1 Peter 2:9-10 - Now We Are God's People

1 Peter - Hope in Suffering  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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The Word Read

Please remain standing for the reading of the Holy Scripture. Hear the Word of the Lord from 1 Peter 2:9-10:
1 Peter 2:9–10 ESV
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. 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.
Behold, brothers and sisters, this is Word of the Lord. Please be seated. Let us pray.

Summation and Diagnosis

I want to start the sermon this morning by reading a few passages of Scripture.
Exodus 19:5–6 ESV
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; 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.”
Isaiah 43:20–21 ESV
The wild beasts will honor me, the jackals and the ostriches, for I give water in the wilderness, rivers in the desert, to give drink to my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise.
Hosea 2:23 ESV
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.’ ”
When we think of our identity, what primarily comes to mind? Is it our family lineage? Is it a hobby or sport that we enjoy? Is it our job or career we used to have? Is it our children/grandchildren? Is it our nationality or ethnic background?
Each of the verses I read to start this sermon are echoed in 1 Peter 2:9-10. Peter comes to the crescendo of explaining who we are as a result of the work of Christ. As we shall see, in our new Christian identity we are, as a church, 1) a chosen race, 2) a royal priesthood, 3) a holy nation, 4) a people for God’s own possession, and 5) a people who have received God’s mercy.
It is very interesting how Peter continually brings the believer to a deeper understanding of their identity in Christ. Peter does not root their identity in their Roman citizenship, but in their citizenship in Christ. The Roman Empire lasted for approximately 1,000 years, yet it eventually came to ruin. As Job 12:23 states:
Job 12:23 ESV
He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.
The Lord causes nations to become great and then He can ordain their destruction. However, Peter calls these churches to stake their identity not in Rome, but in Christ the Cornerstone. So even in 2024, we find our identity in the true Cornerstone who has built us together as living stones into the true building of God. In fact, even if our nation were to experience a bankruptcy that Greece experienced 10 years ago, we have a sure hope because of our sure Cornerstone - our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of this sure Cornerstone we have an identity that cannot be matched by any nation or community organization. The rights bestowed upon us as earthly citizens pale in comparison to the rights and identity we now have in Christ.
With this in mind the sermon title is, “Now We are God’s People”. I have the passage broken up into two sections - 1) 1 Peter 2:9 - The Identity of the Church and 2) 1 Peter 2:10 - Hosea, Gomer, and the Church. Again, the sermon title is, “Now We are God’s People”. I have the passage broken up into two sections - 1) 1 Peter 2:9 - The Identity of the Church and 2) 1 Peter 2:10 - Hosea, Gomer, and the Church.

1 Peter 2:9 - The Identity of the Church

Let us come to 1 Peter 2:9 - the identity of the Church:
1 Peter 2:9 ESV
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.
The “but” at the beginning of verse 9 is one of those “big but’s of the Bible”. 1 Peter 2:8 reveals that there are those who were destined to be disobedient. They’ve rejected and rebelled against the Lord. Now comes the “but”, “but” not you all. Those who read this epistle were not the ones who have rejected Christ as the true Cornerstone. You are different. Thus the “but” is a strong, strong contrast because there is a strong contrast between those who belong to God and those who do not.
The book of Joshua details the Israelites coming into the Promised Land. Yahweh is their Divine Warrior who brings them into the Land for the purpose of giving them rest. At the end of the book, Joshua issues a charge that most of us know:
Joshua 24:14–15 ESV
“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”
The people are presented with two options - follow Yahweh or serve the gods of Mesopotamia and the gods of Egypt. The people responded that they would follow the Lord because He brought them up out of Egypt. The distinction between God’s people and His enemies is always the dividing line.
We are added to God’s people because of the person and work of Christ Jesus. He took the wrath of God on our behalf. A God who hates sin sent His own Son to die for the sins of the elect. We can claim that we a part of the building of God because of Him. We are added to the Father’s roll because of the great work of Christ Jesus.
Peter lists off, in this verse, four descriptions of those who belong to God. These descriptions are important as they reveal truths about who we are as the Church. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for His own possession. I’m going to say those again, we are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for His own possession. When you think about the Church do these descriptives come to mind? When you think about your fellow FPC brothers and sisters, do you see all of us as these before the God and in front of the world? When we think about other congregations in Eden do we consider them to be these or do we, God forbid if we do, view them as our competition? We, together with them all, make up the chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, and a people for God’s possession here in Eden, NC.
Let’s take a look at these four descriptions. First, the Church is a chosen people. This wording that takes us back to Isaiah 43:3. God assures Israel, who are in Babylonian Exile, that He is the only Savior they have and He will deliver them out of their exile. He did just as He promised. Furthermore, we as the Church are the chosen descendants of Abraham who have been born again by the Father built upon the Cornerstone that is Christ Jesus. Today, we are the chosen people of God the Father. Have you ever stopped to dwell on that truth in your life? You have been chosen by God the Father to be redeemed by His Son and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, those who make up the church at FPC are fellow chosen people of God. We should look around at everyone thanking God that He has chosen to make them a chosen person as well. Together, we are the exiles of God whom He has redeemed and we constitute the one, unified people of God.
The second descriptive in our passage is we are a royal priesthood which comes from Exodus 19:6. We discussed this last week - we are the temple/building of God and we offer sacrifices to our Redeemer. We do this actively, not passively. We actively offer our whole lives to God as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1-2). Furthermore, we as a Church do this with one another. All together we sit under the reign and rule of Christ Jesus. The Church is no democracy or republic. Christ is the Head and we are to grow up into Him (Ephesians 4:15). We are holy and set apart from the entire world for the purposes of God submitting to His rule and reign. When brothers or sisters fall into sin, we respond as the fellow priesthood seeking to restore them in gentleness knowing we could be tempted by the same sin that overcame them (Galatians 6:1-2). We then surround those who have fallen and help them actively walk in obedience to the Lord as a fellow believer who is set apart from the world serving God with their whole lives.
Third, we are a holy nation. This for us may be the hardest to understand of the four descriptives. We tend to view nations as a nation-state or with a geo-political identity, yet our citizenship lies in something much, much great.
About 2,000 years ago there was a man called Antipas. Does anyone know the story of Antipas? He was a follower of Jesus Christ. Church History says he was a Bishop in the city of Pergamum. We don’t know much about him other than he was martyred for his faith (Revelation 2:13). In that society, adding Jesus as another god wasn’t really an issue. The Roman Empire was polytheistic. Yet, Christians boldly declared that Christ is the Lord and God is the only one worthy of worship. In the Roman Empire, Christians were viewed as bad citizens because of their claim “Jesus is the only Lord.” Though Rome was a powerful nation, it certainly was no holy nation. Furthermore, there may be many powerful nations that rise and fall, but none are a holy nation. Only the Church has the claim of being a holy nation. Do we believe the Church is a holy nation? Do we live as holy citizens unto the Lord seeking to keep ourselves pure?
The fourth descriptive is the Church is a people for his own possession. This comes from Exodus 19:5 and Isaiah 43:20-21 where God calls a people out of the world and claims them for Himself. We have been claimed by God. We are the people called out of all the peoples. By the grace of God, we have believed in the Lord Jesus Christ and God made us a people for His own possession. As a people in covenant relationship with God, we are His possession in a special way that no other person or group in the world shares. Think about that - you are in a special relationship with God in a way that unbelievers cannot know or understand. The grace and mercy that flows from the throne of God is only given to those in Christ (Hebrews 4:14-16). We are a prized possession of the ruler and creator of the universe. The world has rejected the God who created Him and they experience His wrath (Romans 1:18-20), but not us. We are His possession And do not experience condemnation (Romans 8:1).
These four characteristics of the Church should bring us hope and encouragement. No other philosophy, religion, or lifestyle can claim these. No one else can claim to be a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for God’s possession - just us who have been purchased by the blood of Christ!
Now that Peter has established these wonderful truths, what do we do about these? What is our purpose in being given this identity? What does Scripture say next? “That you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light”.
I am not a sentimental person. However, there is one tradition that I hold dear every year - eating pizza and watching the Grinch on Christmas Eve. I love it so much that I tell other people they need to join me in my tradition. I can’t help but tell other’s about the joy I experience doing this every year. The tradition is decades long. However, this happiness I experience each year is minimal compared to the truths of our identity in this verse. As a result, we should earnestly desire to proclaim the goodness of God to all those around us.
What are we to proclaim specifically? The excellencies of God. This means the manifestations of His divine power. Is not Scripture full of the excellencies of God? In the Old Testament, God freed the Israelites from Egypt with manifestations of His divine power. He caused the Red Sea to part and they walked through on dry ground by His divine power. God freed the Israelites from Babylonian exile by the manifestation of His divine power. In Christ, people are freed from sin, the world, the enemy, and hell by the manifestation of His divine power. If you are in Christ, you’ve experienced His excellencies. We’ve been called out of spiritual darkness and have been brought into His marvelous light.
Do you notice who does the calling? It is God! God calls or summons us out spiritual darkness and lead us to His marvelous light. As Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 1:9:
1 Corinthians 1:9 ESV
God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
Have you thought of this before? The Father has called you out of darkness. What do you experience now? The fellowship of His Son. The great, eternal, everlasting Son! This previous darkness permeated your life and your heart. On your own, you did not seek God as Romans 3:11 says:
Romans 3:11 (ESV)
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
How could you come to God if you never sought Him? It is because the Holy Spirit opened your heart to hear the Gospel. You didn’t seek Him, but He sought you. He wanted you. He took us from the darkness that overwhelmed us and brought us into His marvelous light.
What will you do as a result of becoming, by the grace of God, a chosen race, royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession? Will you keep the excellencies of God to yourself or will you be obedient to the Word and proclaim this to others? Will you share the Gospel with your family and friends?
The older I get, the less I come to care what the world thinks about me sharing the Gospel. Yes, I want to share the Gospel in love, but I’ve become less fearful of what the world thinks about this message. This glorious message is the only way their souls will be saved. The only way they will come to know the mercy of God is if we share the good news of Christ with them. I’ve come to cherish the kindness of God more and I want others to experience the goodness of God only found in Christ Jesus. I want them to know their sin can be forgiven and they can no longer be enemies of God. They can become friends of God through the redemptive work of Christ. Do I take every opportunity I’ve been given? No, I’ve failed over and over again squandering clear open doors. God saves in spite of my best efforts and my miserable failures. We are the ones who have experienced the grace and mercy of God through the Son'a redemptive work. Let us seek to proclaim or even report the work of God in Christ Jesus to everyone.
There are those in Eden who have never heard of God’s excellencies. They are current enslaved to sin under spiritual darkness and bondage. They wake up under darkness, go to work under darkness, eat under darkness, parent under darkness, watch tv under darkness, have marriages in darkness, and go to sleep under darkness. They do not know there is a God who calls people into His marvelous light. This light is so great and overwhelming. His saving work opens the eyes of those who live in darkness. They come to see the holiness of God and cannot help but see their sin before an awesome God. It is here where Christ saves. We’ve been here, right? I remember this moment when I experienced the holiness of God and there was no one to mediate between me and Him. I was stuck under the weight of spiritual darkness and in that moment the grace of God became known. As I repented of sin, confessed Jesus as Lord, and believed that God rose Him from the dead the burden and weight of sin fell off. I became a new creation in Christ Jesus. I experienced the transformation of being in spiritual darkness to the excellencies of His marvelous light. Have you experienced this in your heart? If so, as a collection of believers you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a people for God’s own possession.

1 Peter 2:10 - Hosea, Gomer, and the Church

We come now to 1 Peter 2:10: Hosea, Gomer, and the Church. Scripture says:
1 Peter 2:10 ESV
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.
The book of Hosea is an interesting book in the Bible. It's probably one where we squirm a little as we read it. Hosea, a prophet, is told by the Lord “Go, take to yourself a wife of whoredom, and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord” (Hosea 1:2). A few years ago, the children’s director where we were previously gave every child the challenge to read through the whole Bible. There were a few passages of Scripture that I was nervous about our children reading by themselves and the second verse of Hosea was one of them. The purpose of Hosea marrying Gomer was to depict Israel’s unfaithfulness to her God. Even though Gomer was unfaithful to Hosea, he remained faithful to her. God remains faithful to His people with such a great redeeming love that we are unable to even comprehend it, for when we sin we are unfaithful Gomer and God’s redeeming love still applies to us.
Hosea is commanded to have children of whoredom and he has three (Hosea 1:4-9). The first was Jezreel (meaning scattered), the second was Lo-ruhama (meaning No Mercy), and the third Lo-ammi (meaning Not My People). The Israelites would be scattered among the nations, the would not receive mercy, and they would not be God’s people. This is how the Lord’s speech ends regarding the children in Hosea 1:9:
Hosea 1:9 ESV
And the Lord said, “Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.”
Imagine being an Israelite hearing those words from the Lord - You are not my people, and I am not your God. Your idolatry, your worship of false gods, and your apostasy has pushed Me to this point. You are not my people, and I am not your God. If we were receiving this news as an Israelite during this time, it would cause us to gasp in terror, fear, and disbelief. Yet immediately after this the Lord refers to the Abrahamic Coveanant:
Hosea 1:10 ESV
Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be like the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And in the place where it was said to them, “You are not my people,” it shall be said to them, “Children of the living God.”
The reality is at this time Israel was acting like a Gentile nation. Actually according to Ezekiel 5:6-8, the Lord says they were worse than the Gentile nations around them. They had forsaken their their role as a holy priesthood and holy nation. They were living like pagans giving themselves over to horrible sins. They were sacrificing their own children to false gods. Ezekiel 8 reveals the abominations that were taking place in the city of Jerusalem and even in the inner court of the temple! Horrible, horrific, grotesque sin marked the Israelites. They had been wooed away from Yahweh to Baal and became slaves to idolatry. They were no longer His people, BUT the Lord shows them mercy anyway. In Hosea 2, the promise is made:
Hosea 2:23 ESV
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.’ ”
This is what Peter quotes in the crescendo of revealing the identity of the people of God to these churches in exile. You, at one time, were not God’s people, but now church - you are His people! Dear church, at one time you did not know the merciful riches of the Lord, but know you experience them! Meditate on the glorious reality that you were once guilty before the Lord, but now are innocent due to the righteousness of Christ Jesus. Dear church, we used to be Lo-ruhama. We used to be Lo-ammi. However, no more. We are those who are God’s people and those who are now receiving God’s mercy. The great love of Hosea to Gomer is the great love of God to the Church.


It may be easy to graze over these realities at times. You might think, I grew up in a Christian home, prayed a prayer when I was young, so I’m not really that bad of a person. Yes, we were. Regardless of your age when you came to know Christ as Lord and Savior, we were that bad of a person because we had sin that was offense to the Great God of Heaven. We were in great rebellion against Him! Yet, by the grace of God we have been saved.
By His grace, He chose us out of the world. By His grace, He made us a royal priesthood. By His grace, we are now the only holy nation. By His grace, we have become His special possession. We now proclaim His excellencies to the nations! We are now God’s people and have received His great mercy. Our response to all of this should be a heart full of gratitude. As we take communion and sing our closing song, we should be thankful for the amazing grace we have recieved by God the Father. He, in His Fatherly care, plucked us out of sin to know the goodness and riches of Christ Jesus. He has caused us to be born again. He has made our hearts of stone to be hearts of flesh. We were miserable wretches that He choose to make His children. He adopted us even when we were children of wrath and disobedience. We've done nothing worthy to be adopted, to receive mercy, or to be added to the Church. It is all based in His sovereign grace that we've been added to the Church. We sat under the gloomy chains of spiritual darkness, yet now walk in His marvelous light. So let us walk in these truths. We, the church, are the people of God!
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