#6 in a series on 1 Peter
By David Keen
Disciples Have a Peculiar Mission
A disciple’s identity is firmly rooted in Christ. Disciples are not just redeemed by Christ, they are also called into a new community with other believers where they worship God and live out a peculiar mission in their everyday life. In 1 Peter 2:11-12, we see three things about our call to this peculiar mission.
This ain’t home
I remember the first time I saw someone from the north come to the south and eat grits. I love salt, but even I thought that was way too much salt. Then I realized that wasn’t salt at all. It was sugar. They had just destroyed those perfectly fine grits by trying to make them cream of wheat (whatever that is). I was able to forgive them because I realized that where we are from determines what we do. Peter reminds the believer of this. Believers are citizens of heaven. This changes everything about who we are and what we do. This world is not our home. The NIV says that we are “aliens and strangers” here. As Christians, we always work out of our identity, not for our identity. By remembering that we are beloved by God in Christ and that this world is no longer our home, we are able to abstain from the passion of the flesh.
Fight the flesh
Even though we have a new home and a new identity, the desire to fall back into our old way of life can be tempting. In fact, Peter says that our flesh wages war against our souls. There is a war raging between the desires of the flesh and the desires of the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17). The flesh wants cream of wheat. The Spirit desires perfectly salted cheese grits. The way we fight this battle is by continuing to enjoy the wonderful cheese grits until the cream of wheat begins to be less and less appealing. Then, one day we won’t believe that we were ever able to actually enjoy the cream of wheat. The believer has “tasted that the Lord is good.” We wage war to “abstain from the passions of the flesh” by continuing to daily feast on His goodness. We can win the battle over our flesh because Christ has already won the war. We can walk in the certainty of His finished work. We are called to live lives that are utterly different, out of this world, and compelling. We are called to stop pursuing all the pleasures of this world because we have found the ultimate source of joy and pleasure in Christ. When we do this, our conduct will be honorable.
Peter tells us to keep our conduct among the Gentiles honorable. Honor is not a word that we use everyday in our culture so we sometimes forget the weight of what it means. As R.C. Sproul says, “Honor goes beyond respect; to honor is to bend over backwards to show respect for other people.” To have honorable conduct carries the idea that even when (not if) people speak evil of us our actions will prove them wrong. It is the idea that our actions would be so utterly different and compelling that others would want to bring honor and glory to the God we serve and represent. It’s important to note that we are to live in a way that those outside the faith see us. We are here as sojourners and exiles to “proclaim the excellencies” of God to the world, not to retreat and hide out in our safe houses. Like Jesus, we are to take the gospel into this world in order to invite people to experience the love of God that is out of this world.
I love what Lecrae says in the first verse of his song “Aliens” that is based on this passage in 1 Peter…
Aliens! New Creations, new free agents, ain’t signed to sin
What the world do, we don’t do
Cause we wanna do what the Lord does; Christ within our system
Listen our mission’s the Great Commission, we come here to represent Him
That’s why we call ourself Christians, Ha, Let me spit another line
For the Plumbline and the Frontline one time on the front lines
keep holdin’ it down for all the pilgrims
All over the world representing for the bloodline