Chosen To Excel In Proclaiming His Excellencies (Pt 3)
“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)
We continue the study of our text from the inspired pen of the apostle Peter, tilling the rich content of our chosen verse for the Old Testament quotes that are there for our benefit. We are in our third installment on this series dealing with the church being God’s “holy nation”.
Space limitations confine what we can present so we would encourage our readers to engage in further in depth personal study on these topics. Knowing who you have been made to be in Christ will help you to personally fulfill God’s purpose in this, your generation. Peter reminds us in our text, that it is to excel in proclaiming the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light in the hopes of delivering others out of darkness and into that glorious light.
We return to the same Old Testament verse we cited last week in our second segment: “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel. (Ex. 19:5-6) Ok sons of Israel, that means you church, listen up!
The Oath Concerning a Holy Nation
God’s holy nation, the people He sanctified and set apart for His purposes, is the result of His oath. It’s one He made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He made this clear through Moses as he spoke from “across the Jordan in the land of Moab..” (Deut. 1:5a) to the second generation preparing to enter the Promised Land. “For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers, the LORD brought you out by a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deut. 7:6-8)
It was this oath that Moses cited in turning back the LORD’s wrath in desiring to destroy the Israelites from the face of the earth while they were engaging in the Golden Calf Caper. “Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Thy servants to whom Thou didst swear by Thyself, and didst say to them, ‘I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heavens, and all this land of which I have spoken I will give to your descendants, and they shall inherit it forever.’ So the LORD changed His mind about the harm which He said He would do to His people.” (Ex. 32:13-14) Now, we need to be reminded that although the LORD didn’t smoke the whole lot of them for their rebellion, He did cull from the herd, so to speak, those who persisted in their sin and resisted Moses’ call of “Whoever is for the LORD, come to me!” (Ex. 32:26) Those who did not obey, 3000 of them, were struck down. Again, this is in line with God’s promise to Moses that “if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then…you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” This is a conditional covenant.
Let’s turn our attention back to the song Moses and the sons of Israel sang right after the Israelites crossed the Red Sea and the Egyptian army was destroyed in the waters. In gratitude for their deliverance and redemption they thank Him saying, “In Thy lovingkindness Thou hast led the people whom Thou hast redeemed;
In Thy strength Thou hast guided them to Thy holy habitation.” (Ex. 15:13); and in closing out their praise to Him “Thou wilt bring them and plant them in the mountain of Thine inheritance, the place, O LORD, which Thou hast made for Thy dwelling, the sanctuary, O Lord, which Thy hands have established. The LORD shall reign forever and ever.” (Ex. 15:17-18)
The Oath Realized-The True Holy Nation
Notice the oath of God looked forward to the forefather’s descendents, His holy nation, executed upon love and with the promise that He will lead, guide, bring, plant and give these descendents a land they shall inherit forever, which, by the way, is also God’s sanctuary and holy habitation which He established. Big clue here that should help us to understand that the physical Temple upon Mt Zion located in the environs of Jerusalem couldn’t be God’s intended eternal locale for His people or Him. They were but types. We know the earth and its works are going to be burned up, so that takes care of a patch a land upon this planet as the land given to the holy nation forever, right? So these passages have to be prophetic references to the true spiritual land for His true intended holy nation. That which Hebrews 12:22-23 speaks: “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all…” If you’ve been obedient to the gospel, you’ve been redeemed. By faith you are declared His covenant people, the true spiritual heirs of Abraham, the holy nation prophesied and now planted on the spiritual mountain of His inheritance in heaven, brought to God, and reigning with Him forever and ever! Amen.