VERSE OF THE DAY
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
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.
What Does 1 Peter 2:9 Mean? ►
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.
1 Peter 2:9(ESV)
What an astonishing revelation is contained within this simple yet profound verse of Scripture, “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 marvellous light.” As members of the Body of Christ, it reveals one of the precious privileges that are ours in Christ – we are a chosen race and a royal priesthood. We have been made a holy nation and a special people who have become God’s own precious possession.
As Christians, we have a special place in God’s unfolding plan of redemption. We are born into the family of God and have become a new creation through spiritual birth, by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. We are an elect race and have been transferred out of the kingdom of Satan into the kingdom of God’s beloved Son. We have been made heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ – by faith.
We have been given the indwelling Holy Spirit as a down payment and guarantee that our inheritance in heaven is secure and sound. We are individual members of Christ’s Body and collectively are being used by Him to testify of the truth of the gospel of grace, as ministers of His new and better Covenant.
What does it mean that “you are a chosen generation” (1 Peter 2:9)?
In 1 Peter 2:9, the apostle Peter describes believers in Jesus Christ with these remarkable words: “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (NKJV). Other translations render the expression chosen generation as “chosen people” (NIV) or “chosen race” (NASB).
Is the phrase you are a chosen generation speaking of predestination and election—God’s predetermination of who will be saved—or does it mean something else?
In this passage, Peter weaves in Old Testament Scripture to define some of the extraordinary spiritual riches that Christians possess in Jesus Christ. He draws specifically from Isaiah 43:20–21, where God speaks of “my chosen people, the people whom I formed for myself that they might declare my praise” (ESV). Peter also borrows the exact words found in Exodus 19:6, in which God identifies His people as a “royal priesthood.” God’s chosen people are no longer restricted to the Hebrews of Israel only; His holy nation now embraces the church of Jesus Christ, which includes both Jews and Gentiles.
Peter is reminding the church precisely how valuable every member is to God. When Peter says, “You are a chosen generation,” he is emphasizing God’s loving initiative in salvation. God draws us to Himself and places us, “like living stones,” as part of His church (1 Peter 2:5).
Peter is also stressing God’s ownership of our lives, as He is the One who chooses the “chosen generation.” Throughout history, God has claimed for Himself a people to be His very own prized possession. Believers in Jesus Christ are the people God has chosen to possess. We may be ordinary people, but because God owns us, our lives take on immeasurably great value.
The doctrines of predestination and election are unmistakably biblical (Mark 13:20; Ephesians 1:4–5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8). God chooses people to be the objects of His unmerited favor and grace, not because of their worthiness or anything they do to deserve it. At the heart of God’s choosing a people is His love (Deuteronomy 7:7–8; 10:14–17; Hosea 11:1, 4; 14:4; Jeremiah 31:2–3). Nothing can adequately explain the love of God for sinners; it must be received by faith.
God dwells among His people (Exodus 25:8; John 14:16–17). His chosen generation is His inheritance, His prized possession, His treasure (Deuteronomy 32:9; Exodus 19:5). He shelters them, carries them in His arms, bears them on His shoulders, holds them in His hands, and seats them at His feet (Deuteronomy 33:3, 12, 27; Isaiah 49:16). He loves them with a jealous love and insists that they worship Him exclusively (Exodus 20:5). He has given them His name (Numbers 6:22–27). All of these wonderful riches have come to us not because we deserve them or have earned them, but because God chose us in His mercy and love to belong to Him.
The second half of Peter’s statement describes the believer’s response to being God’s chosen people: “As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9, NLT). The NIV says, “That you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Declare means “to advertise, to proclaim.” The incredible blessings that Christians have inherited in Christ are not only to be received with gratitude but are to motivate believers to testify of the goodness of God and Christ. We are like panels of stained glass through which the sun pours, illuminating the darkness. Positioned just where God has placed us, we channel His marvelous light and spread the multifaceted glory of His goodness and love.
What does it mean that “you are a chosen generation” (1 Peter 2:9)?
God has selected you and me out of all the people groups of the world for a very special reason, and we have been anointed with the oil of gladness to serve as His representatives on earth. We have been selected, called, chosen, consecrated, and set apart for a very particular purpose – “that we may proclaim the excellences of Him, Who called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”
As we journey through this life of pain and sorrow, we are to proclaim to the world, in thought, word, action, attitude, and motive, the excellent glories of our heavenly Father Who redeemed us from the darkness of sin and death – into the glories of His life and light, in Christ.
Unlike Israel, we are not a chosen race of earthly people, but a spiritual body of believers, that has been called out of every nation and language and people and tribes – to be His holy, heavenly people with a celestial citizenship. And we were set apart by grace through faith in Christ our Saviour, before the foundation of the world.
We were also chosen to be a royal priesthood for our God, so that we may sing out the praises of His name to those who are lost in their trespasses and sins. We have been called to share forth the good news of the glorious gospel of grace to a lost and dying world – for God in His omniscience, knew who would accept His gracious offer of salvation, by faith.
As a royal priesthood, we are kings and priests unto God. We have been declared righteous in His sight and because of our union with Christ, all that we say and do should be in keeping with the heavenly privilege bestowed upon us. Our character and conduct should reflect the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, for by His grace and through faith in Him, we have been given access into the throne-room of God. We can stand in the very presence of the Almighty because we are eternally identified with Jesus Christ – the Son of God, Who is God the Son.
Our worship, praise, and thanksgiving, will resound throughout the eternal ages to come because God had graciously called us out of the darkness of sin and death, and a life without Christ, into the glorious light of His holy presence and eternal light and love. Darkness is the domain of those who reject God’s offer of salvation. Those who refuse to trust in Christ have condemned themselves into the sphere of eternal separation from their Creator. But we who have trusted in His holy name have been forgiven of sin, made holy and blameless in His sight, and been given all we need for life and godliness – according to His riches in mercy and everlasting love.
How we praise His holy Name… for we who were once dead in our sins and shrouded in the thick blackness of sin, have been called out of darkness into His wonderful light so that we might proclaim to all with whom we come in contact, the excellences of our heavenly Father and the grace of Kinsman Redeemer – Who loved us so much that He was prepared to go to the Cross for our sake, so that our sins could be forgiven, and we could exhibit the glories of His grace, not only in this world but also in the ages to come.
What does 1 Peter 2:9 mean?
In contrast with those who reject Christ and are destined to “stumble,” Peter now describes the chosen people of God.
Peter uses language that had been used to describe God’s special relationship with Israel. As Israel was, we—believers, the church—are also a chosen race. Unlike Israel, though, we are not a race in the sense of our family, ethnicity, skin color, or country of origin. We are a spiritual race, in the sense that, in Christ, we share a single spiritual Father. In that same meaning, we are a “holy nation,” a specific group of people called out and set apart from all other nations.
Christians, together, are a royal priesthood. In Israel, under the Law, one tribe was given the task of serving as priests, performing the duties of mediators between God and the rest of the nation. Very few held the honor and responsibility of actually coming into God’s presence. But in and through Christ, the King, all believers are priests with direct access to our Father. We need no other mediator.
Finally, God has formed this nation, this race, this priesthood to take possession of us. We are His people in a very real way. It’s not just that we pledge our allegiance to Him; it’s that He has taken ownership of us. We belong to Him.
Why? For one, He has made us to declare His praises. That’s more than just a natural response to our Father’s mercy or something we should do to be polite. Declaring God’s greatness is one reason for our very existence. When we praise Him, we fulfill our purpose. He has called us out of the darkness of a meaningless life, and an eternity apart from Him, and into His wonderful, marvelous light. Because we belong to Him, we belong in His light.
1 Peter 2:1–12 describes the spiritual house God is building. Jesus is the perfect foundation stone God has chosen for the house. Those who trust in Him are also living stones used to build the house. In addition, we individually serve as both the priests and the spiritual sacrifices, our lives offered to the builder. Thus we must live good lives, as strangers in the world preparing to go home to be with our Father, engaged in battle against our desire to sin.
Peter gets specific about what it means to live as God’s set-apart people. Christ is the foundation stone of the spiritual house God is building. We must engage in battle with our selfishness and desire to sin. This includes submitting to human authorities, no matter how evil or harsh. It means enduring suffering, as Christ did for our sake when He died on the cross. Our role is not to fight a physical war for justice here; we will be going home soon