Speaking to Christians, Peter says,
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. 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. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:9-12.
The apostle makes a number of startling claims.
- We are God's people. We belong to him. He has set us apart for his purposes.
- We are foreigners. God has constituted us as a new community; a new nation. However, we are displaced. Our homeland is the new creation (Philippians 3:20), not the present one.
- Therefore, we should live in a manner distinct from the surrounding culture. We should live as exiles; as people with our own distinctive subculture.
- Nevertheless, we should live for the blessing of our neighbors. We have been set apart from the world, for the world. The dominant culture will oppose our peculiarity, yet outsiders will ultimately be drawn to our witness.
Here's the point: we're weird. God has made it so. And the world should notice this. But what should they notice? What makes us distinct from the dominant culture? I've got some thoughts, but I want to hear yours. Please answer the following questions,
- How should we be different than the surrounding culture?
- And how will these differences serve to bless the culture?