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)
Last month we looked at our privilege and responsibility to proclaim. Now let us consider the “what” of our proclamation. The verse says “the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Our tendency is to move immediately to the “called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We gravitate to what God has done for us because we are essentially selfish and self-centered. Such are truly our default modes. What He has called us from and to is incredibly wonderful, satisfying and joyful. We will consider the magnificence of His grace toward us in the coming months, however, what we must not overlook or by-pass is the very simple and yet powerfully profound truth, that God is in Himself most excellent. The verse says “the excellencies of him.”
Here is a foundational truth, that demands reflection from us. God is excellent! Here are synonyms for excellent from a thesaurus “very good, superb, outstanding, exceptional, marvelous, wonderful, magnificent; preeminent, perfect, matchless, unbeatable, peerless, supreme, prime, first-rate, first-class, superlative, splendid, fine, beautiful, exemplary.” God is all that and more. How often have you pondered (thought long and hard) about how matchless is our heavenly loving Father? When did you last consider how superlative (if you need to look it up in a dictionary) is Jesus? How long has it been since you meditated on how unbeatable is the Holy Spirit? My guess, and forgive me if I’m presumptuous, is never. I’m not talking about remembering all God has done for us. I’m talking about intentional reflection, meditation and consideration of who God actually is in His personhood. Not what He does, rather who He is.
I suspect we haven’t done this because we’ve never been taught to, or challenged to, or been exposed to the opportunity for sharing these thoughts. It is a tragic consequence of the shallowness of thinking in this modern age. So my request is that we fix this failure and begin the process.
Here are my suggestions to assist you in this endeavor. First think about what it means to be perfect. A thesaurus will suggest ideal and faultless. We have never really seen anything ideal and faultless because whatever we have seen has a “half-life.” (The term is commonly used in nuclear physics to describe how quickly unstable atoms undergo, or how long stable atoms survive, radioactive decay. The term is also used more generally to characterize any type of exponential or non-exponential decay.) Everything we know will die, rust, breakdown, or disintegrate. So think about the most beautiful thing you can describe.
Second think about what it means to be unbeatable. In Track & Field we talk about performances that are unbeatable, however in reality five or ten years later someone comes along and beats the unbeatable. So what does it look like to be unbeatable? No one will ever be better.
Nothing you ever want will fail. No effort will be out done. Honestly it makes it hard to imagine.
Then try thinking about what it means that God is wonderful. If He is should I not be filled with wonder? Wonder speaks to my inability to comprehend and define. Wonder is bigger than my biggest thoughts. And that is our God, bigger that you can ever think. However, it is our privilege to try, to contemplate the incomprehensible.
Please recall the focus of this exercise is not what He has done, it’s who He is, in His person. Allow your imagination to run wild and expend the effort to think about the God who is Excellent. It will be worth the effort.