22 October 2018

1 Peter 2
Psalm 118

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

1 Peter 2:9

1 Peter 2:9 is very similar to two verses that are repeated in Deuteronomy vz Deut. 7:6 and 14:2. The context of the two verses in Deuteronomy was that the Israelites live very differently from the nations around them and not to fall into the sins of the people whose land God will give them. The context in 1 Peter is very similar as Peter gives instruction that Christians should be visibly different from the pagan world in which they live. Peter gives the ultimate example of how to live in a world that is against Christians by pointing to the example of Jesus.

A key difference between the Israelites of the exodus and Christians in Peter’s time and today is highlighted at the end of verse 9. As Christians we have moved from darkness into light because of Jesus. John’s gospel begins by referring to Jesus as the light that has overcome darkness, and that whoever believes in Jesus walks in the light and becomes children of God.

While the Israelites were the chosen people of God, they weren’t able to fulfil their calling to be different from the world and so succumbed to the sins of the nations they invaded. As Christians today we have the wonderful blessing of being able to experience the promises of the Old Testament that we can overcome the world and to truly be holy. Because of Jesus we are given new hearts and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36); we have the law written on our hearts (Jeremiah 31); we have been delivered from our sin (Isaiah 53).

Paul is clear that we should not conform to the ways of the world but that we should be transformed as we renew our minds. We renew our minds and are transformed as we spend time in the Bible, as we pray and spend time with God, as we seek to know God better, and as we seek to be obedient to His call upon our lives. We should seek the Holy Spirit’s help so that we can discern God’s will and walk in His light for God’s glory.

Just a short note on Psalm 118 – it is after all the shortest chapter in the Bible and before the longest. Verse 8 is the middle verse in the Bible and gives very worthy advice.

‘It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in humans.’ (Psalm 118:8)