“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. ”
// 1 Peter 2:9
Identity by definition is closely intertwined with image. When God created humanity, we were called to bear His wonderful image here on earth – to be co-creators, caretakers, collaborators. But we chose our own way. So now, identity for a human is a never-ending pursuit, grasped one moment and gone the next, as we seek our identity by ascending the mountains of achievement, success, power, wealth, fame, significance. Or, if we have tried to scale these mountains and found ourselves wanting, now we seek our identity by walking down into the valleys of failure, shame, apathy, defeat, cynicism and the list goes on.
Our virtue, our moral fiber, stems from our identity, so when we are ascending a mountain or descending into a valley of this world to find or define our value, we will come up short. Virtue is not achieved; it is given. Morality is an outward virtue, which first begins with our inward identity. If our image or identity is unclear, our virtue will be fleeting, and the beauty of morality or living right will be dismissed.
God reveals something totally revolutionary here in this verse. He defines our identity for us. Let’s just stop there – that’s huge. This scares us because we think His definition is going to box us in, but it actually sets us free.
Before He reveals who we are in Him, darkness surrounds our identity, like a lost coin in a dark house. The coin bears the image of the King already – it’s not like an image is applied to a blank round piece of metal when the coin is found. No, the coin was already defined, called and chosen to bear the image, it’s just that the coin was in darkness and lost. Now in Christ, you and I are brought into a marvelous light. We can now see Christ and His excellence; His virtue shines brightly upon us, His Holy nature clear for us to see.
It’s in this marvelous light of Christ that we can see who we are. God doesn’t leave it a secret. This is really important, because we can now let go of our definitions of identity that are fleeting and confusing. Jesus clearly reveals who we are. We are a chosen race – He chose us, not man. We are a royal priesthood; we are now directly connected to God through Christ – not through the sacrifices of man’s work, but through the finished work of Christ, and we bring His presence to those around us. We are a holy nation, no longer a people lost in sin and sickness, but made whole and righteous before God, set apart as His possessions. We're no longer possessed with evil or things that oppose the heart of God, but we are highly valued and treasured by God Himself.
As we proclaim His excellency, it reinforces the image of His excellency in our lives; as our image is clearer in His marvelous light, many others will see the excellency of Christ reflected in our lives. So, are we willing to let go of who we are trying define ourselves as and accept who we truly are in Christ? We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession. The Creator of all things says this about us! I struggle to accept it, but even in that I discover I am again trying to define my identity rather than accepting who I was created to be in Christ.
You are His prized possession. Let this change the way you live today. No need to ascend the wrong mountain; ascend the mountain of the Lord. He has made you His possession. May you make Him yours.
// Pastor Josh Kelsey