walk in the word
Category: Attitudes, Reassurance of Faith, Spiritual Life
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. 1 Peter 2:9
If you only could use one word to describe who you are, what word would you choose? Think to yourself, who am I?
Some people would say, very sadly, “Well, I’m my past. I wasn’t very wise when I was younger; I did some things I’m ashamed of and it has hung over my life like a dark cloud.”
Others would say, “I’m my performance. My parents raised me to think I had to be perfect and if I wasn’t, they’d let me know, pronto. Even today I think, ‘Am I getting it right?’ and ‘Is everything organized?’”
Others admit, “I’m my problems—I’m just not that smart. Or I’m not pretty. Or other people have peace about themselves that I’ve never known.”
Some other people are trapped in the present. They’re on this roller coaster, riding from one crisis to the next never knowing the rest that’s found in Christ.
Still others’ identity is their pride. They’re consumed with insecurity, trying to show you who they are “by their latest-and-greatest-whatever.” That’s such a hard way to live.
So those are all the wrong identities—do you see yourself?
Now it’s time for some good news. We’re deep into our study of 1 Peter on the broadcast right now, looking at how we grow in Christ. First Peter 2:9 identifies us like this:
“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.”
If you are a new creature in Christ Jesus, then this is your new identity. Let’s take it a piece at a time so that we can fully embrace it:
“But you…” Before we get into it, I’ve got to tell you that this message isn’t for everybody. It’s just for those who have turned from their sins and embraced Christ by faith. Have you made that choice? Are you a follower of Jesus? If you are, get this new picture of yourself:
“You are a chosen race.”
We don’t often think of God’s family as we do our ethnicity—“I’m Hispanic,” “I’m Asian,” “I’m white” or whatever. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, slave nor free, male nor female, but all are one in Christ.” When we come together in Christ, those human distinctions don’t matter. The thing that defines us is not what we look like on the outside, but what we look like on the inside.
“You are a royal priesthood.”
This was a difficult picture for the early church to grasp. In the Old Testament, priests had special robes (Exodus 28:3), special privileges (Deuteronomy 8:1), and special responsibilities (Numbers 1:53). Most impressively, priests had special access to God. Now, 1 Peter 2:9 says we’re all priests. The word “priest” comes from an Arabic term which means “to draw near.” In Christ, the ground is level at the foot of the cross. We’re all allowed to draw near to God. What a privilege!
Everyone who trusts in Christ is a priest. That’s why we’re to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16) and why we’re to instruct one another (Romans 15:14), settle disputes with one another (1 Corinthians 6) and serve one another (Galatians 5:13). In fact, we’re called to admonish one another (Colossians 3:16), encourage one another, build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11), and to “stir up love and good deeds in one another” (Hebrews 10:24) We are all to be leading one another in spiritual ministry. Don’t you love that?
“We are a holy nation.”
Holiness is a distinctive characteristic of the followers of Christ. We’re set apart. We don’t enjoy the same things as the world does. We don’t pursue the same ambitions. Do we sometimes have to go the hard route to honor Christ? Yes, but we believe that God will take care of us and will honor us if we commit ourselves to doing what is right. That’s holiness. That’s our identity.
“We are a people for His own possession.”
I am so blessed by the idea that God wanted me—that God wanted you. Will you let that sink into your heart? Maybe you have never truly felt wanted by anyone. Listen: God wanted you! He chose to set His love upon you, and apart from that you would not know Him. God went after you; He sought and found you and brought you to Himself. That word “possession” is two Greek words meaning “to make around.” It’s the idea that God enclosed you for Himself. He built a little jewelry box and put you in it. He made a silo and enclosed you. He embraced you because He loves you. It’s an awesome thing to think about.
Now, let these truths filter down into your identity. I know that my words fall immensely short of the healing you may need from years of hurt. But let the Word of God wash over your thinking. Let this truth silence the message of your past, or your performance, or your parents, or whatever.
You say, Why should I set aside all of these wrong identities and embrace who 1 Peter 2:9 says I am? So I can feel better? Or so I can puff myself up? No way. The reason is in the next phrase, “…that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him…”
God wants to free you up from all those wrong identities so that you can tell people how awesome He is, not the other way around. He declares you to be all these things so that you may proclaim His amazing character and works. Think of all He’s done for you:
He’s “called you out of darkness into His light” (v. 9b)
“Once you were not a people—but now you are God’s people” (v. 10)
Once you were under God’s wrath “but now you have received mercy” (v. 10)
I wonder how many of you will read this and then just get on with your day, not really letting it change the way that you think about yourself. Hey—God’s Word won’t transform you if you don’t let it penetrate your heart! Embrace this truth, say, In God, I am a chosen race, I am a royal priesthood, I am a holy nation, I am a people for His own possession. Live more fully in the power of who God Himself has declared you to be. What else do you need to know, but that the Creator of the universe has changed your identity to be linked to His?
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