Wednesday in the Fifth Week of Ordinary Time

1 Peter 1:1

The Elect Exiles of the Dispersion

Peter’s First Letter to the “Dispersion” is a jewel among the Scriptures.  It was obviously written to Christians who were suffering persecution—as so many are around the world today.  He encourages them in their suffering, not by telling them to “keep the faith” or “hang in there; this too shall pass.”  No.  Peter has a real message of hope grounded in the gospel of Jesus Christ whose claim upon their lives has made them exiles and pilgrims in this world.  Christians may suffer persecution in this world and lose everything they have.  But Peter is certain that they have a better inheritance awaiting them.  In the meantime, they are to draw closer to God, growing in godliness, increasing in holiness so that the things of this world “grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”

Peter first identifies himself.  He is an apostle chosen of Jesus Christ, one of the original apostolic band who saw the risen Lord and was sent to testify to what he had seen and heard about the Christ and his gospel, upon whom the Church of Jesus Christ was built (Ephesians 2:20).  I have said in other places, these men lived with our Lord for more than three years, were especially commissioned by him, and are irreplaceable as their authority is concerned.  What Peter writes here under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit is the word of God, and the Christian will gainsay nothing written therein.

He writes to those churches throughout Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey) which were obviously experiencing persecution.  (Indeed, we know from correspondence between Emperor Trajan and a Roman official named Pliny the Christians in this area were subjected to persecution not long after.)  Peter calls them “the dispersion,” a term usually reserved for the Jews who were dispersed throughout the Mediterranean world since the sixth century before Christ.  That Peter now applies this term to Christians, both Jew and Gentile, means that God has created a new people under a new covenant—the covenant inaugurated through the blood of Christ in the fulfillment of the Scriptures.  This new covenant people of whom the prophets spoke are dispersed over the world, not because they were driven from their earthly homeland by this world’s rulers as was the case with the old covenant people; no, these are dispersed by virtue of having been chosen by the Father to inherit a heavenly homeland.  And so they are by rebirth of the Spirit aliens and exiles, sojourners and wanderers across what for them is a barren wasteland in comparison to their true home.  They have a Lord other than Caesar and will gladly forsake all things while they await his return.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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