Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pastoral Ponderings - Our Precious Place in a Chosen Race

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. (I Peter 2:9)

          In my last post, we explored the distinctiveness of being a chosen race. This is parallel to Paul’s description of the church as the “one new man” Jesus created out of Jews and Gentiles.[1] I also believe it helps us understand something of the imagery of the twenty-four elders around God’s throne.[2]

          Today I spent time considering the significance of God’s people being a “chosen” race. Our world places the right to choose as a very high value, at least when we are the ones making the choices. When it comes to other people making choices about us, we have a mixed-response. If people choose something negative, or repressive for us, we balk at the idea. If they choose something good, like buying us ice cream, choosing us for the best team at school, or choosing us as the best contestant in a talent contest, we think that kind of choice is a good thing.

          When we consider that the greatest persons making choices about us are God and Satan, we discover there is a huge contrast between what the red dragon chooses to do to us as the despised creation made to be like Jesus, and what God chooses to do for us as the beloved creation that is predestined to be conformed to the image and likeness of his Son. We can be thankful that we are no longer following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— and living as the “children of wrath”.[3] Instead, we are a people who are set apart unto God as holy, and predestined to live in the adoption of sons of God,[4] those who make up this race that God himself has chosen.

          We do not typically think of race as an issue of choice. Even the separating of humanity into different language-groups was an imposition of God in judgment for man’s godlessness, and independence.[5] The point is that race is not chosen. People simply are born into a race. The parents did not choose to have their children in that race; the parents were already in a race, or a particular mixture of races, and so their children became whatever their DNA told them to be.

          But the church is a “chosen” race. As Adam was created a certain way, and so became the one race of humanity, the church is created a certain way, and became the one new man that is like Jesus.

          It is interesting that the word “descendant” is not used in relation to God’s chosen race. Perhaps there is something too earthly, too physical and material about this phrase. Perhaps there is something limiting about thinking of those who have descended from a greater parent from our past, and that our connection and continuation from Jesus is more of an “ascending”.

          When we say that someone is a descendant of someone else, we mean that, in relation to time moving along like an ever-flowing stream, coming down from the mountains of previous generations, one generation has to come down from another. That is just the way we are described.

          But the children of God are not described in terms of time, or an earthly parent, or even of one generation begetting another generation. Every single child of God is chosen, predestined, and adopted. We come into this race of people by God’s choice.

          We are not at the mercy of denominational deterioration, or the spiritual second law of thermo-dynamics where every spiritual thing heads towards a state of decay. We are in the mercy of the one who gives life to each child of God. Every child of God is personally brought to life by Jesus Christ. There are no parents bringing forth children into the kingdom of heaven. There are no grandparents, or grandchildren. There is only one firstborn, and that is Jesus Christ;[6] all the rest of us are sons of God, all adopted,[7] no differences to segregate us or create any kind of hierarchy in the church at all. “For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.[8]

          The point is that we all come into this race, this one new man, this body of Christ, by the new birth that is an encounter with the Holy Spirit of the Living God regenerating the life that died in Adam, and making that life alive in Jesus Christ our Lord. We are born again into sonship by faith in Jesus Christ. It is the only way to become a son of God. We cannot make our earthly children into sons of God. God has to make them sons of God. The new birth must make them sons of God. Each and every believer in Jesus Christ is a first generation Christian, born again directly from God, by the Spirit, through Jesus Christ.

          So, we are chosen into this race. We become one of the people of God by the choice of God. God did not simply decide to have children and then waited to see whom he would get. He did not have to wait for some spiritual ultra-sound to break the suspense and show him if he got a boy or a girl. He knew whom he got because he chose them. He knew that he could choose from both Jew and Greek and get sons of God in the image of Jesus his Son. He could choose people from among slaves and among freemen, and regenerate them into sons of God. He could choose from among rich and poor, and create within himself sons who all share in the same inheritance as the Lord Jesus Christ. He could even choose from among both male and female and regenerate them all into sons who are being transformed to be like Jesus from one degree of glory to the next[9] until that day that every one of us is glorified in his presence,[10] and we become just like him when we all see him as he is.[11]

          It is significant that the word “chosen” is used both for us, and for our founder, Jesus Christ. Jesus is “a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious…”[12] This is for the comfort of the “one new man” that is constantly “rejected by men”. While we see that our founder is rejected by men to this day, what matters is who and what Jesus is “in the sight of God”. Jesus is “chosen and precious” to God the whole time he is “despised and rejected by men”.[13]

          The same is true of God’s children. We are both “chosen” and “precious”. Jesus is God’s chosen and precious cornerstone for the church, and the church is his chosen race that is the offspring of Jesus Christ. We are called, God's chosen ones, holy and beloved”.[14] When Jesus secures the final victory over all the enemies who have allied against him, those with Jesus are described as those who are “called and chosen and faithful.”[15]

          When God spoke of his people at the time of Moses, he called us his “treasured possession”.[16] Isaiah the prophet records God’s description of his people as, “you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you.”[17] Paul referred to Jesus as “the Beloved”,[18] and then to believers as “beloved children”.[19]

          The point is easy to show with many other Scriptures, that believers in Jesus Christ are what we are “in Christ”,[20] and that includes being chosen and precious, chosen and treasured, chosen and beloved. We are not chosen to surround the throne with some insipid kind of eternal slavery to an unhappy God. We are chosen to surround the throne as a chosen race who are represented by twenty-four elders sitting on thrones, wearing white robes of the righteousness that is by faith in Jesus Christ our Lord, and wearing golden crowns of distinction as the chosen and beloved people of God, worshiping in the presence of him in whose presence there is fullness of joy;” and at whose “right hand are pleasures forevermore.”[21]

          From my heart,



© 2013 Monte Vigh ~ Box 517, Merritt, BC, V1K 1B8 ~

Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from the English Standard Version (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.)


[1] Ephesians 2:15
[2] Revelation 4:4
[3] Ephesians 2:1-3
[4] Ephesians 1:5
[5] Genesis 11:1-9
[6] Romans 8:29
[7] Ephesians 1:5
[8] Galatians 3:26
[9] “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” (II Corinthians 3:18)
[10] And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified. (Romans 8:30)
[11] See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  Beloved, we are God's children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:1-2)
[12] I Peter 2:4
[13] Isaiah 53:3
[14] Colossians 3:12
[15] Revelation 17:14
[16] “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.” (Deuteronomy 7:6)
[17] Isaiah 43:4
[18] Ephesians 1:6
[19] Ephesians 5:1
[20] Ephesians 1:3-14
[21] Psalm 16:11

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