Summary: The past, present and future of the Christian
“Walking In His Steps”
October 2, 2011
“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. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”
WOW! What wonderful words to meditate on. YOU are a chosen people! YOU are a royal priesthood. YOU are a holy nation. YOU are God’s special possession!” If that doesn’t ‘float your boat’ and ‘light your fire’ I don’t know what will.
This is Peter talking. He spent over three years walking and talking with Jesus. He had intimate conversations with Jesus. He asked Jesus (God in fleshly form) questions. He sat around campfires listening to Jesus. He sat around a dinner table chatting with Jesus. Peter was in the know. He knew what he was talking about – and he said, “WE” are a royal priesthood – belonging to God.
I think it is important that you get that concept in your mind. It is important that you understand you belong to God. I am so blessed because it was my privilege to baptize my son and daughter and all my grandkids – as well as many of you – in the Lord. They – and YOU belong to God. You are a chosen people – and you have responded to that invitation. You accepted and sealed it with your baptism. The world will tell you that you aren’t important; that you don’t measure up to its standards; that you don’t look right; talk right; know the right people; tall enough; short enough; smart enough. Don’t buy it! You are the King’s kid! You are a prince or a princess. You are part of royalty.
What that means is you have a future – like Peter. Peter talks a little bit about our future. He says,
“And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of glory that will never fade away.” 1 Peter 5:4
Don’t ever believe that you are a ‘nobody’. That’s the devil’s lie. You were created for awesome things – and what we will be isn’t known right now. But we do know it will be good. We do know we will be like Jesus.
But how did we get here. We all have a past. Peter had a past. The poor guy forever had to live with his cowardly actions at the crucifixion. That’s pretty rough for anyone to handle. But he was this big, tough, bossy, fisherman. He was a man’s man. And in Jesus’ greatest trial he let him down. He said he was ready to die for Jesus. He even pulled out a sword and turned on the people who came for Jesus. Of course he didn’t whack the ear off a soldier – just a servant – but at least he showed a little fire.
Hey – before you get too hard on Peter – haven’t we all done something similar – something we are ashamed of? We have all sinned – and we have all fallen short. “Once”, Peter says, “you were not a people” (2:10) The fact of the matter is that we all have a past. We have all sinned. We have ALL given into the flesh and willingly rejected Jesus and His ways.
Peter wept with shame at what he had done. Matthew was a despised tax collector, defrauding God holy people. Paul lent a hand in even having some Christians put in jail and killing other. We all have a past – and it isn’t pretty.
There is nothing we can take pride in; nothing we can take credit for in becoming a son or daughter of the King. He pursued us. When we were in the deepest darkest days of our lives – Jesus was there searching for us; protecting us; holding us together.
I don’t think we should ever forget what we once were or the grace that was necessary to save us. I think it would be good for us to remember where we were and what we did. Like Peter, when we look on Jesus, we ought to weep bitterly over what we did. Our sins were so ugly; Our actions so reproachful; our conduct so embarrassing. But here’s the Good News! In spite of our ugliness; in spite of our sin – God loved us so much He sought us and bought us. He paid the penalty for our sin and took us into His arms.