Resident Aliens

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Our lectionary (the assigned readings for the week) is taking us through 1 Peter during the Easter Season. I can’t remember ever hearing a focus on 1 Peter. As I write this now 3.5 weeks into it, I understand that a little better. Peter is very short. You could condense the letter to two very short sentences. God chose you. Live like it.

In a world that is often plagued with doubt, Peter isn’t. He is bold enough to say compare your former life with your current life in Christ. Compare the status craving world running from one idol to the next to your status as God’s chosen. Yes you are resident aliens. You are exiles, but exiles from what? Something that is here today and gone tomorrow. Christ’s election is incorruptible and unfading. Christ has called you and given you an inheritance and has a job for you. Whatever that job is there is nobility in it, because God has placed it in your path. The world will say your odd. Make the comparison. Which is worth more?

As a preaching and denominational note. Even though Luther liked first Peter, the message is somewhat different. The Lutheran pattern is law and gospel. When you have been convicted of the law then the gospel restores. That was Luther’s personal experience. His anfechtung over sin followed by the recovery of the gospel to himself. Lutheran preaching can be caricatured – “make you feel really, really band and then make you feel really, really good.” Peter’s proclamation is Gospel (God chose you) followed by sanctification (live like it). It is a radical dependance upon the Holy Spirit to first call a wavering people to recognition of who they are and second to then live the faith.

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