1 Peter 2:9 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.
As we bring this week’s study to a close, I remind us once again that Peter was writing to Christians who were suffering. Persecution of the church began with the Jews who hated Jesus, and over time spilled over into the Roman world. Historians tell us that the Roman Emperor Nero committed crimes against Christians that are almost too hideous to mention. Therefore the Apostle Peter sought to write a special letter to these suffering Christians, hoping to encourage them to remain strong and faithful.
Thus far we have considered the various titles Peter gave to these Christians. He referred to them as a – “holy nation”, “a peculiar people” and a “royal priesthood.” Today we see that he also addressed them as being “God’s people.”
I believe that one of the key ingredients to living above the circumstances of this life is to understand that this world is not our home. Scripture tells us that although we live here, our true citizenship is in heaven. (see Philippians 3:20)
The King James refers to us as ‘strangers and pilgrims.’ By calling us a stranger, the Bible is reminding us that we should never become comfortable living in this world. We should always feel out of place in a world filled with sin. The title pilgrim reaffirms not only the fact that this world is not our home, but that we are here only for a season.
If this world is not our home, what in the world are we doing here? Scripture teaches us that we are here to serve as God’s ambassadors of reconciliation. (see 2 Cor 5:18-20) We are here to help guide others to Christ.
Because we are God’s special representatives, we must live by a different standard than the world around us.
1 Peter 2:12 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.
Many years ago a book was written from a verse found in 1 Peter that we will study later. “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” (1 Peter 2:21) The title of the book was “In His Steps” and from it someone developed the phrase WWJD (What Would Jesus Do?)
That’s a good question for us to ask ourselves repeatedly as we go through each day. Whenever we encounter a difficult situation, we should pause and ask ourselves – “What would Jesus do? How would He react to this situation?” Then we should pray and ask the Spirit to give us the strength to do just that.