“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.” 1 Peter 2:9-12 (NIV)
Last time we began our study about the Kingdom of God. Today, we are going to look at the ‘Kingdom of God culture’. The Kingdom of God culture is a ‘naturally supernatural culture’. Just as the Kingdom of God is the supernatural Kingdom on earth, the culture of the Kingdom is a supernatural culture. What I mean by this is that when a person becomes a Christian they become a ‘new creation’. As believers in Jesus we are not the same as we were before we became Christians. We may look the same, when we look in a mirror, but we are not the same inwardly, there has been an inner transformation.
Citizens of the Kingdom
When we gave our lives over to Jesus we became ‘born again’ (See John 3:3-8). Being born again means the Holy Spirit comes to live within us, and He inter-mingles with our spirit-man, bringing new life to us. We are now completely new creations in Christ and we no longer are the same as we were before we became born again. The Holy Spirit fills us with His Presence and He equips us with His Power, (spiritual gifts), so that we can serve God more effectively. We are now citizens of the Kingdom of God and are part of the commonwealth of Israel.
Do you realise that as a believer in Jesus you have a dual nationality? Yes, this is true. Christians and Messianic Jews have a natural citizenship of the nation they are from, and a supernatural citizenship of the Kingdom of God. You are a citizen of the country of your birth and, as a believer in Jesus, you are also a citizen of the Kingdom of God. You have both a natural culture and a supernatural ‘Kingdom of God culture’. To understand this, we have to look at this from the Hebraic perspective. Jewish people are Jewish both by faith and by culture. They are both spiritually and naturally Jewish. As Gentile Christians are a part of the commonwealth of Israel, through Jesus, we are also Christians both by faith and by culture.
A ‘Naturally Supernatural’ Culture
In Peter’s first Epistle, in the Amplified translation, He explains that believers are, “…a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation. [God’s] own purchased, special people…” (see 1 Peter 2:9).
This is evidence that Christianity is not just a faith, but is also our culture. Yes, we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood and a holy nation. This speaks of a supernatural culture, not merely a belief system.
God’s treasured possession
This actually echoes what God said to Moses in Exodus 19: 6. God said that if we obey Him fully, and keep His covenant, that we would be His treasured possession over and above all the other nations. God told Moses we were to be a Kingdom of priests and a holy nation. At the time, of Moses, this only applied to Israel. Under the New Covenant Gentile Christians are also joint heirs, along with the Jews, as ‘One New Man’ in the Messiah (Ephesians 2:14-18). We are all a part of the commonwealth of Israel because of Jesus it also applies to us now. What God revealed to Peter was that the Kingdom of God was to be a chosen race. So what exactly does this mean?
A chosen race
A race is a group of people with common ancestry with distinguishing physical features (Collins English Dictionary). We are a spiritual race, although we are of different cultural backgrounds and from many different nations across the earth, we are all related in Christ as brothers and sisters in Him. We share distinguishing spiritual features as we are all one in Christ. As new creations in Christ we take on the Lord’s characteristics as we grow in our walk with Him.
In our spiritual growth we aim to become more and more like Jesus in the way we live our lives. As part of God’s family we share in common our spiritual ancestry. What this means is that we are all sons and daughters of the King of Kings. We can trace our lineage back to Adam and Eve, in the Garden of Eden, even back to God Himself before the creation of time. However, one thing we have to realise is that God is not our Ancestor. God exists outside of time. He has always existed and always will exist. God is our Father and as His children we share in His inheritance, which He has laid aside for us that is everlasting life.
Father God, we are overwhelmed that You have given us an inheritance that is beyond all measure. We are thankful for allowing us to be grafted into Your chosen race, becoming a dedicated nation of believers in Yeshua our Messiah. Help us to understand and embrace our brothers and sisters so that we maybe a unified body in readiness for Your imminent return. In Christ Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.