As Peter lifts his pen to write the first of two letters from him that appear in the New Testament, he is writing at a time when Christians are suffering tremendous opposition. A variety of trials, attribution of evil to their actions, suffering for doing good and the clear opposition of society around them, to point out a few. While most commentators would describe the primary audience of the letter as Jewish Christians, we do well to remind ourselves that all Christians are ‘strangers’ in a world that opposes God. Thus, the inspired text will point us to truth that is important to embrace by faith, and which stabilizes each of us in time of trial.
The truth that grounds the believer in trial is the reality that our God is a God of purpose. That unthwartable purpose is secured by a complete and united action toward us which involved the entirety of the Godhead: ‘election according to the foreknowledge of God the Father’; ‘sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience’; and ‘sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ’, 1. 2.
What Peter unfolds to his readers is that, in spite of what the circumstances of life might seem to suggest, our God can be relied upon! His abundant mercy has brought us into a ‘lively hope’ – prospects rooted in the undeniable reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1. 3. His power not only guards ensuing future prospects but is also providing an undefeatable guard to the subjects of His purpose as they are besieged in a hostile world, vv. 4, 5. Furthermore, we are to allow the extent of the investment of God in our redemption to be the resting place for our faith and hope, vv. 19-21. Note the word used – ‘redeemed’; it is not our salvation that is in view. The Spirit of God reminds us not only of the price paid; precious blood that is infinitely more valuable than earth’s paltry bullion, but also that God has acted to pay the price to purchase us back for Himself. Behind the word is not a mere reaction to our lost estate, but also the purposeful actions of Almighty God.
May the word of God, through the instruction of the divine teacher, help us to peruse and perceive the character and actions of our God, so that we might, like the Psalmist of old, address our thinking and cry, ‘Why art thou cast down, O my soul? … Hope thou in God’, Ps. 42. 5, 11!
Once again, we acknowledge the contributions of so many authors over the past year and commend this issue to you for your prayerful consideration. In doing so we look to the Almighty for His gracious blessing.