Chosen To Excel In Proclaiming His Excellencies (Pt 1)
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” 1 Peter 2:9 (NAS)
Peter, in his first inspired letter, demonstrates a pattern he utilizes as he is preparing to make an allusion or reference to an Old Testament passage. He inserts one of two words prior to his reference, using either ‘but’, or ‘for’ in the immediate context. Take a look and see for yourself. Check out 1 Peter 1:15-16; 1:24-25, 2:6-8, 2:9-10, 2:21-22, 3:10-12, 3;14, 4:17-18, and 5:5.
Our text for today follows that pattern and is lifted from one of the most encouraging contexts of a New Testament epistle written by the apostle Peter as he was moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God (2 Pet. 1:21b). Designed by our Creator to communicate our precious value to Him as His chosen people made adequate in Christ through obedience to the word, then entrusted with this message to excel in proclaiming His excellencies to a world in darkness.
This little verse is jam packed with parts of several Old Testament passages. So, let’s begin to break those out of our verse so we can know exactly what the prophets of old didn’t-the person and the time the Spirit of Christ was indicating-specifically in reference to the church. In context, brethren, we are one of those glories that would follow Christ’s sufferings (1 Peter 1:10-12); part of those things announced to us through those who preached the gospel to us and to which angels longed to look. Did you know that? How awesome!
A Chosen Race
The Spirit moves Peter to insure that we, as those in Christ, chosen through the gospel, know with certainty that we are God’s true intended chosen race according to prophecy. Peter is alluding to passages found in the book of Isaiah such as Isa. 44:1-3: “But now listen, O Jacob, My servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus says the LORD who made you and formed you from the womb, who will help you, ‘Do not fear, O Jacob My servant; And you Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour out water on the thirsty land and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring, and My blessing on your descendants. ’ ” ; and Deut. 10:16 : “Yet on your fathers did the LORD set His affection to love them, and He chose their descendants after them, even you above all peoples, as it is this day.”
To most, they give these statements a cursory glance and then assume it applies to the physical nation of Israel, the Jews. However, we’ve been given further revelation through others that have preached the gospel to us by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, such as the apostle Paul, who makes it clear in his preserved letter to the Romans that “they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel” (Rom. 9:6), “but the children of the promise are regarded as descendents.” (Rom. 9:8b) The promise was to come through Isaac and that promise was the coming of the indwelling Holy Spirit as the apostle averred in his letter to the Galatian churches. “And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘All the nations shall be blessed in you.’ ” (Gal 3:8) “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us– for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree’– in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. ” (Gal. 3:13, 14) If you have received the blessing of the indwelling Spirit, as Paul affirmed in his letter to the Roman brethren, then you belong to Christ. Therefore he would assert, as he did through the Spirit to the Galatian brethren, “And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise. ” We, as the church, are the descendents that came after the fathers (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) that He intended to choose by means of the gospel, spoke in truth, not some emotional appeal, to “set His affection” to love us above all other peoples. How do we know that? Scripture. Hear the King seated in heaven as He speaks through His apostle: “But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. And it was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thes. 2:13-14) That this plan was in place “from the beginning”, before the very foundation of the world, hear Ephesians 1:4, “Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world..”
Now, if someone wants to say, “The Jews are God’s chosen people!” Well, we should say amen! The only question is who are the true Jews of the Lord today? Let’s let Paul through the Spirit once more answer that one, shall we? “He is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh. But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter…” (Rom. 2:28-29) Again, it has everything to do with the indwelling Holy Spirit!
The question then is the same that Paul asked of some of John’s disciples in Acts 19:2. “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” The context to follow conveys it had everything to do with their immersion. If you are immersed into Christ you receive the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Acts 2:38) and you become part of His chosen race. Amen.