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March 1 – Introduction, and encouraged by election

For the month of March, we will do a study based on the Epistle of 1 Peter. I am not able to cover the entire book; however, we can take a good look at chapter one, most of chapter two, and chapter five as well as some verses in chapter three. This epistle is a very practical book, not just for those who lived during Peter’s day, but also for us as we experience growing hostility in our society as believers dedicated to Christ. The main theme of this book is suffering for Christ. Peter wrote to encourage these Christians who were going through difficult times. They faced terrible persecution, most likely at the hands of the Roman Emperor, Nero, and Peter tried to encourage them by pointing them to their future hope and inheritance (1 Peter 1:4-5), to the fact that suffering has a purpose (1 Peter 1:6-7), and to the knowledge that Christ also suffered for us (1 Peter 2:21).

Peter touches on a variety of different themes and doctrines in his book and uses some key terms. One key concept is precious. He calls the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7). He declares that we have been redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot (1 Peter 1:19). Christ is the living stone chosen and precious(1 Peter 2:4,6). And he gives instructions to wives when he says, let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious (1 Peter 3:4). My desire as we look at this epistle for the month of March is that Christ would be more precious to you and that your love and devotion to Him would grow and thrive within your heart.

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Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. – 1 Peter 1:1

Scripture reading: 1 Peter 1

As we begin to look at this chapter, Peter is writing to a church that is suffering, oppressed, experiencing pain and enduring persecution. In verse 1, he says they are scattered and exiles in this world, and in verse 6, he speaks of the suffering of grief in all kinds of trials. Peter does not try to encourage them by telling them their trials will end, the pain will cease or even that the world will become a friendlier place if they can just hang on and persevere long enough. What does Peter present to the suffering church? Living hope in the living God! This living hope comes as they are a chosen people granted salvation by God. This should also give us hope and assurance in the Christian faith.

He is the One Who appointed a people for Himself to be His covenant children. In the Bible, election is always declared to encourage the Saints and never to discourage them. We are not told to try and figure out if we are elect or not, but to repent from our sins, believe and come to Jesus by faith and be saved. Election teaches us that true believers cannot be lost and have real assurance of God’s salvation. Why are you to persevere and have hope in a fallen and cursed world as a Christian? By faith in Christ, you are also chosen by Him and belong to Him as God set His love upon you to save you!

Suggestions for prayer

Thank the Lord that we can also be encouraged, even in our trials, because as true believers we belong to Him. He is the One Who chose us and tells us He will never leave us nor forsake us.

 This daily devotional is available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional. Rev. Michael Jaatinen is the minister of Mount Zion Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Moncton, NB.


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