Today’s scheduled reading is 1 Peter 2.
There is so much more to following Christ than an eternity in heaven. That’s important, as we saw in the previous two devotionals, but believing in Christ has immediate affects on our lives today. This chapter describes the sense of purpose that following Jesus gives to us in this life. It begins with the community that we have now in Christ. He is the foundation, the cornerstone, of the new group we are part of (v. 4). When we come to him in faith, he not only saves us but he assembles us and all the other believers “into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood” (v. 5). And why? So that we together will offer “spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
Verses 9 and 10 go on to describe the new nation that God is forming through all of us in Christ. We belong to Christ and are part of his people now but for what purpose? So that “you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” When unbelievers interact with us, they should see the greatness of Christ--his love, his mercy, his power to change lives, and more--working in our lives. Part of this, of course, is our moral growth (vv. 11-12a) through the Lord’s work in us. As we move away from sin and toward holiness in our lives, people will “see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us” (v. 12b). That idea of glorifying God on the day he visits us is another way to talk about evangelism. It is the conviction that our walk with God, our community with one another, and our witness for Jesus will be used by God to bring more people into the fold and that they will be looking for the coming of Christ along with us.
The rest of the chapter applies this specifically to our relationship to the government (vv. 13-16), our relationship with other people in general (v. 17), and how those who were slaves related to their slave-owners (vv. 18-25). It is amazing to think that following Christ can bring purpose to a person’s life even when that person is owned as a slave by someone else. Thankfully, none of us lives in that kind of bondage! But, if they can find purpose as slave owners through faith in Christ, how much more should we who know Christ as free men and women live lives of purpose for Jesus.
Do think much about your reason for living? As you go about your work, live in your neighborhood, and talk with others around you, does your faith show? God has embedded you as his agent in your workplace, your family, our community, and more. What will he do for us if we remember our purpose and live in ways that glorify him?