1 Peter 1:22-2:10; Luke 24:1-12
The New Race
The ancient writers spoke of three races. The first two were Jew and gentile. But then the Christians came along, made up of the first two, and so they had to speak of a third. “The third race,” we were called. The Christian lifestyle was so different and its ideals and principles so lofty! Best of all, its adherents lived those principles so well, we constituted a new race in the eyes of many.
And we are a new race. So Peter says in 2:9: “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession.” These words remind us of what God said to the Israelites when they were gathered at Mount Sinai: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6).
So what’s the difference? Why should we have any more hope than those ancient Israelites who failed to keep the covenant? Yes, they were our forerunners, but we do not want to run the same race that they did, or at least not in the same way. How do we know that we shall fare any better than they?
Because Jesus Christ – his life and work on our behalf, his coming to save us – makes all the difference in the world! And we have been born again by the Holy Spirit who made real and effective the application of our Lord’s blood on our behalf. In other words, we have been changed, transformed, remade, so that we cry, “Abba, Father” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Romans 8:12-17). We know that we are not the same creatures we were before we came to know him. And our rebirth is through the living and abiding word of God, the imperishable seed!
Moreover, he does not leave us to ourselves, but builds us up into a spiritual house, his Church. And the sacrifices we offer are not burdensome but are the proclamation of the “excellencies of him who called [us] out of darkness into his marvelous light.” In short, he has given us of his Spirit such that we have an advantage those ancient Israelites knew nothing about. We have an inner compulsion – the new nature – and we are no longer merely ourselves. We shall ultimately overcome, be our progress ever so slight, for we are a chosen race – a new race – God’s very own people.