Thursday, May 10, 2012

1 Peter 2:9-10 The "Greater Commission"

1 Peter 2:9-10: The “Greater” Commission “But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.” In addition to the living stones, choice stones, precious stones and cornerstone which Peter uses as titles for believers in Jesus Christ, he now has a few more for us to consider. And again he uses Old Testament Scripture to make his point when the Lord God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai. Exodus 19:3-6, Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, "Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob and tell the sons of Israel: 'You yourselves have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to Myself. 'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel." Now, this was a message for the nation of Israel, which is plainly stated. But as we have just studied, Jesus came to His own people (the Jews), and they did what? They rejected Him! So Peter who we know is writing to believers and in the previous verses described us in such vivid terms, is inferring that believers in Jesus Christ are described in much the same way as the Jews. But this is no surprise to us. Paul explains our adoption as sons of God in Ephesians 1:1-10, “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, to the saints who are at Ephesus and who are faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight He made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His kind intention which He purposed in Him with a view to an administration suitable to the fullness of the times, that is, the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. “ A Chosen Race: Eklektos Genos in the Greek. A chosen generation means a group of people living in a certain span of life. It refers to a group with a common origin i.e. the new birth in 1:3, and 1:23. Chosen shows the distinctiveness of the believer and as always looks to the Plan of God for mankind that was determined “before the foundation of the world”. A Royal Priesthood: The chief idea of a king is authority. The chief idea of a priest is access. We are king-priests! The reason for this is found in the book of Hebrews. There the writer describes Jesus Christ as a priest after the order of Melchisedek, a King of Salem and a priest. Hebrews 6:20, “where Jesus has entered as a forerunner for us, having become a high priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek.” Genesis 14:18-20, “And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; now he was a priest of God Most High. He blessed him and said, "Blessed be Abram of God Most High, Possessor of heaven and earth; and blessed be God Most High, Who has delivered your enemies into your hand.” A Holy Nation: God’s purpose for Israel and the church have a similar point, king-priests. Israel and the church should also bear the same characteristic of holiness. The Holiness of God is the combination of His Righteousness and His Justice. The guardians of the Holiness of God are the cherubim class of angels. The Hebrew word, "to be holy" is quadash, it is derived from the root word qud, which means to cut or separate. God is absolutely separated and is above from all his creatures and he is exalted above in infinite majesty. Exodus 15:11, "Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you? majestic in holiness, awesome in glory." Isaiah 6:3, the angels were calling to one another: "Holy, holy, holy is the LORD almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory." So, in this sense we are to be separated from the influences of the world and our culture that detract from God. Romans 12:2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” A People of God’s Own Possession: Peripoiasis in the Greek, a “peculiar people”. This means to make something around or to make something and then encircle it showing ownership. We are God’s own special people a “people of God’s own possession”. Now we get to the purpose of the believer stated by Peter. We are most familiar with the Great Commission found in Matthew 28:19-20, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." But when you look at the context of that passage, it was directed at the eleven disciples who were given a specific ministry. It is by inference that we say that ministry is now delegated to believers today. Here we have a passage that is directed specifically toward believers in Christ in general. In this sense it is the “greater” commission as it is directly specific to us. That commission is to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” To show forth or proclaim is the Greek word Exangello. Areta is the Greek word translated excellencies or praises. It refers to one of noble character and noble acts. So, an expanded look at this greater commission means we as believers are to proclaim the noble character and the noble acts of God. We can do this at any time through what we say and how we conduct our lives. Now Peter contrasts our lives before Christ and our lives now in Him. • Not a People  darkness  not received mercy • A People of God  marvelous light  received mercy Not a People vs. A People of God: Apart from Christ we were cut off or separated from God. We had no relationship with Him. Sin created that barrier. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins on the cross and died so that we do not have to die. The Father was satisfied with the payment and the barrier was removed. We are clothed in God’s own righteousness. I am “in Christ” as a result of my belief (faith) in Christ’s finished work on the cross as complete payment for my sins. God saved us from something (hell), but He saved us unto something else (a personal relationship). As His Chosen people we have access to God (priesthood), and delegated authority (royalty). Now we are a people of God. Out of darkness verses into marvelous light: Peter uses the example of darkness verses light to explain our spiritual condition as an unbeliever (darkness), to a believer (marvelous light). Paul uses this analogy as well in Ephesians 5:8-17, “for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says, "Awake, sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” But even more interesting is the way Paul uses the metaphor to describe our spiritual condition. It is an absolute. By this I mean you either are walking in the darkness, or you are walking in the light. No mention here of walking in the twilight (no gray areas). So then, here is one of many examples of the fact that believers can “walk in darkness”, or said another way, live his/her life in such a way as it is indistinguishable from that of an unbeliever. That is an important point to take away from this passage in light of the Calvinistic teaching of today’s reformed churches on the perseverance of the saints. Notice that the “fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth”. This mirrors our thought life mentioned by Paul in Philippians 4:8, “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.” Not received mercy verses have received mercy: First of all, mercy is the withholding of something that is deserved. We generally think of it as withholding just punishment. A convicted felon begs the jury or the judge not to give them the full penalty of the law but to show him mercy. As an unbeliever what did we deserve? John 3:36, “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him." But we have received mercy from God due to Jesus Christ! Hebrews 4:16, “Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” But mercy from God was always available to us. We just did not accept it! Ephesians 2:1-7, “And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

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