But 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.

! Peter 2: 9

 

This is July 4th, and in the United Stats we are celebrating the high holy day of our nation. Now listen carefully to me here, I say this with all due respect and sincerity. I am loyal and patriotic and delight in the many great things that this country has accomplished and that it does stand for. Additionally, Peter left us with little doubt about the fact that God directs us to be loyal citizens, to place ourselves under the rule and the authority of our civil governments and their leaders. Yet, I fear that too many people, in this country and in others, get our orientation, thus our priority, all wrong.

 

We start believing that God ordained our specific nation and its system of governance as His answer to the needs of humanity for justice, order, and right living. We grant our highest form of allegiance to that national entity while believing that the answers to all that is amiss in our world are to be found in strict adherence to a constitution and in the power and rule of might of our government, often as prosecuted by the strength of our military. Let’s face it, national identity is easy to grasp, is usually safe to proclaim in our neighborhood, and grants to us a ready means of proclaiming superiority among the peoples of the world.

 

This form of loyalty is legitimate on the one hand, but it is false at a much deeper level. It is legitimate in that God has established our various systems of rule as a means of both maintaining order in a broken and dying world and, through their inherent futility and oppression, of pointing us to Christ as the only legitimate and effectual King. Yet it is dangerously false in that it often leads us into placing our trust and faith in laws and in leaders that are earthly and temporary. Unfortunately this false trust inevitably leads to compromise and to a loss of true righteousness, justice, and love for others. God claims us as His own people, our nationality is found in Christ, and it is founded on the truth of God’s Word. Our mission is the proclamation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Its purpose is to bring about the peace that is found only through reconciliation with God.

 

But 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

 

Our hearts yearn for acceptance and for belonging. We want to be desired and sought after. Yet, people universally struggle with a sense of rejection and with the fear of being unwanted and unlovable. We will often do or say almost anything in order to gain the approval of others. However, one of the problems with this approach to life is that others are doing the same thing; so, no one is being true to themselves or honest with others. We build relationships that are founded on well crafted facades, and we encounter major issues when our true selves are revealed over time.

 

Christ’s way of relating to people is exactly the opposite. He shows us who He is, what He wants from us, what He plans to give to us, and how the relationship will develop. The Lord has always been up front in every aspect of His interaction with people. He also wants to be involved with each of us. God doesn’t use Facebook or any other social networking site to check us out. He doesn’t need to watch us from across a room at a party in order to decide if we are attractive to Him, and He certainly doesn’t need to Google us in order to become aware of our pasts. He is our Creator. Thus, He is responsible for the way that each of us was designed, and He delights in the work that He did.

 

Regardless of what I have done or not done, no matter what I have accomplished, and without regard for my past or my present spiritual state; God promises that He has chosen me to be the recipient of His love, blessing, joy, mercy, and grace. He wants to fill my heart with the brilliance of His redeeming light. He wants to lift me up and embrace me with the warmth of perfect love, and He does empower and equip me to share this love with a desperately lonely world.