We Don’t Fit In

Yesterday saw the beginning of a new sermon series through 1 Peter.  We tend to know a lot of parts of this letter, but we don’t know that we know because we do not study it all that much.  Peter has a lot to offer fellow believers though, so we’ll be going through a passage each week so we can see the over-all message.

PeterApostlePeter begins by introducing himself simply, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.”  This is the same Peter who both got out of the boat to follow Jesus and then promptly sank because he took his eyes off of Jesus.  The same who both confessed Jesus as the Christ, and then repeated the lie of Satan that Jesus would not die and be raised.  The same who drew the sword to defend his Teacher, then denied he even knew his Savior.  Peter knows what it means to figure out how to follow Jesus.  He knows what it means to screw-up and be forgiven.  He knows what it means to develop and live out faith.

He writes to the “elect exiles in the diaspora”.  Scholars have a lot of good views on who exactly is meant.  I follow the interpretation that Peter is writing to the Jewish and gentile believers who were expelled from Rome by Claudius around 49AD, referenced in Acts 18.  These Christians likely settled in some of the colony cities Claudius established in the ancient Roman provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.

Thus, Peter is writing to those who have been removed from everything they called home and settled in a new land where they are strangers, aliens, and pilgrims of a sort.  I think the letter takes these circumstances and relates them to a set of spiritual truths believers must master – how to be in the world, but not of the world.  It starts by realizing that we are, in fact, elect exiles.

When we follow Christ, we must give up our claim on all things to follow him.  We may still live in the same town, but we are now citizens of another kingdom.  We live in a very real way as exiles – those who participate, but do not really fit in their new land.  Our acceptance of Christ and His Kingdom with all it entails – views on Creation & reality, morality & ethics, poverty & spiritual wealth, love & mercy, forgiveness & repentance – make us strange to the world around us.  We do not, can not, will never truly “fit in”.

But none of this surprises God.  He chose us for this mission.  He equips us for our work.  He sustains us through alienation and continuously grants us the hope of our future vision, an inheritance with Christ.

God does not call us to hate and blame the world.  God does not call us to excuse and accept the world.  God calls us to be faithful to who we are – who He has recreated us to be – so that all can see and know that Christ is Lord and his grace is true.

Be encouraged fellow alien, God’s promise rests upon us.  May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

 

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