On to 1 Peter 2:9-12
v9: (literally) “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession. So that the excellent things we can proclaim because He has called us out of darkness into His marvellous light.”
You: Those who are believers.
- A people for His possession: The best way to interpret the Scripture is with other Scripture. In John 10:28-29 Yeshua says that we are in His hand. He also says that we are in the hand of the Father. This means that G-d has a double grip upon us. He also said that no one (this is all inclusive and literally means ‘NO OnE” – there will be no violation of this) is going to pluck us out of His hand. We cannot be snatched away by the enemy, because we are G-d’s possession! He is holding on to us and will never let go! This is the power of covenantal relationship.
- Excellent: The word for ‘excellent’ (מצוין) and the word for ‘Zion’ (צוין) in the Hebrew come from the same base word. G-d has excellent things, Kingdom things, in store for His people.
v10: Once were not a people: They were once not G-d’s people.
- But are now: Through the work of that living stone we become a people of G-d. We become a people that G-d possesses. Once G-d gets His hand around us He will never let go.
- Have obtained (received) mercy: People who have truly repented receive G-d’s mercy. Whenever we are not doing what we ought to, G-d does not destroy His children. He may discipline us, but often, much more than discipline, G-d shows mercy. Mercy can bring about a great change in people. We who have received G-d’s mercy need to display mercy to others. Being merciful to others usually ends up in an amazing outcome.
v11: Beloved (ones): Speaking to the body of believers.Although G-d loves the whole world, we have no hope of experiencing His love until we have entered into a covenantal relationship with Him (through Yeshua). When we enter into this covenant we become recipients of His mercy – because He loves us, not because we deserve it.
- Sojourners and pilgrims: We need to realise that we do not belong here. This life that we are living now, and this body that we are in,are just a shadow of the life, and of the glorified bodies, that we are going to experience in the Kingdom of G-d. Right now, we are just aliens and strangers on a journey through a land that we cannot, in the true sense of the word, call home. This is not where we are ultimately going to be. Because we belong to another Kingdom, not the kingdom of this world, we should not “touch…taste…or handle” as the earth dwellers do (Col 2:20-23 and Col 3:1-2).
- Abstain: There is so much temptation in this world. Learn how to say “No!” Every time we say “No!” we will grow spiritually.
- Fleshly lusts/desires: Carnal feelings and emotions. Spiritually speaking, we need to take our feelings and emotions and set them aside. The battleground of the enemy is on our feelings. When we are in bondage to making decisions based upon how we feel, rather than based on truth, we are right where the enemy wants us to be. He can then defeat us every time, leaving us spiritually frustrated. We will live lives that do not reflect the glory of G-d, and nor will we have access to G-d’s provision.
- War: The word for soldiers fighting a battle.
- Against the soul: In 1 Peter 1:9Peter spoke of the salvation of the soul (the soul being the very essence of a person). When we become believers, it does not mean that satan is finished with us and leaves us alone. Although unbelievers are loved by G-d they are worthless to Him as far as His call, will and purposes are concerned. satan does not see unbelievers as a threat to himself. When we become believers, moving from darkness into light, a bull’s eye, so to speak, is placed on us from satan’s perspective. We become a battleground to him. That is why these fleshly desires war against our very essence, our very being. satan does not want us to become whom Yeshua died for us to become. When our enemy succeeds in getting us to succumb to our fleshly desires, we hinder G-d’s work of edification in our lives. G-d has spiritual laws and when we violate those laws there are consequences. G-d desires to work in our lives to edify and build us up mightily into His servants, but when we violate truth G-d stops that work and begins instead to work in a different regard – to bring conviction (discipline) in order to lead us to repentance.
v 12: (Honourable)Conduct: Behaviour. Over and over Peter emphasises our behaviour. Faith causes us to change our behaviour.
- Gentiles/Nations: Often in the New Testament when this word ‘Gentile’ appears the emphasis is not Jew or Gentile but on covenant/no covenant. Peter here is speaking about those who have no covenant relationship with G-d (They may not know about it, they may have rejected It, they may be uninterested in it) This is a field of opportunity, an opportunity for ministry.
- Good works: Evil is that which is against G-d’s will. The word ‘good’ means according to G-d’s will. Until we understand the simple truth that G-d wants to change our behaviour and make it a righteous behaviour (so that we can have that testimony among the non-believers that our behaviour is good – according to G-d’s will) nothing is really going to happen to empower us and manifest that we are a new creation in Messiah (Bearing good fruit…). Even during persecution, we need to maintain a G-dly testimony.
- Call you evildoers…observe your good works…glorify G-d: The testimony of our lives leads them to change. When they observe our changed behaviour, they are going to eventually be forced to acknowledge and glorify G-d. When?
- In the day of visitation: This is the same word (if we look at the Hebrew counterpart) that is used in modern Hebrew for making a deposit into a bank account, placing something in a location. So, the day of visitation is when G-d deposits His presence in this world in a very different way, when He sets up His Kingdom (the outcome of redemption). Theologically we know that G-d is omnipresent (He is everywhere all the time) but, in His Kingdom, G-d’s presence is going to be manifested in a very different way to the way that it is now. The whole world, all of G-d’s creation, is going to be full of His glory (Num 14:21). That day of visitation is a day of revelation. G-d’s truth/light is going to be revealed. In that day, Paul tells us that every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess that Yeshua is L-rd (Phil 2:11). All people are going to be forced to acknowledge truth in that day – however, for most human beings that day is going to be too late, as their confession will have no eternal benefit for them.