But You Are...! (1 Pet. 2:9) Part 3 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 27 September 2017

You are a royal priesthood and a holy nation.” I’m combining these two because they are closely related. Peter seems to have taken these two titles and the next one (“a people of his own possession”) from Ex. 19:5-6: “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…" This is what God said as a promise before He entered into covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai. As you can see, Peter collapsed “a kingdom of priests” into “a royal priesthood.” And the two titles seem to refer to the same thing: a kingdom of priests is a holy nation. So, for the sake of time, I’ll focus on our title as “a royal priesthood.”

 

 

This is also a remarkable designation for Christians. Not only are we called priests; we are called royal priests. In this designation, kingship and priesthood are joined together. Few people in the Old Testament had those two offices at the same time. Adam as our covenant representative had all three offices of prophet, priest, and king. And there was that mysterious figure, Melchizedek, who was both a king and a priest. We can say that the Patriarchs--Abraham as well as Isaac and Jacob—had those offices in a very limited sense. After them, Moses had all three offices, too, if only temporarily and functionally without the official titles of “king” or “priest.” David did much to help organize the temple worship but he did so as a king in a theocracy, in which church and state were closely connected together. But he was not a priest in any official sense. And what happened when King Uzziah in his pride tried to offer incense in the temple, which was an official priestly function? God struck him with leprosy and he had to live with it for the rest of his life!

But You Are ...! (1. Pet. 2:9) Part 2 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 27 September 2017

We are God’s chosen race. God chose us to be on His side. If this doesn’t make us overwhelmed with gratitude, I don’t know what will. You know what it feels like to be not invited—something as frivolous as to a fun party all your friends are invited to, and how deeply you get hurt. God’s election decides between heaven and hell, between eternal joy and eternal torment, between the infinite abundance of God and eternal solitude of pain. Oh, to think that God chose us graciously: He chose us out of the fallen human race, who deserved to be thrown into hell not only for the Original Sin of Adam but also for our actual sins! God chose us sovereignly: He did not choose us because we were better than others; He chose us by His mysterious, sovereign choice (Deut. 7:7-8). And God chose us for redemption—not just to be delivered out of the fiery hell and grip of sin but also to find life and security in the loving embrace of God. And God chose each of us into the chosen race, a community of God’s redeemed. Practically, this means we should participate in the life of the church, the visible expression of God’s chosen race. 

 

 

As God’s chosen people, we should be humble: we have nothing to boast of but everything to be grateful for. And we should remember that God has chosen you to be part of New Life Presbyterian Church of La Jolla for now and we should love and serve one another as we celebrate our blessed redemption in Christ.

But You Are ...! (1. Pet. 2:9) Part 1 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 27 September 2017

 SHAPE  \* MERGEFORMAT “But you are a chosen race….” Who are the “you” here? Not ethnic Jews but Christians. By “a chosen race,” Peter meant those who were elected by God’s foreknowledge for obedience to Jesus Christ (1:1-2), not to the Mosaic Law; who were born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ (1:3), not just born of Abraham according to the flesh; who received an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for them (1:4), not in the land of Canaan. This is surprising because the chosen race throughout the Old Testament was the people of Israel. But even as a Jew, Peter designated Christians, who were made up of both Jews and Gentiles, as the chosen race of God. Thus he signaled that the nation of Israel had been replaced with the church of Jesus Christ, which is made up of Christians from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. 

 

 

This didn’t mean that God changed His mind about the people of Israel. Regarding this, Paul said that the true children of Abraham are not necessarily those who physically descended from him but are chosen as children of promise (Rom. 9:6-8). This is why God changed Abram’s name (which means “exalted father”) to Abraham (which means “father of many nations”), why Abraham was justified by faith (Gen. 15) before he was circumcised (Gen. 17). It was so that he could be the father of both groups—the Gentile Christians who are justified by faith without circumcision as he was and the Jewish Christians who are not merely circumcised but are justified by faith as he was (Rom. 4:11-12). From the beginning, God’s plan for salvation reached beyond the boundaries of the ethnic Jews. God’s election of the Jews as a nation was a type or picture of God’s election of saints unto eternal life.

Our Glorious Redemption: Union With Christ (Eph. 1:3-14) part 5 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 22 September 2017

The longing is in our soul, too, because God put it there when He made us in His own image. In our fallen condition, we may not be always aware of this longing. But we can certainly feel its symptoms, which are powerful themselves. We have many legitimate desires: for food and water, for comfort and rest, for pleasure and happiness, for knowledge and growth, for approval and praise, for companionship and love, etc. We can say that God Himself put these desires in us because He made us psycho-somatic beings.

 

 

According to other religions, salvation is presented in individual terms—whether it is enlightenment or perfection. But Christianity presents salvation as communal or covenantal—that is, in our covenantal union with God. Not only that, we are saved as members of the body of Christ, in a community, not as separate individuals. You can see why. Our redemption cannot be complete without meeting this greatest and most fundamental desire of our being. It was for this that God made man in the beginning. God did not create man out of some kind of need or lack in Himself. God is self-existent and self-sufficient. God created man, not out of any need in Him, but out of His overflowing abundance. He created man because He desired other moral beings to experience His happiness and joy in communion with Him! It is through union with Christ that God grants us the full satisfaction of our deepest longing. Our salvation is not in getting every spiritual blessing from Christ; rather, each spiritual blessing is an aspect of enjoying Christ in His multi-faceted and all-sufficient love for us. God is the Fount of every blessing because He is the essence of all that is good. God is the Fount of life and He is the Life. God is the Creator of all and He is all in all. Christ is the Savior and He is the Salvation. Let us learn to be content with Christ. Let us learn to glory in Christ and boast in Him as our greatest Treasure and Friend!

Our Glorious Redemption: Union With Christ (Eph. 1:3-14) part 4 of 5

  • Written by James Lee
  • Published: 21 September 2017

But there is more to our union with Christ. It is not just in the virtue or authority of Christ that we enjoy every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. This is a legal union of sorts. We have many examples of this type of union in life. It is also a mystical union. It is also an organic union. What does all this say about how we receive all the elements of ordo salutis in Christ? We said “in Christ” means “in the authority and virtue of Christ.” We now see that this is not just His divine authority we are speaking of. It is also His authority and virtue that comes from His work and experience. Our Savior went through all the elements of the order of salvation Himself. Let’s see what this means:

Our calling is in Christ because He was called as our covenant Representative and Substitute.
Our regeneration is in Christ because Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit as the Second Adam to start a new race of people who are born of the Spirit.
Our conversion is in Christ. Conversion consists of faith and repentance. It’s for sinners to turn away from the path of rebellion toward the path of obedience and righteousness. Jesus obviously didn’t need to be converted. But He submitted Himself to John’s baptism, which was a baptism of repentance! Thus He united Himself with us and identified Himself with our condition. And as our Champion, He turned the direction of our life from the path of rebellion and destruction toward the path of righteousness and life He did this so we can turn around in His “conversion”—obviously, not from His own sinful life, but from our sinful life as our Substitute.
Our justification is in Christ because Jesus was justified by His life of perfect righteousness and imputes (or, gives the credit of) His righteousness to us.
Our adoption is in Christ because Jesus was “adopted” as God’s Redeemer-Son by His resurrection in addition to being God’s Creator-Son.
Our sanctification is in Christ because Jesus canceled the debt of sin by His death and gives (or imparts) the power of His righteousness to us so we can overcome sin and conform to His image more and more.
Our glorification is in Christ because He is our Head and we are glorified as His body.

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