"But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God's very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light."
1 Peter 2:9 (NLT)
Rae's Thought: This verse comes after Peter mentions what happens to those who do not obey God's word (they stumble and meet the fate they deserve; vs 8). In verse nine, Peter describes those who do obey God's word. I'd like to break this verse down a bit.
- Chosen people. You may wonder how can we, as Christians, be God's chosen people when God gave that title to the Israelites. Israel's rebellion and disobedience caused them to be rejected by God (although there will be a time - during the end of days - when they'll have the chance to reclaim the title). The reason why Christians are now God's chosen is in our name: CHRISTians. It is because of Jesus Christ's death and resurrection that we are now able to say we too are God's chosen.
Now, some Christians take it to mean that the children of God are better than everyone else. This is a dangerous assumption. After all, the Pharisees and Sadducees - the main ones behind the brutal death of our innocent Jesus - had this same attitude. Jesus calls them a "brood of vipers" several times in His day. Matthew Henry says, "All true Christians are a chosen generation; they make one family, a people distinct from the world." Being God's chosen does not make us better...it makes us blessed. We are different from those around us.
- Royal priesthood. Also because of Christ's death/resurrection, we are now royal priests. What exactly does this mean? Well, first of all, we're royalty! God is the King of kings...the Ultimate in kingship. While it may be awesome to be a child of an earthly king, it's even more awesome to be a child of the Heavenly King. Just think: our Father owns EVERYTHING...even the possessions of all the earthly kings. With the title of "child of the King" comes benefits that far outweigh anything we could ever imagine: eternal life, a castle in Heaven, unconditional love, grace, mercy, a peace that no human can understand, provision for EVERY need...just to name a few.
Before Jesus died, the children of God had to go to priests to communicate with God. The priests were the middle men. The need for a middle man perished when Jesus died on the cross. Now, we have a direct connection to our Father. If we want to talk to God, we can do it ourselves. If we have sins to confess, we can do it ourselves. We now have the ability to experience the presence of God without first having to go to a priest.
- Holy nation. A "holy nation" doesn't mean a "perfect nation." Jesus is - and will be - the only perfect person to ever walk this earth. A "holy nation" is a nation set apart for a special purpose. We are to be different from nonbelievers. There should be a distinction between the children of God and the world.
I recently finished a book called, Captivate, by Carrie Jones.
Now, the book is fiction (werewolves, pixies, etc) but it contains something the children of God can learn from. Bear with me: in the book, pixies were distinguishable because they left a trail of gold dust behind. The characters in the story knew when they were in the presence of a pixie because of that dust. We as Christians should be distinguishable from other people. We don't leave a trail of gold dust, but we should leave a trail of God's love. When people are around you, can they tell that they're in the presence of one of God's own? Or do you look and act just like everyone else? Do they see you or do they see a reflection of God? Being sanctified, separated, and set apart for a special purpose...that's what being a holy nation means.
- God's very own possession. God owns us. Plain and simple. We were bought and paid for with Jesus's blood. Now, the awesome thing is God is no ordinary owner. He doesn't force His views on us. He doesn't mistreat us. We still have our own minds...we're not His robots. He loves us enough to let us be our own person...even when being our own person may cause Him pain. He's so good that He'll welcome us back with loving, open arms when we've strayed. He even uses our personalities for His glory. Want to know what being a possession of God entails? Go back to "royal priesthood" and reread the benefits of being a child of the King.
- You can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light. This one is easy. Because of all the awesomeness God has bestowed upon us (chosen people, royal priesthood, holy nation, etc), it is our privilege and duty to tell others about His goodness.
He has called us out of the darkness - which has things like sin, unhappiness, misery, evilness, and bondage - to live with Him in his marvelous light - which has things like forgivenss, joy, peace, and freedom.
Recently, my little nine year-old sis received a package full of goodies from one of her favorite authors. She was so excited and wanted to show everyone what she'd gotten. She couldn't keep it to herself. Likewise with the children of God. He has given us numerous of gifts, one of which is the gift of salvation. Why keep it to ourselves? We should be so excited, that we'd want to tell everybody. The secret to a joyful, fulfilled life is Jesus Christ. This is one secret that shouldn't be kept to oneself. Show everyone how good God is!