You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
1 Peter 2:9
When you hear the words “chosen people,” who do you think of? If you’re familiar with Old Testament history, you probably think of the Old Testament people of Israel. Throughout the Old Testament God repeatedly refers to the people of Israel as his “chosen people.” For example, as the people of Israel were camped at Mount Sinai on their way from Egypt to the Promised Land of Canaan, God told them, “If you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:5-6). Forty years later, as the people of Israel finally prepared to enter the Promised Land, Moses reiterated God’s declaration when he said, “You are a people holy to the LORD your God. The LORD your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the face of the earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7:6).
In our Bible passage today, the apostle Peter echoes those Old Testament words about the people of Israel. Only now, he’s not using them to refer only to the Old Testament people of Israel. He’s not even using them to refer just to those who might be physically descended from the Old Testament people of Israel. Instead, he’s using them to describe all believers regardless of their ethnic heritage. He’s using them to refer even to you and me. Everyone who believes in Jesus, regardless of their ancestry, is now a part of this “chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God.”
How did this happen? Was there something in us that caught God’s attention and led him to choose us? Did we do something to deserve this inestimable privilege? Not at all. Nothing in us and nothing that we could have done could ever have led God to choose us as his special people. But that was the case for God’s Old Testament people as well. God didn’t choose them because they were bigger or stronger than all the other people on the earth. Instead he chose them because he loved them (Deuteronomy 7:8). That was it. God loved them and, in his love, he chose them to be his special people. That ultimately is why God has chosen us as well. He loved us. In spite of the sinful, damnable, unlovable people that we were by nature, God loved us. And he demonstrated that love by sending his Son Jesus to live, die, and rise again for us. Now, through faith in Jesus, we are exactly what the Bible says we are: we are God’s chosen people. We are kings and priests, ruling with God and having direct access to him through Jesus. We are holy, for we are covered in Christ’s holiness. We are a people belonging to God, purchased with the blood of his Son and invaluably precious to him.
All this makes us eager to do what God has chosen us to do. As God’s chosen people, we are eager to declare his praises to all those who are around us. May God use us, whom he has called out of the darkness of unbelief into the light of faith, to share this good news with others, so that many more may come to faith in Jesus and join us as God’s chosen, holy people.
Heavenly Father, all praise to you for making me a part of your chosen people through faith in Jesus. Lead me to declare your praises that many more may become a part of your holy people. Amen.