Chosen to Proclaim His Excellencies (1 Peter 2:9-11)
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.] —1 Peter 2:9-11
In this passage, Peter is speaking to us of our position (who we are) and our possession (whose we are) and then encouraging us to do something in light of these truths. Exodus 19:5-6 echoes this passage: “‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
But you are a chosen race. Those who have obeyed the Word, having placed their faith and trust in Christ, become a part of this chosen race. As a chosen race our election is real and secure. Just as Abraham was chosen by God to begin the physical race of the Hebrews under the first covenant, we, too, are called a ‘chosen race.’ Even those who have not been born into that physical race are now chosen to be a part of this spiritual race—the body of believers of the New Covenant in Christ Jesus, who are appointed and favored by the God who created them and called them. This is who you are.
But you are a royal priesthood. Priests in the Old Testament represented the people before God in order to appropriate forgiveness for sins. But we, a royal priesthood, no longer need these mediators. We can draw close, into the very presence of God, personally, where we can receive grace, mercy, and forgiveness because of the last mediator and high priest—Jesus Christ. You are a part of a kingdom of priests, those who God has given the right to come into His presence any time of day or night. This is who you are.
But you are a holy nation. A nation, holy, set apart. A nation is a large group of people united by having something in common. We are united by our common calling and our common owner. We belong to God who has called us to be united with Him in the calling to reach all earthly nations with His message of salvation as proclaimed in His Word. This is who you are.
But you are a people for His own possession. A treasured possession among all people. We are highly valued by God. Our worth is confirmed in the price paid through Jesus’ death on the cross on our behalf. What clearer message can we have to show our worth? An owner cares for his possessions. He guards them, keeps them, protects them, and tends them. And that is what we are—His. He does all these things for you because you are His treasured possession. This is who you are.
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.
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.
This is our message. This is the purpose of our position (who we are) and our possession (whose we are). This is what our children need to hear. This is what our friends need to hear. This is what the world needs to hear. If you will tell them His words, if they will obey His voice, then they can join you as part of the chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, and treasured possession.
I once heard a man say, “Lord, help me to never forget what I was like before Christ.” What do you think about this statement? How does it relate to these verses?
What are ways we can proclaim His excellencies?
Why might I be embarrassed to share with another person the excellencies of God? How can we get over this fear, in light of 1 Peter 2:9-10?
Each of us who has trusted Christ as our Savior has a story to share that changes our purpose for living. Share yours. See if you can relate it to the bulleted points above.