In the field of psychology, “locus of control” refers to the extent to which a person believes they can control the world around them. People with a strong internal locus of control tend to attribute the outcome of events to factors under their own control. People with a strong external locus of control attribute outcomes of events to external circumstances. But both have a perspective which influences and predicts their actions. The book of 1 Peter is about that big perspective. In a sense, Peter is writing to explain a “gospel locus of control.”
1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2according 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. – 1Peter 1:1-2 ESV
- 1 Peter follows the typical format for a New Testament letter: author, recipient(s), greetings, body of the letter, close.
- Peter identifies himself as an apostle of Jesus Christ.
- The cities named are in a large part of Asia Minor (modern Turkey).
- This theme of being “aliens who are chosen” runs throughout the letter.
- This letter is from Peter, as apostle with the authority to speak for and about Jesus. It’s written to God’s people who are living among unbelievers as “exiles,” because their lives have changed as a result of belonging to God. They have a new “locus of control.”
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7so that the tested genuineness of your faith–more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. 13Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. – 1Peter 1:1-13 ESV
- When Peter wrote this letter, Nero’s was beginning his persecutions of Christians.
- In sending Jesus Christ to die for us, God has given us new birth. We were spiritually dead but now we are spiritually alive and therefore we now have a living hope.
- Hope is a confident eager expectation that something will happen. It is not a wish or desire.
- Based on the mercy of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we confidently eagerly look forward to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled and unfading, and kept secure by the power of God.
- The trials we face now test the genuineness of our faith; knowing we have genuine saving faith is valuable.
- Therefore, Peter says, free your mind from the distractions and desires that would entangle you and focus on the hope that is coming.