“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who calls you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
God “calls us out of darkness.” His call is irrevocable. When He calls, He makes us “a people of His possession.” We become “a chosen race.”
“God’s love is poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who is given to us.” (Romans 5: 5) Through the Holy Spirit we become “a holy nation.” And this transformation from darkness to “His marvelous light” occurs “while we are still helpless.” (Romans 5: 6) We are enemies of God when we “are reconciled to God through the death of His Son.” (Romans 5: 10)
If God does this for us “while we are enemies…then how much more, having been reconciled, are we saved by His life!” (Romans 5: 10)
And since we are indeed “saved by His life,” we raise our voices in praise of Christ — to whom we owe everything. Let us be grateful to our God, for He is merciful beyond our imaginings. He “calls [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
“Adapt yourselves no longer to the pattern of this present world, but let your minds be remade and your whole nature thus transformed. Then you will be able to discern the will of God, and to know what is good, acceptable, and perfect.”
To know God’s will, writes Paul, you must allow “your mind [to] be remade.” As your mind is “remade,” “your whole nature [is] thus transformed.” A transformation occurs; the old nature is progressively destroyed as your thinking is altered. Simultaneously, the new nature is progressively “put on.” You take off the old, and put on the new.
The power to achieve this transformation is given to you by God’s own Holy Spirit. Rather than adjusting to “this present world,” Paul implores you to “offer your very self to [God]: a living sacrifice, dedicated and fit for His acceptance, the worship offered by mind and heart.” (Romans 12: 1)
“So come to Him, our living Stone — the stone rejected by men but choice and precious in the sight of God. Come, and let yourself be built, as [a] living stone, into a spiritual temple; become a holy priest, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2: 4-6)
“You are now [one of] the people of God, who once was not His [own]; outside His mercy once, you have now received His mercy.” (1 Peter 2: 10)
God is building you — transforming you from a person of “this present world” into “a living sacrifice,” “a spiritual temple,” “a holy priest.” Allow your mind to be remade.
Do you not know that your body is a shrine of the indwelling Holy Spirit, and the Spirit is God’s gift to you? You do not belong to yourselves; you are bought at a price. Then honour God in your body.”
Paul wishes persons to control themselves and remain unmarried; but he recognizes that self-control is difficult and that it is “better [to] be married than burn with vain desire.” (1 Corinthians 7: 9)
Some say sex outside a committed relationship is fornication; others say any sex outside marriage is fornication. Jesus says that if a man looks at a woman with lust in his heart, this is fornication; i.e. adultery. Since Jesus always speaks the truth, fornication is rampant — for men and women certainly look at one another in lust.
Paul contrasts a man’s payment to own a harlot for a night with Christ’s payment to own us for eternity. What a contrast! A fleeting moment of pleasure contrasted with Christ’s agonizing shedding of blood so that His Father might call us His own, and give us His Holy Spirit. A man links himself to a harlot; Jesus links Himself to us through His own sacrifice. Since we belong to Christ, we are called to “shun fornication. Every other sin that a man can commit is outside the body; but the fornicator sins against his own body.” (1 Corinthians 6: 18 – 19)
Jesus calls us to purity; and this must start in our minds. Peter calls us to “be mentally stripped for action, perfectly self-controlled.” Peter writes, “Do not let your characters be shaped any longer by the desires you cherished in your days of ignorance. The One who calls you is holy; like Him, be holy in all your behaviour, because Scripture says, ‘You shall be holy, for I Am holy.’ ” (1 Peter 1: 13, 14 – 1
Christ suffers once, put to death in the flesh for our sins. He is the Righteous One. We are the unrighteous. Christ never suffers again, but remains alive in the Spirit.
Note who suffers: Christ. Note how many times He suffers: Once. Note: Though He dies in the flesh, He lives in the Spirit. Note the location of the Spirit: In us. Note the location of Christ: At the right hand of God the Father where He always lives to intercede for us. Note the One who dies: Christ is the righteous. Note those for whom He dies: We are the unrighteous. Note: We do not die for Him; He dies for us.
Note: We have no need to add to Christ’s work. Jesus, on the Cross, proclaims: “It is accomplished.”
“Christ suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the Spirit.”
Peter exhorts us to “be sober-minded.” He tells us to “be watchful.” We are to watch out for our “adversary the devil [who] prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” Peter expects us to “resist him, firm in [our] faith.” We are able to remain firm in this faith because we know “that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by [our] brotherhood throughout the world.” “And after [we] have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called [us] to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself… Restore, Confirm, Strengthen, and Establish [us].” Peter says we are called by God Himself to His eternal glory in Christ. Because God calls us, He also restores us, putting us back into a state of holiness as before the fall. God also confirms us, admitting and verifying us a full members of His body. God strengthens us, making us grow as His children. Finally He establishes us, bringing us into a full existence as His own, keeping us on a firm foundation, and recognizing us as belonging only and wholly to Him. Resist the adversary. Tell him to whom you belong; show him God’s seal of ownership.
Taste that the Lord is good. Know that His Word stands forever. Know that you, like all flesh, will fade away. Know that whatever worldly glory you have will end as a flower withers and falls from the stem. The only difference is that now, in Christ, you are born again of an imperishable seed. The seed is the Holy Spirit. He is both the Father of Jesus and of us. “For He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one source. That is why [Jesus] is not ashamed to call [us] brothers.” (Hebrews 2: 11) Jesus “helps the offspring of Abraham. Therefore He had to be made like His brothers in every respect, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because He Himself has suffered when tempted, He is able to help those who are being tempted.” (Hebrews 2: 16 – 18) Jesus was born a baby, grew through a childhood into an adolescence and then into manhood. Along the way, He was tempted just as we are, except without sin. Therefore, Jesus knows firsthand what it is to face temptations, what it is to resist them, what it is to conquer them. On the Mount of Olives, Jesus prays, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me. Nevertheless, not My will, but Yours, be done.” (Luke 22: 42) “Now may the God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.” (Hebrews 13: 20 – 21)