As Christians, we sometimes get so preoccupied with being better and more effective, that we forget just how special it is to be born again—that we are safe in the arms of Jesus. Yes, sin is still present in our lives. Yes, our settled posture as Christians is constant repentance. But when we are feeling so crushed by sin that we don’t even have tears to cry, I am so thankful that God reminds us of who we are because of Jesus.
In 1 Peter 2:9-10 we have a great reminder of our identity before God. The apostle Peter takes the ways that the great nation of Israel used to be described, and applies this description to everyonewho follows Jesus. Christians are people who have been chosen by God, we are “a chosen race” (v. 9). Not better than anyone else, nor more deserving, but chosenby God.
But not only that. Peter also tells us that every one of us is a priest—we are “a royal priesthood” (v. 9). Because Jesus has made us clean, we who trust in him have direct access into the presence of the King. We are a royal priesthood. If you trust in Jesus, you are a priest of the King.
And next in his description, Peter reminds Christians they are “a holy nation, a people for his possession” (v. 9)—because there is a holy nation, a nation that God is building, that is set apart to be special. And the people who form that nation are God’s very own possession. What a beautifully intimate description of our identity as people who belong to God.
I want to ask, dear brothers and sisters in Christ: is that how you describe yourself? You are part of a chosen people, especially loved by God! Do you see that in 1 Peter 2, God is speaking to you and telling you of just how wonderful a privilege you have?
A friend of mine told me about his uncle who has an adopted son. That son would often have conversations with his father as he got into bed. One day he asked his father, “Dad, you really love me, don’t you?”.
And his father said “Yes, of course! Why do you ask?”
“Well, when most of the babies are born into this world, their parents really love them, but they also don’t get any choice in the matter. But you and Mum, you chose me, which means that out of all the babies you could have had, you wanted me, you thought I was special. You really loved me.”
It wasn’t that God was stuck with us and had to somehow make it work. As the apostle Peter writes—as God himself is saying—we have been chosen by God especially. God loves us especially. We are his very own possession. We are set apart for his purposes.
And what is the purpose he chose us for? To praise him! To “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (v. 9). That means we make known how wonderful and good he is. It means we bring to people’s attention how good God is and how good he has been to you.
Perhaps think of it like this. Imagine you were chosen to play for the Socceroos in the starting 11. And it’s game day, and everyone else is warming up and getting ready, but you are nowhere to be seen. Instead of getting ready to play, you actually think it’s a bit rainy and a bit windy, and you want to feel cosy and so you sit in an armchair in your hotel and snuggle under a blanket and start reading Harry Potter. Now what do you think the coaching staff would do when they find you? They would break down the door and throw you into the car and drive you to the stadium to get ready for the game. Out of all the people in Australia, they chose you to play in the squad. And actually getting out and playing the game is the purpose you were chosen for.
As a Christian, you were chosen by God and saved for his own possession, in order that you might proclaim his excellencies. And praise be to God, that we can do this wholeheartedly, because we know our value, and we know it is unshakable—even when we fail or feel crushed by sin. We are indeed safe in Jesus’ arms.
As Peter reminds us earlier in his letter, we are saved into “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Pet 1:4-5).