Tuesday, 22 October 2019
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; 1 Peter 2:9
Peter now again speaks of the state of those who believe and what that means, as he has in the previous verses. He is contrasting the state of those who believe with those who do not believe. Those who do not are mentioned as “disobedient” in verse 2:7. For them, Christ is “a stone of stumbling” and “a rock of offense” as said in verse 2:8. Now comes the contrast with the words, “But you are a chosen generation.”
The word is genos, and it signifies offspring, family, race, nation, or kind. It is a general word which comes from another word signifying “to come to be.” In this case, believers in Christ have come to be a chosen kind. It is such a general word that Paul used it when speaking to the pagans at Athens in Acts 17:29 –
“Therefore, since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature is like gold or silver or stone, something shaped by art and man’s devising.”
Peter says that believers are now a particular “kind” because of faith in Christ Jesus.
Next, the word “chosen” signifies “elect.” It is the same word Paul uses concerning believers in Colossians 3:12 (and elsewhere) –
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering.”
Peter then calls those who believe “a royal priesthood.” The word translated as “royal” is found only here and in Luke 7:25, when speaking of palaces. However, it comes from the word signifying a king. That word is used by Paul to speak of Jesus as our true King in 1 Timothy 1:17 –
“Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.”
The word “priesthood” is only used by Peter, here and then again in verse 2:9. It signifies the act or office of priesthood. For this reason, those who choose to divide the gospel of Christ into two separate gospels – one for Jew and one for Gentile – state that this is only referring to Jews, and that Gentiles are not considered in any type of priestly office. That is incorrect. Paul speaks of the priestly duty of sharing the gospel in Romans 15:16, a word that finds its same source as that of the word Peter uses here. It is the priestly obligation and honor of believers to share the gospel.’
Peter then says that believers are “a holy nation.” The word translated as “nation,” is ethnos. One can see the basis for the common word “ethnic” in it. It signifies a people who are joined together by practicing similar customs or a common culture. Peter here speaks of the ethnos of believers who are united because they are “holy.”
That word signifies “sacred” as in being morally blameless, consecrated, etc. It is commonly used by Paul to signify the saints, meaning believers in Christ. This is the idea that Peter gives here. He is addressing the saints who are a special nation, called out by one uniting characteristic which is faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ – from both Jew and Gentile.
Peter then says believers are “His own special people.” The term used here literally means, “the people for acquisition.” It signifies people who have become God’s possession. The word translated as people is laos, and it signifies “a people, characteristically of God’s chosen people, first the Jews, then the Christians” (HELPS Word Studies). It is a general term which Paul uses to identify even Gentile believers in Christ such as in 2 Corinthians 6:16 and Titus 2:14 –
“And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.’” 2 Corinthians 6:16
“looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.” Titus 2:13, 14
The word translated as “special” is one that speaks of acquisition or possession. Paul uses it when speaking of the Gentiles who have been acquired by God through the gospel in Ephesians 1:14. He uses it as an assurance of salvation for Gentiles in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 and 2 Thessalonians 2:14.
As can be seen, the words of Peter here, “His own special people,” correspond directly to Paul’s words, “His own special people,” in Titus 2:14. It, thus, demonstrates that there is one people comprised of believing Jews and Gentiles.
Peter next describes what these honorable designations mean for the believer. It is so “that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Though Peter is addressing Jews, it is a universal statement that signifies any who have been brought out of the spiritual darkness of this world.
The word translated as, “that you may proclaim,” is found only here and in Mark 16:20. It signifies to publicly announce in a full manner. Believers are to fully and publicly profess what has occurred in their lives, proclaiming “the praises of Him.” The word translated as “praises” signifies “excellencies.” It speaks of moral excellence and virtue. This is what we are to proclaim of God because of His work, in and through Christ, to redeem man.
And that act of redemption was for the purpose of bringing believers “out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This thought comes from the words of Isaiah 42. There, in Isaiah 42:1 and again in Isaiah 42:6, Isaiah specifically says that this calling is not only for the nation of Israel, but for the Gentiles as well. Reading Isaiah 42:1-9 will open up the meaning of Peter in a full manner. Isaiah speaks of Christ as being a light to the Gentiles and the one who brings the prisoners out of darkness. It is a single, unified, gospel that is proclaimed not only to Israel, but to the Gentiles as well.
The words used here by Peter are elsewhere used by Paul to signify one body of believers which is comprised of both Jew and Gentile. For those who proclaim two separate gospels, they are proclaiming a false gospel, which is anathema. Stay away from such heretical teachings, and hold fast to the truth that the church is one unified body of believers based on one gospel message.
Life application: Peter uses terms once applied to Israel to convey the role that the church now holds –
Chosen people – Deuteronomy 7:6
Kingdom of Priests – Exodus 19:6
Holy nation – Exodus 19:6
Special people – Deuteronomy 26:18
Along with these titles, Peter goes to Isaiah 60:6 and applies it to the church as well, when it says that the gentile nations will come and “proclaim the praises of the Lord.” All of these are being applied to the church, indicating their fulfillment in the people that follow Jesus – both from Jew and from Gentile. This doesn’t mean, however, that Israel, as the Jewish nation, is through.
Daniel 9:24-27 allots 490 years to them to complete certain things. Thus far 483 of those years have been completed and 7 more are yet future. These seven years will occur when the church is taken out at the rapture. Then, once more, Israel will be the focus of God’s attention on earth.
In the meantime, all peoples – Jew and Gentile alike – who have called on Jesus are a part of the church, the Body of Christ. We have been called from darkness into His marvelous light. As it says in Isaiah 60:2, 3 –
“But the LORD will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.
3The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.”
Indeed, the glory of the LORD has arisen over us in the Person of Jesus Christ!
Thank you, O most glorious Heavenly Father for allowing us the privilege of being servants of the King, our Lord Jesus. May we faithfully proclaim His praises all of our days and may we serve as faithful witnesses of His glory. This we request that You may be exalted! Amen.