When a person becomes a Christian, they take on an entirely different identity, the pinnacle of which is being God’s prized possession. In this lab, John Piper looks at two of the most explicit and most profound verses on Christian identity. What we learn should humble and inspire every believer.
Principle for Bible Reading
When you get a list of metaphors like we do in 1 Peter 2:9, stop and examine each item in the list. Ask questions to understand why the list was compiled like it was. Why did the author include the word pictures that he did? Why did he include these, and not others? What significance do the adjectives play in the list?
- Take each of the metaphors in 1 Peter 2:9–10, and explain in your own words how each explains a Christian’s identity. Why does Peter include these particular metaphors?
- What does the phrase “chosen race” specifically say about race and ethnicity? How should it shape or reshape our understanding of these distinctions?
- If you learn that you’ve been chosen by God, what affect should that have on you emotionally and psychologically? What might God want you to feel when you realize you’ve been chosen by him?
Piper: “Why did the Lord set his love on you? Not because of you, but simply because he loves you.”
A Precious Truth for Persecuted People (01:44–05:02)
- These verses offer one of the most profound and dense descriptions of the church’s identity. (1 Peter 2:9–10)
- Remember that Peter is writing to a suffering and persecuted minority. (1 Peter 1:1)
- 1 Peter 2:7–8 talked about those who rejected Christ and stumble in their disobedience.
- 1 Peter 2:9–10 turns to talk about those who receive Christ and make him the cornerstone of their life and hope.
Chosen by God (05:02–08:20)
- You are chosen. (1 Peter 2:9)
- This choosing is not owing to anything in you. (Deuteronomy 7:6–8)
- By quoting this passage, Peter is saying that the Israelite distinctives are now enjoyed by all who believe in Jesus.
- Why does the Lord love you? Because he love you. (Deuteronomy 7:7–8)
- Therefore, election should be a humbling doctrine (not a prideful one).
Set Apart by God (08:20–12:14)
- You are a chosen race. How do you become a new race?
- We became a new race by being born again according to God’s mercy. (1 Peter 1:3)
- There are only two races in the world: the first born (naturally) and the born again. (1 Peter 2:9)
- Our ethnicities are precious distinctions, but they are not the essential identity of any Christian anymore.
- We are a royal priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices, and we belong to the household of the King. (1 Peter 2:5, 9)
- “Holy” (holy nation) communicates the holiness of our status with God. (1 Peter 2:9)
- Finally, we are God’s own prized possession. (1 Peter 2:9)
Piper: “Ethnic distinctives are precious, but they’re not the essential identity of any Christian.”