Today's Bible Reading: 1 Peter 2
Selected Biblical Text
And now you are living stones that are being used to build a spiritual house. You are also a group of holy priests, and with the help of Jesus Christ you will offer sacrifices that please God. It is just as God says in the Scriptures, "Look! I am placing in Zion a choice and precious cornerstone. No one who has faith in that one will be disappointed." You are followers of the Lord, and that stone is precious to you. But it isn't precious to those who refuse to follow him. They are the builders who tossed aside the stone that turned out to be the most important one of all. They disobeyed the message and stumbled and fell over that stone, because they were doomed. But you are God's chosen and special people. You are a group of royal priests and a holy nation. God has brought you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Now you must tell all the wonderful things that he has done. The Scriptures say, "Once you were nobody. Now you are God's people. At one time no one had pity on you. Now God has treated you with kindness. (1 Peter 2:5-10 CEV)
Reflecting and Thinking
The result of God's work in the lives of Christians--his work to develop faith, love, and hope--is a new identity in Christ Jesus. God is forming a new people who are part of a new spiritual house. Those who come to Jesus, the living Stone, are built together as living stones in the new spiritual house. The text describes this new people of God as chosen, special, royal priesthood, holy nation, and the declaration of his praises. God's mercy has been poured out afresh.
1 Peter 2:11-12 is sometimes described as the "hinge" upon which the entire book turns. What comes before may be characterized as teaching and what follows as application. Because God's eternal plan in Christ Jesus has changed our lives and given us a new identity and new hope, Christians live a different kind of life--a life of submission that imitates Jesus. This life does not make sense to the world that tends to retaliate and get even, but this life is the calling of those who would walk in the example and steps of Jesus. Our identity motivates our lifestyle and separates us from the world, identifying us also as aliens and strangers in this world.
How do you try to live out the "separated" identity of God's people in your daily life?
When have you submitted in the name of Jesus, not demanding your "rights" and displaying an attitude that some around you thought was unreasonable because you gave in too readily?
When have you wanted to retaliate but did not?
How do you declare the excellencies or praises of God, declaring what he has done in your life? What could you say to make clear that you live as you do because of your allegiance to Christ?
Describe the difference between grudging submission and respectful submission (2:18).
Try for one day to live life according to the well-known question, "What would Jesus do?"
Dear God, today I ask you to help me be aware of my new identity in Christ. Help me use my knowledge of who I am in Christ to alter the way I live my life. Help me not to shrink from those times when I am called to be different and to live by different values and a different worldview. Open my mouth when opportunities come to declare praise. Help me die to sin and live for righteousness. I pray in Jesus' name, Amen.