But you are a chosen family, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9)
There is one final spiritual privilege in this verse; let’s call it “proclamation of our Lord.” Here, Peter tells us the purpose of all of this privilege.
Why are we so privileged? Why would the Lord do all of this for us? Why would He give us union with Him, access to Him, security in Him, affection for Him, election by Him, dominion with Him, separation to Him, possession by Him, illumination from Him, and compassion from Him?
He does this in order that we might engage in proclamation of Him. And that too is a privilege, isn’t it? Can you think of a higher privilege than to be the ambassador of the living God?
The word here translated “proclaim” is a very unusual word. It appears nowhere else in the entire Bible. It means to advertise or to publish. It has the meaning of telling something otherwise unknown.
And what do “excellencies” mean? Literally, in the Greek, it means the ability to do heroic deeds.
We now have the privilege of telling the world something it would not know otherwise: that God can do heroic things. He has the ability to do mighty and powerful acts.
It’s a great privilege to be chosen as an ambassador of the living God, who has the ability to do heroic deeds on the scale of miracles. And so, instead of dropping your head when you have an opportunity to speak about who you represent, you might well lift your head and say, “I have the privilege of being an announcer of the mighty, heroic deeds of the living God, who has called me into His service.”
We are ambassadors for Christ. We have been given the Holy Spirit, and now we are witnesses unto Him. What an image we have seen in each of these privileges! And there’s only one reason why we have them: because we’re in Christ.
We are in union with God because we are in Christ, and Christ is one with God. We have access to the Father and access into His glorious presence because we have access through Christ. We are secure in our relationship to God because we are in Christ, and He is secure in His relationship to God. We have affection for the Lord, we love God, because we’ve first been loved in Christ.
The only reason we are elected is because we are elect in Christ. We are chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. Our dominion is because we reign with Christ. We are only holy because we are in Him. We are only the possession of God because we are in Christ, who is God’s own Son.
We are only in the light because we are in Him who is the light. We have compassion from God only because Jesus Christ died for us, and because of that God can love us in Christ and give us mercy. We can only proclaim God’s excellencies when it is the power of Christ in us proclaiming through us.
So, we have amazing privileges. And we only have them because we’re in Christ. This brings us right back to Ephesians 1:3:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.
We are a motley bunch of erstwhile sinners who deserve eternal damnation, but because we are in Christ we have all these spiritual privileges.
Are you grateful? All these spiritual privileges should overwhelm us. May God help us to be faithful and to live a life of gratitude.
This post is based on a sermon Dr. MacArthur preached in 1989, titled “The Believer’s Privileges, Part 6: Separation, Possession, Illumination… .” In addition to serving as the pastor of Grace Community Church and the voice of Grace to You, Dr. MacArthur is the chancellor of The Master’s University in Santa Clarita, Calif. You can learn more about TMU at masters.edu.
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