Reader: “Once you had no identity as a people;”
Response: “now you are God’s people.”
Scripture: I Peter 2:9-12
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
“Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
Reader: “The word of the Lord.”
Response: “Thanks be to God.”
This is now the fourth passage we’ve taken from Peter’s epistles. The circumstances of his writing are not that different from the circumstances in which we live. Peter is helping the readers understand what it means to live a godly life in an unsympathic, even antagonistic worldly environment. In the opening words of this passage, he is referring to people who have wholely rejected God. In reminding them of being chosen people, he is underscoring their true identity. We live in a society where people are searching for their own identity through all kinds of means and acts. Our true identity is not that we are citizens of such and such a country, or such and such a race, or that we are male or female, or members of a political group, or self identify as whatever, or of a particular social or economic status. In truth, we are brothers and sisters of Christ, who himself is not a citizen of this world, but of another kingdom. As we said a couple of days ago, God purchased us as his own possession. Since that is the case, Peter writes, refering to the First Testament prophet, Hosea, we got into God’s family via his mercy in adopting us. We are all adopted kids. Since we’re in Jesus’ family now, we need to live like Jesus lives. Don’t hang out with old habits and patterns. Talk like Jesus, drive like Jesus, eat like Jesus, pray like Jesus, read like Jesus, love like Jesus, think like Jesus, laugh like Jesus, care like Jesus, walk like Jesus (have you noticed in the Bible, Jesus never ran anwhere?), weep like Jesus, listen like Jesus, discern like Jesus, study like Jesus, and submit to the Father like Jesus. In Peter’s words again, you are holy priests, a holy nation, live like it. In God’s words, “be holy for I am holy.” It will affect where you live and transform your life. There is too little holy living in this world. Let’s change that.
Music: “Sanctus” from Durufle Requiem University of Colorado Choirs and Symphonic Orchestra
Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,
And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.