midst of persecution, Christians can easily lose perspective. When
Peter wrote to the churches in what we now call Asia Minor, he
addressed that very dilemma. How easily these Christians could
forget their relationship with God and believe that somehow they
had been forgotten. But Peter reminded them of their relationship
in I Peter 2:9. The
overarching thrust of this passage is that we must remember that
we are God’s. No matter how things look, we belong to Him and He
is our God. He will use us to further His work and He will take
care of us. We can wait on Him and we can trust Him.
We are a chosen race, we are God’s family.
While the NASB says we are a “chosen race,” the KJV and
NKJV say we are a “chosen generation.” However, neither one of
those terms accurately portrays the meaning of the word translated
#1085). The word is variously translated “kind,”
“country,” “nation” and “race” throughout the Bible.
However, in every place this term is used it refers to a
connection by birth or by family. Thus in Acts
4:6, the Bible spoke of those of high-priestly “descent.”
And in Acts 4:36, it
said Barnabas was of Cyprian “birth.” Finally, in Acts
7:13, we see the term used to describe Joseph’s
When Peter said we are a chosen race, he was claiming that
we are God’s family. But more than that, we are God’s chosen
family. This concept of choice demonstrates God’s great love for
us. We were not his family just because we were born to Him. He
specifically picked us. Additionally, this choice provides us a
great deal of comfort. He chose us even knowing how sinful and
awful we were. Romans
5:8-10 says He sent His Son even while we were enemies. If He
knew that about us then and chose us anyway, we do not have to
fear that He may decide to drop us somewhere along the way. He
will never do such. As long as we remain in Christ and are kept by
faith (I Peter 1:5), we
will always be a part of God’s chosen family. Peter is giving
the same assurance that Paul was offering the Romans in Romans
8:35-39. No matter what happens around us, if we remain
faithful to God, we are still His chosen family.
We are a royal priesthood, we are God’s ministers.
John stated this same concept in Revelation
1:5, 5:10. We have been made kings and priests. This calls to
mind the ancient king and priest of Salem Melchizedek in Genesis
14:18, who foreshadowed our High Priest and King, Jesus (Hebrews
As part of the family of the High Priest and King, we are
also priests and kings. We are a royal priesthood. Exodus
28:1-4 explains that the priest’s job was to minister to God
or serve Him. Offering up sacrifices on His altar. No doubt, our
High Priest not only offered up a sacrifice, He was the sacrifice.
While we no longer offer the blood of bulls and goats, Peter said
we offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God (I
We offer up worship as a sacrifice, praising God with our
lips in song, prayer and teaching (Hebrews
13:15). Romans 12:1 says we offer up our own selves as a sacrifice to God—not
necessarily being martyred in the sense that Jesus was, but rather turning our lives over to God’s will instead of our
own. We minister to and serve God by following His will.
At the same time, we are not only a priesthood, we are a
royal priesthood. We reign with Christ. We are not awaiting some
distant future kingdom in which we might reign with Christ, we do
so even now. Our kingdom is not of this world, so we do not expect
riches and honor of and from the world. But we do receive honor
from our God as He rewards us.
We are a holy nation, we are God’s tools.
The term translated “nation” (ethnos-Strong’s
#1484), differs in meaning from the term used above to translate
“race.” While the term for “race” referred to family and
kindred, this term simply means “nation.” It calls to mind
people that live under the same ruler, by the same laws and in the
same land. While we are kingly priests, we must always remember
that God is our king. His word is our law and we must live by it.
Interestingly, this term for “nation,” while it can
mean any nation, was most often used to refer to the Gentile
nations. In fact, sometimes it was just translated
and Acts 13:42-48.
No wonder Peter goes on to say in I
Peter 2:10 that we were once not a people and had once not
obtained mercy, but now we have obtained mercy and are a people.
This also calls to mind Moses’ warning to the Israelites in Deuteronomy
32:21. The Israelites would not follow God and then would be
provoked to jealousy by those who were not a people. We were not a
people. Through the folly of the Jews, our Savior was sacrificed.
The way for the New Kingdom was made allowing us to be God’s
chosen people, thus provoking the Jewish nation to jealousy.
However, before leaving this point we must notice that we
are not just any nation. We are a “holy” nation. Being holy
means being set apart for use in spiritual matters and in God’s
work. As a holy nation, we have been set apart to be used for
God’s purpose. Thus, being God’s holy nation means we are
God’s tools. We are what God uses to work in this world to
accomplish His plan. Thus Paul encourages us to be cleansed from
unrighteousness and devote ourselves to God so we may be useful to
the Master (II Timothy 2:21).
Being the holy nation reminds us that things may look bad
around us, but God is still using us to accomplish His work in
We are a people for God’s own possession, we are God’s
No doubt, Peter was calling to mind the language of the Old
Testament. In Deuteronomy
4:20; 7:6; 14:2
God referred to Israel as His own peculiar people or a His own
special people. They were a people for His own possession.
The first concept this points out is we belong to God, we
are His property. That means He is allowed to do with us what He
wants. He is allowed to command us in whatever way seems good to
Him. He is allowed to let us endure whatever He deems best. We do
not make the rules, we are the possession, not the possessor. The
commands to the Israelites surrounding Deuteronomy
14:2 demonstrate this concept.
Secondly, we do not belong to another. We must not try to
serve two masters. We belong to God. The context of Deuteronomy
4:20 explains this aspect of being God’s possession.
Finally, while being considered property or possession may
offend our modern sensibilities, we need to recognize the benefits
that come from being owned by such an awesome Master. A good owner
takes care of His possessions and God takes care of us. Deuteronomy
26:18-19 shows this relationship between our Master and His
Again, while things may at times look bad in this world, we
can trust that God will take care of us. He will provide for us.
And, in the end, He will lift us up. We are His own special
The one thing to remember in all of this is we are God’s.
God knows His own and God takes care of His own. No matter what
happens in the world around us we need to know that this
relationship is certain, so long as we maintain our faith. We are
God’s and He will care for us and lift us up in His due time.
to God in the church by Christ Jesus
Church of Christ