Have you ever been invited to a party where you don’t know anyone at all? Those are awful times, in my opinion. Even if you try to mingle and join in to conversations there are always those moments where those who have history together reference things unknown to you and you smile awkwardly – and if you’re like me, you plot your escape. Being an outsider is not a comfortable position – and yet that’s the relationship the Bible says we are to have with the world’s broken system in which we live. When it’s that uncomfortable to experience, why would we want to go along with this challenge?
That’s what Peter is going to address in our study this Sunday as we read 1 Peter 1:17-21; the why of our pilgrim status.
V17 can sound a bit intimidating on the surface. When you see words like “judging” and “deeds” and “fear” sprinkled through the sentence, it can be a little disconcerting. But we have to keep in mind the familial context of this section. Peter called us “obedient children” a few verses back, and now he connects that with our relationship to our Father. The word for “judging” doesn’t mean, in this context, judgement for sin, but carries the connotation of examining or paying attention. Its actually very intimate, picturing God watching over us to guide us and mold our behavior accordingly.
I don’t know what your relationship with your natural father was like. Mine wasn’t that great. I didn’t really even get to know him until I was thirty – and he was very old by then, in his 90’s. Yet just before he passed away, he prayed a blessing on me and told me he was proud of me, and I find myself recalling that very often as I’ve lived since then. How could the father/child relationship become a motivating factor in living the Christian life the Bible calls us to?
Peter moves from the Father to the Son in v18-19, identifying another powerful motivation for being an intentional outsider. In what ways does the cost of your redeemed life impact the way you live?
v20-21 make it clear that Christ’s death and resurrection weren’t an ad-lib of God’s – this has been the plot all along. Does the fact that this is an ongoing, epic story unfolding have any bearing on how you choose to live – and if so, in what way?
Ok….well, that should give us something to chew on for this Sunday. See you then!