This Week’s Passage and Memory Verse (in red): 9 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.
This week I want to make a few brief comments about our passage, share a famous quote with you, and then wrap it up.
There are a lot of graphic phrases in this passage which describe believers that merit pondering. The one that most captures my attention is “royal priesthood.” It seems to be a mixing of two metaphors – political and religious. But in doing so it gives a succinct portrayal of who we are in Christ.
1) We are royalty – We are heirs of the King. The King of Kings is our Dad. As such, we have a special place reserved for us in Heaven. We have wealth beyond compare. We have an angelic army fighting on our behalf. We have been elevated not just from dead to alive but from peasants to prince/princesses.
2) We are priests – We are not royal despots we are royal servants. It is part of our responsibility to mediate between God and man. We are ambassadors of reconciliation. We have been given a royal position so that we can help others to know God by displaying His glory as we serve the needy and supply hope for the helpless.
The other phrase that sticks out to me is “which war against your soul.” I am being continually reminded these days that we are at war. As I was thinking about this the following WWII story popped into my mind. It is one of Sir Winston Churchill’s most famous speeches and has as many spiritual implications for today as it did 70 years ago for the war…
Upon his very first entrance into the House of Commons as Britain’s new Prime Minister on Monday, May 13, 1940, Winston Churchill only received a lukewarm reception from the assembly, while at his side, outgoing Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain was heartily cheered. Churchill then made this brief statement, which has become one of the finest call-to-arms yet uttered. It came at the beginning of World War II when the armies of Adolf Hitler were roaring across Europe, seemingly unstoppable, conquering country after country for Nazi Germany, and when the survival of Great Britain itself appeared rather uncertain.
“…We have before us an ordeal of the most grievous kind. We have before us many, many long months of struggle and of suffering. You ask, what is our policy? I will say: It is to wage war, by sea, land and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us; to wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark and lamentable catalogue of human crime. That is our policy. You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: victory; victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival….”
These indeed are perilous times for believers and for the Church. We are being assaulted and assailed. Damaged and derailed. And yet we march on because we have the sure confidence that victory will be ours. It has already been won for us at the cross. D-Day has come. The enemy is doomed and defeated – he just doesn’t know it yet. So the war continues to rage around us and within us until V-Day – until the great and glorious day of our Savior’s appearing and the victory is complete.
So never forget that we are at war – the battle is for your soul and the glory of God is at stake.
I’m just sayin’!
Next Week’s Passage: Ephesians 5:15-20
Next Week’s Memory Verse: Ephesians 5:15-16