostle wrote in Ephesians 2 v 12 that the world without Christ is without hope. The ancient Greek playwright, Sophocles wrote: 'Not to be born at all-that is by far the best fortune: the second best is as soon as one is born with all speed to return hither whence one has come.' Take a few moments this morning to remind yourself of what you have in Christ and that this has been achieved through God's grace alone.
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