Summary: Peter says that God views his church as being His chosen nation.
Peter uses the imagery of the church being God’s chosen nation even as Israel was in the days of the Old Testament. Note the similarities between what Peter says about the church in our text and what God told Moses to tell the Israelites:
“‘Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.” - Exodus 19:5-6 (NIV)
Some teach God has a separate plan for Israel and the church. Others contend that the church has replaced the nation of Israel and that He will never do anything of significance in or through Israel again. Then there are those, like myself, who contend the church is the fulfillment of God’s plan and that the church will, one day, be used of God to bring the nation of Israel back to Him.
It is understandable, then, that in speaking of how God sees his church, Peter speaks of the church as being “God’s Chosen Nation.” There are two things he wants us to understand.
1. The church’s position before God - v. 9a
A. We are a chosen people.
“For many are invited, but few are chosen.” - Matthew 22:14 (NIV)
Jesus says that every person who has given their life to Christ is chosen of God. But He also says that many more have been invited to enter into a personal relationship with Him. How many? Well, everyone (2 Peter 3:9)! However, not everyone who has been invited has chosen to accept. Only those who have made the choice to accept God’s invitation through faith in Christ are the chosen of God. This was true, even among the Israelites of the Old Testament: “Not all Israelites of the flesh were Israelites of the spirit.” - Romans 9:6 (The Message)
Even among God’s “chosen” people, the Jews, not everyone was truly chosen, because not everyone had entered into a personal relationship with God. But those who do accept God’s invitation to enter into a personal relationship with Him through faith in Christ are referred to as the chosen of God to emphasize of the initiative God took in providing the forgiveness through the cross that enables us to be reconciled to Him when we repent and place our faith in Christ. The fact that God chose me to be part of His family is a wonderful thought!
But equally wonderful is the fact that God has chosen me to participate with Him in His work in this world. Speaking of Jesus, the Father said: “This is my Son, whom I have chosen; listen to him.” - Luke 9:35 (NIV). Even at a young age, Jesus lived His life with a sense that He had a work He was called to do by the Father. Jesus told his parents: “Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” - Luke 2:49 (NKJV). Now listen to what Jesus says about choosing us: “I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit - fruit that will last.” - John 15:15-16 (NIV)
“It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your own personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or even your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.” - Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life
We should be concerned about the work of God.
B. We are a royal priesthood.
Through faith in Christ, we have been brought into the royal family of God, which is a royal family of priests.
“You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.” - Revelation 5:9-10 (NKJV)
The fact that we are royalty speaks of our authority and the fact that we are priests speaks of our duty.
In other words, we are authorized to carry out priestly duties. Each of us is called and commissioned by God for ministry.