Who are YOU? Are You Royalty? Are you a Member of the Clergy? (If You are in Christ, then YES, You are!) #138

Hello everybody, and happy Friday to you! For me, it’s just now Tuesday at 1:34 AM, but this is scheduled to release to the rest of you on Friday. As you receive this, I should be driving back from the lovely deserts of Utah to the sunny and cool city of Salinas. Today’s Bible readings include Numbers 24, Psalms 66 and 67, Isaiah 14 and 1 Peter 2, which is our focus passage for the second straight day. Our question is one of the most fundamental and basic questions we can ask – WHO are you? The answer might surprise you, as we dig into today’s text in 1st Peter 2. Let’s read it together, and then you can see if you can find your identity as you read.

So – WHO are you? Peter has some interesting things for us today, right? You are a chosen race – an ENTIRELY NEW RACE of people, and a royal priesthood, and a people possessed by God. YOU are ROYALTY. That’s pretty significant, right? Son of the King of Kings and brother of Jesus. Not only that – but you are a PRIEST! I used a title in today’s Big Bible question that I basically cringe at. I do not like the word clergy at all. That may be odd, because I have been a pastor of one sort or another (youth, teaching, children’s assistant, senior, missions, etc) for the last 25+ years. Does that make me clergy? Not in the sense that it distinguishes me from a Christian who works in IT, or who owns fast-food franchises, or who upholsters things for a living, or who is a fire-medic, or who is a Boeing/Lockheed engineer, or any other career. I don’t see any real distinction between clergy and laity in Scripture, but I do see this wonderful truth that we are ALL  a part of the ROYAL Priesthood family of Jesus. How wonderful and fascinating. Remember that there are only TWO Royal priests in the entire Bible: Jesus and Melchizedek (and I believe that Melchizedek is a Christophany -a manifestation of Jesus, so if that is true, then there is only ONE royal priest in the Bible – Jesus…and then all of us who have been redeemed by Him.) Let’s go to our friend John Piper for some more on our identity:

This text shows that treasuring Christ defines a new race of people. I choose the word “race” consciously and provocatively and because it’s in the text. Verse 9: “But you [you who for whom Christ, a cornerstone not a stumbling stone, you for whom Christ is precious, you who treasure Christ] are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession.” Notice three words: race, nation, people. Genos, from which we get the word “genealogy.” Ethnos from which we get the word “ethnic,” and “ethnicity.” And laos from which we get the word laity. Peter uses all three words that Israel used to define herself (race, ethnic nation, and people—the people) and applied them to the Gentiles and Jews who treasure Christ. He applied them to us, the church.

Those who treasure Christ above all are a new race, a new ethnicity, and a new people-group. This has huge implications for the racial and ethnic realities of this world. How easily we could make a mistake here and say: race, ethnicity, people-group differences don’t count in the body of Christ. Christians are to be color-blind, ethnic-blind, people-group-blind. There is a truth in that. No person of any ethnicity wants to talk endlessly about ethnicity. There are greater issues in the world than color and culture.

But God did not create the indescribable abundance of differences in the world simply to be ignored. As though we would honor a thousand species of flowers by being color-blind. No. This is not what it means for the church to be a new race.

What it means is this (and more): the supreme trait of the new Christian race is treasuring Christ. This trait of the new race has a transforming effect on all races and ethnicities and people-groups: it exposes our alienating differences either as Christ-belittling sins to be forsaken or as Christ-reflecting treasures to be valued. Treasuring Christ does not make us blind to differences. Rather it makes differences serve the larger unifying identity of treasuring Christ together. What’s new about the Christian race is that the infinite value of Christ is reflected by each member differently. Therefore, the differences are not negligible. We are the living stones being built into a new temple—or a new race. And the defining trait of this new race is the manifold and unified reflection of the infinite value of Christ by the way he is treasured among diverse people. Therefore let us praise this diversity and pursue it.

John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (2000–2014) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2014).

 

 

In 1 Peter 2:9…Peter says, “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.”

God brought you out of darkness and into his marvelous light by the word of God, the gospel (1:23, 25). And now in this marvelous light what are we to do? Why are we here? One utterly crucial reason while this age remains: “that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We are in the marvelous light of the love and power and wisdom of Christ so that our joy in that marvelous light might be filled up through proclaiming the excellencies of Christ.

Why? Because that’s how others will be born again—by hearing this good news. And when they are born again they move from darkness to marvelous light and see Christ for who he is and treasure him for who he is and therefore magnify him for who he is. And our joy is completed in their joy in him.

John Piper, Sermons from John Piper (2000–2014) (Minneapolis, MN: Desiring God, 2014).


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.