1 Peter 2:9 (ESV) 9 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.
“Anno Domini nostri Jesu Christi” two thousand eighteen, we begin our journey into the Apostle Peter’s first letter to the elect exiles of the Dispersion. Or if you prefer, in the year of our Lord Jesus Christ two thousand eighteen we begin our journey into the Apostle Peter’s first letter to Christians throughout the world. In chapter two verse nine we encounter our theme for the coming year. “9 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 (ESV)
I begin by noting two very significant elements of the verse. First “you are” is the opening assertion. Second “that you may proclaim” is the inescapable response to who you are. Peter begins the letter with an explanation of our salivation, 1 Peter 1:3 (ESV) “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,” The consequence of being born again is growth, which is the subject of chapter two and our theme verse.
Peter begins with the explanation that who we are is the basis of all that we do. We tend to overlook this very important detail. Before any “good works” or “righteous acts” occur we must be born again. Jesus in John 3:3 (ESV) “3 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Shortly thereafter Jesus will explain to Nicodemus that “6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” John 3:6 (ESV) Being born again begins with the work of the Holy Spirit convicting our hearts of sin, empowering us to embrace the grace of Jesus Christ, and radically and pervasively transforming our desires and thought processes. We become as Paul asserts in 2 Corinthians 5:17–18 (ESV) “17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation;” Prior to ministry we must become a new creation, not physically but spiritually. This spiritual transformation includes our desires, our will, our thought life and how we view ourselves and the entire world. It is a radical transformation so that all our actions flow naturally from our new heart (control center).
Let me pause for a moment to consider the question of how this happens. First it is cooperative process. The Holy Spirit quickens our soul through hearing the Word of God. We respond by releasing our will (control) and embracing the new life bestowed. Second if you have any question or doubt about your status, simply ask God, “Holy Spirit make me aware of your work within me so that your confidence will be my hope.” James says in James 4:2 (ESV) 2 . . . You do not have, because you do not ask.
The consequence or result of being born again is a new life walking with Jesus under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. Only then are we equipped to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness. Our proclamation is the demonstration of our new life in Christ. It then becomes authentic and powerful because people see the congruity between what we say and what we are. We cannot effectively proclaim what we don’t in reality possess.
The remainder of the year we will continue to explore this great promise of God. It is astonishing that God bestows upon us such great privileges as to become “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, . . ” It follows naturally that we should “. . . proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Thank you Father for so great a grace.
May the blessings of our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, be yours today and always, Happy New Year.