A Community of Witness
1 Peter 2:9-12
1 Peter 2:9-12 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
1 Peter 2:1-12 offers insight to the kind of new community that God forms as believers live as exiles and strangers in this world. Verses 1-3 describe a community of the word; verses 4-8 a community of worship; and verses 9-12 a community of witness.
There are two statements in 2:9-12 that remind us of the two-fold practice of a witnessing community
- … that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
- … that they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
Our witness must be the harmony of lip and life, of word and of action.
Good deeds without a verbal declaration of the gospel leave people interested but ignorant of the truth.
Great talking about the gospel without a credible life leaves people with information but confusion because of the hypocrisy.
Peter encourages us to become a credible witnessing community by first reminding us of whom we are in Christ (Vs. 9-10).
In Christ, God creates a new humanity, a chosen race identified by the gospel. This new people have a royal standing in which everyone has priestly access to God. Their nationhood is marked out not by geography but holiness. They are a people belonging to God.
Knowing that God in His mercy has granted us this status of being His people, we are compelled by gratitude to proclaim the excellence of the One who called us out of darkness into the light.
However, that proclamation must be more than words. It proceeds from a life which is experiencing inner grace and is expressing outward grace.
Because we are His newly created people, we seek by His grace to have a godly interior life in which our passions are governed by the Lordship of Christ instead of our former self-centered and idolatrous pursuit (v.11).
As our inner passions are governed by the Lordship of Christ, we then can enjoy the freedom to pursue exemplary living among those who do not confess Jesus as Lord (v.12)
Consequently, as a result of a consistent witness of word and deed, those who resist will experience His grace and one day will glorify Him.
May we all experience God’s grace in such a way that our lives shine brightly for His glory and our lips speak readily of His grace.