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.
Today’s passage is like a revelation to me. I am currently in a bible study that just last week discussed Jesus telling us that we are salt and light. The part that challenged me most was when He talks about a city on a hill cannot be easily hidden. I’ve always looked at this passage as Jesus telling us to be these things. However, as I read it once again, I see that He isn’t calling us to be these things, rather that as believers in and followers of Him, we are these things!
Peter echoes it here. After describing and highlighting those who have rejected God and what He says to us, Peter is reminding us of who we are in Him. It is because of Jesus who made it possible once again for us to be in communion with God, that we are once again part of the family. The story of the prodigal son once again rings through my head, probably because I relate the most to it. As we have turned back to God desiring a relationship with Him, He not only welcomes us back with open arms, but He gives us all He has to offer: love, mercy, grace, and is open to an eternal relationship with us despite turning our backs on Him and going a different way. I think sometimes (at least in my experience), it takes us experiencing life without God in order to appreciate life with Him.
I’m currently reading a book by Matt Chandler that just discussed the importance of understanding the gravity of God’s forgiveness. Our own depravity must be fully understood before we can properly appreciate the weight of His forgiveness, mercy, and love. This is what the bible means when it discusses predestination as members of God’s family. He says that when we come back to Him, we have nothing to worry about, nothing will be lacking, etc. However, when we go back to Him just because we don’t have something, we won’t stay. We will only stay as long as we feel we need Him and then we will go back to doing whatever we did before. Have you ever done that? I still do it from time to time. We use God as a sort of sugar daddy to help us feel better when we are down: we sing hymns, we go to church, we read comforting things in the bible. What kind of rollercoaster sick and twisted spiritual life is that? We’re shortcutting all the good stuff!
I’ve heard many times that we are created for worship. It is only recently, however, that I think I am finally starting to understand what that really means. Here, Peter mentions it in verse 9, you are chosen…so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him. Why? Because He is worth it! The creation is created for the creator. Too often, though, we look at this as if God created us to be His slaves. If He truly is God, then He doesn’t need us; if He can speak the universe into existence, mold us out of clay and give us the breath of life, then does He need slaves? He enjoys watching us enjoy life. This is why He gives us things to obey, not because He has control issues, but because we have stupidity issues. He knows how we were designed to function, but too often we try to function outside of our design and get it all messed up. It’s like trying to drive to another city on a chest of drawers. We use our own selves outside of what we were designed to do and fall on our faces ticked off at God because He let us down.
He calls us to be light, salt, and a city on a hill because it is who we are and who we were designed to be. Outside of this, we will never be truly happy in this life. We will not discover true joy because we are operating outside of our purpose. Just like a racehorse is truly happy sprinting around a track or through a field, you will not be truly happy until you start doing what you were created to do.
So, who is God’s chosen race? We are (yes, that includes you) and we won’t ever understand the truth of it until we start acting as such.