I, Peter, am an apostle on assignment by Jesus, the Messiah, writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten.
God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!
What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for,
including a future in heaven - and the future starts now!
God is keeping careful watch over us and the future. The Day is coming when you'll have it all - life healed and whole.
I know how great this makes you feel, even though you have to put up with every kind of aggravation in the meantime.
Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory.
You never saw him, yet you love him. You still don't see him, yet you trust him - with laughter and singing.
Because you kept on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to: total salvation.
The prophets who told us this was coming asked a lot of questions about this gift of life God was preparing.
The Messiah's Spirit let them in on some of it - that the Messiah would experience suffering, followed by glory. They clamored to know who and when.
All they were told was that they were serving you, you who by orders from heaven have now heard for yourselves - through the Holy Spirit - the Message of those prophecies fulfilled. Do you realize how fortunate you are? Angels would have given anything to be in on this!
So roll up your sleeves, put your mind in gear, be totally ready to receive the gift that's coming when Jesus arrives.
Don't lazily slip back into those old grooves of evil, doing just what you feel like doing. You didn't know any better then; you do now.
As obedient children, let yourselves be pulled into a way of life shaped by God's life, a life energetic and blazing with holiness.
God said, "I am holy; you be holy."
You call out to God for help and he helps - he's a good Father that way. But don't forget, he's also a responsible Father, and won't let you get by with sloppy living.
It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in.
He paid with Christ's sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb.
And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately - at the end of the ages - become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you.
It's because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.
Now that you've cleaned up your lives by following the truth, love one another as if your lives depended on it.
Your new life is not like your old life. Your old birth came from mortal sperm; your new birth comes from God's living Word. Just think: a life conceived by God himself!
That's why the prophet said, The old life is a grass life, its beauty as short-lived as wildflowers; Grass dries up, flowers droop,
God's Word goes on and on forever. This is the Word that conceived the new life in you.
So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.
Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness. Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God.
You've had a taste of God.
Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor.
Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you'll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.
The Scriptures provide precedent: Look! I'm setting a stone in Zion, a cornerstone in the place of honor. Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it.
To you who trust him, he's a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him, The stone the workmen threw out is now the chief foundation stone.
For the untrusting it's . . . a stone to trip over, a boulder blocking the way. They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you -
from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)