You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

1 Peter 2: 9

 

Taking pride in the nation of our origin or in the one where we live is something that most people are taught from an early age. We become citizens, and that single word conveys a very wide range of benefits, responsibilities, and affiliations. Sometimes this idea of nation takes on the sort of zeal and boosterism that would normally be reserved for sports teams. We cheer it on, its faults and shortcomings are impossible to see, we support it regardless of its actions, and we are ready to sacrifice all for its causes. Yet, when the nation is being described as holy, it seems that Peter cannot be describing anything that is even remotely similar to the sorts of geopolitical entities that we call nation in our world today.

 

There are no holy nations; not one. Each and every one of them exists to serve its own purposes and to promote its own causes. All of the nations, countries, and states that exist on earth owe and pay their highest allegiance to their foundational documents and to the ruling officials that those documents set over their governance. In no case are God and His Word placed in that position of true primary and ultimate authority. So, Peter must have something in mind other than the nations of his time or the ones that have followed in history when he refers to the men and women who follow Christ as a great nation. I believe that he is saying that God has called all people who know Him to a form of allegiance that is higher and greater than our earthly citizenship or physical residency. In fact, God has called us to live in the light of His truth, love, and mercy so that the light of God’s glory will illuminate the lands where we reside.

 

Our primary loyalty must be to God and to His Christ. The document that frames our rule of life needs to be God’s Word. When that holy document sets out a course of travel through life and the Holy Spirit directs us to follow, we have no righteous choice but to do so. When that course is contrary to the dictates and the mandates of the rulers of our land or to the laws that they enact; we are compelled to speak out, to stand up and be known, and to work to change the unrighteous path that our nation has elected to follow. If change does not follow, we must seek to change the people who are in power and we must work diligently to remove or to modify the unrighteous laws. There is great strength to be found in the multitude of those who God knows as His chosen people. However, we need to recognize our common bond that is found in our blood of Christ kinship. As we stop defending national borders and stand firm in our true nationhood under God, the light of His righteousness will illuminate darkened corners of our world.

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