New Blood Lines

By: Montana Jones
I remember, as I was growing up, there was a consistent phrase that was repeated to me. Whenever I was going over to a friend's house, on a trip, or somewhere on my own, my dad would say to me, “Remember who you are and whose you are.” That phrase had multiple levels of meaning. On one level, it meant I needed to remember my family values and what my parents had instilled in me as good and honorable behavior. But on a deeper level, it was a reminder that I was first and foremost a child of God, empowered to live a life that reflected Him, and that I would be in His keeping as I did. It was a reminder that as I entered the world, how I lived and what I did would not be dictated by those around me, but by something much deeper and foundational.

1 Peter is very much a reminder to God’s people to remember who they are and Whose they are. Peter writes to some who are currently experiencing the persecution of Rome but many who have not yet but will shortly experience immense suffering, and his call to them isn’t resistance or revolution, but remembering. Remembering that their union in Christ and with one another is not determined by nationalistic, political, ethnic, socio-economical, or any other identities, but solely on their oneness in Christ Jesus, their Lord and Savior. He writes,

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." - 1 Peter 2:9

Peter urges the church (including us today) to remember that we are:

Peter reminds the church that they are a ‘chosen race.’ When he mentions “race,” he is not referring to a specific, monolithic group but to the promised, multi-ethnic, diverse people that God has promised since the beginning. This people will be from all different backgrounds because their incorporation into the Kingdom of God will not be based on any earthly factor but on the love and grace of God in choosing them. In their instability, suffering, and trials, they can remember they are a part of God’s promised plan (Isa. 19:24-25) to bless all nations, and while they may not be chosen by the world, they are chosen by the only one that matters, God.

Peter reminds us of the church’s priestly role, admonishing them as a “royal priesthood.” A priest was one who would perform the necessary sacrifices and offerings for the people’s sins to be forgiven, requests to be made, and worship to be displayed. Because of Jesus, our great High Priest, the church has now become a royal priesthood, a people set apart to intercede and to work on behalf of those around us. One of the main ways this is done is through the work of prayer. Are we a people of prayer, consistently and fervently interceding for each other and those around us?

Peter reminds us that the church is a holy nation, set apart to be different and to display the holiness of God. The righteousness granted to each believer has been purchased and administered by the life and work of Christ, and that righteousness will produce a different way of life. It is not a better life than the world around us but a completely new one. Being a Christian isn’t a sub-culture we participate in but something that changes and permeates every facet of one’s life. What we value, the decisions we make, the things we do and do not do are not determined by the world’s standards, but by whether it reflects God and His Kingdom.

The last thing Peter wants the church to remember is that they are a people for God’s own possession and purposes. The world may discard and disdain them, but their God prizes them. Why could they rejoice in their sufferings? Because they do not belong to the world; they belong to God. They are His. Knowing this truth is what brings courage and endurance to the life of a believer: that we are loved and cherished by God. Knowing this truth leads to the only appropriate response: proclaiming the excellencies of God.

May we be encouraged and challenged by Peter’s word to the church, and as we go out, may we remember who we are and Whose we are.
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