Privileged People Motivated to Precious Praise (1 Peter 2:9-11)

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Overview of 1 Peter

You possess a precious salvation, a salvation into which prophets made careful searches and inquiries, a salvation that the apostles proclaimed, a salvation that the Holy Spirit divinely inspired, a salvation that angels long to observe. Believers in Christ possess that salvation. Therefore:

  • fix your hope on future grace (1:13)
  • be holy in all your conduct . . . for I am holy (1:15)
  • conduct yourselves in a state of reverence (1:17)
  • fervently love one another (1:22)
  • long passionately for the Word of God (2:2)

Those are expectations of those who possess such a great salvation. Peter does not leave believers with just a list of expectations. We, as recipients of that salvation, possess some great benefits. We find those starting in chapter 2.

  • We are united with Christ.
  • We are members of an active and living organism.
  • We have the opportunity to be part of community.
  • We will not be disappointed as we rest in Christ.
  • We will hold Christ as precious.

Those privileges are characteristic of those who believe. Verse 2:7 tells us that this precious value is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, the chief cornerstone becomes a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense. Peter then goes back around in similar fashion to that of verses 4 and 5 in chapter 2 and he offers characteristics or realities regarding the church.

  • A chosen race
  • A royal priesthood
  • A holy nation
  • A people of God’s own possessions

And those ideas are summarized in verses 9-10.

  • We are in the light and no longer in the darkness
  • We are the people of God and no longer excluded
  • We are recipients of mercy and no longer under God’s wrath

We are privileged people that are to proclaim the excellencies of God. We were taken out of our natural setting – the natural setting of darkness and exlusion and separation from God and a place under the wrath of God. Our position has changed. Our home has changed.

We are a Privileged People

Peter uses OT concepts to emphasize the privileges of NT Christians.

And now if ye will indeed hear my voice, and keep my covenant, ye shall be to me a peculiar people above all nations; for the whole earth is mine. And ye shall be to me a royal priesthood and a holy nation: these words shalt thou speak to the children of Israel. (LXE Ex 19:5-6)

The beasts of the field will glorify Me . . . Because I have given waters in the wilderness and rivers in the desert, To give drink to My chosen people. The people whom I formed for Myself Will declare My praise. (Isa 43:20-21)

For you are a holy people to the LORD your God; the LORD your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you (Deut 7:6-8)

A Chosen Race. If we were to look back a few verses we would see that because of our relationship with Christ, we are living stones just as He is the precious and living cornerstone. Christ was chosen and so are we. Chosen “can speak of the quality of persons or things choice, select, excellent . . . or it refer to the basis of salvation in God’s calling people to belong to himself elect, chosen (CO 3.12).”

Christ is choice. We are chosen. If I were to judge a cake eating contest, it would be my responsibility to select the cake that was most excellent. I should select the “choice” cake. The best looking. The best tasting with the ideal amount of chocolate frosting. That cake would be “choice.” However, if my child is in the competition, I will be tempted to select my child’s cake, not because it tasted the best but because I loved them the most. In that case, I would choose my child’s cake because of my love for them not because of their excellent work.

We, like Christ, are chosen, but we, unlike Christ, are chosen not because of our own merit and worth but in spite of our inherent worth. Christ was choice. We are not choice like Christ, but nevertheless we are chosen.

In the first few verses of this book, Peter writes to those “who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.”

We had no merit to commend us to God. Moses makes this same point in Deuteronomy. God’s choice of Israel rested not in their inherent worth but in His own character.

The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you and kept the oath which He swore to your forefathers. (Deut 7:6-8)

Similarly, you are not chosen because of your inherent value, but because of His character. Paul makes this same point in Romans 5. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Paul goes on to acknowledge that we were still enemies when we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son” (Rom 5:8-10)

A Royal Priesthood. Peter likely alludes to a passage such as Exodus 19:6. “You shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” We may miss to fully appreciate this role of royal priest if we limit the value of priests simply to those who offered sacrifices. In fact, Peter makes this same point a few verses earlier, “You are a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices.”

But, why can priests offer sacrifices on behalf of others? Because priests have access to God and the ability to serve Him. Because they have access to God, they can offer up sacrifices. Unlike Israel, where priests came from one tribe, all members of the church are priests. Therefore, every one of us has the opportunity, privilege, and responsibility to access God and as well intercede on the behalf of others.

A Holy Nation. Once again Peter looks back at several Old Testament passages or at least the Old Testament concept of Israel being a holy nation. They were a nation that had been set apart for a specific purpose. The story of Israel, as of now, is a tragic one. Due to their unbelief, they forfeited the privilege of belonging uniquely to God. It is in this tragedy that you see a blessing come for the Gentiles. Paul writes in Romans 11, “But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous” (Rom 11:11).

God now has a unique people – the church. This people group consists of both Jews and Gentiles.

While we as believers have been set apart and declared righteous and holy, the fact that we are a holy nation speaks more to our conduct than our position. It addresses what should characterize our actions. Peter quickly moves on to discuss what believers were chosen out of and set apart to. We are taken from darkness into light. We are taken from death into life. We are vile sinners redeemed to God and declared righteous. We are taken out of the realm of Satan and into the Kingdom of God (Col 1:13).

A People of God’s Own Possession. We are God’s possession because “he purchased [us] with his own blood” (Acts 20:28). Paul writes in 1 Corinthians, “For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor 6:20). Again, in Titus, Paul writes, “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession” (Titus 2:14). “We are a particularly significant and precious possession to Him, and therefore the object of His special care.”[1]

We Are Motivated to Praise by Great Realities

We are in the light and no longer in the darkness. This darkness is characterized by ignorance to the truth and immorality. Those in darkness are incapable of seeing the truth. They are incapable of knowing and doing that which is right.

We are a people of God and no longer excluded. In Romans, Paul refers to the people of God in this same manner. “I WILL CALL THOSE WHO WERE NOT MY PEOPLE, ‘MY PEOPLE,’ AND HER WHO WAS NOT BELOVED, BELOVED” (Rom 9:25).

We are recipients of mercy and no longer under His wrath. It is true that all people to some degree experience the mercy of God. “The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail” (Lam 3:22). Again in the Psalms, “The LORD is good to all, And His mercies are over all His works” (Psa 145:9). But in 1 Peter, this mercy is unique for those who believe. In some sense, everyone experiences the general mercies of God. Each of us not only deservers eternal punishment, but we deserve it immediately. God, however, withholds his hand of judgment out of mercy. Peter, speaks of a more specific mercy. For believers, their sins are forgiven and the eternal punishment is removed.

Paul writes to Titus, “He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy” (Titus 2:5).


Purpose statement. We as privileged people are properly motivated to precious praise.

Do you realize that as we considered our motivation for praising the Lord, there was no mention of possessions or health or wealth or comfort? Our motivation for praise is due to His work in us and the position we have in Christ.

Do you know why we have these privileges? Because God caused us to be born again through a connection with the resurrected Jesus. We are in Christ and therefore possess all the privileges. We are chosen in Christ. We can access God the Father as priests because we have been given access through Jesus Christ. We are a holy nation as we are united in Christ. We became God’s possession as we were bought by Christ. We are no longer in darkness due to Christ drawing us into the light. We are no longer excluded from all eternal privileges because we are in Christ. We are no longer under the wrath of God but instead receive his personal and intimate mercy because of Christ.

Therefore, through Christ, we praise the Father.

[1] I. Howard Marshall, 1 Peter, The IVP New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, Ill.: Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), 76.