My new identity in Christ - 19 April 2022

By Ewald Schmidt

In our journey with Peter, we have learned that we are new people, with a new life, living with new hope. We have a personal responsibility to grow in faith, but also with other believers. We need each other to fulfil our mission as we make God’s kingdom visible in this world.

When we read these verses today, we are reminded that the initial readers of Peter’s letter were first-generation Christians. Some of them came from a Jewish background, and found Christ as the long-expected Messiah of the Jewish nation. Some came from the Greek-speaking world, and they had to turn their backs on their old ways to follow Christ. They had become outcasts in their society. All of them experienced persecution for their faith in some form as inhabitants of the mighty Roman Empire. They had suffering for Christ in common, and felt rejected from the people they grew up with.

In times like these, it is so important to be intensely aware of one’s new identity in Christ. Peter uses a few descriptions to help them find their new identity. They might have felt like foreigners where they previously belonged. They might have felt confused about who they were after giving their life to Christ and losing their place in their culture and even families. Peter wanted to encourage them that they now belonged to God, even if they felt like outcasts. In their old lives, they had little in common with one another, people of different backgrounds just living in the same community. Now, in Christ, they were a new people, chosen, brought together by God’s love. They were a royal priesthood, ruling like kings over the darkness and sin – priests in the sense that they were praying for their families and communities before the throne of God. And they were ambassadors of God in their old communities, representatives of his kingdom where they lived. Believers are God’s special possession, we are precious in his eyes, as he paid the price for our freedom on the cross. He loves us very much, in the midst of all the hatred his children might experience in this world.

As God’s people, we have a mission in this world. We have a testimony to bear. We have the experience of having lived in darkness without Christ ourselves – of being lost, without hope, prisoners of darkness. But then God showed up in our lives! He called us out of the darkness, to follow him, and has led us into his wonderful light. We were born again, we experienced this change in our lives by the grace of God. Now we are called to proclaim that message – the redeeming love of God that made us whole.

Without Christ we have not found our identity in this world yet, we were not a people. Now we belong, we are bound by love, we are the people of God. In our old lives we lived in darkness, and had not known mercy. But all that changed when Christ became Lord of our lives. Now we have received mercy. That has made all the difference in our lives! That is a story worth telling!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for rescuing me from the darkness, leading me into your wondrous light! Thanks for giving me a new life and a new family to belong to, the people of God. Help me, with the power of your Spirit, to be a witness of the change that Jesus brought in my life. Amen