1 Peter —Understanding our new Identity
We were once away from God and had no identity. But now, we have been shown mercy through Jesus Christ and we have a new identity as God’s people.
1 Peter 2:9–10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 You once were not a people, but now you are God’s people. You were shown no mercy, but now you have received mercy. [NET2]
This identity is of eternal value — because of God’s eternal Word which gave us this new life.
1 Peter 1:23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God. [NET2]
We did not earn this new identity and new birth but it is Christ Who redeemed us from vanity, purchased us by His precious blood and adopted us by giving us His Spirit.
1 Peter 1:18–19 You know that from your empty way of life inherited from your ancestors you were ransomed — not by perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but by precious blood like that of an unblemished and spotless lamb, namely Christ. [NET2]
We were in darkness but we are now in God’s Glorious light. We live in reality not in vanity.
1 Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. [NET2]
We were lost without purpose and meaning in life but now the Great Shepherd Jesus has found us and is leading us into truth, life, meaning and a higher purpose.
1 Peter 2:25 For you were going astray like sheep but now you have turned back to the shepherd and guardian of your souls. [NET2]
We are called to live according to the new identity, calling and purpose. Our heart, emotions, thinking, hope and goals must be in line with our new identity.
1 Peter 1:13–16 Therefore, get your minds ready for action by being fully sober, and set your hope completely on the grace that will be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed. 14 Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, 15 but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, 16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.” [NET2]
We are reminded that we are temporary residents here and that we must live with utmost reverence for this new life and identity and not in carelessness. We must be careful not to get engrossed in the things of the world.
1 Peter 1:17 And if you address as Father the one who impartially judges according to each one’s work, live out the time of your temporary residence here in reverence. [NET2]
There is a direct connection between a parent and the way a child lives. Whatever a child’s parent is — wealthy or humble or illiterate or poor — it reveals itself in the child’s lifestyle. There are exceptions, no doubt! But, what can we learn here? If we truly know Who our heavenly Father is and understand who we are because of Jesus Christ and grasp the implications our new identity, it will make immense difference in our lives — along with the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. That’s why all of Peter’s commands spring from his reminder of our new identity. He anchors all commands to our new identity in Christ. He does not throw random commands in the air. Observe the following passages as an example:
1:17 “if you address as Father the one who impartially judges… live out… “
1:23~2:1 “You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed… So get rid of all evil…”
2:11 “as foreigners and exiles… keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul
Notice the connection in the logic — “if God is your Father, do this”, “You are born-again, so live like this”, “Because you are a foreigner, keep away”. Peter puts identity first and the commands next. There’s absolutely no point in beating ourselves with “dos” and “donts” without first experiencing God’s transforming power and understanding our new identity in Christ. That’s why as we strive to obey, we must seek to understand the work of Christ, our new identity in Christ and ask Him to transform us everyday. Without that connection, we’ll find ourselves failing. Everything flows out of the precious relationship we have with God. And oh how He has lavished His love upon us! What a rich identity we’ve been given by Christ!
- Born of the Imperishable Seed, the Word (1:23)
- Chosen race (2:9)
- Royal priesthood (2:9)
- A Holy Nation (2:9)
- God’s own possession (2:9)
- Called out of darkness to light (2:9)
- Sojourners and exiles (2:11)
- Sheep of the Great Shepherd and Overseer of our souls (2:25)
There’s more to this precious list! There’s more to Christ’s amazing love!