Like so many college students who are weary of being mocked by their professors for being Bible-believing Christians and getting their grades reduced, husbands who are mocked by their buddies for not looking at porn or partying with their coworkers after work, wives who forego a professional career to stay at home to be a wife and mother, virgin singles who are the punchline of jokes at the gym for waiting until marriage to have sex, and net surfers who can’t stomach one more nasty blog or negative news story about their faith and church, the resolve of those who first received 1 Peter was tried. Various people were pulled in a variety of directions:
- Some were enticed by the liberal route of compromise to not eliminate their Bible as much as edit it. They wanted to cut out—or at least explain away—the parts of the Bible that they were being criticized for believing. In our day, this would be most typified by the mainline liberal Christian denominations with pastors who endorse all religions and spiritualities and officiate marriages between any genders, under the oversight of unsaved bishops who appreciate their tolerance, pluralism, and minds so open that their brains fall out. This is one of the central issues at the heart of 2 Peter.
- Some were compelled to privatize their faith. Sure, in private they would pray to and worship Jesus. But in public they would shut their mouths and keep their faith to themselves so as to not be considered the weirdo for Jesus. Some were closet Christians.
- Some were considering abandoning their faith altogether. They were tired of being the butt of jokes in the press and on the late-night talk shows and wearied of being the laughingstock Jesus Freaks. Why? Because most people simply do not like being the oddball, misfit, and outcast—especially those who are young and want to be cool and those who are old with privileged social positions to uphold and lifestyles to fund. Our day is like theirs. Carrying a Bible around is about as socially acceptable as walking around with your underwear outside your pants.
- Still others were attracted to the fighting posture of religious fundamentalism. They were preparing to separate from the culture, set up their own subculture, defend themselves, and talk trash about the non- Christians who were criticizing them, all in the name of a culture war. In the fight or flight cycle, these are the fighters who declare Jihad for Jesus.
If any of these four options were chosen by the churches Peter writes to, it would have simply died in one way or another. The work of Jesus would have stopped in that region and so Peter had to help them navigate living their faith in a hostile culture. So, Peter opens by calling Christians “elect exiles”. Elect meant they were chosen by God. Exiles meant they were far away from their Heavenly Home. Sent as missionaries, although hated by the culture, they were to bring the culture of Heaven to lost people in hopes that love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness would see people saved and culture changed. Our mission and message remain the same. Peter’s constant message through 1 Peter is that Christians should expect to get treated like Christ, and by the power of the Holy Spirit respond with the loving humble courage of Christ so that they see Christ through us without us getting in the way.
To download the free e-book ODD LIFE: Good God which is a study in 1 Peter for individuals, groups, and families from Pastor Mark click HERE. To listen to Pastor Mark’s 9 sermons on 1 Peter preached in the summer of 2020, click HERE. These and other resources are made possible by our ministry partners who support Real Faith as a Bible teaching ministry of Mark Driscoll Ministries to whom we say THANK YOU!