I Peter 2:9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation. [ESV]
I learned the meaning of the Greek word “eleos,” translated “mercy” in reading my commentary resources for this post. Eleos also means pity and compassion so the Scripture could be read “but now you are God’s people; once you had not received pity and compassion but now you have received pity and compassion.”
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles:” remember why you’ve been chosen! You’ve been chosen to be a visible and undeniable display of God’s eleos, virtue and perfection. The powerful, all-knowing, ever-present God of the universe looked at your separation from Himself and rather than exercise His power to punish you, chose to trust the power of His pity and compassion to change you. You are chosen to be witnesses of that change: “Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may BY witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection [when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock].” AMPC v12.
John 15:12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
The “everything” of v15 was the primary word that caught my attention as I read. Then a simple word count of other key words in the passage became a sort-of-outline for me today; choose/chose , servant. , friends , Father , and finally, Love .
We love being “chosen.” We are blessed to be called a “servant” of Christ. It’s even better to be called a friend but it’s a humbling to realize that our determination, time commitment, intellect and choice to follow Christ are not the same as “everything.” A servant’s loyalty can mimic friendship but not necessarily be evidence of the shared intimacy of love.
You were “appointed”…so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last…” fruit based on a special love relationship. “You did not choose me, but I chose you” is a really important part of our personal relationship to Christ because it’s a really important part of the shared intimacy of love between Jesus and his Father. That relationship is the primary part of “everything” Jesus wants to share with you. “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”
John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
It’s a desirable thing to be a servant to Jesus but it’s even better to be a friend. A servant operates on a need-to-know basis to accomplish an assigned task. A friend shares the privilege of knowing the master plan. The great heroes of the Old Testament, Moses, Abraham and David, were honored to be identified as servants of God. They were faithful but their access to God was limited. For the most part they saw God as a chief-of-state they could only catch glimpses of through the eyes of the chief priest and obeying the law.
Now Christ has bridged that gap between servant and friend. This is your assurance: that friendship is yours at the most personal level; the Spirit of Christ living inside you. He did not choose you to live a life based on what someone else may or may not know but has provided all YOU need to know to be his friend. He’s chosen you as his representative so you “might go and bear fruit – fruit that will last” in the world we live in – our Father’s world. The ability to know God is only limited by our desire to know Jesus Christ on the same intimate level that he knows his Father.
1 Peter 2:2-5, & 9
2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ
…9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
Chosen…That one word was part of the first real question I ever answered about faith at my very first Bible study…”who are the chosen?” I answered the “Israelites,” a right answer to be sure, but not the one the pastor was aiming for. He handled it with a lot of tactful grace. I see that now, not then though. It almost became my stopping point instead of my starting point. I was an adult AND a church-goer …and I got the answer wrong!
In my self-imposed humiliation at being so ignorant, I just wanted to hide. I decided not to go back. I suspect the Holy Spirit used that awareness of my own ignorance to spur me on. I did go back the next week. I did NOT want to be ignorant! I’m sure I was a lot more teachable at that point.
Here I am 40-plus years later; one living stone still being built into a spiritual house. I’ve taken God at his word that I am his “special possession;” that I may blog the praises of him who called me away from humiliation and ignorance into the wonderful possibilities he’s created for me…Chosen. Praise the Lord!
Posted in I Peter