Sep26MonSeptember 26, 2022
DIFFERENT (1Peter 1:1-2:3)
Take a moment to read the passage listed above (I did so using the NIV). What jumps out at me is the “Therefore” of verses 1:13 and 2:1. They basically introduce a physical response to the truth just presented. In other words, based on the incredible salvation offered in Christ, how now should we live? We are different than those who are not “saved” because of Jesus. In a nutshell, we are “holy” because our Father, who gave us new life is “holy”. Holy in its simplest form means different, distinct from the world.
Last week while holidaying through southern Quebec, we visited a famous monastery – known for its beautiful setting and its homemade cheeses and fruit products. I could go on about the monastery and its appeal as a tourist destination, but I want to see it as the Christian entity that it is. Particularly, what sets the resident monks apart from the visitors? The answer is…they are different! What makes them immediately distinct is they are the ones in the brown robes - they are dressed differently. We just saw them from a distance in their religious environment, like animals in a zoo. We didn’t interact with them on any level. To us, they were people to be observed, disconnected from the real world around them. Is that the people God is asking us to be - Physically separated from the world, living our faith in isolation and silence? That cannot be what God requires of us, since other faiths and religions have monastic expressions to them. What makes a Christian different or “holy” is not the way they dress or where they live. Actually, in order to fulfill our calling, we need to be in the world, rubbing shoulders with those who don’t know Jesus. One cannot be a Christian by changing one’s clothes or residence. Martin Luther discovered this, being a devout monk, realizing that all his own external “holiness” was but ‘filthy rags’ and frustration. He discovered that all our attempts at making ourselves righteous through our own religious pursuits, even monasticism, left us empty, angry and unsaved. While reading the book of Romans one day, he discovered that a person is made righteous by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, not by putting on a brown robe and living in isolation
What truly makes Christians different is that they have experienced the mercy of God in their lives, as He has chosen them for salvation (1:2) and caused them to be born again (1:3, 23). The precious blood of Christ has been applied to the Christian, once they have put their faith in Christ. They have been redeemed and clothed not with brown robes but with the righteousness of Christ (white robes) imputed to them, not because of their own works (1:18-20). They have been sanctified by Holy Spirit and purified by obedience to the truth (1:2, 22). They are now citizens of Heaven, exiles, foreigners, and aliens in a foreign land (1:1, 17; 2:11). We have been made different because of and by Jesus!
Peter will repeat this over and over – we are different, holy because of the work of Jesus in our lives. He exhorts us repeatedly, based on the truth of who we are in Christ, to live and act differently. He starts with our minds and our desires (1:13,14); then our love for each other (1:22); then our character (2:1); and lastly our thirst for that which causes us to mature and desire God (2:2-3).
If there is one last reason to be “different” or holy, it is because we have the Holy One as our Father! We have been born again as sons and daughters of God the Father (1:17) – new creations in Christ being transformed into His image. We are re-made as different people, so let’s be different! That way we don’t need to fear God as judge, but we can truly love Him and each other, since perfect love casts out all fear. (Read 1John, ch. 4).
Have a great week living differently,