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. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
1 Peter 2:9-10
It would do well for Christians to think about what this passage is saying. All who have obeyed the gospel are God’s special people! Ponder that for a minute. A chosen generation! A royal priesthood! Royal…as in royalty, the type of royalty the family of Queen Elizabeth will only wish they could have! A holy nation…a nation set apart for a higher purpose than the United States or any other nation of this world! Christians were once not God’s people…but now they are! They had once not received His mercy…but now they have!
It is truly a blessing to wear the name of Christ and receive the salvation offered by His grace. The question still remains, though. Why do the followers of Jesus have this honor? “Well, Jon,” you might say, “you just said why. To be saved! To go to heaven!”
Yet after reading the above passage I would disagree with that notion. Being saved from hell and spending eternity in heaven is a benefit of being a Christian, but that’s not the purpose of being a Christian. Not according to Peter.
Read it again. “…that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” Right there. “That you may proclaim the excellencies” of God. That’s the purpose Christians are made who they are by His power and grace. To proclaim God’s excellencies.
How do Christians do that? By showing them. By exemplifying the Lord’s excellencies to those around them. In order for that to happen, I propose Christians must examine themselves for the following:
- Humility. Humility keeps the Christian from being overconfident. There’s a reason Jesus said that “he who is least among you all is the one who is great” (Luke 9:48) and “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” (Matthew 5:3). There’s a reason He washed His disciples’ feet (John 13). God’s chosen people must show people how excellent God is, and being a humble servant very aware of their own failings is a big first step.
- Confidence. Yes, I know it seems like a contradiction, but Christians must join confidence to their humility. The early church prayed for confidence, and God gave it to them (Acts 4:29). That’s in the Bible for a reason. The Hebrew writer said that Christians can “confidently” say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:6). Jesus told His followers to not fear any man who could do nothing more than kill their body, but rather to fear the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matthew 10:28). Yet the Christian who actively searches out God’s will in the Scriptures and applies it to his or her life needs not to be terribly fearful of God, because God is their helper, the best Helper anyone could have (Philippians 4:13; Psalm 46:1)! God providing aid…the best reason in the world to have confidence as well as humility!
- Proactiveness. Bible students, have you ever noticed all the times in Scripture where God tells His servants to take the initiative? “Let your light shine before others…” (Matthew 5:16). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7). “Treat others the way you want to be treated” (Matthew 7:12). “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart…” (Matthew 22:37). “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39). None of that happens by accident. They’re all choices one must purposely make. God does not want passive Christians, but Christians “who know the right thing to do” and do it rather than “fail to do it” and thus “sin” (James 4:17). That’s how God’s chosen people show others how excellent He truly is!