"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day. Then God said, "Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters." Thus God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament; and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. So the evening and the morning were the second day. Then God said, "Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear"; and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth, and the gathering together of the waters He called Seas. And God saw that it was good." Gen 1,1-10
God created. There was so much determination behind what took place. God acted and the action was to speak... and what He spoke was. As simple as that.
The next creative move was to define what had just been created: He divided the light from darkness, the waters from the waters, above from under, the dry land from the seas.
And God said: It is good. Definition is good in God's eyes.
Peter wrote to the believers who were dispersed throughout Minor Asia and after encouraging them to be determined, he explained for them wherefrom that determination actually comes. He didn't mention anything about motivational talk but he had to dig deeper than soulish issues. For the soul to become stable it has to be connected to the spirit of man and be well-defined.
The letter to the Hebrews tells us: "This hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters the Presence behind the veil, where the forerunner has entered for us, even Jesus, having become High Priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek." (Hebr. 6,19-20) The soul needs an anchor going into what is deeper, solid and unshakeable.
Then Peter wrote: "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy." 1Pet. 2,9-10.
YOU WERE BUT NOW YOU ARE ... YOU WERE BUT NOW YOU ARE ... YOU WERE BUT NOW YOU ARE
A chosen generation.
A royal priesthood.
A holy nation.
A special people.
In the previous chapter Peter mentioned the process of definition:
"You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
This process will remove 'all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking'.
This process will create solid growth and development: 'as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby'.
Well Peter had never been perfect. He had his ups and downs. He also tasted serious setbacks but as he wrote these two letters and thought back to his life and walk with God since he was called, he knew that a defining work had been taking place. The original call was just a beginning. Then Jesus trained him, fixed him, helped him. Jesus prayed for him.
Let me just mention one issue, but a deep one.
Jesus asked His disciples: "He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?" (Matt 16,15).
What was His purpose with such a question? He wanted them to define who He was for them. He asked 'Who am I to you?' so to say. And Peter answered: "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God." (Matt 16,16). Things were defined and clear for Peter because of revelational insight given to him by the Father.
Then there is this awkward situation at the end of Jesus' earthly days.
"Jesus said to them, "Come and eat breakfast." Yet none of the disciples dared ask Him, "Who are You?" - knowing that it was the Lord." (John 21,12).
And to Peter: "Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?" (Joh 21,15). And this repeated itself three times.
What was His purpose with such a question? The relationship Jesus-Peter had to be defined accurately. Its first dimension had been worked on since the words recorded in Matt 16: Who was Jesus for Peter. But now comes the second dimension: Who is Peter for Jesus. The core of the relationship is simply deep love.
No wonder Peter was so clear in his two letters.
No wonder he could write to the dispersed believers to be even more diligent to make their call and election sure.
No wonder he encouraged them to gird up the loins of their mind, to be sober, and to rest their hope fully upon God's grace.
Could it be that the reason why our determination sometimes fails, is that important issues are not defined in our lives? Could it be the reason why God took the people of Israel from Egypt to Mt Sinai where He planned to meet them and define them? Could it be that God knew that their focus and courage would come under pressure as they walked through the hostile environment of the wilderness? Therefore He had to have an encounter with them all. What did He tell them?
"You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel." Ex 19,4-6. He defined them.
Yes right, they had seen what He had done but it was not enough in order to stay determined, focused and bold to the end. You can see and stay the same. God didn't want them to stay the same. Therefore He told them: You shall be, or: I will make you.
Jesus did exactly the same the moment after He had called His first disciples: "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matt 4,19 and then "You are the salt of the earth ... You are the light of the world." Matt 5,13-14