1 Peter 2:9-10
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10 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.
When we think of the word peculiar, we usually think of it in the adjective form: odd, different, distinctive but it is not about how we dress, act, or speak (although these things should be different). But the word translated from the Greek means something different than that: Peculiar people mean in this case one that has been acquired. That is He purchased us and if we belong to someone else what do they expect of us?
A Chosen Generation
Was first used by God to the nation Israel (Deut. 7:6) in fact all four of these titles were first used by God in reference to Israel, but they failed in recognizing the Messiah when He came, the Christian believers became God's chosen, but that does not mean He has forgotten Israel and will bring them back to Him because He is God and not man and will keep His promises.
For if the firstfruit be holy, the lump is also holy: and if the root be holy, so are the branches.17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;18 Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.19 Thou wilt say then, The branches were broken off, that I might be graffed in.20 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not highminded, but fear:21 For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee.
-The Christians are the graphed in wild branches but we need to remember we are not what is important, it is the root.
-Remember the reason they were broken off: unbelief. We need to stand in faith of the one who is our life support, our salvation: Jesus Christ.
-We need to set aside any pride we have in ourselves or our accomplishments. All our life, energy and strength comes up from our root system. So we need to keep the right frame of mind: humility.
-So the fact that the Christians are the new "chosen nation" (not the USA, while once the standard-bearer of the Christian faith, can hardly be called a Christian nation anymore) because the Jewish people denied their Messiah (they cried "Crucify Him! His blood be on us and our children (cf. Mark 15:31 & Matthew 27:25) God set them aside for now, and those who accept Christ as Saviour are the chosen generation.
-The fact that it is a singular generation shows us the fact that God has no grandchildren. Each person must decide for himself.
A Royal Priesthood
When God first separated Israel to Himself, He wanted a nation of priest (cf. Exodus 19:6), but eventually he chose the line of Aaron to be the priest. Now each person is a believer-priest but more than that we are a royal priesthood. This is due to our position in Jesus:
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption , whereby we cry, Abba, Father.16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.18 For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
-The word adoption had a more significant meaning then than now. A roman adoption was binding and the child not disowned. For many years the Roman emperors who had no male child would adopt a competent man to be his son and future emperor of Rome.
-We as Christians receive the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of Adoption and God becomes our Father (we are not born children of God contrary to what some teach. That is why I don't call everyone here brother; you may have a different Daddy that I do! (As Jesus said, You are of your father the devil. Cf. John 8:44 and walking in the gate here no more makes you a Christian than sitting in a pig pen makes you a pig.) making us joint heirs with Jesus. He is King of kings and Lord of lords, thus He makes us a Royal priesthood.
-Priests have a job to do before God. Ours are to show forth His marvelous light. We are to be like the moon. The moon has no light of its own but reflects the light of the sun; we must reflect the light of the Son, and if the light is dim and not where it should be, it is because we let the world get in the way.
-As priest of God we are to offer spiritual sacrifices to God. These include our bodies (Romans 12:1 to present our bodies a living sacrifice) our prayers (And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand. -Revelation 8:4)
A Holy Nation
As Israel was once the Christian "nation" now is.
All Christians, wheresoever they be, compose one holy nation. They are one nation, collected under one head, agreeing in the same manners and customs, and governed by the same laws; and they are a holy nation, because consecrated and devoted to God, renewed and sanctified by his Holy Spirit.[i]
Strangers & Pilgrims
1 Peter 2:11-12
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
-So we don't start thinking too highly of ourselves, Peter sets aside this picture of royalty and shows all believers as strangers and pilgrims.
-Stranger: NT:3941 paroikos (par'-oy-kos); from NT:3844 and NT:3624; having a home near, i.e. (as noun) a by-dweller (alien resident): KJV - foreigner, sojourn, stranger.[ii]
-Pilgrim NT:3927 parepidemos (par-ep-id'-ay-mos); from NT:3844 and the base of NT:1927; an alien alongside, i.e. a resident foreigner: KJV - pilgrim, stranger.[iii]
-The thought here is this is not our home, we are just passing through. We are also called ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) as ambassadors, we need to advance the cause of Christ here on Earth by working for Him, as strangers and pilgrims we must be submissive.
Submit to Civil Authority
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
-We follow the laws of the land so people cannot complain against God by our actions.
-We are not to use our liberty we have in Christ to cover over sins, but as God's servants, to do good. I like how Wycliffe puts it: As free. Spirit-impelled self-control is the only lasting basis of freedom: "If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law". But as the servants (slaves) of God. The man wholly mastered of God is truly free. God then works in such a one the willing and the doing of His good will. It is this God-implanted love for His way that makes Christ's yoke easy, His burden light.[iv]
Submit to Employers
1 Peter 2:18-2:20
Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
-We are to submit to those who are over us. Weather to civil, spiritual, or work relationships. It does not matter if the man be good or perverse (that is wicked) we are doing this as an act of submission to God.
-It is a thankful thing to suffer wrongs for the sake of God, who knows if your testimony turns his heart toward the Saviour?
-If you do wrong and suffer it is prosecution not persecution. God commends us for suffering wrongly. If we do well and suffer for it. It is never acceptable in God's eyes to do that which is wrong.
Christ is Our Example
1 Peter 2:21-25
21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
-Jesus, our Lord, Saviour, and example. He never did wrong yet He suffered on our behalf so we could have a relationship with God.
-We should strive not to sin.
-There should be no guile or deceit in spoken from us.
-He did not respond to the insults.
-He was abused and suffered and made no threats.
-He trusted Himself to the One Who Judges Rightly.
-We should not place ourselves in higher esteem than the Saviour. We need to realize our "rights" that we seek mean nothing. They are buried with Him. We are to live for Him and glorify His name so as many as possible can see His light and turn to Him for salvation.
God has called out the Christian to be His Nation, People, Priest and we need to realize based on the fact He paid for our salvation, He has every right to ask this of us.
God paid a terrible price for our sin. His Only Begotten Son had to die on a cross, die, be buried and rise again on the third day. If you never accepted Christ as Saviour, why not do so now?
Maybe you have accepted Christ as Saviour, but is He your Lord? We need to accept the Lordship of Jesus ("why callest thou me Lord and do not the things that I say?" as Jesus said in Luke 6:46).
And always remember: God loves you. He made a way for you and made you His own.
[i] Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.
[ii] Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[iii] Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright © 1994, 2003 Biblesoft, Inc. and International Bible Translators, Inc.
[iv] The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1962 by Moody Press.