It’s been said that God would once again dwell among them. That He would choose for Himself a people, calling them a royal priesthood and bringing them back to life through His Spirit.
This revived priesthood would be made up of a people previously dead in sin, hard-hearted, stubborn, rebellious, each one turning to his own way and his own interpretation of good and evil.
Though you’d never be able to tell it if only seeing them in their redeemed state, they would have been lovers of self, self-seeking, and heaping up for themselves teachers according to what they wanted to hear - refusing to listen to sound doctrine and hating righteousness.
Yet God had other plans for them. He had plans to prosper this chosen generation, turning them into a holy nation, adopting them as His own special people. A people who, knowing the depths of their previous depravity, would spend the rest of their revived days proclaiming “the praises of Him who called them out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
He Himself has promised to seek these lost people out, to find them wherever they have been scattered, in order to “bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick.”
So lost are these people, that it is said of them, “Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people.”
A not a people, scattered, lost, dead, and at odds with the One who would seek to save them, now called, “God’s people.”
This is the royal priesthood of God, a chosen generation dwelling with God, and a holy nation continually proclaiming His praises.
It has been said that God would once again dwell among them. That He would raise them up with Christ, hide their lives in Christ, and grant them to carry about in their bodies the fragrance of Christ - to some the aroma of death, to others the aroma of life.
And that even as this people would face threat after trial after hardship after all the forces of darkness uniting against them, in hopes of their complete and total annihilation, that they would be “kept by God’s power,” for “an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading.”
Therefore it is said of them that they have a sure and steadfast anchor of hope. Though their bodies may perish, their soul would be kept and held as in the palm of a hand - for eternity.
With all of this certainty, this power, these promises, this choosing, the keeping, hiding, and holding, what then would be the characteristics of this people?
If they have been raised with Christ, surely they set their minds on things above, not things below, refusing to entangle themselves in the affairs of this life, that they may please the one who enlisted them as soldiers.
If they are a people chosen, according to the foreknowledge of God, surely they make it their chief aim to love Him with the entirety of their being, constantly proclaiming His praises, making known “the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God.”
If they are a people with whom God dwells, surely it is a common occurrence for an unbeliever to stumble into their midst, and in hearing the secrets of their heart revealed, to fall down on their face, worship God, and report that God truly is among them.
Even as it was with the centurion and their Savior, “when he saw the way He breathed His last, he said, ‘Truly this Man was the Son of God,’” so must be the response of those watching the way in which this people, who are called His own, live their lives, even up until their last breath, “Truly this is the people of the one true God.”
If they are in fact a holy nation, then surely they set themselves apart, not allowing their thinking to be conformed to the wisdom of the world, nor placing their trust in this world’s systems, currency, or popular opinions. Certainly, it must be said of them that they are distinct, peculiar, strangers, wandering, and seeking a better place - a heavenly one.
And that even as they wait for this heavenly place, their eyes must remain fixed on the author and finisher of their faith, knowing that He Himself is the One who went before, made a way, and now stands as that firm anchor of the soul. Surely they do not lose heart, fall asleep, or let the fire of their affection for Him go out. Even in the day of adversity, it must be said of these people that their strength does not fail them for they are a people who know their God and are known by Him.
With all of this certainty, this power, these promises, this choosing, the keeping, hiding, holding, and the very Spirit of God within them, certainly, they do not live exactly the same as everyone else, do they?
Bitter, jealous, striving for recognition? Loving money, storing up possessions here on earth, and worrying about tomorrow? Fearing man and what man might do to them? Letting their emotions be tossed about and their confidence shaken, as they forget their sure hope and start depending on the latest circumstances, the newest report, or the systems of this world to be in favor of them and provide for them?
These are a people with God’s very words put in their mouth and written on their hearts, so surely it must be said of them that they have put off responses such as anger, filthy language, lying to one another, and mocking in order to put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, and forgiveness?
God is with them and in their midst - isn’t He?
Certainly, He is. For these are His people and He is not ashamed to be called their God.
Therefore, let it once again be said of us, “God is truly among you.”
Multiple Scriptures were referenced above, here is a partial list:
1 Peter 2:9
1 Peter 1:1-2
1 Corinthians 14:25
1 Peter 2:10