God saves people for a reason. He wants to use our lives to proclaim His glory and power and grace and love to a world that is lost and dying. He calls us out of the darkness of our sin into the incredible light of His salvation. Without Jesus, we are adrift in a a sea of pointless, selfish living. But once our God makes us born again through His Holy Spirit and by our faith in Jesus’ death and resurrection, we become part of His special people. We become to Him a holy people, able to worship Him in spirit and truth. We realize that the Father has showed us amazing mercy and grace through the gift of His Son. He has erased the debt of sin that would have earned us judgment and punishment. More than that, He has also saved us from the control that sin once had on our lives.
The mission for us now as Christians is to live as the special, holy people that our God has called us to be. All around us, we have friends, family, teammates, and neighbors who do not know Christ. These people are lost in the darkness just as we were until we believed the gospel that brought us home to God. We must turn from sin and live holy lives, acting like our Jesus who saved us. By avoiding evil and doing good to others in Christ’s name, the unsaved people around us will see Jesus. We plead with God that our selfless, honorable living will then earn us the chance to share Jesus with them, that they might repent and believe and become part of God’s special people, too.
The Text (1 Peter 2:9-12)
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Background and Observations
• Darkness is often used in Scripture as a symbol for sin and evil, while light is a symbol for holiness, purity, and salvation. If you ever read through the gospel of John, you can see these symbols all over the place. The apostle Paul also uses darkness and light a lot in his New Testament letters, too (check out Ephesians, for example).
• Remember that Peter’s original audience was a group of churches scattered across Roman provinces in what is today Turkey. Many of these Christians had probably been Jews, while others had been saved from among the Gentiles (non-Jews, like most Christians today). The idea of being a chosen nation and a royal priesthood comes from the Old Testament nation of Israel, which was supposed to be a witness of light to the pagan nations that surrounded them. Now, the church has the mission of being the people of God shining the hope of Christ to a world blinded by the darkness of sin.
• The “day of visitation” could refer to the coming return of Christ, but the Greek word that is used as well as the context of the passage point to something else. Peter is probably talking about the hope that God will “visit” or bring salvation to lost people around us after they see Jesus in our lives and hear about His saving power from our words.
Questions to Think About
1. If you have accepted Christ, how does knowing that you are part of God’s chosen people make you feel? How does it affect the way that you now see your life? How does it affect your future plans?
2. In what ways has your life become “light” instead of “darkness” now that you know Christ?
3. What are the biggest sins that are currently “waging war against your soul”? What are you doing to defeat these sins? If you find yourself in constant defeat to certain sinful actions, words, or thought patterns, you may need to seek help from a Christian mentor like a parent, youth pastor, Bible study leader, or teacher. Friends can provide good accountability but may not have the spiritual maturity to be able to give you the help that you need to gain victory.