Since the fall into sin, this world has lived in rebellion to its Creator. The media reminds us daily of how spiritually bankrupt our world is. But today’s text is a fresh breeze telling what humans can become when Jesus Christ has changed their lives.
God is building His Kingdom. Peter refers to this Kingdom as a spiritual house. This is the one true Christian Church. We are described as living stones and Christ is the Chief Cornerstone.
Who are these living stones? They are Christians who trust Christ as Savior and Lord. Peter says, “Once you were not a people, but now you the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” Our lives have been changed. As God’s people, we enjoy many blessings. Our text mentions three of them.
1. We are a royal priesthood.
In the Old Testament, the priest was the mediator between God and man. Access to the Father came only through the priest. When Christ came, he became our priest and our only mediator between God and man. Paul writes, “There is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5).
In Christ, we can come to Him at any time. This is the privilege of bringing our problems, guilt, and concerns to him in the quietness of our own being. We often appreciate sharing our spiritual concerns with our friends, and they can give us great help. However, the final voice is Christ. This is the privilege the people of God have. It is our quiet time when we talk it over with our Lord.
As believers in Christ Jesus, we are molded into a body, which is called the priesthood of all believers. God is not some far-away power. He is our Father receiving us through Christ, our high priest, who has opened the way to the Father.
2. We are a people called out of darkness into the light.
Some of the most brilliant people walk in darkness. For example, the surgeon can open our bodies to correct what is wrong, and we return to normal living in a short period of time. When it comes to the anatomy of our bodies, that surgeon walks in the light. But in the case when the operation is not a success and the patient dies, many of these gifted people have no answers about eternity. They walk in complete darkness.
These are spiritual matters in which the people of God walk in the light.
Peter writes in his book, “For you know that it is not with perishable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect” (I Peter :18).
We are people who need to be redeemed. Those who walk in darkness do not believe that we need redemption. They believe that we are good people and we can care for ourselves. If there is a life after death, we will earn a place in the eternal mansions by our own good works.
This is an example of living in darkness. God’s people know their sinful state. However, they also know that God has prepared a way to heaven through faith in Christ. Looking at this world through Christ gives us a different look.
3. As people of God, we have experienced God’s mercy (grace).
When people who are not Christians think of religion, they equate it with moral law. They also believe that people can change their way of living. The people who have become new people in Christ know the need of God’s Law. It reveals God’s way that we should live and also convicts us of our sin and our need for a Savior.
This is an important message, but it is not the center of the Christian faith. Out of love for us, Christ forgives us. This is grace. I have not earned forgiveness, but God gives it to me. I am a sinner and cannot change my life. However, God gives me grace to change it or God changes me. Grace builds a personal relationship with God. Because I am a part of the priesthood of all believers, I walk with him and talk with him.
Possessing these characteristics, Christ commissions me to go into the world and tell this story of the Gospel Ð of how he has changed me and wants to change them too. He makes us lights in this world of darkness. In one sense of the word, we are strangers and aliens in this world, for we are the people of God.