"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; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." ~ 2 Peter 2:9-10
Not often do we find such resoundingly clear answers to all three questions in such a small space as we do in this text [1 Peter 2: 9-10]. Who am I? How did I get this identity? What's it for—Why am I here?
So let's take a deep breath this morning and go back to the beginning as it were—or go down to the rock bottom foundational questions of life, and listen to the Word of God, and wonder and stand in awe of what he has to say about these three things.
Who Are You?
Keep in mind that Peter is identifying Christians. This is who you are if you are a Christian. This is how you got your identity as a Christian. This is what you are here for as a Christian.
First, he gives five ways of describing your identity, answering the question of who you are.
1. You Are a Chosen Race
Verse 9: "You are a chosen race."
I know that this is a corporate identity, he's talking about the church—the true Israel. But the implication is individual, because this race is not racial. The chosen race is not black or white or red or yellow or brown. The chosen race is a new people from all the peoples—all the colors and cultures—who are now aliens and strangers among in the world. See verse 11, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers . . . "
What gives us our identity is not color or culture. But chosenness. Christians are not the white race; they are the chosen race. Christians are not the black race; they are the chosen race. We are the black chosen and the white chosen and the yellow chosen and the red chosen. Out from all the races we have been chosen—one at a time, not on the basis of belonging to any group.
How Did You Get This Identity?
But before we answer the question what we are here for, let's pause just a moment and answer the middle question: How did I get this identity?
The answer is almost too obvious. We got our identity from God. In fact our identity is our relation to God. We are chosen by GOD. We are pitied by GOD. We are possessed by GOD. We are set apart as holy by GOD. We are invested as royal priests by GOD.
Peter says this in a summary statement at the end of verse 9. He refers to God like this: "Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." The light we live in is the light of our being chosen and pitied and possessed and holy and priestly. And the way we got there is that God called us. He called us out of darkness into this marvelous light.
So the answer to the question: How did we get this identity is that God gave it to us. He gave it to us by virtue of his irresistible call ... God gave us the identity we have.
What Are You Here For?
What we saw was that our identity led directly to our destiny: we are chosen, pitied, possessed, and holy all for the sake of being a royal priesthood. But Peter is more specific when he tells us the precise reason for our existence. He says in verse 9:b that we exist for this reason: "that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." This is the full-time destiny of a royal priest—to make the glories of the king known.
Our Identity and Its Purpose
There is a lot of discussion in our day of self-concept or self-identity. How do we view ourselves? It is an important question. And what I hope you hear this morning is that the specifically biblical angle on this question is that Christian selfhood is not defined in terms of who we are in and of ourselves ... The biblical understanding of human self-identity is radically God-centered.
God made us who we are so that we might proclaim the excellency of his freedom in choosing us. The excellency of his grace in pitying us. The excellencies of his authority and power in possessing us. The excellencies of his worth and purity in making us holy.
Therefore being a Christian and making the greatness of God known are almost identical. We can do it in church services with preaching and singing and praying and reading. We can do it in our small groups as we tell each other what God has been for us, or what we need him to be for us. We can do it at work as we tell people what we love about God and why we think he is great. And we can do it in a thousand different ways of love that suit our situation and personality."
I hope that preached to you this morning - it sure did me. Have a glorious day my God-chosen, God-pitied, God-possessed, God-sanctified friend who exists to please and serve the Holy God regardless of where she comes from or what she's done.