1 Peter 2:9-10 (ESV)
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.
Passages such as this one should fill us with such great joy because in it lies a treasury of promises for humanity. In it we find that Christianity is not just a title that is held. Rather, Christianity grants one a great identity along with great responsibility. This responsibility is not something we should come at with trepidation, but rather it should be something we embrace with immense joy.
What is this magnificent identity into which we are incorporated? First, this identity is not found outside of Christ. It is because of Christ’s identity that we are given identity. The identity we receive is not one to be taken lightly. If we truly comprehend the identity we are being offered, we quickly see that we not only receive identity because of Christ, but we also receive THE identity of Christ. This should give us pause. Not only should it give us pause but it also should guide everything about us. This is responsibility.
We receive this identity purely as God’s initiative. As Peter points out, we were once a people without mercy. We were hopelessly in despair. Sin and death had such a pervasive hold and the resultant separation from the Father was excruciating. It left humanity with a desperate longing. Thankfully, God has always heard the cries of his people and thus He decided to offer the greatest gift of mercy humanity had ever seen. Through Jesus, the way was paved for humanity to fulfill the longing. The hand of mercy was extended, if we will receive it. In this mercy, sins are forgiven, lives are transformed and restored, hope is found, identity is gained.
People of faith in the One true God are a chosen race. Like Israel, we have a story to tell to the nations of God’s great and redemptive love. Christ works through His spirit, in the Church, to proclaim that salvation has drawn near. As a royal priesthood, it is every Christian’s responsibility to minister on behalf of God, to the nations. We are to proclaim God’s mercy in word and deed.
God, through Christ, has come into the world as a light that shines within the darkness of this world and the human condition. Think about this: darkness is a place of anxiety and fear because it carries with it such an element of the unknown. If you have ever found yourself in that type of darkness, you know of what I speak. As a child, when I would look and see that little night light – that seemingly small, insignificant light – and it would cast a brilliant light that would dispel any fear.
We, as God’s chosen people, as his children, are called to be this light which radiates in the darkness of this world, bringing hope, peace, reconciliation, and healing.
In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.