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"But ye are a chosen generation (race), a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar
people: that ye should show forth the praises of Him Who hath called you out of
darkness into His marvelous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the
people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy" (2: 9, 10).
The word generation is better translated race, the nation of Israel, Hebrews. This takes
the descriptive context back to Jacob and Egypt. They were a holy nation, separated unto
God by laws concerning food, behaviour and above all worship of the one God. The
word peculiar from Latin means private possession though today the meaning has
changed. The old meaning however well describes Israel. God had special regard for
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and He chose Jacob's progeny to bring the praise and
knowledge of Himself to the world. Peter rehearses for his brethren their privilege and
honour in being called out by God from other nations, and by laws, giving them a
distinctive national character all with a view to world service for God.
"Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts,
which war against the soul" (2: 11).
Strangers and pilgrims harks back to their time as strangers in Egypt and pilgrims in
the wilderness seeking the promised land. When we are on a journey and the important
and urgent thing is to get from A to B we cut the fripperies with which we dally on a
pleasure cruise. Fleshly lusts or desires inhibit the free working of the Holy Spirit with
us. As Paul wrote "They that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh: but they
that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit" (Rom. 8: 5). Allowing an undue
intrusion of questionable reading or viewing will lead to barrenness of prayer and
unprofitable Bible study. The two do not mix. So also for other pursuits that give undue
attention to the flesh. There is a legitimate area for necessary recreation which can take
many forms to keep the mind and body fit. The new life in Christ has by no means a
`kill joy' element, quite the reverse.