“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession”1 Peter 2:9a NAS
In his epistles, the apostle Peter does not always state, “as it is written,” prior to making a reference to an Old Testament passage.
Our text for today is one of several examples of allusions to Old Testament writings contained in his first inspired letter for the “aliens, scattered throughout” (1 Pet. 1:1), which includes us as well. Peter is moved to cite specific statements from the context of Exodus chapter nineteen, verses five and six which reads, “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” (NAS)
The Spirit of God moved Peter, along with the other inspired apostles and New Testament prophets, to make such statements as we have in our text above, so that there would not be an “identity crisis” in the church concerning just who we are. We need to be mindful that the apostle Paul was divinely directed to write that the church were those that the LORD had chosen before the foundation of the earth. (Eph. 1:4) That helps us to understand that physical Israel was the shadow and type of the true substance God intended to manifest, the church, and not the other way around, as so many wrongly think today.
Let us offer further proof of this proposition by means of other Old Testament statements viewed in the clarified light of New Testament revelation. Moses uttered these words to the second generation of the physical nation of Israel 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) The prophet Isaiah says this, “But you, Israel, My servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham My friend, You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called from its remotest parts, and said to you, ‘You are My servant, I have chosen you and not rejected you.’” (Isa. 41:8-9)
Now, there are many other passages we could take a look at but these two will suffice in making God’s point concerning the church being His “chosen race”, the benefactors of God’s oath (covenant) to the forefathers, the true descendents of Abraham. Galatians 3 makes it clear the covenant God made with Abraham was with his seed, Jesus the Christ. (Gal 3:15-16) The true descendents of Abraham are those who have received the blessing of Abraham (“all the nations shall be blessed in you”, Gen.12:3). We know that the blessing to come to the nations is “the promise of the Spirit through faith.” (Gal. 3:14) Galatians 3:18 makes it clear the inheritance is granted by means of that promise. Paul, through the Spirit, then declares that all those who are immersed into Christ are not only clothed with Christ, but “belong to Christ” and “are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to promise” because in your immersion into Christ, you receive the gift of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38). The apostle Paul stated plainly in the Roman letter that if the Spirit of Christ does not indwell you, you don’t belong to Him (Rom. 8:9). If the Spirit does indwell you, then you belong to Him. Paul, in the Corinthian letter makes it clear that Christ belongs to God (1 Cor 3:23). Therefore, if you belong to Christ, you belong to God, making you part of His prized possession, the Israel of God (Gal. 6:16) as a true descendent of His oath to the forefathers. God’s choosing of you as His possession also includes being redeemed. The Spirit then moved Paul to note, “But when the fulness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Gal. 4:5-6) All this was so God could in Christ demonstrate His love for you and His faithfulness in keeping His oath to your spiritual forefathers. By means of being His possession and chosen, we are set apart and “crowned” (made royal) priests servants entrusted with spiritual service to Him. Amen.