1 Peter, chapter 2. We’re going to just walk through this phrase by phrase, so don’t panic. Me saying that probably has some of you panicking, but I promise, I don’t believe this week will go too long. Verse 9: „But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…” Now if I were you, I’d underline that, because if you are a Christian, if you are a believer in Christ, this is your identity. This is who you are. So far this has said nothing of what you do but rather who you are, so that you and I, in Christ, are a chosen race. Now I love that first one as much as I love any of them. We are a chosen race. You have not just individuals but a race of people, and it’s a race that’s built across cultures and across colors. Are you following me? There’s a new chosen race, the church of Jesus Christ, the legitimate Israel of God, the chosen ones of God. Therefore, this race is made up of all tribes, all tongues, and all nations.
Then he doesn’t just say royalty. He says priesthood. So we are a royal priesthood. Not only do I belong to the chosen race, but I am also, you are also, in the royal priesthood, which means we have clear and constant access to God. Everything in our lives…everything (work, play, rest)…is done in worship to God, as we are priests of God. We could go to Romans 12 to show this. We could go all over the Bible to show that as a believer in Christ, we are a royal priesthood. We are God’s chosen race, and we live in the presence of God.
I think really a lot of us have legitimate issues because we don’t understand this and we’ve lost our respect for the presence of God. We don’t believe our lives are playing out in front of a holy God who sees all. The Bible is saying, „No, no, no. Your whole life is a life of worship, and if you are not living a life of worship in work, in play, in rest, in your hobbies, in your marriage, in your relationships with your kids, if that’s not worship to you, then you’re out of character of who you are, because who you are is a priest, a royal priest, in the chosen race of God’s people. My whole life is a life of worship. Your whole life is a life of worship. That doesn’t mean singing, but singing is a part of worship. It just doesn’t mean you’re always singing about your marriage, singing to your kids. These are not the same words. Worship and singing are not the same words. You can worship as you sing. You can sing worshipfully toward the Lord. But when I say the word worship, I’m not talking about singing, but rather talking about the reality of a heart that’s been captivated by God. That plays itself out in our relationships. That plays itself out in our workplaces. That plays out… We are a royal priesthood.
Then look where he goes next. „…a holy nation.” So again, I think one of the really difficult parts about preaching the Word of God in this day and age is individualism is so rampant that we’re very quick to get away from the us to the me. In all of these components, I love it because it’s bigger. You are a chosen race. That’s bigger than just you. It’s bigger than your blackness, bigger than your whiteness, bigger than your cultural backgrounds. It’s bigger than you as an individual and what makes up you as an individual. Then you are a royal priesthood. It didn’t say you are royal priest; it says you are a royal priesthood. So he is speaking not just to an individual, although it does have individual implications, but rather to a group of people. We are a holy nation. So let me explain this in a way I think might be helpful for us. That means the believers in Jesus Christ who love Jesus Christ and go to Fellowship Church are my countrymen. The believers in Jesus Christ who love Jesus Christ and go right down the street to Crossroads Bible, they are my countrymen.
My job description, what I’ve been called to do as this holy nation, a part of this chosen race, as royalty, as a priest, is to (now this is it; this is my job description) declare his excellencies. Then he breaks it down. His excellencies. What part of his excellencies, because that’s vast? That he has called us out of darkness and into light. So really, if we start to get high enough up on this whole four weeks and start to really look on it, you have a holy God who has made a way in Jesus Christ to make us holy, his love being the primary motivator toward that holiness, so he considers us his chosen race. He has decreed we are royalty in Jesus Christ. He has given us direct access to him.
We have a relationship with God. He is not some sort of ethereal thing in the sky. It’s not a checklist. It’s not a, „Do these things so I don’t get caught.” It is: I have a relationship with God. I am free to pray. I am free to engage. I’m free to walk. I’m free to stumble. I’m free to fail. I am considered by God as part of his own possession. He would consider me his own. God cries out over me. Mine? Me? Now I don’t know how that hits you, but I know what I’m guilty of. I know what’s in my heart. I know some of my motivations are tainted. I know these things about me, and yet God sits over my life and decrees, „This one is mine. This guy is mine”? I mean, do you know how many people are outside these walls right now who have no idea, have no interest, have no desire even to know who God is, have no real yearning to know about him at all? But not you, not me. Here we are, and God has stood over our lives and put the banner of great love flowing out of his mercy, by which (this was last week, right?) he extends to us faith to believe in the grace that we might become his workmanship and walk in the good works he prepared in advance for us to do. Our job is to just make much of his excellencies, primarily that he has called us out of darkness and into light.
It’s the greatest news in the universe because if God is for God, if God is about you being holy in Jesus Christ so that he might display his excellencies, so that you might herald his excellencies, so you might make much of his goodness and grace, that means the commands of God, then, are not about your begrudging submission, but the commands of God are actually about you walking in the fullness of life. So when God says, „Do these things,” God is not after your begrudging submission, because God is for God. So God wants you to walk in what’s going to bring you fullness of joy, not happiness all the time, but joy, so he might be made much of.