(this transcript has been lightly edited for readability)
Well, I want to read 1 Peter 1:1 and 2, and then tell you what we're going to look at.
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, 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.
I want to just think of these four awesome blessings of God's grace that Peter wants to root these people in. If someone asked you who you are, what would be the first things you’d say? How would you describe what you're about? How would you describe why you do what you do?
Well, here's Peter’s description. Again, he wants them to know that with this new identity comes these blessings that we have been given between ‘the already and the not yet.’ Now, if you get ahold of these blessings, they can quiet your worry, quiet your fear, quiet your discouragement, quiet your shame, quiet your aloneness, quiet those feelings of being overwhelmed. I have been really sobered in the last couple of years by the amount of my brothers and sisters who are just overwhelmed, who are oppressed with worry, who are discouraged. And I know we've been through hard things. But that's why it's so important to know what you've been given.
The first thing he talks about is God's foreknowledge. Long before the world began, if you’re God's children, listen to what I'm about to say, “Your story was written into God's Book.” He knew you in that way because He chose you in that way. I love this that my little story, the little story of Paul Tripp, has now been embedded in the larger story of redemption.
Now why is that important to understand? It's important to understand so I would live, not just with a ‘My-Story’ mentality, but with a ‘God-Story’ mentality. How does God's story encourage me? How does God's story define me? How does God's story give me a purpose for living? How does God's story give me hope?
He says, “by sanctification of the Spirit.” Wow, wow, wow! We could talk for days about this; that God knew that it was not enough to forgive me because even in forgiveness, there is still sin living inside of me; that He needed to literally unzip me and get inside of me by His Spirit, to not only empower me to do what is right, to progressively defeat sin, and transform me into the image of His Son. That means God is at work doing His work inside of me, even in those days when I don't have the sense enough to recognize it. God's active for your spiritual benefit.
In obedience to Christ that I've been given a purpose. I've had right and wrong defined for me, but not only that, I've been given the power to obey. Think about this. Every command that God has given me is accompanied by His empowering grace. I can live in a new way. I don't have to give way to that old way.
And then by “the sprinkling of blood.” I love this. This is the cleansing power of God's work. Sin is an irremovable stain apart from the cleansing blood. So, I don't have to live in shame. I don't live in fear. I don't have to hide. I don't have to deny my sin. I can run broken and failing as I am and know that there's cleansing for me, there's forgiveness for me. Don't ever resist confession, don't ever resist conviction.
I mean, think about this. I've been written into God's story. God is actively working on transforming me. I've been given an understanding of what is right and the power to do it. And there's cleansing for me until this heart is pure. That's who you are in Christ!