I remember speaking with a highly gifted athlete years ago. At one time he was a fat teenager but transformed his body through very disciplined exercise.
In a moment of transparent frankness, he told me, “I still see myself as a fat kid.”
His image of himself as a “fat kid” resulted in an extreme effort to prove to other people that he was a powerful and able man.
It is sad that this man, now deceased, never incorporated Peter’s message in his heart.
Our New Identity
Peter wrote about the new identity that God gives to followers of Jesus.
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the excellence 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. (1 Peter 2.9-10)
Peter quoted from the prophet Hosea to picture the before and after the experience of people who trust their lives to Jesus.
People without mercy who were lost in the world are transformed by God’s mercy into God’s people.
In addition to being God’s own people, there are three more descriptions of our identity.
(1) We are a chosen people.
You may have never been chosen for any honor or achievement. God doesn’t care. He has chosen you.
If you feel you have three strikes against you, remember this fact of your identity.
If you were born on third base with multiple advantages in life, take note that God values humans differently than popular culture. Be sure to value everyone whom God calls his child.
(2) Followers of Jesus are a royal priesthood.
A couple of Sundays ago, several people were baptized at Maywood Baptist Church. Baptisms were conducted by non-ordained friends who helped the person they were baptizing to meet Jesus.
This is a perfect example of the doctrine we call “the priesthood of all believers.” Everyone has a role to play in God’s economy as a priest.
What does a priest do? They are a go-between in the world. They appeal to God on behalf of others and invite others to experience God’s love.
What is your identity? You are a priest who serves God and other humans.
(3) A holy nation.
A holy nation is a nation that is “set apart” for God’s purposes. The Hebrew nation knew that they were separated unto God and they reflected this in their behavior.
Jewish people are made aware of their identity on a regular basis.
Hate crimes against Jews reflect the hatred that the devil has for God’s holy nation. I am convinced that the evil one is the one who motivates hatred toward Jewish people.
When we began our walk with Jesus, we joined a nation of people who serve our Lord and Savior.
This is our identity: Chosen, priests, members of God’s holy nation.
Identity and Behavior
Like the man I mentioned at the beginning of the article, what we think about ourselves will determine our behavior.
As we recognize our true identity, we will fulfill what Peter wrote: We will “proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Our new identity will produce new behavior that will demonstrate the excellence of God and his choice to make us part of his family.
Rudy Ross and I continue our discussion of 1 Peter on YouTube. You can see the video on the Bob Spradling channel.
Please email your prayer request to email@example.com. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.