1 Peter 2 – A People for His Own Possession, That…
This post is part of an on-going series meant to compliment the wonderful commentary provided in D.A. Carson’s For the Love of God, Vol 1, which tracks along with the M’Cheyne reading plan. The links to both the reading plan and a free PDF of Carson’s book are available here.
God’s Work of Salvation
This week I again came across a familiar text, a text that has great comfort for the people of God. The first twelve verses of 1 Peter 2 always impressed upon me the work that God has done in the formation of his people. It speaks about God building up his spiritual house, and he is doing this by building this upon Jesus Christ, the cornerstone. The people of God are no longer isolated to an ethnic nation, but it is a gathering of believers from all nations, peoples, and places in the world.
This passage is especially meaningful because as Peter is describing this grand work of the Lord, he does it in very personal terms. He speaks to me. He speaks to you.
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ… You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…” (1 Pet 2:4-5,9 ESV)
As Peter is addressing the body of Christ in a very personal way, it should inspire gratitude and thanksgiving. Once we were lost, now we have been found. Once we were not a people, and now we are God’s people. Once we were dead in our sin, and now we are alive in Christ. Praise be to God for our salvation found in the mercy and grace of our Lord! We did nothing to deserve it, we did not earn in, and by his sovereign goodness he has gathered a people for himself. This should drive Christians everywhere to their knees in gratitude.
God’s Purpose in Salvation
With this in mind, a closer look at verse 9 shows us God’s purpose in our salvation. “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.” God has saved a people for himself so that his people will proclaim and declare the praises, the works, and the mighty deeds of our God. We glorify him by what we say. This is our charge. We have been rescued from righteous judgment and eternal death, and this is so that we may glorify the Him by praising his name.
As God’s people, we glorify him with what we say in our gathered worship. At Crossway, we speak often of his mighty deeds. We spend a great deal of time reading the Bible corporately. We sing songs rich with praise to our God, and together we pray to Him, repenting of our sin, seeking forgiveness, thanking and praising him together, and asking for the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds. Most importantly, we hear God’s word explained and applied. The sermon takes us deep into understanding what God has said, and it presses the meaning into our lives in ways that should change us. As God’s people, we praise his name as we gather together.
In addition (and I think most pertinent to this passage), we glorify him with what we say in our witness. We have been called by grace through faith to Christ, we have repented of our sin and turned to him as Lord, and all of this is to bring glory to him. We have not been given new hearts so we can merely huddle together with other Christians and go to heaven when we die, but we are to proclaim his excellencies to the world. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not for us to hoard, but for us to lovingly, and winsomely, and boldly share. This is true for all Christians, everywhere.
In our community groups, we have started reading Mack Stiles helpful book “Evangelism: How the Whole Church Speaks of Jesus”. He speaks about creating a culture of evangelism in the church, where everyone is involved with making disciples of Christ in their sphere of influence. So far it has been great, and I am excited for what God will do through our church. I pray that he uses us all to lovingly speak truth into the lives of our friends and family, neighbors and co-workers.
I think often when we speak about evangelism, it becomes a guilt trip. These verses in 1 Peter 2 should be just the opposite. Peter is showing that we have been wondrously and gloriously saved, gathered as a people of God, and given a new identity in Christ. It is out of this love and gratitude that we should then be inspired to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”