Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood: Grace and peace be yours in abundance. 1 Peter 1:1-2
In verse 2 we come face to face with the three great facts of the Christian life.
1. The Christian is chosen according to the foreknowledge of God. The Church is not just a human organization, although it is that as well. Its origin lies, not in the will of the flesh, in the idealism of its members, in human aspirations or plans, but in the eternal purpose of God. When we get discouraged we should remind ourselves that the Christian Church came into being according to the plan and purpose of God and, because of that, it can never fail.
2. The Christian is chosen to be consecrated by the Spirit. Martin Luther said, “I believe that I cannot by my own reason or strength believe in Jesus Christ my Lord, or come to him.” For the Christian the Holy Spirit is essential to every part of our lives and every step we make. It is the Holy Spirit that awakens to the longing of God and for the goodness that comes with that. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts us of our sins and leads us to the Cross where our sins are forgiven. It is the Holy Spirit who enables us to be freed from the sins that have gripped us and leads us to see the fruits of the Spirit. And it is the Holy Spirit that gives us the assurance that our sin have been forgiven.
3. The Christian is chosen for obedience and for sprinkling by the blood of Jesus Christ. In the Old Testament there are three places where the sprinkling with blood is mentioned and Peter may have had all three in mind.
a. When a leper had been healed, he was sprinkled with the blood of a bird (Leviticus 14:1-7). Sprinkling with blood is the symbol of cleansing.
b. Sprinkling with blood was part of the ritual of the setting apart of Aron and the priests (Exodus 29:20-21). It was the sign of setting apart for the service of God.
c. The great picture of the sprinkling comes from the covenant relationship between Israel and God. Obedience was a necessary condition of the covenant relationship between God and Israel. As a token of this relationship Moses took half the blood of the sacrifice and sprinkled it on the altar and half on the people (Exodus 24:1-8).
Through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ we are called into a new relationship with God. Through this relationship the sins of the past are forgiven and we pledge our obedience in the time to come.
This is the purpose for which we are called. It is by the work of the Holy Spirit that our life is sanctified toward God. It is by the sprinkling of the blood of Christ that we are cleansed from our past sins and dedicated to the future obedience to God.