Reading the Word
1 Peter 2:9–12 (ESV)
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
Understanding the Word
Peter urges these persecuted believers to remember their role in the world. They are a special group. They are are God’s own possession and are now distinct from the rest of the world. They are God’s people.
As God’s people, they are to proclaim the excellencies of the one who has given them new life. They are to proclaim the Good News of God’s mercy through Jesus Christ. They are to consider themselves as exiles and sojourners living in a foreign land as they await their true home: a new heaven and a new earth. They are not to return to their old sinful ways and they are to repay evil with good so that others may also come to glorify God.
Applying the Word
Have you ever seen a Christian bumper sticker? Perhaps it was a cross or a Jesus fish sticker. Have you ever seen one of those stickers on a car whose driver was behaving very un-Christlike? I have. I cringed at what onlookers must have been thinking.
Unfortunately, I have also cringed at some of my own actions as I have looked back. I have said things and done things that I regret because I was angry or tired or frustrated. In every case, I failed to live up to my calling as a representative of Christ.
Christians must not only proclaim the love of Christ to a lost world, but also live it out. We must live honorably in the world so that others might find their way through us. Let us not become a hindrance to another’s search for truth, but let us point them to Jesus through our words and our actions.
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