1 Peter 2:9-10. 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.
There’s not much worse in this life than rejection. Rejection reveals the deep need that we all have to be accepted and loved. We’ve all felt rejection. No call back after the job interview. The break-up. The silent treatment from a spouse. A parent who’s been too busy.
There’s nothing better in this life than acceptance. Especially acceptance that is undeserved. Being received, and then received back after you’ve blown it. That is what grace is – undeserved acceptance. This grace is the story of God. Of salvation. Of Christ. Of the whole Bible. And so once again Peter takes us deep into the Old Testament to show us the story of God’s undeserved acceptance that we have been given.
In verse 9, Peter takes us back to Exodus 19. The Hebrews have made it out of Egypt, through the desert, and have landed at the base of Mount Sinai. Here God will make a covenant with man – the ultimate in undeserved acceptance. He will speak over them their new identity as his treasured possession, his royal priesthood, and his holy nation.
Exodus 19:5-6. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.”
Now, if God’s relationship with Israel under this Sinai Covenant was a Facebook status, it would read “it’s complicated.” Yes, God accepted refugee Israel when they least deserved it, but this was a covenant built on law, not grace. Notice the little word IF in Exodus 19:5. IF they will obey. That is, if they accept God and never reject him, then God will accept and not reject Israel.
And that bring us to our second Bible story in verse 10 – Hosea and Gomer. God told Hosea the prophet to marry Gomer the unfaithful wife. Hosea represents God. Gomer represents Israel (us). An Israel that rejected God over and over even though he didn’t deserve it. And so, true to the law, God declared through Hosea that Israel would no longer be his people. And worse yet, that they would no longer receive his love and mercy. And to make the message clear, God had Hosea name his two children “Not my people,” and “No mercy.” (Worst baby names ever).
This is life under the law. If you don’t live up, if you don’t get it right, if you fail, if you reject God in any way, then he rejects you. Cheat on God and he’ll divorce you. Acceptance must be earned and deserved. Which means never really knowing if your accepted or not. Never knowing if you are currently deserving of God’s love or not. Living life paralyzed in the constant fear of rejection. “To live is hell.”
But Hosea and Gomer’s story, the story of God and man, doesn’t end in law. It ends in God’s glorious grace. Just look at where God’s heart of love takes him:
Hosea 2:20-23. 20 I will betroth you to me in faithfulness. And you shall know the Lord.
23 and I will sow her for myself in the land.
And I will have mercy on No Mercy,
and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’;
and he shall say, ‘You are my God.’”
What made the difference? What allowed God’s heart to break and take back Israel as his bride? And what allows Peter to now declare that WE ARE that bride? The ones who once were not a people, but now are? The ones who once were without mercy, but now have all God’s mercy? The ones who are the people, priests, and possession of God?
The answer is IN CHRIST. Christ who is the end of the law and the beginning of all mercy. Christ, the chosen man, the royal High Priest, the holy one, the treasure of heaven. Christ the ultimate Hosea who has betrothed himself to us Gomers in faithfulness, in spite of our unfaithfulness. We are in this very Christ. Forever secure in HIS love, HIS mercy, HIS faithfulness, HIS deservedness. Now, in him, we are forever accepted by God, even though we constantly fail to deserve it. Because of Jesus, the faithful lover of our soul, we belong to God.
“To live is Christ” is bold belonging. It is undeserved acceptance. And there’s nothing better in this world than that. So today, take a moment to sit with your acceptance. Don’t do anything. Don’t try to make progress. Don’t make a plan. Don’t form an intention. Don’t perform. Just sit at the feet of Grace. Let him heal your heart and settle your soul. Let him remind you that you are his, and he is yours, and that’s all you need.
And THEN go proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Do you feel rejected by God or accepted? Based on what?
You in Christ
Mediate on your identity in Christ: “I am his priest, his people, his possession.”
Christ in you
How can you proclaim the excellencies of Jesus today?