“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellences of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.“ – 1 Peter 2:9 (ESV)
We are a Chosen Race
A one-legged school teacher from Scotland came to J. Hudson Taylor to offer himself for service in China. “With only one leg, why do you think of going as a missionary?” Asked Taylor.
“I do not see those with two legs going,” replied George Scott. He was accepted. – Pillar of Fire, January First, 1983.
This opening illustration is a reminder that no matter what our physical condition we are still a chosen people. The only qualification for service is that we are believers. Believers are a “chosen people,” we are a people who belong to God because we have been elected, chosen by him for a divine purpose.
The privilege of belonging is conveyed in our identity
Peter describes us as “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.”
“In Exodus, the title applies to Israel, with whom God enacts his covenant at Sinai. Israel’s priesthood was such that they were to mirror to the nations the glory of Yahweh, so that all nations would see that no god rivals the Lord (cf. also Isa 61:6). Unfortunately, Israel mainly failed in this endeavor as the Assyrian (722 b.c.), and Babylonian (586 b.c.) exiles demonstrate. The reason for the exile is that Israel failed to keep God’s law. Now God’s kingdom of priests consists of the church of Jesus Christ. It too is to mediate God’s blessings to the nations, as it proclaims the gospel.”
What makes this priesthood special is that no one can be a priest alone. A priest is connected to someone. In the case of the believer, our connection is to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We are not replacing the one who gave His life as a ransom for our sins. Instead, we are called to share that message to a lost and dying world.
Jesus Christ is the priest before God. It is He who offers up the sacrifice of Himself for our sake, and thankfully in our place. As a priest he does for us what we could never accomplish for ourselves, He stands in our place before the high court of God. He hears the charges read against Him and takes the punishment due us and then turns to us after the sentencing and declares us not guilty. By Jesus’ priestly sacrifice we are priests. We live by the forgiveness that delivers us from the powers of sin, death, the devil, and the Law. We are living sacrifices whose lives are poured out in sacrifice to Him where He has put Himself to receive the sacrifice of our lives, that is our neighbor in his need.
What Have We Been Chosen to Do?
Because we have been called “ek” (the Greek verb in the text) which means “out” or “abroad” of darkness we have a been set apart for a divine purpose. Our love for God and our confession compel us to go out into the world and “…proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Lenski in his great commentary said, “True believers cannot keep still, they simply must speak out with lip and with life. Thus, they function as a royal priesthood and ever offer up sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving. This is the confessional and the missionary spirit and activity of God’s people; for the sake of this God lets us remain in the world.”
God left a royal priesthood behind to be a light that shines brightly in the darkness. Be what God has chosen and redeemed you to be.
 Lenski, R. C. H. (1966). The interpretation of the epistles of St. Peter, St. John and St. Jude (pp. 103–104). Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Publishing House.