“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” (1 Peter 2:9).
Are we different from the world? If we are indeed called-out, shouldn’t we be different? When the world looks at us, ought it not see something special? Why are our divorce, abortion, and illness statistics the same as the world’s? Why do greed and hypocrisy seem to be the labels the world uses the most against us? What is wrong?
In Mark 7:7-9, 13 KJV, (Jesus) said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments
8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.
9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. …
13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Does this seem too harsh or ring of truth today? The Scripture distinguishes between clean and unclean citing which animals are acceptable to eat and which are not (Deuteronomy 17, Leviticus 11). Out of that arose all kinds of ritual concerning the utensils used to eat such animals. 2 sets of dishes, 2 sets of Passover dishes, how to bury the dishes if the milk dishes touched meat, etc, etc, etc. These were all man made regulations that became ritual and religious activities missing the meaning of the law-the separation of the clean from the unclean. We tend to do this often–miss the meaning and intent and develop ritual that makes us feel good. We blindly follow religious activities and traditions simply because it makes us feel good and we seem to want to blend in with the rest of the world.
Yet, we are to be called-out, separated from the world; yes living in it, but not of it. We are to be the head, give direction. Instead we follow. We make ourselves feel good with programs, with attendance, with throwing a little money toward the poor, with building edifices for our own aggrandizement, etc. I find it very troubling. No wonder we are ridiculed. The hypocrisy is stunning (at least in America). We have lost the sense of community and belonging because we are no different. We put God off in the future instead of demonstrating Him here and now.
Jesus summed it up in (v 13 above) “We’ve made the word of God of none effect through (our blind following of religious activities–traditions). Simply because it makes us feel good.
It is my hope and prayer that the called-out people of God, The Church, will take its rightful position as the head and not the tail, as above and not beneath in every area of life on this earth.