We find Peter talking about each of these in the opening verses of chapter 2. After teaching 1 Peter 1:1-12 at our Women’s Bible Study last week, I was really looking forward to going into further explanation of all that Peter is referencing in verses 4-8. After all, Peter uses language of living stones, cornerstone, stone of stumbling, and rock of offense. And outside of us maybe thinking about all that we learned in a high school geology class about rocks, what on earth is Peter talking about here?
Well, instead of explaining these verses, I need to do something else. I need to remind of us of Peter’s identity statements. I need to remind of us these identity statements because the author behind this blog needs to be reminded of these truths. And if you’re anything like me, you probably need to be reminded as well.
Last week, I frequently found myself in my head – believing a ton of lies about my identity and my purpose. It started as one or two seemingly small lies, “You won’t get this job…You messed up cooking dinner with your husband…You can’t decorate your apartment well…” to bigger, more significant lies, “No one likes you…You mess up everything…You don’t fit with those around you…You ruin everything.”
Now before you think I’m just typing out my journal to you, just breathe. I’m not. One, I don’t journal, although I probably should. And two, I want to share truth – and not more lies. So last week in the midst of all the crazy talk going on in my head, two things happened. First, the Lord used his people to encourage me. My husband and close friends spoke truth to me when I couldn’t speak it to myself. When all I wanted to do was cry, they prayed for me, spoke truth to me, and helped hold my head. Secondly, the Lord used his truth to encourage me. The Spirit reminded me of the truth about my identity in Christ. Just on Monday night, I had taught through these verses, and little did I know the Spirit would use these verses to anchor me, uphold me, and refresh me.
So let’s all do ourselves a reminder today and look at what Peter says about those who are children of God. Whether you find yourself having a great day or a horrible day, our minds and hearts are prone to wander. We must be strong truth tellers to ourselves. This is a battle. Let’s get our minds ready.
In 1 Peter 2:9-10, Peter helps us. Just as a reminder, one of Peter’s themes in this letter is our identity in Christ. And here again, the apostle speaks to who we are and whose we are.
(1) We are chosen by Christ. Unlike unbelievers who reject Christ, believers are a “chosen race” (verse 9). Our salvation is based on the sovereign, electing purposes of God. The scriptures make this explicitly and implicitly clear. Election (the fancy theological term defining us “being chosen”) is the great privilege from which all other privileges flow.
(2) We a royal priesthood for Christ. Here in verse 9, Peter employs an excellent symbol in combining in one metaphor references to both royalty and the priesthood. The concept of royal priesthood comes from Exodus 19:6 where God through Moses told Israel “You shall be to a me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” And we are royal in that we serve a King – King Jesus. As believers, we belong to a royal house of priests as those who rule with the King through access to both his presence and his power.
(3) We are set apart to Christ. In verse 9, Peter says that we are a “holy nation.” Here Peter continues to allude to the Old Testament to support the privileges God has granted to believers. In Exodus 19:6, we read “You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. As children of God, we are set apart to Christ as the people of God.
(4) We are bought by Christ. Peter tells us that we are a “people for his own possession” (verse 9). If you don’t already know this, I love monograms. And as one whose monogrammed recently changed with marriage, our “monogram” will never change in Christ. We are God’s possession. We are his chosen people. Monogrammed with his name. He has set his name on you and me and it can’t be removed. As Christians, we belong to God because he bought us with the ultimate price with the death of his Son, Jesus Christ. Peter is writing to those enduring fear to remind them and remind us that we are set apart, bought, and named with his name. We are his.
(5) We are called by Christ. Peter reminds us in verse 9 that we have been “called out his darkness into his marvelous light.” The apostle here is referencing the moral darkness of those unbelievers who are in spiritual darkness. Christians have received the light of the truth of the Gospel. We see darkness and light here and may think of the creation narrative – once there was nothing and now there is something. This is my story. This is your story. We have been born again – from nothing to something. God creates us and call us.
(6) We are heralds of Christ. Peter tells us in verse 9 that these identity statements are true of us so that we might “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” There is no greater delight and no greater honor than to herald the Gospel. Peter has given us a foundation of our identity and now gives us the unified purpose for those in Christ. We get to tell of the person and work of Jesus Christ – “the excellencies” (verse 9).
(7) We are recipients of mercy from Christ. Peter acknowledges that the Gentiles did not previously know compassion from Christ. They were once not a people. But now they had become the people of God. They had “received mercy” (verse 10) from God. The same is true of us. God has shown us his compassion. He has not given us what we deserve. But instead, we receive his mercy.
Here they are. Seven identity statements for those who are in Christ. And I just love that the last one reminds us that we have received mercy. We have a gracious God who is kind to his children. I hope you don’t have many days filled with crazy talk and believing lies like I did last week. And if and when you do, may you and I be quick to remind us of truth – of who we are in Christ and whose we are as children of God. Be reminded. And be encouraged.