We have been talking about the cornerstone of the Christian community. We know that to be Jesus Christ. If you build your foundation on any other, it is sinking sand. Whether saved or lost, there will be storms in life.
We have obtained mercy and been called out of the darkness.
1. In God’s wisdom, He has placed a four-fold calling upon our lives. In every age and generation, God has and is still calling people to speak up and speak out for the gospel. There will never be a time when God does not have people standing up for His glory. He has brought us out of who we used to be and now we have been chosen by God to reach those who have not yet been reached.
In Exodus, God told the Israelites they were to be a chosen generation. Here, Peter is writing mainly to the Jewish nation to remind them of their calling to a “royal priesthood.” Now, however, there is no Jew or Gentile because Christ has broken down that wall. We get the same blessings that the Jewish nation received. By “royal,” it means we live by a higher standard. We don’t live like the rest of the world.
Jesus is the only One we have to go to for forgiveness. We no longer need a priest as an intermediary. Yet we are still called upon to serve our communities. It is necessary for the church to release its believers as priests, less the community be left to go to Hell.
In the Old Testament, God had so many other nations slain because He was calling out His own people and didn’t want them to live as pagans. They were called to a high level of holiness. In the present, we are called upon to be a holy nation. And a nation is made up of individual people. Religions focus on the masses. Christianity focuses on the individual. We are called upon to be separate and different from the world — a “peculiar” people.
The world should see us as different and strange. In this context, “peculiar” means “treasured by God.” When we realize we are treasured by God, it changes our perspective. God has a great deal to do, but He still takes time to treasure us as individuals. He thinks about us, He hears us, He loves our fellowship. He calls us into His marvelous light. Far too many of us serve God with our mouths, but our hearts are far from Him.
2. You’ve been delivered from darkness, so stop living in it. Far too many of us go back to the darkness from which we have been delivered. When you’re a broken person and find new meaning to life, stay in your new life. When temptation comes, there is a way out. We don’t have to choose darkness. But we love darkness, because that’s where sin can grow. We must instead live lives that show His mighty praises. Jesus changes us. We are to be different.
There was a time when the Jews were not a people, per se, because they were wanderers and nomads. They had not yet obtained mercy. But now they are God’s people because they have obtained mercy.
3. The mercy of God brings purpose and identity to our lives. Unfortunately, we look for our identity in other places: our work, our spouse, etc. But when we see ourselves as sinners, He gives us an identity that we crave. He didn’t save us because we have something to offer, but because we are valuable to Him. When God’s mercy is prominent in our lives, we have an identity in Him. Our indentity is who we are in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter if everyone likes us or not.
There is vengeance. There is justice. And there is mercy. Vengeance is natural. Justice is deserved. Mercy is God-like. And God’s mercy is a mercy we do not understand. But we have obtained that mercy, and now it is on us to show it to others.