1 Peter 2:9-25
Living Hope / Resident Aliens – The Inside Challenge
Pagans, Jews, slave, free – the communities Peter addresses were remarkable. We today struggle with diverse communities as did cities of the Roman empire. Christian communities lived with increasing pressure of hostility and persecution. They had become resident aliens. God had called them into a “living hope” created by Jesus’ resurrection. That new birth created the tension between the deep reality of their identity in Jesus and the structures of life and society where they lived and worked. You are a “holy nation” but also perhaps a slave woman abused at the whim of her master.
They had experienced the transformation of their lives within an empire explicitly based on class hierarchy, slavery, sexual hierarchy, ethnicity, and violence, with no opening for political change.
How do you live? You want revenge, rebellion. You want passivity. You want to go back to pagan life: career success, standing in the community. Peter says those desires are at war against your life. Don’t react. Rather actively create an excellent, beautiful way of life. No malice, guile, envy. Learn love, forgiveness. That’s who you are. Live that. Don’t let reaction to evil make you violent, envious. Even under oppression, let every act you control create a place of beauty, God’s glory lived out.