1 Peter 2:9-10
Once Not a People
The last title God bestows upon us in this passage is “a people of His own possession.” This may be the sweetest of all the titles. “Chosen Race,” “Royal Priesthood,” and “Holy Nation” are wonderful enough—but to be His very own people? And how did we come by this? Not of ourselves but of His sheer mercy and grace (Ephesians 2:8). This goes back to what I have said over and again these last few devotions: God wants a people—a holy people—to call His own, and this is what He has provided for Himself through His Son Jesus Christ.
And why does God separate unto Himself a people? So that we “may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light.” This is the task of the people He has called—of a holy people: To proclaim His name, to make known His wondrous deeds among the peoples (Psalm 105:1). Everyone knows of some god, but do they know the true God, the God who dwells in light inapproachable, who made heaven and earth, who is above all and in all and through all, who is pure and beyond sin, who is righteous and just, AND who satisfied his justice through His Son’s substitutionary death on our behalf, who conquered the grave through His Son’s resurrection? It is this God whose ways we are to proclaim before a lost and dying world. It is this God who has called us out of darkness and into light—and if He can call us, He can certainly call others.
And here is yet another remarkable truth this passage tells us: We, who have been called, who have been separated unto Him, who have been given this charge to proclaim His excellencies, we (the Scripture tells us) were once “not a people,” meaning, “not His people.” Once upon a time, we had not received mercy from Him. We were once “dead in trespasses and sins in which we once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience—among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind” (Ephesians 2:1-3). This is who we were and what we can sometimes still see underneath the covering God has given us through Christ. We were once without God (Ephesians 2:14), but He has now made us His very own people. That’s why we say that we have been saved. It’s not that we were sitting on the fence; we were on the other side of it—scattered, alone, and dead. But God picked us up, made us alive, and made us a people—His people. And that’s called, Grace.