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. 1 Peter 2:9-10
Sometimes we don’t recognize the position we are in as Christians in Christ’s church. It’s hard to know when to be humble and when to stand up and let it be known that Jesus Christ is Lord and we serve a God that is over all things. It’s a good thing to be humble and meek, but if it is keeping us from advancing the cause of Christ, then we might be taking it too far. Advancing the cause of Christ is sharing the gospel with those who are lost and offer them an opportunity to obey that gospel and become a child of God in His holy kingdom. This is an inclusive kingdom that is willing to take in all who choose to be part of the kingdom of God. Jesus, in His ministry, invited people to be part of this kingdom, “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel’” Mark 1:14-15. What is this kingdom of God? It is the church of Christ that was built on the confession by Peter (Matt 16:16-18). We are to proclaim this same message for our Lord Jesus Christ today.
It sounds pretty empowering when you read what Peter wrote about the church. A chosen generation, not just then, but every generation that was to follow. There isn’t one generation that is better than the next in Christ’s church. They are all a royal priesthood, a holy nation, Christ’s own special people who are in His church. We are not called to be inactive and just wait for the Lord to return, but to “proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light”. Proclaim in the KJV is to “show forth” or to “tell forth” how great our Lord and Savior is. In that respect we are all called to be evangelists to tell what the Lord has done for us (bringing us out of darkness) and what He can do for those who are still part of the sinful world. God had a new plan for being with His people after the exile into Babylon of the Old Testament. He would build a new temple that He would dwell in and with.
When God called back the people, who He punished for being unfaithful to Him, they rebuilt the temple but God did not enter that temple as He had the tabernacle with Moses or the temple Solomon had built. God had bigger plans for a way that He could dwell on earth as He does in heaven. Jeremiah wrote of God’s word to him:
"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more." Jer 31:31-34
A time when it won’t be about a physical tent or building, but God dwelling within His chosen people. It wasn’t for those people at the end of the exile, but when the time was right to where all could be fulfilled through Christ, so that God’s new kingdom could be established. Those who choose to be in God’s kingdom will become the temple that the Spirit of God dwells in, “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore, glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's” 1 Cor 6:19-20. This brings us back to the idea of being a chose people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation because we are the Lord’s and His Spirit dwells in us.
Now don’t let that go to your head, because that’s what got the priests of Israel in trouble. What it does is give you responsibilities to perform. So, what does a royal priesthood mean anyway? The Hebrew writer said, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast [keep] our confession” Heb 4:14. Christ is the high priest and we are His priesthood who take on the duties of worshiping God and being witnesses of the Lord to all people in what we say and do. We are royal because Christ is the King in God’s kingdom, “They will make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers” Rev 17:14. As a royal priesthood we have access to God through Christ, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” 1 Tim 2:5. The veil has been torn in two, “Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom” Mark 15:38 when Jesus died on the cross. This was what separated God from the priests that came to Him on behalf of the people of Israel. We don’t have that separation anymore and we shouldn’t think that God is up in heaven away from us. Like I said before, being in God’s kingdom, we now have Him dwelling in us through His Holy Spirit.
As God’s chosen people, a royal priesthood, and a holy nation we ought to be praising God for the redemption that has come through Jesus Christ. We ought to live a life that brings honor and glory to Him, by being a light set on a hill (Matt 5:15-16). We ought to be proclaiming the Lord to those around us, to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ, and to tell those who are in darkness how to come into the light. How we became the people of God and show what that looks like. Not tearing down who they are, but helping them see what they can become. To show how they can obtain mercy from God for what they have done and who they used to be. We are all priests that help people come to God through Christ. What will you do in the kingdom of God? You are chosen, priests, and holy! That is not something to hide or keep to yourself. It is something to shout about to everyone to encourage them to become part of the Lord’s people. May we never be ashamed of who we are as Christians, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "The just shall live by faith" Rom 1:16-17. Let your faith grow and be shared with others so that all can live by faith.