For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. (1PE 2:15 ESV)
Peter describes the church as “sojourners” or resident aliens, meaning we live in the world but are citizens of another country (kingdom of God). Living here we are to honor and respect everyone and seek the welfare of our city/community. That means we participate in it rather than retreat from it. We get to influence our culture from within rather than throw rocks at it from some spiritual bunker. And yet, we are still aliens. We remain distinct. This means there are times when faithfulness to our king puts us at odds with the culture. Peter writes that in these times we are to let good works be the defense of our differences; so much so that good works become the more visible element of what sets us apart.
These good works manifest themselves in several different ways. Some that Peter mentions are:
- The enduring of suffering even unjustly.
- Integrity of life (no hypocrisy).
- Honor for everyone, regardless of whether or not they deserve it.
- Love for the brotherhood. This is key, as the brotherhood is made up of a diverse group, including people who were once enemies.
These set us apart is because they are things that the world cannot do. Only those who have been set free from the trappings of the world can do these. These good works, thus, point to the power of God.