Every Christian is called to be a missionary, and this calling extends wherever we are. Every piece of ground we walk on is our mission field, making our calling to be missionaries directly linked to our identity in Christ. Focusing on our identity in Christ keeps us from dismissing, discounting and becoming discontent with our calling to live a life on mission. 1 Peter 2:9-10 clearly lays out our identity as Christians.
“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.”
Don’t dismiss your calling
The phrase, “But you,” at the beginning of the passage, sets up a contrast between two groups of people, those who have embraced Christ and those who have rejected Him. As for those who have heard the gospel and been made alive in Christ, our new identity is confirmed in four ways:
- A chosen race – The fact that we have been chosen highlights the truth that the One doing the choosing received pleasure from making the choice. As a race, the Body of Christ is one family. This is a spiritual ethnicity—an ethnicity not centered on our color or culture, but on the fact that He has chosen us.
- A royal priesthood – To be “fit for a king” is a humbling truth. In the Old Testament, kings couldn’t serve as priest. When Uzzaiah tried, in 2 Corinthians 26, he was judged and struck with leprosy. In 1 Peter 2:4-6, we are told that because of Christ, we can offer up spiritual gifts because our Great High Priest has given us all access.
- A holy nation – We are no longer identified as citizens of the world system because holiness is our national identification.
- A people for His own possession – He has purchased us with the blood of Christ.
Although we were born outside of the family of God, because of the work of Christ, our identity has been changed—an identity that comes with a missional calling.
Don’t discount your calling
The whole reason God provided us with our new identity was to send us out on a mission to make Him famous. “So that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him” shows us we have an active voice. We are the one’s doing the proclamation. Each of us are a hashtag for our God to promote His power to save sinners.
The verse continues with, “who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light.” God has called us out by name into His kingdom. This calling mandates us to do work for the kingdom from the moment of salvation through all eternity because we are the light in the darkness.
Ephesians 5:8 says, “for at one time you were in darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light.” Although the world views identity as careers, achievements and possessions, we first identify ourselves as Christians. No matter what career field we have, we must not cheapen our identity and calling to worldly definitions.
Don’t be discontent with your calling
The audience Peter was writing to were mostly considered to be second class citizens in the Roman Empire. When he writes, “once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people,” he shows them they have an identity more valuable than that which the world had given them. Furthermore, although they once had not received mercy, they now received mercy and no longer lived outside of Christ.
Our identity as a chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation and a people of His own possession, unifies us as believers. We are in this together and make up one body. The enemy wants us to take our eyes off the cross and compare our walk with others, but Christ has called us to see our brother and sisters as peers and not problems.
Our calling is to proclaim His name in whatever circumstance we are in, wherever God has led us. Each of us bears this calling. No Christian has been called to do this alone. We must each run in our lane with diligence while spurring each other on in the faith!
Published January 31, 2017