So, last week, we continued our series of teachings entitled “In the Mirror.” And again, the purpose of these teachings is to behold who we are in Christ and learn our true spiritual identity so that the enemy is not able to steal what is rightfully ours.
We have learned that just as identity theft is arguably one of the most harmful and inconvenient ways that someone can steal from us, spiritual identity theft is one of the ways that the enemy robs us of everything that God has for us. So, it is imperative that you and I look into the mirror of God’s Word and behold who we are in Christ in order to establish our hearts in these truths so that the thief cannot come steal, kill and destroy God’s life from us.
Now I have entitled this series “In the Mirror” because the Word of God describes itself as a mirror that reflects to us both who we are and what God wills for us to be. And we have been looking at a passage of Scripture that is used to describe who we are in Christ Jesus--Second Corinthians 3:18–which I believe accurately “reflects” the truths the Lord wants us to see in this series.
But of course, that is not how people use the law of the Old Covenant—back then and even still today, people try to use God’s law as a mirror. What I mean is they are looking into it to try and find their identity (i.e. as a means to attain salvation, saying things like— “If you just keep God’s law, He will accept you.”) But that’s not true! The truth is that through the New Covenant, Jesus has already made us acceptable, qualified and justified in the sight of God—us all.
That is why the apostle Paul said in this verse, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
As we have seen, the “we all” being referred to here is the Body of Christ, the Church of the living God. Therefore, every born-again, baptized in the Holy Spirit, believer is with “unveiled face”—meaning, we are not reading the truth of the glories of this new & better covenant with a veil over our face like those under the Old Covenant. And that is why Paul goes on to say, “beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord…” What glory are we beholding? Those truths of this new and better covenant of what Christ has done for us and who we are in Him! This is what we are to be beholding—the mystery of this New Covenant which is Christ in us, the hope of glory! Therefore, beholding the mirror of truths contained in the New Testament is us looking at who we are in Christ and who He is in us.
But, again, notice that he says that we are beholding “as in a mirror” these truths. So, the specific mirror that you and I need to be looking into in order to see who we now are is the far more exceedingly glorious New Testament where our new spiritual identity in on full display.
So, a couple of weeks ago, we began looking into this mirror by looking at the filter everything is to be viewed through—love. Yes, I made the point that I believe the first thing you and I need to see when we look into this mirror is that WE ARE LOVED! It is the first and foundational thing our hearts need to be established in is in the fact that we are greatly loved by our Creator. This is who we are, and this is what propels us into the other truths that we will look at in the coming weeks.
This is why I call this “Mirror,” that we call the Holy Bible, our love letter from God—for all of it speaks of the great love that God has for His creation and the great lengths that He has gone to in order to express that love towards us. So, when you and I read these Scriptures, we ought to see time and time again on these pages that we have a Heavenly Father who so loved the world that He gave us His only begotten Son so that He could have a spiritual family to both love and be loved by.
I also said that this one truth is what I believe to be the single greatest revelation that we could ever receive. And why? Because knowing in our hearts God’s great love for us will produce in us several other virtues—and perhaps the most important is the ability to fulfill the Great Commandment to love God and to love one another.
Church, we are the Lord’s Beloved! That means that when we look in the mirror of God’s Word, we can clearly see that we “Be-Loved” by Him. So, the next time you look in the mirror, point at yourself and boldly say, “You be loved by God!” Your flesh might cringe when you do it, but just know that because you see it in the mirror of God’s Word, you can declare it in the mirror of this world. You be loved and there is nothing you can do about it—save receive it in your heart and confess it with your mouth. Amen!
But what we learned last week is that, because of this great love that God has for us, He began something special in each one of us when we made Jesus the Lord and Savior of our life. Now, to the naked eye, we might not see it, but it’s true nonetheless. And it is for this reason that many parts of the New Testament are foreign to us and the Bible seems hard to understand.
So, we went over to Second Corinthians 5:16-18 and saw that from now on, we do not know Jesus according to the flesh anymore since His death, burial and resurrection. Now we know Him based on the Gospel that says He was raised from the dead and lifted up to sit at the right hand of God—completely glorified and highly exalted. This is how we regard no one according to the flesh—by believing the Gospel when we cannot see it. And we saw that this is an important point to understand under our new covenant—that because we all died with Christ and have been raised to a new life in Him, we are not to judge anyone according to the flesh anymore.
Then in verses 17-18a it says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God…”
Church, it is sad, but most Christians live and die, never understanding what took place in them on the day they were born again and found in Christ. They receive Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior and they see themselves no different than the way they were before they were saved. But, saints, being “in Christ” holds many tremendous promises that we would do well to both see and embrace.
As we learned, when we were born again, something glorious took place in the spirit realm: Second Corinthians 5:17 goes on to say that at the moment we were placed in Christ, we became a new creation in Christ Jesus, where old things passed away and all things became new. So, contrary to popular opinion, we are not just sinners saved by grace; we are now saints because we have been given an abundance of grace.
Last week, we also saw that we are not just this physical body that we look at in the mirror. Nor are we just the soul—the life we have on the inside of our physical body. First Thessalonians 5:23 teaches us that our “whole” person is “completely” spirit, soul, and body. So, we learned from Second Corinthians that it was our spirit, not our soul or our body, that became this new creation. Yes, saints, our spirit is the part of us that was completely transformed when we received our Lord and Savior and, therefore, we might not sense any of these changes physically or emotionally. It is the part of us where old things passed away, it is the part of us where all things became new, and it is the part of us that became “in Christ.”
Now, as we learned, we were not created out of nothing. We had “old things” that “passed away”— namely, an old man that was crucified with Christ. We had an old sin nature that needed to be crucified on the cross of Christ. This was that old man that had death abiding in it. It was the part of us that could not love and serve God. It was the part of us that was incapable of living in obedience to Him. And, finally, it was the part of us that could not experience the life of God and experience salvation. This old man had to “pass away” and die. And this is what happens in that moment that we make Jesus the Lord and Savior of our life. The old man dies and, behold, all things become new! Glory to God! In other words, all things in our life begin afresh and anew! There is a new beginning in our life! Everything wrong and sinful that we had said or done before we came to know Jesus Christ was washed away in His blood! It doesn’t matter how big our sins were. It doesn’t matter how many sins we committed. They are all washed away in the blood of Christ and even the old sin nature that we had that inspired us to commit those sins was crucified.
So, in essence, it is as if we were created out of nothing. Not that there was never a life we lived before we were born again, but the slate has been washed so clean by the blood of Christ that it is as if our world never existed before salvation. So, let me encourage you that it doesn’t matter what you did and it doesn’t matter how gross the sin. If you have been born again—all the old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new in you!
So, in Christ, we are not just renovated, renewed, or upgraded; no, our spirit is completely recreated with the life, nature, and characteristics of Christ Himself! Yes, friends, when you made Jesus the Lord and Savior of your life, your spirit was not just improved upon, renovated, or healed. No, when you became a Christian, your spirit was recreated!
But the main point we made last week is that if we are a new creation, being recreated in Christ Jesus, then we are God’s masterpiece!
We looked at Ephesians 2:1-10 and learned more about this: We saw in verses 1-3, the apostle Paul shows us what our situation was before coming to the knowledge of the Lord, and in verses 4-9, he shows us all that God did for us by His amazing grace. But we camped on how the apostle Paul concludes this great doctrinal lesson by saying in verse 10— “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.”
Now like we saw in Second Corinthians 5:17, when the Bible says that we are His workmanship and created in Christ Jesus, it is referring not to our outward man, but to the inward man—that is, our spirit.
Now as beautiful and wonderful as God’s original creation was and is, and as amazing as His grace over His creation was and is, the part of us that became a new creation and a product of His workmanship was the spiritual part of us. Yes, it was our spirit that was recreated in Christ at the moment we were born again and is a product of God’s workmanship.
So, we learned what it is to be His “workmanship”. This word comes from the Greek word poiema which is where we get our words “poem” and “poetry” from. As a matter of fact, this word poiema came to describe something that was a product of an artist’s handiwork or artwork—like a sculpture or a painting. Therefore, this word describes something that is a product of one’s creativity and artistic abilities. So, when the apostle Paul said that we are God’s “workmanship” here in Ephesians 2:10, you could translate this that we are God’s own work of art! Better yet, since God—who has to be considered the most creative and wonderful artist ever to exist—is the one who designed and sculptured our spirit, then you could say that we are His masterpiece! Hallelujah! Did you get that? You are God’s own handiwork, His work of art, and His masterpiece! You have been created in Christ—beautifully and ornately fashioned by the Creator, who is the epitome of creativity and artistry! And as I said last week, let me assure you in the worst English that I can: God don’t make no junk! 😉 If you are His workmanship, then you are perfect, complete, and beautiful! There are no flaws in your spirit man!
We looked at the way the apostle Paul words it in Second Corinthians 4:7 when he says that we have this treasure in earthen vessels. Now the emphasis I usually hear placed on this passage of Scripture is on the earthen vessels themselves. People will say, “Yeah, we are just cracked and flawed jars of clay.” But what about the treasure that in these vessels? You know, I guarantee you that if you were to buy a piece of land, and started excavating it and came upon an earthen vessel that was buried out in it that was filled with precious treasures, you wouldn’t spend your time calling people, telling them about your dirty old cracked earthen vessel, would you? No! You probably wouldn’t even mention the thing that the buried treasure was hidden in! You would be rejoicing in the treasure that was in it! (That sounds like that would have been a good parable for Jesus to use, doesn’t it? 😉)
So, let’s use the analogy of a painting or a sculpture to describe what happened in your spirit when you were born again: When God took your dead spirit, where no good thing dwelt and painted/sculpted you into a new creation in Christ, what He did was He painted on the canvas of your heart the likeness of Jesus Christ! What He did was He sculpted, as the potter sculpts the clay, a full image of Jesus Christ Himself in your inner man! So, He made you all that He is because you are in Him and He is in you! Praise be unto God!
Understanding this is what will make truths in the Word of God such as we are the righteousness of God, we are saints, and we are beloved, easier to accept! It is because it is not our righteousness! It is not our holiness! It is not a matter of how lovely we are! You are accepted, forgiven, redeemed, saved, righteous, holy, and loved because of who He is in you! So, when the Father looks into a born again, child of God, He is not looking at our faults and shortcomings; He is looking at the beautiful image of Jesus Christ! Hallelujah! Jesus is what makes us God’s masterpiece!
So next time you look in the mirror, say, “You are God’s New Creation! He is the Potter and you are the clay! He made you just the way you are supposed to be! You are molded, shaped, and fashioned by the Master Craftsman, His own handiwork! And you are not a Van Goh, Picasso, or Da-Vinci either; you are God’s Masterpiece! You are His poem!” Amen!
Just like in God’s original creation when He made the sun, the moon, the stars, this earth and all that is within it, He rested on the seventh day and saying at the end of the sixth day, “It is very good” (See Genesis 1:31) Now He didn’t rest because it wore Him out and He needed a breather from all that “creating.” No, He rested in the sense that an artist will cease from his work, knowing that it is finished, and will sit on his or her stool with the brush in their mouth, admiring their work.
I’m telling you saints, when Jesus hung on that Cross and said, “It is finished!” it really was. Sure, we are a work in progress when it comes to our physical self, but when it comes to our spirit, we are finished, and we are very good! Amen!
So, that leads us to another part of our spiritual identity that we would do good to look at in the mirror of God’s Word: Not only are we loved, not only are we recreated, but we are also CHOSEN.
A HOLY PEOPLE
Before we get into the New Testament, let’s begin in the Book of Deuteronomy--Deuteronomy 7:6-8. I want us to look first in this passage of Scripture because I believe God’s heart in choosing the people of Israel to be His own, chosen people “mirrors” what God did for us in Christ Jesus.
In these verses, God began to say to the children of Israel— “For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth…”
Now, first of all, when He began by describing them as a “holy” people to Himself, we need to understand that He was not using this term “holy” like we do today. No, He was not saying that they were perfect, blameless or flawless; he was saying that they were different “to the Lord your God”—meaning, they were not like the other nations, but were special, different, and precious to Him.
For example, this Book is called “The Holy Bible,” right? What that means is that it is a special Book, and not to be considered like just like any other book out there. It’s different in that it is inspired by God and ought to be precious to us. Likewise, Israel is called God’s own special people and precious to Him. We see this in the rest of verse 6 when He said, “…the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for Himself, a special treasure above all the peoples on the face of the earth.”
Now can you imagine how this must have made Israel feel? “We are special to God! We are His favorites among all the peoples on the face of the earth!” But this was obviously not because they deserved it either. God set them apart for Himself before all of their mistakes and flaws, and why? This verse says it was because He “chose” to choose them.
Notice what the Lord went on to say in verses 7-8— “The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.”
You see, there are two very important things to understand in these two verses about God choosing Israel:
1.He said that He did not set His love on them or choose them because of how mighty and strong they were in terms of numbers. What this is saying is that the Lord does not choose people because they are strong, smart, talented, or worthy of being chosen in any way. No, He actually delights in choosing the weak, the poor, the dishonored, etc. In other words, one is not chosen because they are sufficient in themselves or because of their own abilities and work. It is all by His grace, and as He goes on to say, because of His love.
2.But He also said that He chose them because He was keeping His promise which He made to their fathers. In other words, the Lord is a covenant keeping God. If He swore an oath to someone, He will keep it no matter what. And the great news for us is that Father God’s covenant is now with His Son! So, now God will keep the covenant that He swore to His Son! Glory and hallelujah!
THE CHOSEN ONES
Now I understand people read verses like this one in Deuteronomy and say, “Sure, this is true for Israel, but I am not Jewish”—and so, they will doubt that this applies to them. I am going to prove to you today that this exact thing is true for everyone who receives the Messiah as their Lord and Savior. Amen!
So, let’s begin looking in the mirror of the New Covenant by going over to Ephesians 1:3-14: This will be a section of verses that we will likely revisit in the coming weeks, but I want you to see today how this principle of being “chosen” is one of the big “In Christ” truths we see in the apostle Paul’s letters.
Notice in Ephesians 1:4 that the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul says, “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”
Now the “us” referred to here is Gentiles and Jews alike because the apostle Paul, obviously Jewish was writing to the Church of Ephesus, obviously consisting mainly of Gentiles. So, God “chose” all of us. How? In Him! So, you see, God the Father chose His Son Jesus, but by us choosing to be “in Him,” we are chosen as well. Glory!
And notice when it was that God chose both us and Christ: It was not after we did everything right or grew up spiritually into a certain level of holiness and righteousness. No, He chose us in Him “before the foundation of the world.” That means before ever the foundation of the earth was laid, God chose us in Him.
You see, Jesus is called in Revelation 13:8 the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world. That means that God’s provision for the salvation of the whole world was “chosen” before the initial foundation of this world was ever created. Glory! What this means is that the provision for sin was made before the sin was ever committed. God alone is wise!
But let’s consider this for a moment: Like the Passover Lamb was “chosen” on the tenth day of the first month, but was held until the fourteenth day of the same month (See Exodus 12:3&6), Jesus, who is our Passover Lamb, was chosen well before He was crucified. Well, did you know God essentially did the same with you and I? He chose us before we did any good or evil (Compare Romans 9:11)!
We looked at the following verses before, but they bear repeating here:
Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
So, the first thing we have recorded that God told Jeremiah was this one truth—that before he was even formed in his mother’s womb, God already knew him! And before he was physically born, the Lord had even “set him apart” (i.e. sanctified) and ordained him to be prophet to the nations. Mind you, this was before Jeremiah had ever done anything to deserve this awesome calling and it was before he ever made the mistakes that we all know he must have made in his life. God chose Him by grace! Amen!
We see this as well in the life of the apostle Paul, when in his testimony, he said, “But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace.” (Galatians 1:15).
So, like Jeremiah, we see Saul of Tarsus being set apart and chosen from his mother’s womb, being called through the grace of God. And, boy, don’t we know that God choosing the apostle Paul before he was born was certainly an act of God’s grace—because this guy was the ringleader of the persecution of the church in Jerusalem!
But you and I have to know that if God chose men like Jeremiah and Paul before they were formed in their mother’s wombs, and if He chose Jesus to be the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world, then wouldn’t He do this with everyone else? Amen! That means that before you were ever formed in your mother’s womb, He knew you. And before you were born, He had already chosen you, calling you through His grace. Glory to God!
So, again, like we see in Ephesians 1:4—all of us who have received the Lord Jesus Christ are “chosen” by God—not because we are holy and without blame before Him, but to become holy and without blame before Him. There is a big difference in one versus the other!
PREDESTINATION & ELECTION
Now let’s move on to verse 5, because when we talk about God choosing people, there is a doctrinal issue that comes up that is misunderstood by many: Paul goes on to say in Ephesians 1:5— “having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.”
You see, when many Christians see this word “predestined,” they cringe. Of course, there have even been denominations built on this particular doctrine. And although I do not claim to have a complete understanding of this subject, I believe it is not as complicated as many have made it.
If you look at verses such as Romans 8:29 & First Peter 1:2 where this word “predestined” is used (or alluded to), you will see a common thread with this subject of predestination: In both of these passages of Scripture, you will find that our election and predestination is based upon God’s “foreknowledge.” This is important to understand because many incorrectly believe that God is just picking and predestining our paths simply because He wills and purposes it for us. But no, God is not some great puppeteer up in the sky picking and choosing who will choose Him and who will reject Him. How do I know this, you ask? It is because this would be inconsistent with God’s nature, which we know to be love.
No, love does not choose what others do; love gives a choice! And that is why God has always given mankind a free will. It is the reason He put the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden and it is the reason why there is a hell reserved for all who reject Him. He does not give us these alternate options because He wills that any perish. We are told explicitly in the Bible that He does not desire for any of His creation to perish (see Second Peter 3:9). But God, in His great love for the human race, has given us a choice! He has given us a free will! He has said, “Behold, I set before you life and death, blessing and cursing.” He sets before us two paths: a. Doing it His way and, subsequently, choosing life or b. Doing it our way, and subsequently, choosing death. Therefore, people chose the path they go on, and when we choose the Way, the Truth, and the Life, we become the “chosen” ones.
But the fact remains that the Bible does indeed say that we are “predestined.” So, what does this mean? Well, the answer is found in that word “foreknowledge”: The word “foreknowledge” comes from the Greek word proginosko which is where we get our English word “prognosis” from. So, what is a prognosis? A prognosis is a predetermination of the outcome of current symptoms based on their usual course. In other words, a prognosis is a foreknowledge of what a current symptom will result in if left untreated.
You see, God knew our hearts before we were even created. So, He was able to predetermine what we would do with the truth presented to us. In other words, He had complete foreknowledge of the choices we would make before the world was ever formed. So, since God knows what decisions we will make before we make them and because He knows the end from the beginning, He was able to “predestinate” or “choose” us to be His own based on this proginosko (i.e. foreknowledge).
Friends, God is a good and just God who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for all, that all will have the opportunity to receive His free gift. He would be violating His nature of love to not extend this free gift to everyone. Aren’t you glad you are one of those “chosen” ones that “chose” Jesus? I sure am!
But here is another good way to explain this controversial subject: More than once, Jesus made the following statement— “For many are called, but few are chosen.” (See Matthew 22:14).
The word “chosen” here is the same word commonly defined as “elect.” We see this word translated this way in Colossians 3:12 & First Peter 1:2. But the word “called” is important here—for it means to be “invited” (to something like a banquet). You see, this shows us that just because one is “called” doesn’t mean that they have accepted the invitation.
For example, we see this in Jesus’ parable of the Great Supper found in Luke 14:15-24: Jesus begins by saying, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many…” So, we see that this man (an obvious type of God the Father) gave a “great” supper. That indicates this was a big deal! He did a lot to prepare all of this food and drink! Likewise, the Lord did a lot to prepare so great a salvation for us. Sure, He killed the fatted calf which provided the meat of our salvation (a type of Jesus’s death, burial and resurrection which assured our salvation), but He also provided many delectable sides and desserts that come with this so great of a salvation. Amen.
Then we see that He “invited many.” That indicates that He did not just invite a “select elect;” no, he invited a bunch of people—for again, many are called, but few are chosen. Now there are varying beliefs of who these chosen were, but I personally believe the few that are “chosen” are the few that decided to come when the invitation was sent out to the “many.”
Now in verse 17, Jesus went on to say, “and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’” So, we can clearly see that since the “certain man” was Father God that “his servant” is His Son, Jesus Christ. Therefore, Jesus was sent to the earth at “supper time” in the kingdom of God. Why? “To say to those who were invited…” Notice that they were invited before He was sent. This again describes to us the true doctrine of predestination & election.
You see, it is not that God predestines one to life and another to destruction. No, He simply made preparations for the Great Supper and sent out the invitations beforehand. Then He sent out His Holy Servant, Jesus, to say to those who were invited, “Come, for all things are now ready.” This was essentially the Gospel that Jesus came to preach during His 33 years on the earth. But did they “Come” in response to His invitation? Nope! All of these that Jesus was sent to did not accept the invitation to the Master’s Great Supper, but began to make excuses as to why they couldn’t come. And (sadly) still today, out of the many who are invited (i.e. called), few become “chosen”—meaning few accept the invitation.
But as we saw earlier, this word “chosen” is also defined as “elect”—which literally describes “the act of picking out or choosing.” So, you could say that “election” is “selection.” Which leads me to my next point …
ADOPTED AS SONS
The main point I want to get across from this verse is not how we become the “predestined,” it is to show you what we were predestined to—and Paul says here that it was “to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself”! Now this, my friends, is something to shout about!
You see, I believe adoption is actually one of the greatest acts of love that one could perform. Why? It is because when a child is begotten, although their parents might have been planning on having that child, the specifics regarding that child were not chosen. In other words, the parents receive what is handed to them by the grace of God, and of course, they love that child. But for a couple to adopt a child means that they specifically chose that child—meaning they picked out exactly which child they wanted. Not only that, but they jumped through many hoops to be able to adopt a child. It wasn’t like they decided they were going to adopt one day and they said, “Let me make a call.” No, it took a lot of time, effort, and resources to be able to have custody of a child. Now that, my friends, is love!
Now of course, Shannon and I do not have any experience in adopting another human being but we do have experience in the adoption our baby blue girl, Bluesy. I will not bore you with the story, but I will say that Bluesy was not as easy on the eyes as the other puppies that were up for adoption. She was not as fluffy and cute as some of the others. But the father / the husband saw potential in that runt of the litter and made his case to adopt her above the others. And, praise God, we did!
But my point is that so many children who are adopted seem to struggle with the idea that their biological parents gave them up for adoption. But as difficult as that is (and I certainly do not make light of the struggle involved in one’s soul if this was what life handed them), what that person needs to magnify is not what their biological parents did to them, but what their adopted parents did for them. You see, the fact that there was a couple out there who specifically chose a child to be a part of their family even though they originated from another man and woman shows the unconditional love and grace of God. How do I know this? It is because this is exactly what Father God did for each of us:
He predestined us to come into His family—making all the necessary preparations and provisions to apprehend us as His own. He did this by setting aside His Lamb, slain before the foundation of the world, and sending Him to this earth in the fullness of time to die our death that we might live His life. He then chose us out of this world’s orphanage—specifically hand-picking us to become His own. And in the process of predestinating and choosing us, He changed us from being one of those dirty little orphans into holy and blameless children, washed in the blood of the Lamb. And with this spiritual adoption into His family came all the blessings that come as being a child of God. Amen! We are made rich! We are made whole! We are made clean! And we have a name now in that our Elder Brother and our Heavenly Father have brought us into their family. Praise be unto the Father of lights!
And as we are told in the end of verse 5, He did this “according to the good pleasure of His will.” That is just an old English way of saying, “He did all of this because He desired to and because it made Him happy.”
Yes, friends, the Lord chose, predestined, and adopted us into His family, etc. because He wanted to; not because He had to! Always remember that: It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the abundance of grace that He already has given! Amen!
THE CHOSEN GENERATION
Now, in conclusion, I want us to look at a section of verses that beautifully summarizes and further describes what we have been learning today:
In First Peter 2:4-9 the apostle Peter says, “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.’ Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 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; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”
First of all, I want you to notice in verse 4 how Jesus is described as a living stone who was rejected by men, but chosen by God and precious. It would be like us seeing a “Rock” on the ground that looked just like a regular old rock. But what we fail to realize is that this Rock is actually the rarest of stones and worth more than all of the world’s diamonds combined. What this illustrates to us is that even though Jesus was rejected by people because they never saw the value that was in Him, God had “chosen” Him, knowing how priceless He truly was, is and evermore shall be.
You see, usually what determines the value of something is what people are willing to pay for it. In other words, when people begin paying large sums of money for an item, then the value begins to increase of that item. However, in the case of Jesus, men rejected Him—not seeing His true value. You could say that they took that valuable stone and cast it aside as common and worthless. But how many of you know that
no human being truly has the right to determine what is valuable—only God because His is the only opinion that matters!?!
But, you see, many Christians accept this truth about that Living Stone named Jesus. However, notice what the apostle Peter went on to say in verse 5— “you also, as living stones…” Now wait a minute: I thought Peter said that Jesus was this living stone. He did, but he also says that “you also, as living stones.” Again, as He is, so are we in this world! Just as He is the light of the world and told us that we also are the light of the world, He is a living stone, and we also are living stones. Glory!
This illustrates to me something awesome: I made the point already that the value of something is based on what people are willing to pay for it. Well, if God the Father was willing to pay the price of that living stone—Jesus—to redeem us, then that means that you must be at least equally as valuable to the Father as the price He paid. Let me say it this way: Since God paid the astronomical price of the blood of His Son for your salvation, then that automatically means that you are extremely precious and valuable—even to the point of being worth as much to Him as Jesus is. Now that is a hard “gos-pill” to swallow right there!
Now let’s skip down to verses 9-10 because these verses teach us some awesome truths: Verse 9 begins by saying, “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.”
The first two words “But you” now turns the attention to us—all those who have obeyed the truth and believed on that Chief Cornerstone. So, what this means is that everything contained in verses 9-10 is a solid look into our spiritual mirror!
And the first thing Peter says is that we are a “chosen generation.” Now some translations define this phrase as “elect race.” And this is not talking just to Jews here. The true “chosen generation” and sons of Abraham are those who walk in the faith of Abraham. Didn’t John the Full Gospel, Pentecostal, Charismatic (He wasn’t Baptist) say that God could raise up these stones to be sons of Abraham? (Matthew 3:9) Interesting analogy, huh—because that is exactly what happened! He took these Gentile stones that were rejected and made them alive, sons and daughters of Abraham! Glory!
Then Peter goes on to call us—all followers of Jesus Christ—a “royal priesthood”: Notice that in this phrase, there is a reference to both royalty and the priesthood. Doesn’t Revelation 1:6 say that He has made us all kings & priests unto our God? I see that as saying we as born-again believers who are in Christ are both sons and servants of God. We are born (again) as God’s sons and are therefore the kings that the King is King of (i.e. King of kings). But we are also made His priests—that is, those who serve at the altar of God and minister to others. Both of these are who we are!
Then Peter describes us as a “holy nation”: We are obviously not talking physically here. No, we are now fellow citizens in the kingdom of God, and therefore, are a part of the holy nationality. Amen!
Then He describes us as “His own special people”: Now the King James Version translations says, “peculiar” and sometimes I think that would have been a more accurate translation😉. But no, this phrase literally describes those who are “God’s own possession”—which “mirrors” what the Lord repeatedly told Israel as we saw before. We are His treasure!
And the purpose of us being a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and His own priceless possession is so that we “may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” Church, this is one of our primary callings—to proclaim His praises to those who are lost and without God in the world. Just as Israel was called to be God’s light to the Gentiles, now all who are in Christ are also called to be a light to the world and proclaim His praises.
You see, the church today is God’s chosen people. Some think that Peter was talking to Jewish believers here, but verse 10 teaches us otherwise. For Peter said that these believers were not a people of God, but are now the people of God. So, either A. Peter was talking to Jews of natural descent here and saying that they are not God’s chosen people until they accept their Messiah or B. he was talking about all Gentiles who were not God’s people now becoming God’s people. I believe the latter is the truth. I believe we who had not obtained mercy have now obtained mercy in Christ Jesus!
So, in conclusion, we all—all who are in Christ—are the chosen ones of God! This means that before the first foundation of the earth was ever laid, we were selected and hand-picked by Almighty God to be His own priceless treasure! We were adopted by our Heavenly Father, elected by Him to be holy and without blame before Him and for Him!
What an awesome truth to know that we are the chosen ones of God. This should fill our hearts with joy and peace knowing that God thought enough of us and loved us enough to personally select us to be His elect! Glory to God! This is who the mirror says that we are! Amen.