Monday, January 25, 2010

A New Kind of People

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. (1Peter 2:9-10)
Those who refused to believe the good news of God’s Messiah, Peter said, were destined to stumble and fall. Then he turns to the believers, who were scattered as exiles and experiencing persecution because of their faith in Jesus the Messiah. “But you …”he says, and offers them words in bold relief.
  • You are a chosen generation. The Greek word for “generation” here is genos, and means “race” or “kind.” The word for “chosen” is eklekton, “select” (this is where we get our word “eclectic”). God has selected a new kind of people, not based on biological characteristics or geographical or national boundaries but on the basis of faith in Jesus the Messiah. All who believe in Him, whether Jews or Gentiles (non-Jews, pagans, the nations) are part of this new people.
  • You are a royal priesthood. God’s plan for Israel was that she be a royal priesthood (Exodus 19:6), to come before God, not only for her own sake but also for the sake of the nations, but she failed. Now this purpose is fulfilled in a way that Israel did not expect, through Jesus the Messiah, with Him as our High Priest.
  • You are a holy nation. God also chose Israel to be a holy nation (Exodus 19:6), set apart especially for Him. Now He has enlarged that nation with believers from every nation. In Revelation, the song of praise sung to the Lamb of God is, “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, and have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:9-10). What good news for those who found themselves scattered among the nations and under their heel.
  • You are His own special people. The Greek word is peripoiesis, which comes from two words: peri, “around,” and poieo, to make or do. Put together, it means “to make around oneself,” that is, to acquire or bring into possession. God has redeemed us, purchased us at great price from bondage to sin and death, and gathered us around Himself.
Now Peter speaks of purpose: “That you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” The word for “praise” here actually speaks of the virtues and excellencies of God. We proclaim his mercy and goodness. Before He ascended to His throne in heaven, Jesus told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem:
You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth. (Acts 1:8)

Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover. (Mark 16:15-18)
God wants this good news, the word of His glory revealed in Jesus the Messiah, to be spread all over earth, even in the realms of heaven.
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose which He accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 3:8-11)
God shows His goodness and grace, not only to us, but also through us.
  • He has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
  • Once we were not a people, now we are the people of God.
  • Once we had not received mercy, now we have received the mercy of God.
The last two points are a reference to Hosea 1:9-10 and 2:23, which originally described unbelieving Israel. Though they broke covenant with God, He would restore them as His people once again and show them mercy. Now through faith in Jesus the Messiah, both Israel and the nations are being restored to God as a new kind of people.



Keeping the Faith When Things Get Tough
Keeping the Faith When Things Get Tough
Peter’s Letter to Jesus Believers Scattered Everywhere
Bite-Sized Studies Through First Peter
by Jeff Doles

Preview with Amazon’s “Look Inside.”

Available in paperback and Kindle (Amazon), epub (Google and iTunes) and PDF.