1 Peter 1:1-2
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.
Previously I mentioned keeping a list of descriptive names of the church I found throughout the Bible. 1 Peter 1 contains several examples. Before we examine those in 1 Peter 1, I would like to share a few of my favorites
"those whom you have given me" John 17:9
"everyone who is of the truth" John 18:37
"little flock" Luke 12:31
"those who are considered worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead" Luke 20:35
"sons of the resurrection" Luke 20:36
"vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory" Romans 9:23
"everyone who calls on the name of the Lord" Romans 10:13
"Abraham's offspring, heirs according to the promise" Galatians 3:29
"partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel" Ephesians 3:6
"pillar and buttress of the truth" 1 Timothy 3:15
"the assembly of the firstborn" Hebrews 12:23
"those with him are called and chosen and faithful" Revelation 17:14
First Peter 1 also has several, but my favorites are:
"elect exiles" 1 Peter 1:1
"he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" 1 Peter 1:3
"you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" 1 Peter 1:4-5
Each of these unique descriptions of the church causes me to rejoice at the manifold wisdom of God. It is through the church He makes known His wisdom to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 3:8-10)
In describing the triune nature of the "salvation ready to be revealed," 1 Peter 1:1-2 gives us a view of the manifold wisdom of God. In this passage, we see the unique role of each of the three persons of the Godhead.
The "exiles" were "elect" according to the foreknowledge of God the Father. It is interesting to note the only other use of the Greek word for foreknowledge in the New Testament is found in Acts 2:23. In Peter's sermon after Pentecost, he explained that Jesus was delivered over to them to be crucified and killed "according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God." In the same way, God planned beforehand for the substitutionary sacrifice of His Son; He also chose those who were to be "elect exiles."
The Holy Spirit's role in this plan for the "elect exiles" was their sanctification. Sanctification is also translated as holiness. Hebrews 12:14 says "Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." The holiness/sanctification which is necessary to see the Lord is the action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of those who were "born again to a living hope."
The outward evidence of this "living hope" is "obedience to Jesus Christ." Throughout Scripture obedience or loyalty is what always distinguishes the church (all those encouraging descriptive phrases we discussed earlier) from the rest of the world. This obedience is possible only because Jesus' little flock has been sprinkled in His blood. Hebrews 10:22 says it like this, "Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water."
Father, Spirit, and Son, we worship and adore You. May Your manifold wisdom be made evident in us, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Thank you for such a great salvation!