As Sojourners and Exiles

1 Peter 2:4-5 ESV

“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are the body of Christ, his church. But this church is not a physical building made of brick and mortar. This is a spiritual building made up of human beings who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord (Owner-Master) and Savior of our lives, with Jesus Christ as our head and as our cornerstone. So we are living stones in this spiritual building, and if we are truly in Christ, and part of this spiritual building, then we are being built up as a spiritual house.

And to be being built up as a spiritual house has to do with us being nurtured in the Lord, and in his word, and us being encouraged and edified (instructed) in the Lord to live holy and godly lives to the praise and glory of God, and us being exhorted to grow to spiritual maturity in Christ by walking in fellowship with him in walks of obedience to him and to his word. And to be holy is to be unlike, different from the world because we are now being conformed to the likeness of the character of Jesus Christ.

And to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ is to offer to our Lord our lives as living sacrifices to the Lord, holy and pleasing to him. It is for us to give our lives over to the Lord, surrendered to him in walks of obedience to his commands under the New Covenant. It means we now belong to the Lord, and we are his possession, and now we serve him with our lives. And the reason these sacrifices to God are acceptable to him is because they are offered to him on his terms, not on our own terms.

1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV

“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.”

Priests under the Old Covenant served as mediators between humans and God, and they were the ones who offered sacrifices to God for the people. But when Jesus died on that cross, and when he was resurrected from the dead, and he came to live within the lives of his followers, via the Holy Spirit, he did away with that Old Covenant system, and now all believers in Jesus have direct access to God as his holy priesthood of believers in Jesus Christ. So, we no longer need human mediators between us and God.

And now we are the Lord’s servants who are to give our lives to our Lord as living sacrifices to him, and as his servants, to do his work. So we now serve him as priests, as his possession, with him as Lord. We are all to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness (sin, wickedness) into his marvelous light (Jesus Christ, truth, righteousness). And we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth, and we are to be our Lord’s messengers in taking the truth of the gospel to the people of the world.

[Matt 5:13-16; Matt 28:18-20; Jn 4:31-38; Jn 13:13-17; Jn 14:12; Acts 1:8; Acts 26:18; Rom 10:14-15; Rom 12:1-8; Rom 15:14; 1 Co 12:1-31; Eph 4:1-16; Eph 5:17-27; Php 2:1-8; Col 3:16; Heb 3:13; Heb 10:23-25; 1 Pet 2:9,21; 1 Jn 2:6]

1 Peter 2:11-12 ESV

“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.”

As God’s holy people we are to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of the character of Jesus Christ. So, we are to live in this world as though we are not part of this world and of this world’s system, so as though we are strangers (aliens). So, we are not to take on the thinking, believing, attitudes, philosophies, and behaviors of this sinful world. We are to stand out as different, and as though we are God’s people who are dedicated to him and to his service.

Therefore, we must abstain from the passions of the flesh which wage war against our souls. We are not to be those who make sin our practice, but righteousness, holiness, godliness, and obedience to our Lord are to be what we practice. So, we should not be those who are deliberately and habitually sinning against our Lord. Sexual immorality, idolatry, lying, cheating, stealing, and committing adultery, et al. should not be our practice at all. But we should be those who are following Jesus Christ with our lives.

Therefore, our conduct among the ungodly should be honorable, not dishonorable. We are not to join in with the ungodly in ungodly practices, but we are to be people of God who are walking in purity of devotion to our Lord. And we are not to immerse ourselves in our culture so that the ungodly of this world will regard us as acceptable to them and so that they will like us. For if we are truly in Christ, the ungodly should not love us, but they should be against us and what we stand for.

So, as a follower of Jesus Christ, surrender your life fully to him and to his service. Walk in obedience to his commands (New Covenant), in practice. Walk in holiness and in righteousness, and not in sin. For if sin is what you practice, and if obedience to God and righteous living is not what you practice, then you will not inherit eternal life with God regardless of what you profess with your lips. But if you are walking with the Lord as you ought, then you do have the hope of eternal life with God.

[Matt 7:21-23; Matt 24:9-14; Lu 9:23-26; Rom 1:18-32; Rom 2:6-8; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-14,24; Rom 12:1-2; Rom 13:11; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; 1 Co 1:18; 1 Co 15:1-2; 2 Tim 1:8-9; Heb 9:28; 1 Pet 1:5; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 2:8-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 1:21-23; Col 3:5-17; 1 Pet 2:24; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6,24-25; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Heb 3:6,14-15; Heb 10:23-31; Heb 12:1-2; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Face to Face with Christ, my Savior

Lyrics by Carrie E Breck, 1898
Music by Grant C. Tullar

Face to face with Christ, my Savior,
Face to face—what will it be,
When with rapture I behold Him,
Jesus Christ who died for me?

Only faintly now I see Him,
With the darkened veil between,
But a blessed day is coming,
When His glory shall be seen.

What rejoicing in His presence,
When are banished grief and pain;
Death is swallowed up in vict’ry,
And the dark things shall be plain.

Face to face—oh, blissful moment!
Face to face—to see and know;
Face to face with my Redeemer,
Jesus Christ who loves me so.

Face to face I shall behold Him,
Far beyond the starry sky;
Face to face in all His glory,
I shall see Him by and by!

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