Understanding the Christian identity – Part 4
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him, Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
Peter in the text above describes what the Christian identity is. First, he says we are a “chosen generation.” By this, he implies that the understanding of our identity starts with our election by God. The word ‘chosen’ implies that we are not a product of an accident, but a deliberate act of divine choice. God chose us out of His own will and desire, we did not choose ourselves. We are part of God’s chosen race. The word ‘race’ has nothing to do with colour, ethnicity or nationality, but simply a company of people.
A Royal Priesthood
Peter further says that we are “a royal priesthood.” The word “royal” speaks of our lineage. We are adopted into the royal family of God. In the Old Testament, the priesthood and royalty were separated, but in the New Covenant, it is combined. Our royalty stems from the fact that we are the priests of a King. Our King is the King of kings and Lord of lords. The idea of our priesthood is an Old Testament concept, where priests were designated to offer sacrifices to God on behalf of the people and for themselves. We are royal priests called to offer sacrifices to our King. We are also kings called to war alongside our King against the hosts of darkness.
A Holy Nation
Peter also says that we are “a holy nation.” Peter makes an allusion to what Israel was in Exodus 19:6. Both Jews and Gentiles collectively constitute one nation under God. Our Lord Jesus has broken down the middle wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles. Now, we are not just a nation, but also a “holy nation.” The word “holy” describes God’s nature, which has been imputed to us.
A Special People
Four, Peter says we are also “His own special people.” We are the special people of God. The word “special people” conveys the idea of uniqueness and distinction. We are special because of Calvary’s work in our lives.
Now A People of God
“Who were once not a people, but now the people of God.” Peter echoes the prophecy of Hosea and implies that the prophecy is fulfilled in the Church. In the book of Hosea, God initially rejected Israel due to her sins, but later pardoned her and changed his mind to accept her, (Hosea 1:6, 9; 2:4,21-23). Similarly, we were once enemies of God, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel but now; because of God’s mercy we are the people of God.
Recipients of His Mercy
Lastly, he says we are “a people who have obtained mercy.” Paul says in Ephesians 2:4 that God is rich in mercy, and has extended His mercy to us.
Peter states that the purpose of the Christian’s identity is “that you may proclaim the praises of Him, Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. The revelation of our identity is not an end in itself, but for making Christ known. In the words of John Piper, “God made us who we are, so that we could make known Who He is. Our identity is for the sake of making known His identity.” Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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