For the past weeks, we have been learning about the role of the church, which is to help people to come closer to God, the light of life out of darkness. Peter said that believers of God were a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people belonging to God. Today I will be exploring the theme of a holy nation.
Nation is ἔθνος(ethnos) in Greek. It means nation and the people of God. Wayne Grudem states, “they are a new spiritual nation which is based neither on ethnic identity nor geographical boundaries but rather on believing in their heavenly King, Jesus Christ, who is true King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelation 19:16).”
Based on this, the term holy nation means believers of God, who are different from the world of those who do not believe in God. In the time of Peter, those believers understood who they were and how they had to live and work for God.
Today, here some might wonder what the idea of nation means for this congregation of people from different backgrounds? In our secular world people and nations still distinguish their own ethnicity from other groups. And thus we have seen many conflicts, arguments, and wars in the world. The nation in the book of Peter means the believers of Christ from any nation, who follow Jesus as Lord and Saviour. In our church, we have a similar problem to the rest of the world, because so many of us are from different backgrounds and ethnic groups.
As you may know, the three themes of the book of Peter are suffering, hope, and glory. Peter wanted to give Christians hope. Believers of God are continually to keep this in mind that God is with us. He is the light of the world and cares for us who are living in this world. How can we live as a believer of God and holy nation?
Firstly, believers are to obey God and keep his covenant. When the people of Israel left Egypt and were on the way to Canaan, God gave the law of God at Mount Sinai through Moses (Exodus 19:5-6).
Secondly, believers of God are expected to make their own efforts of fellowship with others. After Jesus ascended into heaven, many believers came to God through the power of the Holy Spirit. And they would often gather together to praise the Lord as we do here. (Acts 2:42-47)
Thirdly, we are encouraged to preach the gospel in season and out of season. These are our evangelisms and missions of which the churches has many (Matthew 28:18-20). I believe that evangelism and mission are significant ministries in our church. Because, Jesus and his disciples made their own efforts to preach the gospel to the world for the past 2,000 years and from this our Christians grew. Here in our church, we are doing our best through our church ministries and outreach such as mainly music, play group, New migrant & ESOL, growth groups, holiday program, and BBQ church and others.
To conclude, even though we are from different backgrounds and ethnic groups, we are one in Christ. As believers of God, we are told to obey God and are to engage in his ministries, and to preach the gospel until our Lord Jesus comes back. May God bless you!
Rev Dr Je Cheol Cook