I lived in the same house until I went off to college, which meant I went to school with the same people from kindergarten all the way to senior year. Although I was constantly surrounded by the same people, it was difficult to build deep, lasting friendships. I found myself changing friend groups a lot for various reasons. There were numerous times I was hurt or betrayed by friends, times when I was abandoned, neglected, and manipulated. I struggled to find where I could truly fit in, and during that time I was very lonely. There is a desire in every person to truly belong somewhere, with someone you can trust and confide in. During the emptiness of those years, I relied more and more on God, and quickly learned His companionship was the thing my heart desired most.
In 1 Peter 2, we’re given a picture of the new covenant as the whole world is invited to participate in God’s Kingdom as a “royal priesthood, a holy nation” (v. 9). Christ has initiated a new order of reality, a new way to live under God’s care as His people. It’s the first step into a world we actually belong in, the place our hearts have always longed for but never had the language to describe. Eternal life with our loving God. But then, immediately there’s a conflict. We’re not quite out of the woods yet—there’s a competing interest. While we are a holy nation, we are also “sojourners and exiles” (v. 11), and we’re in a war against the old habits of our flesh. Being a new creation isn’t as easy as we think, sometimes we need to learn to walk again, and this is a struggle (Eph. 4:22–24).
Nevertheless He calls us to accept Him as our savior—we belong to Him. He calls into a higher form of life, and is faithful to prepare us to live it. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 says “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is not just flowery rhetoric, God is actively working to purify and perfect us for heavenly life on earth right now; and unless we thought this was all our job, verse 24 goes on to say, “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.”
He calls us out of death, into the new life of the Kingdom of God, and equips us to live in it. He has called us to be His, to trust Him for the empowerment to walk as Jesus did. But we must not forget, the key for all of this to work is trust in God. It is kind of a trust-fall—we don’t know the benefits of living out of the Kingdom of God and apart from gratifying the desires of the flesh until we jump in. We have to trust that He will catch us, not just to save us, but to give us life which no other pleasure or security could afford. While friends, family, and people in general can hurt us and fail us, our God is worthy of our trust—He will be faithful.
This calling to higher life is one of love. While living “blameless” (v. 23) can sound more like an encumbrance than a freedom, think again what it is Jesus saves us from. Countless lives have been wasted in ‘trying’ not to sin, trying to suppress evil desires, generally going about our new life in Christ with a serious scowl and ravenous discontentment. It’s the kind of thing you see in headlines about adulterous pastors; people not really living in the “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:8) but living with their old flesh close by, just in case. Scripture tells us to dump that, we have all we need in Christ. We don’t need a liferaft in case Christ fails to give satisfying life, we need to cling ever tighter to Him, taking His words seriously and following after His call, no matter how hard it may seem knowing that He is faithful to equip us for His kind of life.
Take a minute and reflect on this idea. Are you leaving a backdoor open? Are you letting sin and the Holy Spirit inhabit the same space in your heart? Are you a servant of God or a slave to sin, “For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved” (2 Peter 2:19). God wants you to be free of sin and to live life fully out of His abundant, good life. Ask Him for help in these areas of your life where you haven’t let God take control. Remember this week that He loves you, He is faithful, and you can trust Him.