February 2018

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.

We began to explore this text last month by focusing upon the “you are” and what it means to be born anew. Transformation lies at the center of Christianity. The transformation is from the old nature; fallen, selfish, prideful, rebellious, sinful, unrighteous, to a new creation in Christ. The new creation is described as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,”
The chosen race is our first description. Race from the Greek, “The noun γένος sports several meanings or applications in the NT. The sense “family” is clear in Acts 7:13 and may be present in 4:6, ἐκ γένους ἀρχιερατικοῦ, though here the meaning may be “of high-priestly descent”; indeed, a reference to descent or origin is evident in several other passages. The sense of the term is extended to “race of people” or “nation” in other contexts (of the Jewish people in Acts 7:19; 2 Cor 11:26 [ἐκ γένους, “from my people”]; Gal 1:14; Phil 3:5; figuratively of Christians as a “holy nation” in 1 Pet 2:9,. in this connection, the phrase τῷ γένει is used to indicate nationality (Mark 7:26; Acts 4:36; 18:2, 24). Finally, the distinct meaning “kind” occurs a half dozen times (Matt 13:47; Mark 9:29;1 Cor 12:10, 28; 14:10.) NIDNTTE
The analogy to family is very important and repeated in numerous Scriptural references. In the context of adoption (family creation) you can choose your family. The assertion is here made that God has individually and corporately chosen us to be part of His family. You are not connected to God by accident or inadvertence but rather by purposeful, willful, election. You are part of God’s family because He has chosen you to be so. This is an incredible truth.
Take John 3:16–17 (ESV) “16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” Restate it this way in accordance with 1 Peter 2:9. God so loved you and me, that he gave his only son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but be joined to the family of God. God did not send his Son into the world to condemn you and me, but in order that we might become his family through him. God’s love and election are behind all our hope for salvation and life..
God’s choosing falls under the theological topic of election. Here’s an excerpt from Baker’s Encyclopedia of the Bible, “The use of the word “election” emphasizes that membership of God’s people is due to God’s initiative, prior to all human response, made before time began (Eph 1:4; cf. Jn 15:16, 19). It is God who has called men and women to be his people, and those who respond are elect. God’s call does not depend on any virtues or merits of humankind. Indeed, he chooses the foolish things by worldly standards to shame the wise, the weak to confound the strong, and the low and insignificant to bring to nothing those who think that they are something (1 Cor 1:27, 28). The effect of election is to leave no grounds whatever for human boasting in achievement and position. Whatever the elect are, they owe entirely to God, and they cannot boast or compare themselves with other people.”
So we are a chosen race not because we are better than anyone else but because God decided He wanted us to be part of His family. We are saved by grace, hallelujah. Thank you Lord.
If we are part of God’s family then we have a powerful responsibility to live in a way that expresses our appreciation and delight at His generosity. Does every part of your life, your attitudes, your beliefs, your thoughts, your desires, your words, and your actions honor the family of which you are a part? Am I a credit to my parent? A question each of us needs to consider every day. Lent would be a great time to start. Listen to Jeremiah 17:10 (ESV 10 “I the Lord search the heart and test the mind, to give every man according to his ways, according to the fruit of his deeds.” Let me be diligent in searching my own heart first, so that I may be found faithful in my Father’s sight.
Let us live a His Chosen Race.