INTRODUCTION. The first letter of Peter provides a sound foundation for the newly converted disciple of Jesus Christ to begin their journey with their Savior, and the heart of their conversion is captured powerfully in 1 Peter 2:9-10. Here Peter declares the disciple’s new identity, their new purpose, and their new people. This post is about the disciple’s new identity as part of “a chosen race and a royal priesthood.” (See previous post #522 on April 27, 2022, about this same verse.)
9 But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. – 1 Peter 2:9-10
In the first chapter of the epistle, Peter has already told us that we were redeemed from our futile way of life (1:18) by the precious blood of Christ (1:19) and that, by God’s great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope (1:3), but now the apostle is going to tell us more about our new identity in Christ.
A CHOSEN RACE
The redeemed in Christ are, first, a chosen race. Peter declares that we believers have been chosen. But, for us to be chosen, of course, there must be someone who chose us. By whom were we chosen? The answer to that question was already provided at the beginning of the letter when Peter said we were “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father” (1:1-2). So, God the Father chose us. When did He choose us? The apostle Paul tells us that “God the Father chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4). Thus, God chose us in eternity past. And to what end did God the Father choose us in eternity past? He chose us “so that we may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.”
This verse speaks of the great biblical truth of God’s election, that the Lord of the universe has chosen His people before the world began so that His redeemed people may proclaim His glory and may be witnesses to the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). The people of God are a chosen race to proclaim His excellencies.
A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
Not only are we a chosen race, but we believers are also a royal priesthood. Now, we should realize that, under the first covenant, which was governed by the Law given at Sinai in the Old Testament, it was impossible for there to be a royal priesthood. According to the Law, the tribe of Levi was the priestly tribe responsible for bringing the people’s sacrifices to God and bringing God near to the people. But the royal line of David came from the tribe of Judah. No priest was allowed to be king, and no king could become a priest. That was under the Law, the first covenant.
But now Christ has come and has ushered in the new covenant in His blood. The Levitical priesthood is gone and Jesus, the King of kings, is now our Great High Priest, so that those who have believed in Him for salvation have become a royal priesthood. We are brothers of King Jesus so we are part of the royal family of God. As the crippled Mephibosheth was allowed to eat at King David’s table as one of his sons (2 Samuel 9), so we eat as royalty at the table of King Jesus. As priests, we bring to God the sacrifices of praise and prayer and thanksgiving. We are given free access into His throne room (Hebrews 4:16) so that we can offer our requests before Him. We offer our bodies as living sacrifices to God (Romans 12:1). Believers have been redeemed to be a royal priesthood so that we can proclaim the excellencies of our glorious King.
The apostle addresses this epistle to aliens scattered throughout the regions of modern-day Turkey (1:1-2). If we were to meet these people, there would be little that was outwardly impressive about them. Truth be told, they were very ordinary folks, probably still rough around the edges from their former pagan lives and godless practices. “There were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble” (1 Cor. 1:26). But now these ordinary aliens in Asia Minor had heard the gospel and had believed on Christ, and now they are no longer ordinary in God’s sight. Now they are a chosen race and a royal priesthood redeemed to proclaim the excellencies of God.
Next time, we will continue to examine their new identity.
SDG rmb 5/27/2022 #536