March 9 - 1 Peter 2:9-12

Sunday, March 9, 2014

1 Peter 2:9-12 – Chosen People

But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 

Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

One of the beautiful things about the men who led the early church was their absolute command of God's word. These men used scripture as part of their everyday lives and when they wrote letters, quoted it as part of their conversation. Without citing chapter and verse, they filled the minds of their readers over and over with God's word and then began establishing the words of Jesus as part of the new Covenant and our New Testament.

1 Peter 2:9 is the fulfillment of Matthew 21:43.  We are the people who will produce the fruit of the kingdom of God!  This is why holiness is so important.  We are being built into the spiritual house - the tabernacle of God.

This verse is a combination of several Old Testament passages: Deut. 10:15; Exod. 19:6; Isa. 43:20-21 and Isa. 61:6. While these originally applied to Israel, Peter has exploded the words to encompass all who believe in Jesus Christ, both Gentile and Jew.

In Paul's letter to the Romans, we uncovered that the lineage of Christians comes from a spiritual relationship to Adam, not just a physical genealogy. Peter applies the same consideration here. As Christians, we are a chosen race … our lineage is traced to Abraham, just as Isaiah told the Babylonian exiles that they were the chosen people of God in Isaiah 43:20.

The words "royal priesthood," come directly from Exodus 19:56. Moses spoke to the people of Israel as a covenant nation. By abiding by this covenant, Israel would remain a holy nation. By living lives that "declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light," … we remain within the New Covenant established by Jesus … a holy nation of believers.

1 Peter 2:10 comes from Hosea 1:9, 10, 2:23.  Peter continues to explain the same thing established by Paul in his letter to the Romans … as Christians, we are now the people of God, fulfilling ancient prophecy. We have a responsibility to live as spiritual heirs to the kingdom.

1 Peter 2:11-12 are an introduction to Peter's 'rules' for living in the world.  He reminds us who we are.  We are not of this world. The entire nation of Israel became corrupt while living among the pagans of this world, how much easier is it for individuals to do so. We must constantly be on our guard.

It's still about holiness.  Living lives free from sinful desires is the message for today.