1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
We often wonder what it means to be an authentic church of Jesus Christ. How do you tell that this is truly a Christ-like community? Last week we had a seminar for leaders in our church and the focus of our discussions was what it means to be a Caring, Christ-like community. For two days we studied a scripture passage from 1 Peter 2:9. I learnt a lot as each member participated in the study. In this week’s devotional, I will share some of the lessons we discovered during our study.
But let’s look at the passage for a moment: But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
This simple verse is loaded with profound truths of what it means to be a church. There are at least two as of the church that we can glean from it: the identity and purpose of the church..
The Identity of the Church: “You are”
There are four images used to describe the identity of the church:
- A Chosen People,
- A Royal Priesthood,
- A Holy Nation,
- God’s Special Possession
All these are incredible descriptions of who we are as the church of Christ. Contrary to the contemporary misconceptions, church is not about buildings, budgets or denominations. Church is all about people—called and chosen by God, and set apart to be His special possession. Church is not a human institution but God’s own creation. It is a dynamic living organism. It is a people saved by His grace to belong to Him. So, we have nothing to boast about.
But there is more to this: we are priests of the King. This is an interesting dynamic. Priest are servants of a special nature because they serve both God and the people. They are intercessors, bridge-builders, worship leaders. They stand before God to represent His people before Him. They are God’s gift to the people (Numbers 18:7).
- What should the priest’s attitude towards God be?
- What should the priest’s attitude towards the people be?
- What’s the church’s attitude towards God and the world?
Next week we will look at the purpose of the church according to this passage.