Summary: Peter addresses the church and communicates the glad tidings that we, the people of God, possess tremendous privileges. The Church is privileged in that it is able to shine with & proclaim the excellencies of God.
1 Peter 2: 9 & 10
THE PEOPLE OF GOD [Renewing Hope Series]
A story is told of a hitchhiker who was trying to get a ride one night in Las Angles. A car pulled over to pick him up. When the hitchhiker got into the car he saw the face of the driver and recognized him. The driver was Kirk Douglas! The hitchhiker was shocked and all he could think to say was, “Do you know who you are?”
What a comfort and encouragement it is for us to be aware of who we are as born again believers in Jesus Christ. Knowing and reflecting upon our honors and blessings in Christ upholds us in suffering and motivates us in our daily walk and service. So Peter addresses the church and communicates the glad tidings that we, the people of God, possess tremendous privileges (CIM).
The description of the Church depicted here draws upon the parallels of the Old Testament description of Israel. This does not mean God is finished with Israel, for I believe He will fulfill the promises and covenants He made with them. But it does mean that God has established the Church to be what Israel should have been, the people who proclaim His excellencies. The Church is to shine with and proclaim the excellencies of God.
I. Who We Are, 9a.
II. What We Do, 9b.
III. We Are One People, 10a.
IV. We Have Received Mercy, 10b.
The world may reject Jesus but we who have received Jesus have been changed by Him. The first part of verse 9 describes who the people of God now are. “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession.”
But marks the contrast between the disobedient unbelievers of verse eight and the people of God in verse 9. In ascending order Peter enumerates some of the glorious riches of believers in Christ. The you in Greek is plural and emphatic, stating that Peter is addressing all of those who have a personal relationship with Jesus. Let's look at how he describes believers who have founded their life on the eternal rock of Christ Jesus.
Those believers who are being united stone by stone as the temple of God are a chosen race, a chosen people. Because Jesus has been chosen by God (vv 4,6) we who are in Him are also designated God's chosen people. God did not choose us because we were worthy, but because He chose to bestow special love upon those “in Christ.” God’s choice has secured those who are in Christ before the foundation of the world. We are a people God will not let go of or lose.
We have been called out of the race of natural man into new race of people, the people of faith. By our new spiritual birth we are born again. We have become a new race of people. We are a spiritual race with the eternal God as our spiritual Father. We were sought out by God and have become the people of promise (Gal. 4:28), or those who will inherit the promises of God.
Second, we are a royal priesthood. These two words together express the dignity, excellency and function that God has given us all as ministers of His royal court. We are royal because we have been born again into the family of God. We are of royal lineage.
Every true Christian is a priest in the household of God. We have been given the ability to minister to God and to people. We are priests because we are members of God’s own family. We are brothers and sisters of the Priest-King Jesus! Thus every Christians is a priest or minister before God and we are called a "priesthood of believers."
The O.T. priest’s main responsibility dealt not so directly with the interpretation of Scripture but with reconciling people to God through the sacrificial system. In Old Testament times, people did not approach God directly. A priest acted as intermediary between God and sinful human beings. With Christ's victory on the cross, that pattern changed. Now we can come directly into God's presence without fear (Hebrews 4:16), and we are given the ministry of bringing others to Him also (2 Corinthians 5:18-21). When we are united with Christ as members of His body, we join in His priestly work of reconciling man and God. Hopefully we are fulfilling this royal function and giving forth the sacrifice of praise while we serve our King.
Peter says a third rich possession of believers is that we are a holy nation. A nation consists of citizens who reside in a given locale, obey rules and regulations, and strive for the well-being of their society. Citizens of this nation have common characteristics because they have been born again through Jesus Christ. Holy means we are dedicated to God and separated from the world. Peter portrays God's people as a holy nation, which means that the citizens have been set apart for service to God [Kistemaker].