CDPCKL · What is Love? Baby, Don’t Hurt Me (1 Peter 1-22:2-3)

What is Love? Baby, Don’t Hurt Me (1 Peter 1:22-2:3)

Last week, Peter told the Christians of Roman Asia that their new Father God has very high expectations of them: like obedient children, they are supposed to be holy in all they do.

And that sounded pretty scary. Especially when Peter then quoted from the Old Testament Book of Leviticus. The Book of Leviticus is full of very detailed and weird rules about food and clothing and haircuts, and for a moment we wondered what exactly Peter was telling Christians to do.

But then, as we looked at Leviticus in its larger context, we realized that all those weird rules were not actually about food and clothing and haircuts, they were there to help teach the ancient people of Israel how to love the way God loves, and how to be different from the nations next door.

So we discovered that, when Peter told the Christians of Roman Asia to be holy in all they do, he was telling them to love the way God loves, and to live as foreigners in the Roman empire.

And this made sense, because the quality of God’s character, the quality of God’s love, is completely different from any god that has ever been described; so quite naturally God’s children, who share in his spiritual DNA, must inevitably end up being completely different from any other nation on earth.

But that left us with a couple of big questions: what does it look like to love the way God loves? Like, really, practically: what does it look like to live as foreigners amidst the empires of this world?

Those are the questions Peter is going to be answering for the rest of his letter.

And he starts like this: [22] Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.

Peter reminds his readers — again — of what has has been reminding them of from the beginning of his letter: that they are already holy. They have been holy ever since they believed the preaching of the Gospel and were sprinkled in Jesus’ blood. As soon as they were sprinkled in Jesus’ spiritual blood, they received God’s spiritual DNA. And God’s spiritual DNA quite naturally drove them to purify themselves by obeying the truth: they joined a Christian community by submitting to baptism — they were sprinkled with clean water.

And that baptism ceremony performed in the midst of the community was an act of sincere love for the community. And Peter calls it “sincere” love because baptism is a pledge, it is a promise of faithfulness to Christ and to a community. It is like signing adoption papers or a marriage certificate: once that signature is there on the paper, it is a “sincere” signature, it is verifiable. Anyone who wants to can go, and read the certificate, and confirm that, yes, these people have promised to belong to each other.

“So,“ Peter is saying, “now that you have all sincerely signed the paperwork that says you are one community, one family — act like it! Love one another deeply, from the heart.”

Now, that sounds good, of course.

But what, really, does it mean?

And that is a very important question for us to ask.

Because ”love one another deeply, from the heart” is one of those sentences we think we understand right way, because we all think we know what these words “love”, “deeply”, “from the heart” mean.

But then, when we pause to think about it, or if someone asks us to actually define these words, we realize that our modern grasp of these concepts is pretty hazy. Because in much of our modern conversation ”love” is an emotional concept.

But in our bible, “love” is a covenantal concept. It is less about feelings and more about promises. Affectionate feelings come and go, but covenantal love is the kind of love that says, “Sometimes I really like you, sometimes I am very frustrated with you, but because we are bound together into one family, I promise that I will always take care of you.” In other words, in the bible, among God’s people, love is defined more by obligation than by feelings. If we are bound together in a covenant, then we are obligated to take care of each other, whether we feel like it or not.

Basically, Peter is saying, “now that you have all sincerely signed the covenant paperwork with one another, you are actually obligated to love one another.”

Okay. But if Peter is talking about love as an obligation rather than a feeling, what does he mean by these words “deeply” and “from the heart”? Aren’t those feeling-based words?

Well, no. When Peter says “love one another deeply,” he is not telling these Christians that they must have deep affectionate feelings for one another, he is telling them that they must have a deeply rooted loyalty for one another; the kind of loyalty that does not waver, that cannot be shaken; the kind of loyalty that endures through all the storms of life.

And then, when Peter says “love one another from the heart,” again, he is not telling these Christians that they must have warm-fuzzy feelings for one another. In the modern mind, we think of the heart as the seat of our feelings. But in the bible, the heart was the seat of our will. For Peter, the heart is the place where we make decisions. So when Peter says “love one another from the heart,” he is telling these Christians to make decisions and act based on what is good for others in the community, not simply for themselves. Love from the heart is selfless, sacrificial love.

In essence, Peter is saying that, since God’s love for his people is a covenantal love, our love for one another must also be a covenantal love. Since we are now bound together — by our baptism — into one covenant, our care for one another must be loyal, long-lasting, self-sacrificing, just like God’s love.

For — he says in verse 23 — you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

Peter is basically telling these Christians of ancient Roman Asia that they are now a new “kind“ of people, a whole new kind of ethnic group, one that is no longer defined by racial characteristics or language or culture but by new birth into one covenant, one Spirit, one Father. “So,” he is saying, “now that you are part of this new spiritual family, your love for one another — your loyalty and generosity — must be even stronger than your ’natural’ love for your ’natural’ families.”

Last week I mentioned that there were Greeks and Germans worshiping alongside one another in this part of the Roman empire. Ordinarily, Greeks and Germans despised each other. But Peter is telling these Christians, “if you have a choice between helping a German family in your congregation, or helping your pagan cousin’s family, your loyalty and resources should go to the German family first!”

And this would have been a shocking concept for the people of that time.

In fact, in the Roman empire, this was considered an immoral concept. In the Roman empire, filial piety — the honor and even worship of your father, your ancestors, and your ethnic group — was one of the highest values of society. Filial piety was the foundation-stone of Roman culture, just as it is for many Asian cultures today.

So when Christian teachers came along saying that filial piety to the Heavenly Father must be greater than filial piety to any earthly father, and therefore loyalty to your Christian family must be greater than loyalty to your ethnic family…this teaching was viewed as perverse!

To put it in modern terms: these new Christian concepts were the equivalent of Hate Speech. In the Roman mind, these teachings were radical terrorist teachings, designed to disrupt and destroy the very foundations of Roman society.

And so, quite naturally, Roman society feared and resisted these Christian ideas. It was ideas like this that turned Christians into foreigners in their own neighborhoods.

A pagan Greek would ask his Christian Greek neighbor, “Hey, why are you allowing your son to marry our German neighbor’s daughter? Don’t you know it’s a very bad idea to marry outside the race? We Greeks are descended from the gods. If your son marries a German, your descendants’ blood will be diluted and they will not be able to honour you properly in the afterlife!”

The Christian would say, “Ah, but see, as a Christian, I am now descended from a different God, the greatest of all Gods — and so is our German neighbor. Which means that my son can marry his daughter without a problem, because they are actually of the same spiritual race, they share the same spiritual ancestry!”

And the pagan would say, “Oh. So, in other words, you Christians are rebels who want to destroy the orderly structure of society.”

And the Christian, of course, would say, “No! No, no no. It’s just that we have a vision of a better society where all people can be seen as equally valuable in the sight of God, whether you are Greek or Geman, male or female, slave or free.”

And the pagan would say, “…that is not better! If you Christians seriously start living as if all the races are equal, as if men and women are equal, as if slaves are equal with their masters — you are going to destroy the economy, the family, and the empire! And, I’m sorry, man, but I cannot be associated with that kind of craziness!”

It seems that, at the time Peter wrote this letter, the Roman government was not yet fully aware of what Christianity was teaching. So there was no persecution from the top down — not yet.

But on the street level, from neighbor to neighbor, people were beginning to realize that these Christians had some really strange beliefs about the equality of all mankind and nonsense like that. Businesses were beginning to be affected. City councils were beginning to be concerned. Society was beginning to put some pressure on Christians at a local and regional level. They were starting to say things like, “Come on la guys, don’t rock the boat like this! Things are going well, the economy is growing, but if you keep talking this kind of illegal nonsense about how your God is the Only God and how your mixed-race monstrosity of a religion is the only true and eternal religion…you are going to ruin everything, and bring the wrath of the Roman empire down on us. So: stop it! — or we will stop you.

“Seriously, friends: are you sure you want to go down this road?”

Well, Peter is telling these Christians of Roman Asia that, yes, they do want to go down this road. Because the other road, the road to the Roman empire, is a dead-end. The Roman empire is a human empire, born of perishable seed. But the Christian family, the Christian nation, the Christian empire, has been born of imperishable seed — seed that cannot die — through the living and enduring word of God.

And, so his readers can know that he is not just inventing this idea, Peter quotes from Isaiah, one of the Old Testament prophets: [24] For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, [25] but the word of the Lord endures forever.”

Now, Isaiah wrote these words 700 years before Peter was born, and he wrote them to comfort and encourage God’s people while they were in exile, surrounded by empires that claimed to be eternal. Isaiah’s point was really quite simple: the powers and glories of this world look like they are going to last forever, but they are not! Our God has promised that he will deliver his people from captivity, and his Word never dies — he never forgets the promises he has made.

Peter is now pointing back to Isaiah’s ancient prophecy, and saying, “See? Isaiah was right. Where is Assyria now? Conquered by Babylon. Where is Babylon now? Conquered by Persia. Where is Persia now? Conquered by Greece. Where is Greece now? Conquered by Rome. And the day will come when people will ask, ‘Where is Rome now?’ And the answer will be, ‘Conquered by the Kingdom of Jesus Christ!’ — just as the prophet Daniel foretold.”

And this is the word that was preached to you.

Peter is saying, “Look, everyone wants you to believe that Rome is the Eternal City, that the Roman empire is the Eternal Empire, but it’s just not true, because the Roman empire is built by perishable human hands. Everyone wants you to believe that all these nationalities and ethnicities and cultures should have some kind of lasting value for you, but they just don’t,  because all those ideas are born of perishable human seed.

“This new birth that we have received through the living and enduring word of God is infinitely more important than the original birth we received through our ancestors. Which means that this new multi-ethnic family we have received through baptism is infinitely more important than our original ethnic families.

“I know your earthly families are forcing you to choose between filial piety to your earthly fathers, or filial piety to the Heavenly Father. Choose filial piety to the Father who is not going to die! I know your neighbors are forcing you to choose between loyalty to your ethnic family, or loyalty to your spiritual family. Choose loyalty to the family that is going to last forever! I know the Roman empire is forcing you to choose between faith in their understanding of society, or faith in God’s promise that he will rescue his people from that Roman understanding of society. Choose faith in God’s promise. Choose faith in God’s Word. Because the word of the Lord endures forever.”


We started with one simple question: if “be holy because I am holy” means “love the way God loves,” what does it mean for a Christian to love like God loves?

Well, since God’s love is a covenantal love, Christian love must also be a covenantal love.

But what is covenantal love?

Well, God’s covenantal love is loyal, long-lasting. Eternal, actually! So Christian love must also be loyal, long-lasting: eternal. God’s covenantal love is selfless, sacrificial. So Christian love must also be selfless, sacrificial.

But what does “loyal” really mean? What does “sacrificial” look like in real life?

Well, this leads us to the most remarkable truth of all: God’s covenantal love for us meant giving up his own Son as a sacrifice. God gave up his own substance — a member of his own “ethnic group”, we could say — so that he could extend his covenant loyalty to human beings who did not share in his substance, human beings who are not members of God’s trinitarian “ethnic group”. The Father gave up the only Son he is related to “by blood” — we could say — in order to adopt sons who were not related to him “by blood”.

Therefore, Christian covenant love also means extending loyalty beyond our own ethnic groups. In fact, most likely, Christian covenant love will mean sacrificing loyalty to our own ethnic groups for the sake of a new covenant loyalty to people who are not from our original ethnic groups.

And it is this idea that turns Christians into foreigners among the empires of this world.

Everyone in the world understands that loyalty and sacrifice are necessary for love! — but the idea that loyalty and sacrifice should be extended to people who are not related to us by blood, culture, or ethnicity…that is weird! And the idea that Christians might actually choose to love unrelated people more than their own blood relatives — well, now: that is perverse. And the idea that Christians might actually be called to give up love for their own families in order to extend love to their enemies — that is actually evil in the eyes of the world.

So we are beginning to see more clearly why Peter has been calling these Christians “exiles” from the Roman empire. We are beginning to understand why Peter’s command to “be holy” is also the same as his command to “live as foreigners”: when these Christians of Roman Asia really actually begin to love the way God loves, society is going to reject them as perverts, as terrorists, as evil, hateful, destructive people.

And these Christians are already beginning to experience that pressure. Their families, their societies, are already calling upon them to repent of these crazy, evil new ideas. And the only way these Christians are going to be able to resist that pressure is if they are absolutely convinced that God’s definition of love is more accurate than the human definition of love.

That is why Peter just reminded them that they have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. It was the preached Word of God that first baptised them in Jesus’ sprinkled blood. It was the Word of God that first redefined love for them. And since the word of the Lord endures forever, Peter is saying, we can trust that God’s definition of love is going to out-last the Roman empire’s definition of love.


To summarize: “be holy” means “love the way God loves.” “Love the way God loves” means extending loyalty and self-sacrifice to those who are related to us by the covenant of baptism, even if they are not related to us physically, culturally, or ethnically. The world is going to hate us for this. They are going to insist that racism is the right structure for a society, and that weaving many different races into one community is wrong. But we should not care about the opinions of those who — in Peter’s words —  live in ignorance, practicing the empty ways of life handed down to them from their ancestors. We have a different definition of love! We are practicing a different kind of love…that is actually the original kind of love, the covenant loyalty and self-sacrifice that has always existed between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

And this is the word that was preached to us, that redeemed us.


But, practically speaking now, what does this covenant loyalty and sacrifice look like in everyday life? What does it really look like for Christians to give up their old ethnic identities, their old, narrow-minded, ethnocentric definitions of love?

Here is Peter’s practical application: [1] Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. [2] Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, [3] now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

The Christians of ancient Roman Asia have tasted that the Lord is good: they have discovered that the Holy Heavenly Father of the Jewish nation does not love just Jewish people, he loves people from every nation of mankind. They have personally tasted the goodness of this new, non-ethnocentric, non-exclusive kind of love.

Therefore, Peter is saying, now that you have experienced God’s love, it is time for you to love the way God loves. God first loved us — through his Word — by lifting the curse of death. Therefore, the way we should love one another is by lifting the curse of death from one another:

Get rid of all malice. Malice is the holding of grudges. Malice comes out in all those mean little things we say and do when we are angry. That is not love.

Get rid of all deceit. Deceit is dishonest speech and actions. Deceit is the kind of thing shop-keepers do when they are trying to trick a customer into paying more than they should. That is not love.

Get rid of all hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is a special kind of deceitful action. Hypocrisy is pretending to be something or someone you are not. Hypocrisy is manipulation. That is not love.

Get rid of all envy. Envy is often found at the root of malice: someone else gets the honour or the blessing we wanted, but instead of rejoicing with them, we become angry. That is not love.

Get rid of all slander. Slander is a special kind of deceitful speech. Slander is telling lies about another person or situation in order to tear them down. As such, we find that slander is one of the fruits of malice. That is not love.

Last week, Peter told these Christians: as obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. These, here, are some of the evil desires Peter had in mind: malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander. And these are the kinds of evil desires that defined the gods of all the other nations.

As I said last week, if you doubt me, please: go and read the scriptures of those other religions. Read the stories of the Greek and Roman gods, the Babylonian gods, the Egyptian gods, the Hindu gods. There are some profound truths to found there, in those stories, deeds of inspiring loyalty and generosity. But underneath those moments of greatness we find actions motivated by malice, envy, pettiness, by childish backstabbing passions that were considered normal and even admirable among the communities of the gods. And as I mentioned last week, it makes perfect sense for the human children of such gods to live the same malicious, envious, vengeful sorts of lives. And if the peoples of Roman Asia treated their own communities in these childishly hateful ways, we can only imagine how terrible their hatred must have been for those that they thought of as outsiders!

But these Christians of Roman Asia are the children of a very different kind of God. The Christian God loved his enemies so much that he gave his own Son over to death so that his enemies might have life. The Christian God practices a covenantal love, which is another way of saying that his love does not waver back and forth. His love is every bit as passionate as the love of all the other gods, but unlike the passions of all the other gods, the passionate love of the Christian God is bound by his Word, by his promises. He loves deeply, steadily, from the heart. He never stops speaking the Word of Life to those who have become his people through baptism.

Therefore, Peter says, like newborn babies, crave this pure spiritual milk. Crave the covenant love of God. Crave it like a baby craves milk. Reject the fickle, feelings-based, performance-based love of the other gods, other religions. Do not indulge in malice or slander against some people in your church because they are from a different race or culture. Do not indulge in envy against some people in your church because they seem to be more ”privileged”. Those differences, those privileges, are born of perishable seed: they are all destined to pass away. Instead, crave the greater things! Crave the sweetness, the goodness of a new kind of community, a community that lives as a reflection of the community enjoyed by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. There is no malice in the trinity. There is no deceit, no hypocrisy between Father and Son. There is no envy between Spirit and Father. There is no slander in the living Word that is Jesus Christ. There is only the perfect balance of unity and diversity.

”That,” Peter says, “is what you must crave. And as you crave it, as you drink it, as you keep on crying out for that goodness, you will grow up in your salvation. It is inevitable that, as you obsess over God’s covenant love, that obsession will begin to spill over into your behaviour. As you crave the goodness of God, you will begin to live the goodness of God among your brothers and sisters, even if they come from other races, other cultures, other languages.”

And that was Good News for the Christians of Roman Asia, 2000 years ago. They had been trained from childhood to believe that racism is good. They had been trained by the stories of their gods to believe that malice and deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander were just normal parts of community life.

And that kind of training is really hard to overcome! It is really hard to break habits like that.

So it is good that Peter ended this section with this encouragement: you can, and you will, grow up in your salvation as you keep on craving the goodness of God. The Christian life is really quite simple, just like a baby’s life is simple:

A baby only knows two things: an empty stomach is bad; a full stomach is good. What does the baby do to get rid of the bad? The baby craves, the baby cries, the baby drinks, the baby grows.

In the same way, the Christians of Roman Asia now know two things: a community that resembles the other gods’ is bad; a community that resembles Father, Son, and Holy Spirit is good. What does the Christian do to get rid of the bad? The Christian craves, the Christian cries out, the Christian drinks, the Christian grows.

And this is Good News we need also!

Because we also have been trained by our world to believe certain things about how society is supposed to be structured. And let’s be honest: most of that structure is built around ethnic concerns, around race and culture.

Now, this idea that a community can be multi-ethnic is less radical today than it was back then, because Christianity did end up conquering the Roman empire, just as the prophet Daniel predicted. The Christian belief that community can be multi-ethnic did eventually win over the pagan idea that community should be defined by race, and as a result we have had 2000 years to get used to the idea. Really, historians tell us, it is because Christianity conquered Rome that we are even able to have the global conversation about racism that we are having now.

But, quite obviously, the conversation is not over yet. Nor is it going to end anytime soon. Because there is a fundamental contradiction at the core of the conversation: those of us who hold up racial equality as a value have also have been trained from birth, just like everyone else, to be loyal first to family and clan, then to tribe and language, then to ethnic group and culture, then — perhaps, if we are very open-minded — to our national identity.

And we can tell that this way of thinking is very deeply ingrained in us because the idea that Jesus Christ might call his followers to reject their own families to follow him is just as shocking to us today as it was when he first said it. The idea that Jesus Christ might call his followers to reject their previous identity — defined by ethnicity and culture — and seek out a new one defined by baptism and love…well, Christians who say such things today are likely to be rejected as evil, hateful, destructive people.

And even apart from all these concerns about race and culture, we have all been trained by the gods of our world to believe that malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander are normal parts of human relationship — even with those who are closest to us. Love, as it is defined by our world, is a passion based on feelings. As long as I feel good when I am with you, then I love you. But when you don’t make me feel good, then I become envious, malicious, manipulative…I do what ever I have to do to get that good feeling back. And if I do not get it from you, I go and seek it out from someone else.

And it is easy to see how this kind of feelings-based love actually feeds the racist structures of our societies: because it is easier for me to feel loved when I am with people that I can communicate more easily with, people who speak my language, people who share my culture. It is harder to love and feel loved by people who think and speak differently from me…so I just stick to my own kind. It’s easier. It feels better.

And we can tell that this feelings-based definition of love is deeply ingrained in us, because when Peter says that true love is actually covenant-based…we are shocked all over again. Modern culture has trained us to believe that love comes first, then faithfulness; that our feelings should drive our decisions. But Peter is saying that faithfulness comes first — the covenant comes first — then love; that our will should rule our emotions and drive our decisions, so that we love one another deeply, from the heart!

The kind of training we have received from the world is really hard to overcome. We have many bad habits to break as we try to learn to love the way God loves. We will have many opportunities to fail and become discouraged.

So that is why Peter’s encouragement is meant for us as well: we can, and we will, grow up in our salvation as we keep on craving the goodness of God. We can, and we will, learn how love one another deeply, from the heart, as we keep on looking to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for our identity and our example of what love in community is supposed to look like.

So that is our application for today: we are going to keep on craving this pure spiritual milk. We are going to keep on reminding one another what it is we are longing for: the perfect peace and balance of a community that does not rely on ethnicity or culture or appearance for its identity. And as we keep on craving the good, we will find that, more and more, we want to rid ourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

The reverse is also true — and this is our warning for today: if we do not take steps to rid ourselves of these things, then this means we are somehow failing to drink pure spiritual milk. If we, as Christians, continue to define our community by perishable external signs like food and clothing and haircuts, ethnicity and culture and nationality…then something has gone terribly wrong with our grasp of the Gospel.

Now, don’t get me wrong: there are external implications of the Gospel. Last week, during Q&A, we were talking about whether Christianity has some kind of standards when it comes to clothing and hair and things like that, and if so, where are the lines? Well, the answer is: yes. Christianity does have some things to say about what we wear, how we decorate our bodies. Peter is going to address some of those things later on in his letter.

But he is also going to make it clear that the lines are not drawn externally, they are drawn through the heart — and they show up in our behaviour first. On Judgement Day, God is not going to ask us if we cut our hair correctly, or whether we were culturally sensitive. He is going to ask us if we rid ourselves of all malice and all deceit. He is going to ask us if we rid ourselves of the hypocrisy of our obsession with perishable external signs…

So if you are here today, and you are part of a Christian community that is asking you to abide by particular external standards, ask for a biblical explanation. If your leadership is able to demonstrate how those external standards are appropriate expressions of sincere Christian love, or appropriate rejections of ethnic and cultural norms, then submit as best you are able, because that is what it looks like to live out our time as foreigners here.

But if those external standards are arbitrary, not based on God’s Word or on any reasonable extension of biblical principles…then, be careful. Do not be disruptive or divisive. But begin to listen very carefully to what is being taught. And begin to pay close attention to how the congregation behaves toward one another. You may find that the pure spiritual milk of the Gospel is being soured by a focus on legalistic religion rather than on lives transformed by love. You may find that you are in a well-dressed congregation of malicious, envious, slanderers.

If we ever find ourselves in that situation, then scripture advises us to move on, to seek out a true community, a community that has been born again through the living and enduring word of God, and proves that new life by loving one another deeply, from the heart.

And we, as a congregation, want to be one of those true communities. So let us continue to ask these hard questions of ourselves: are we craving the pure spiritual milk of the Gospel? Are we ridding ourselves of all malice and all deceit? Are we truly living as foreigners here, or are we fitting in too well?

In closing here: basically, Peter is saying that the community that craves together stays together.

And this unity born out of sincere love is actually really important for our survival.

Because, as Peter has been pointing out from the beginning of his letter, we are just like ancient Israel during their journey through the wilderness toward the Promised Land. They had no national borders like other nations did. So the only things that set them apart as a nation were their baptism and their defining behaviour as God’s people. Because they did not have the exclusivity of a fixed homeland, they needed the exclusivity that comes from a covenant-based loyalty to one another.

In the same way we Christians are pilgrims among the nations: strangers, refugees. We have no ethnicity, culture, or language to define us, like other nations do. We cannot be identified through our clothing, our food, or our haircuts, like everyone else can. We are not physically or visibly different from the nations, because we come from the nations! So the only things that set us apart as Christ’s nation is our baptism and our defining behaviour as Jesus’ people. Because we do not have the exclusivity of a fixed race or culture or political system, we need the exclusivity that comes from our covenant love for one another.

The thing that makes us foreigners among the nations is how and whom we love. When we commit to loving people who are really different from us, that sends a very clear message about what kind of people we are, what kind of God we worship. And when we give up our loyalty to those the world thinks we should be closest to…this also sends a very clear message about who we are and who God is —

But I am getting ahead of myself now. It is only next week that Peter begins to explain why it is so important for us to live out our time as foreigners here.

So make sure to come back for that.

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