Hope for Exiles

For Meditation

There was a time when we could assume that the culture of the church was similar to the culture of the society. Throughout much of our nation’s history, even if particular individuals rejected the Christian faith, society as a whole was congruent with Christian beliefs and values. This is obviously no longer the case, and there is a growing disconnection between Christianity and the culture around us. How should we respond to this? In this section of 1 Peter, Peter gives us some clear direction on how to live as an “exile” in a culture that does not share our beliefs and values.

Peter calls us to live as God’s “holy people,” which means to be set apart for a special purpose. This means we are called to live distinctly different lives that are markedly different than those around us, yet at the same time to be deeply engaged with our neighbors and communities such that “they see your good deeds and glorify God” (1 Peter 2:12). In the world, not of it. Distinct from the world, yet deeply engaged in it. This is a very delicate balance that is only possible through the grace of the gospel.

As you prepare for worship this week, consider your own relationship to the people around you in your neighborhood, workplace, or on social media, and ask God how he might lead you to be "set apart" in such a way that others are drawn towards you, and towards Jesus.

Click below for this week's Study Guide:

1 Peter 1:13-21 & 2:11-12

13Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

17And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.  

2:11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12Keep 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.

What Do You Hope For?

Christians are indistinguishable from other men either by nationality, language or customs...yet there is something extraordinary about their lives. They live in their own countries as though they were only passing through. They play their full role as citizens, but labor under all the disabilities of aliens. Any country can be their homeland, but for them their homeland, wherever it may be, is a foreign country. Like others, they marry and have children, but they do not expose them. They share their meals, but not their wives. They live in the flesh, but they are not governed by the desires of the flesh. They pass their days upon earth, but they are citizens of heaven.
— Second century letter to Diognetus