1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people…
I. "Ye are a CHOSEN GENERATION" — the word "generation" here meaning not contemporaries but the offspring of one common parent, the offshoots of one original stock.
1. The Israelites were a special "generation," having sprung from Abraham as their common progenitor. Similarly, believers are a distinct "generation" of men, being all born of one God, and animated by the self-same Divine life. Consequently a striking family likeness prevails among them.
2. The Jews were, moreover, a "chosen generation" — called out of the darkness of Chaldaean idolatry to the marvellous light of Divine revelation. And so it is with believers now,
3. "Ye are a chosen generation, that ye should show forth the praises — the excellences — of Him who hath called you." The mistake of the Jews was to take for granted that they were chosen to show forth their own excellences. Their election they converted into food for pride. Let us remember the Church is a generation to show forth the excellences of God. Through good men, not necessarily great men, does God reveal His character; through holy men, not necessarily able men, does He make known the benevolence, the uprightness, the genial warmth of His nature.
II. "Ye are a ROYAL PRIESTHOOD" — a phrase borrowed from Exodus 19:6.
1. The Jewish nation was a nation of priests, its fundamental idea being religious, not secular. This idea is now embodied in the Christian Church. Every believer is now a priest, having a right to enter into the Holiest of all.
2. "A royal priesthood." "Ye are kings and priests" — kings over yourselves and priests unto God.
3. "Ye are a royal priesthood, to show forth the excellences of Him who hath called you." By your holy conversation, upright demeanour, you are to show forth the character of your God.
III. "Ye are a HOLY NATION."
1. The Israelites in Egypt were a "chosen generation," but not a "holy nation." Not till they were established in their own land, with laws and a king of their own, did they develop into a nation. Believers, scattered in the world, without mutual recognition, might be of the right seed; but not till they attach themselves to a Christian institution, variously termed the kingdom or the Church, do they become a nation.
2. "A holy nation." God set the Israelites apart from all the world. He made them what all nations ought to be — holy. True, they did not live up to their profession; but in theory, in ideal, they were holy.
3. As a people bound together for the purposes of holiness, we should show forth the excellences of our God. As a holy nation, scattered amongst all the nations of Europe, we ought to propagate the principles of God's kingdom.
IV. "Ye are a PECULIAR PEOPLE."
1. "Ye are a people." The Israelites were brought out of Egypt a host of undisciplined slaves, capabilities of great things slumbering within them, but only half civilised. But after forty years' pilgrimage in the wilderness, God was able to form them into a people, and settle them in the land promised unto their fathers. And in our natural state, we cannot be said to be a people in the true sense of the word, bound together by rational and spiritual ties. As individuals you can hardly be said to really exist till you believe. "Of Him ye are in Christ Jesus." Ye were not before, but now ye are — you live in the higher ranges of the soul. Before you only lived in your animal nature — you did not live the distinctive life of man. But through union with Christ first, and with the Church afterwards, you fulfil the idea of your being, you live in the higher faculties instead of the lower, having higher purposes and different interests from the rest of the world.
2. "Ye are a peculiar people," the word "peculiar" here being used in its etymological, not its colloquial sense, as meaning property, not singularity. "These people have I formed for Myself — they are My very own."
3. But mark, we are God's, purchased at a great price, in order that we may tell forth with a loud voice His praises. The word for "show forth" means literally "to proclaim to those without what has taken place within." Here Israel failed. Let the Christian Church beware of committing the same mistake — God has purchased us to be His special possession, on purpose that we should proclaim to the world lying in darkness the excellences of His love in the Gospel of His Son. We must either send or carry the light to the heathen.
(J. C. Jones, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
WEB: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: