Theme of the Week: Bible Reading
Bible Verse: “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.” 1 Peter 2:11
Scripture Reading: 1 Peter 2:9-11
You’ve likely seen Jewish men wearing head coverings, Sikh men with turbans, and Muslim women with hijabs. They generally wear these articles of clothing out of religious observance. It differentiates them from other faiths. How about for us Christians? Do we wear anything out of the ordinary?
I’m not advocating one way or another, just wondering aloud. If my observation counts for anything, I see Christians wearing regular clothes, whether at church or on the street. Perhaps the closest thing resembling a Christian “look” is wearing a cross, but since any pop musician will also do that, it doesn’t mean as much.
1 Peter does talk about believers standing out from the crowd, and it has nothing to do with clothing. In fact, it cuts right to the core of our identity. Right from 1:1, Peter describes believers as “exiles.” Then in 1:17, it says to believers that because they live before the Father, they were to live out their time on earth as “foreigners.”
1 Peter 2:9-11 builds on these ideas, describing believers as:
• a chosen people
• a royal priesthood
• a holy nation
• God’s special possession
• foreigners and exiles
All these descriptors suggest that Christians are different from the rest of the world. Being chosen, royal priests, a holy nation, and God’s special object all sound fantastic and flattering, to say the least. The only negative term is “exiles.” Older Bible translations have “aliens” instead of “foreigners”. Is being an alien in this world a good thing?
The truth of the matter is that the moment we follow Jesus, we are changed forever. We are different. We are like aliens or foreigners (our home is in another place) but the change is on the inside. The Holy Spirit dwells in us and we are “blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). Our future destiny has been changed forever, and we looked at that earlier this week when we discussed the great salvation described in 1 Peter 1. According to God, to be an alien in this world is to belong in His kingdom.
We do not belong here. We belong first and foremost to God’s kingdom. We should feel a sense in which we do not belong here. We are chosen by God. We are royal priests. We are a holy people. We are God’s special possession. We are indeed foreigners in this world who are waiting for our permanent home—and along the way, we invite others to belong to the kingdom of God too.
The apostle Peter used to live for this world, but that all changed as he was called to leave everything and follow Jesus. We’re also called to follow Jesus, giving our allegiance to Him, instead of living for, and loving, this world. We are called to abstain from the sinful desires of this world; otherwise, we’ll look the same as non-believers. Our home is in heaven, where our true citizenship lies (Philippians 3:20).
The great challenge for believers is to live among non-believers in such a way that we show our true allegiance and be able to witness to those who do not yet know God. We are royal priests, after all, interceding and acting on their behalf. But at the same time, we must be diligent in not giving in to the carnal pleasures of the world, as we are a holy people representing the holy God.
Prayer: Lord, may I conduct myself in this world in line with my true identity and allegiance as described in 1 Peter. I am a foreigner in this world but a citizen of your holy nation. Help me to live accordingly.
Reflection: Do I love this world too much? Have I become too caught up in its material pursuits and pleasures? Or am I more focused on representing my “home country” of heaven, as I should be?
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