BY: Matt Creamer
I Peter 2:9-10
9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession,
that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his
marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had
not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
At New Philadelphia Presbyterian Church we seek to be faithful to the Great Commission of our Lord Jesus Christ to make disciples from every nation, ethnicity, language, and people group-
“all the world.” There is an aspect of this commitment to evangelism that is very intentional. We intentionally seek to establish relationships with others-skeptics/unbelievers-in order to
intentionally share with them the gospel of God’s grace. We seek to be intentional in our welcoming of our community. This intentionality is emphasized regularly in our preaching and teaching. We also support missionaries around the world who are intentional in their efforts to bring the gospel and plant churches in other lands-from Japan to the Middle East.
But rather than seeing evangelism as simply some kind of a program or writing checks to
“missionaries”, we believe our outreach should be a natural overflow of who we are-our. identity “IN CHRIST.” We who believe in grace should shine with the light of that grace! We who claim the doctrines of grace should be grace-filled, gracious people! Grace should ooze out of our pores! We should be so amazed by the grace of Jesus that we “smell like Jesus” as our. friend Steve Brown would say!
In I Peter 2, the Elder Apostle Peter, writes that we were called out of darkness into light
“THAT = IN ORDER TO proclaim the “excellencies” of Him Who called us. That is a purpose statement! It gives a reason for existence for us as God’s people corporately and as individuals.
But that purpose statement and mission according to Peter flows out of who we ARE as a people. Notice who Peter says we are. Really, you have to start back in verse one of I Peter, where he addresses his audience first as “the elect”. That we are chosen by God
unconditionally in election should be a reason for great humility. That humility in the face of such grace will be very attractive to a world consumed with a “me and mine” mentality. We don’t point to ourselves and our worthiness, we point to Jesus and His worthiness and the
grace we have received.
Verse 9 of chapter 2 above is really elaborating on our title as “the elect.” “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession…” We believe
this to be true of us corporately and individually and it’s all of grace! None of the above
designations of us as God’s people are meant to go to our head! Quite the opposite is true!
“Chosen race, royal priesthood, holy nation, a people for His own (treasured) possession.” That is who we are! Declaring His excellencies flows out of these descriptions of
who we are when we see them as being totally a result of God’s grace! And humility in light of God’s grace is talked about in terms of receiving mercy. “Once you had not received God’s
mercy but now you have.” When we realize that we desperately need mercy-when we realize we desperately need
grace-that becomes our testimony. And people should notice.
Are we humble? Are we gracious? Are we kind? Are we forgiving? Do we show mercy? Do we lack prejudice and favoritism? These should be the first things people notice about us-
not that we are religious and like to throw Bible verses around and condemn modern culture. It’s HIS “excellencies” that we are declaring and not our own. When we get that through our heads we glow with grace. When we realize that any “holy living” that we have
achieved is completely a result of His grace, we don’t extol our own “holy living” but point to His grace which leads to it.
As we center ourselves in the gospel and grow together in grace, we begin to shine with the light of as naturally as fireflies in a deep south forest. And the warmth of that glow will attract others to Jesus
At NPPC, we are a people who “have received mercy!”