Peter gives a stirring salutation in his first letter to the exiles of the dispersion. He says they are “chosen and destined by God the Father and sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood. May grace and peace be multiplied to you” (1:1,2).
Not the standard greeting we are accustomed to from Paul. Peter calls the Trinity into the action. We have been picked out of the world by God’s sovereign choice for a special destiny. We have been set apart by the Holy Spirit for what? Two things—obedience to Jesus Christ and sprinkling with his blood.
Obedience is never postured in the Scriptures as optional or as the mark of the spiritually elite. It is God’s purpose for us ALL. No good father would put obedience low on his wish list. Obedience is what brings us into the purposes of God. It lines us up with our destiny, in time and in eternity. Before we were placed in Christ, we were called “sons of disobedience” (Eph. 2:2), without hope and without a destiny. What are you made for? Obedience.
And Peter graciously gives us an escape hatch: “…and for sprinkling with his blood. Peter’s good friend John likewise says, “I am writing this to you so that you may not sin; but if any one does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1). The goal—not sinning. The provision when we do—the redemptive advocacy of the Righteous One.
Our identity before we came to Christ, our label, was ‘sinner.” Now in Christ we are called “saints,” “holy ones.” That is who we are and therefore how we act. We have the desire to please God, not to do as we please. We are not given the forgiveness card so we can play it at will. We cooperate fully with God’s holy purpose for us to make us like His Son Jesus, who pleased the Father fully, who only thought and did what the Father desired for Him. His goal was never freedom; it was always obedience.
What pleases me as a father much more than the joy of forgiving my children is the joy of their obedience. It still sticks in my memory as if it happened yesterday. Karis is sitting in my study on the floor playing her six-year old games. Mom calls from the kitchen. She jumps up immediately, and as she runs she yells, “Coming.” Call it instant obedience.
Or Andrew at age eleven helping me set up breakfast for our extended family celebration. Seeing that we are going to be short on orange juice, he remarks, “I’ll take the smallest glass.” Not what a parent might expect from a whiny, self-centered child. Andrew was not that. He was kind rather than self-serving. He was thinking of others—as a pre-teen!
Can you picture then what your immediate and joyful obedience does to the Father who has chosen and destined you for glory? Is it possible that God may even brag about you to the angels as He did about Daniel? Three times in the Scriptures Daniel is called “greatly beloved” by angelic messengers. How did the angels know he was so beloved? God the Father must have told them. Maybe He says things like that about you!