Today’s Reading: 1 Peter 2:11-20
Daily Lectionary: Leviticus 10:1-20; Luke 9:37-60

Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (1 Peter 2:11)

In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Often I am asked, “How are we to regard the state of Israel and the Jewish people?” Many American Christians believe that there are two covenants that coexist: one for the Gentiles and another for Jews. They believe that many Old Testament promises have not been fulfilled yet, and thus, God has given the Jewish people their land and He will rebuild a physical temple there.

1 Peter exposes how misguided such notions are. Notice what Peter calls these Christians: “sojourners and exiles.” Those are labels traditionally given to Jews living outside the Promised Land. He also calls the Church a “holy nation” and a “royal priesthood” (I Peter 2:9). These are the titles Yahweh gave to Israel at Mt. Sinai.

The true Israel is the people of God. Jesus is the offspring of Abraham (Galatians 3:16), and all who share Abraham’s faith are his offspring (Romans 4). Therefore, the Christian Church is Israel and all of God’s promises are applied to us!

God’s promises are not only applied to us, they are ratcheted up. For example, the Temple of Solomon has been replaced with the assembly of believers. The Lord doesn’t dwell in a building, but He dwells within every congregation and within every believer. There are no more physical barriers between us and God!

Likewise, the Lord gave Israel an abundant land. This land foreshadowed a greater inheritance. You see, our Lord experienced the full weight of sin, death, and evil on the cross, in order to reverse it. Jesus is risen! Someday He will return to reclaim what is His: you and this creation. You will be raised from the dead and made immortal. This creation will be resurrected, too. It will be liberated from decay and renewed (Romans 8:18-23).

So don’t become too obsessed with the modern state of Israel. You are God’s holy people and you are the heirs of His promises. In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.

Guide me, O Thou great Redeemer, Pilgrim through this barren land. I am weak, but Thou art mighty; Hold me with Thy pow’rful hand. Bread of heaven, bread of heaven, Feed me till I want no more; Feed me till I want no more. (Guide Me, O Thou Great Redeemer, LSB 918:1)

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