More About Belonging

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Yesterday I wrote about giving children a deep sense of belonging. In 1 Peter 2:11, the apostle Peter reminds his “dear friends” that they are aliens and strangers. Other popular translations use the words strangers and pilgrims, sojourners and pilgrims, or foreigners and exiles. In other words, as Ray said in his sermon on Sunday morning, “We don’t fit here. We don’t belong here.”

Peter goes on to encourage his beloved brothers and sisters in Christ to “abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against our souls.” Opening a news source, watching a few commercials, flipping through a popular magazine, or paying attention to billboards on a long stretch of Interstate gives us powerful evidence of the “war against our souls” and the souls of our children. The world says, “Do whatever you desire.” God says, “Abstain from sinful desires.”

Immediately after Peter tells us what to abstain from, he tells us what to do instead. He says:

Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles,
so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers,
they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them,
glorify God in the day of visitation.
1 Peter 2:12

Later in the chapter, he tells us:

Act as free men,
and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil,
but use it as bondslaves of God.
Honor all people,
love the brotherhood,
fear God,
honor the king.
1 Peter 2:16-17

It’s not easy for you or me to live as aliens and strangers. It’s not easy for our children. It wasn’t easy for Peter or the people who first read his letter. But God gives us a place where we do belong. Before Peter gave the above instructions to his readers, he reminded them of who they were and where they did belong.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood,
a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession,
so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him
who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
for you once were not a people,
but now you are the people of God;
you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10

Wise parents know that education must be not only for the present world but for forever. They don’t just give their children a list of things they mustn’t do; they introduce their children to a lifestyle filled with good things to do. They give their children a place where they belong and a purpose that lasts not for a lifetime, but for eternity.

. . . and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross,
so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness;
for by His wounds you were healed.
For you were continually straying like sheep,
but now you have returned
to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
2 Peter 2:24-25



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