Life Well Inspired

Holy Purpose: We Are Elect Exiles

Are you feeling like a stranger in your life right now amid this Coronavirus and the social distancing?  We are all adjusting to a new normal for the unforeseen future.  It’s unnerving, really.  We don’t know when all this will end or what parts of the past will still be in place and what parts of the new normal will stay.  It’s easy to get caught up in the grief of losing what was.  That’s actually a typical response of our human nature.  But the beauty of perspective is that there is always another way to look at things and as Christians, we don’t have to go where typical human nature takes us.  We are free to find a different perspective and it helps to find the heavenly perspective.

I’m sure we have all heard the son “Fear is a Liar” on the radio and seen the memes on facebook about how the feelings of fear are not from the Lord.  We can call those out, take every thought captive to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and put our focus on the Lord.  We can fight fear and have victory.  We can claim the sound mind that we have as believers in Christ.  (2 Timothy 1:7)

While its easy to be overcome with fear during trials and uncertain times, 1 and 2 Peter really gives perspective and encouragement to trials and suffering, teaching us why difficult things happen in the first place, how we should view those difficult things, and what our response should be.  This will be the first post in a series moving through 1st and 2nd Peter as we are all going through this difficult time as we work together to defeat this Coronavirus.

Paul opens his letter by addressing his readers as exiles.  While we are not actual exiles today, we are surely living in a space that feels like we are exiled from our normal life, whatever that looks like.  We are unable to go to work and school and are being told where we can and cannot go.  We are unable to go out top eat and maybe are even adjusting to different brands or types of foods depending on what we are able to find last the grocery store.  It really doesn’t feel like we are in control of our lives.  So this letter applied to the Jewish people Peter wrote to way back when and it also applies to us today, physically.  However, it also applies to us ion a spiritual level as well.

In the very first verses, Peter identifies his reader as exiles but he calls them elect and then expands on that to tell them that the situation they find themselves in God knew about before it happened, that it has a purpose for our obedience and a covering for us.  He then extends a prayer that grace and peace be multiplied to them.

“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.”
1 Peter 1:1-2

Elect exiles. Those two words don’t seem to go together, do they?  But that is exactly what Peter calls the displaced Jewish people to whom he was writing in this letter. You would think that if you were elect, chosen and cared about,  you wouldn’t find yourself exiled but rather in a comfy place. In times like these, it is easy to feel that God has forgotten us.  That we don’t belong anywhere, especially here.  Have you ever felt like you don’t belong?  Maybe it was in grade school, as a teenager or young adult or even in a church you have been a part of.  Feeling like you don’t belong is an awful feeling but we can al identify now!

In a broader sense though, beyond the circles we find ourselves in, Peter breaks the news to us right off the bat in 1 Peter 1:1 that we are exiles living in a place we don’t belong and naturally longing to be where we do belong. The truth is we are strangers on this earth.  We are just passing through here because our home is in heaven.  Of course, Peter was writing to literal Jewish exiles that had been scattered away from Jerusalem and not free to return to their homeland, but his words ring true to us now.

As Christians, we are citizens of heaven and are not free to go there until God calls us home. We will find ourselves walking and talking differently than the world around us. Peter calls us elect exiles, which means that we have been chosen by God to live in a place where we don’t belong and fit in.  Our life here on earth has a holy purpose just because God is sovereign, knows us intimately, and has a very specific plan for each of us. So if you are feeling more and more like you don’t belong, be encouraged because that means you will someday fully belong in heaven with the Lord after fulfilling the things He has called you to do.

In the middle of this crisis that we find ourselves in, let’s just ponder the place where we do belong.  The Bible says that in Heaven there will be no more sickness, pain or tears.  Our minds and hearts will forever be at rest and in total peace for those that have an intimate relationship with the Lord.  Those that are called elect by God are a part of His holy purpose and the first step is to understand that truth.  We will discover the rest of the holy purpose as we move through these two books, so stay tuned!  Sign up below if you aren’t already a subscriber to follow along!

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