1 Peter 2:9-11
Posted November 11, 2013
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.
In these three verses, the apostle Peter addresses those who’ve put their trust in Jesus in four ways: he provides them a beautiful list of the things they are in God, tells them the purpose for God’s work in their lives, paints a contrast of what they were before and after God, and finally issues a charge to live holy lives.
Peter rattles off an impressive list of things that are true of believers. They are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession. Most of these descriptions were those God had already given to Israel in the Old Testament, but now Peter directs them toward the church! The difference now is that the things once were spoken to the physical lineage of Abraham are now spoken to those who had put their faith in Jesus. If you are in Christ, do you see these things as true of you? Do you know that you were chosen? Meditate on that amazing truth! Do you know you are part of a royal priesthood? You are in relationship with a strong yet merciful King! Do you know that you are a part of a holy nation? Not only does God declare you to be holy in Jesus, but also calls you to live that holiness and allegiance out in practical ways (sanctification). Do you know that you are part of God’s people? This is not just about “me and Jesus”, but we are to live lives of faith connected to the local church.
Why did God choose to do this? That we may “proclaim the excellencies” of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Isaiah’s words in chapter 43 verse 21 which say, “that they may declare my praise,” were probably burning in Peter’s heart and mind as he wrote this letter. The end of our salvation is worship! There is not one Christian who is not called out as a worshiper and a witness of God’s goodness… Do we see his rescue of us from darkness into light as marvelous or mediocre? These truths are meant not only to be known but rejoiced in and proclaimed! If we find ourselves cold toward God and the salvation that is ours, it is time to remember what God has done, which leads us to the next point.
We would do well to remember where we were apart from Christ and where we are in Him. That once we were not the people of God, but through Jesus we now are. Once we had not received mercy, but now (in Jesus) we have. The Bible teaches us this hard truth that we often like to ignore or skip over: we are not born at peace with God, but at war. We all were dead in our sins and transgressions, by nature children of wrath (Ephesians 2:1-3). Apart from Jesus and faith in Him, we are enemies of God (Romans 5:10). How do we cease to be at war with God, dead in our sins, His enemies? We must be reconciled to God through faith in Christ by the death of His Son.
From this amazing foundation of identity & sense of purpose, Peter issues a charge to Christians, his “beloved." Ultimately our home is not an earthly one, but one in God. We have another King who calls His people to live to the rhythm of a different drum. Other kings will call and war for our allegiance, but Christians are to have but one King. His name is Jesus. May we fight for joy in God above all other joys for we are sojourners and exiles and aliens here. Our lives should look different because we have another King. Abstaining from sinful things and the passions of the flesh are done not merely to be ascetic, but rather that we might find greater joy in our Truer Homeland and Truest King. Wage war not merely through gritting your teeth, but rather through finding deeper joy in Jesus!
Song by Aaron Strumpel & Joel Limpic.
Sung & recorded by Aaron Strumpel.
Artwork by Emily Enabnit.