Fully Understood and Full of Peace
Followers of Jesus Christ often feel like exiles in the world and are sometimes despised by friends and family, colleagues and community. But God knows each believer very well. They are fully loved by God, and included into His family. He not only knows where they are and how they are doing, now, but He also knew, ages ago, that He had chosen them to belong to Him. We may not know how the twin Scriptural truths - that God chooses us, and that we must choose Him - work together, but it is wonderfully reassuring to know that He longs for us to receive His grace, and be filled with His peace. And that He has already provided all that is necessary to make it happen.
Peter is clear that all three persons of the Godhead are involved in our relationship with Him. God the Father’s foreknowledge includes His electing grace (Romans 8:29); God the Holy Spirit’s work includes making people holy, acceptable and united with Him (Romans 15:16); and the atoning work of God the Son includes His blood purifying believers from all sin (1 John 1:7). The purpose of all that God does is that believers might not only belong to Him but also obey the Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 9:13), by the help of the Spirit, to glorify the Father.
The way that we come to God is to let Him clean us from our sins, believing that Jesus shed His blood as a sacrifice for us. In verse 2, 'sprinkling' does not refer to baptism but to Exodus 24:3-8 where Moses sprinkled the blood of the sacrificed animals onto the people, to seal their promise to obey the Lord. That ‘sprinkling’ inaugurated the Old Covenant. Jesus said that His own blood would inaugurate the New Covenant (Luke 22:20; Hebrews 12:24) in which we would follow Jesus. Of course, our promise to obey the Lord is never strong enough by itself. We need the blood of Jesus Christ to make us right with God - and then the work of the Holy Spirit to help us to live in a way that pleases Him.
Living with the ‘Jesus-difference’ is not easy, especially when people feel alone and unsupported. Peter’s words to struggling Christians will help us too. The gospel message calls us to submit to God’s grace – to cover our sins and release us in service. There is no other way to be at peace with Him except to obey His call to be a part of His family by believing in Jesus. God's grace atoning for our sins, and His peace to sooth our troubled consciences, are unlimited. As we do, so a new confidence to live like Jesus will form in our lives ... and our colleagues at work will notice. As they notice, they may ask why we are different. That is the time to explain that cooperating with Jesus has made all the difference to you, and that can be true for them too!
© Dr Paul Adams