Friday, December 8, 2023
Peter wanted these first-century oppressed and abused believers to understand their special role in God's salvation history. They were "royal priests" — people of honor usually reserved in Israel for those from the lineage of both the King and the Levitical priests of Israel.  They were to be leaders and intercessors, as well as mediators, for lost humankind before God.  On top of these two roles, Jesus' followers were chosen by God as His very special people, His possession and prized children. 
God had called them out of the darkness of the pagan world  for a special mission as His "royal priests' and His "holy nation" as the Kingdom of God. God had chosen them to help others caught in the world's deepest darkness find the "wonderful light" and life of God in Jesus. God wanted Jesus' followers to share the grace and mercy that God had lavished on them with others. 
Most believers in the world today live in cultures and countries that have values very different than the values Jesus taught.  In many countries, the Christian faith is criticized, ridiculed, or persecuted. For some today, this spiritual alienation in their physical homeland feels strange and out of phase with what they knew in the past. Theirs is not the world they had hoped for but which they now find themselves inhabiting. However, as God's "chosen people," they, along with all of God's people, are to do more than inhabit their world and hold on to their faith. They are called to redeem it — this means that as followers of Jesus, we are to be our world's salt and light, its messengers of mercy and grace, as God's chosen and called people who demonstrate God's goodness to an increasingly lost and dark world.
You and I find our center in Jesus' description of us as His servants — "holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault"  — who help the lost people of our world find their way into God's "marvelous light." Jesus sent us into every nation and culture to share this message.  We must embrace our place in the world with gladness, passion, and commitment so that the world can see Jesus in us and the way we handle the opposition leveled against us.
Why do we do it? Jesus demonstrated it. Jesus commanded it. Jesus sent us to do it. God has chosen us as His special people and priests to accomplish it. Early disciples stepped into this mission. And now, the world desperately needs us to embrace this mission. The deeper the darkness, the more our world needs us to shine God's light!
God, we need heavenly help to be more like Jesus in loving those who oppose and oppress us. We need the Holy Spirit to keep pouring Your love into our hearts so we can love those who are in darkness and need Your life. We pledge, dear Father, to embrace the special calling You have placed upon us as Your chosen people and priests to the lost world. Galvanize our courage, strengthen our love, and use us to be Your agents of grace and mercy in our darkening world. In the mighty name of Jesus, we join our hearts together and pray. Amen.
Together in Christ is a daily devotional that focuses on what Scripture teaches about godly living in relationships.
'Together in Christ' is written by Phil Ware.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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