“According to his great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarding through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials so that the tested genuineness of your faith-more precious that gold that perishes though it is tested by fire-may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1st Peter 3b-7)
Many of the Letters either from Paul, Peter, John, James, Jude, and the dude who wrote Hebrews have a greeting or preamble-something to start the reader off aligned to the Gospel. Greetings and preambles are not just nice and soothing-not just form-they are full of the powerful and living Word of God and I would do well remembering that….
I can’t say that I am ever looking forward to savoring and chewing on a Greeting. I am more of a “Hi, there; Glad to get in touch with you again, family doing fine? Now let’s go to what I want to talk about…” I am so prone to “yadda yadda yadda, let’s get to the point, will ya?” And yet, these opening words are important-they have to be-they are God’s Word as well as anything else in 1st Peter. So why do I skip over the start of a letter? I have to admit that usually the 2nd part of the 1st chapter or staring in the 2nd the ball of action usually gets rolling-“Do this, don’t do that; look at this or that”-actions, directives, commands; these are things that I can sink my teeth into. “Finally, something to DO!” And yet, if we look intently, we see a bunch-no, an enormous bunch-of the Scriptures are telling us to think. Think about what is being said. Look for and recognize the resistance in our own heart-renew our minds by the Word of God (Rom 12:2). So the greeting from Peter is very important because no matter what the issues are that we a facing today remembering the Gospel, remembering the Goodness of God in the Gospel, remembering the purpose for afflictions-remembering and savoring all the facets of the Jewel that is the Gospel helps to put the instructions that Peter (and the other guys too) in the proper frame of reference. I am loved. I am cared for. I forget often and must be reminded more than often-until That Day. Come Lord Jesus.
Lord God. If I pay attention I see Your Hand everywhere. Molding me, comforting me. You have a singular, stated, declared Purpose for little old me to make me into the Image of Your Son. Any effort I bring to the table in prayer, in self-discipline, or anything is massively meager compared to Your contribution. It is hard to comprehend that You rejoice over me with Singing even when I am “grieved by various trials” to get to a “tested genuineness of (my) faith.” James reminds me to pray “in accordance to God’s will.” How much do you clap Your Hands in a smiling countenance when I pray “Change me, O God”? “I hear you, son. Never fear-I will take care of you in this. By the way-good job.”