Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

1 Peter 2: 10

 

In the United States it seems that we do not understand the concept of being a people as well as we might. We are such a widely diverse gathering of individuals who have racial and cultural backgrounds that have become a collection of most of the stories that are told of people groups from every corner of the world. In Peter’s time the world that he knew was beginning to become a little like ours, but the idea of being a people, especially the thought of being a select and a specifically set apart people who were designated by God for this position, was still clearly understood. Yet, even then, this concept of a separate people that was based upon nationality was false.

 

God’s intent was much greater than that. His desire was and continues to be to see all of humanity brought together. This was His creation design, and He has not changed the plan in the slightest from the dawn of creation to this day. God came personally into this world in Christ; the Messiah, Savior, Reconciler, and Lord; in order to bring about the destruction of all that divides. He is also the means through which the damage, the brokenness, of sin is healed. In Christ we people can find the commonality that bridges all of the fears that cut through our humanity with a jagged knife of division. In Christ there is race, nationality, gender, and culture. However, in Christ none these need to keep us apart. In Christ these distinctives are a part of the story of who we are, and they can be a part of the conversation that we have in the process of growing together in unity.

 

In Christ we are all a people. A singular, collective gathering of souls that resides in every corner of our world and that has a history as long and as richly diverse as the story of all of humanity. In the body of Christ there is no longer any reason to fear others, to separate from them, or to isolate ourselves from those who are different. Christ has granted to each of us the mercy of His grace. He demands that we do the same for others. As God has gathered us from that far away place of isolation into which we were born and given us a dwelling place in His presence, so we should reach out to embrace the various people of our world and through our lives show them the blessed mercy of Christ’s gift of restoration.