Proclaim His Excellence
The greatest blessing ever bestowed upon mankind was salvation from the dreadful sickness of sin. It was sin that drove man away from the precious and intimate relationship that they had with God (Genesis 3:6-8). It was sin that took the greatest characters of the Bible and humiliated them for their weaknesses (2 Samuel 12:13; 16:5-14). It was sin, man’s complete abandonment of God’s will, that led entire nations into utter ruin and captivity (2 Kings 17:7-19; 21:10-15). It was sin and its selfish pride that motivated the Pharisees to hate a lowly Nazarene (John 11:57; Philippians 2:7). It was sin that placed the Son of God upon the cross (2 Corinthians 5:21). It was sin that I have committed that caused my Jesus to die.
When we think about these things and the consequences of our sins we should be motivated to better worship, praise, and honor of our King. The forgiveness that we obtain through God’s grace and the blood of Christ should move us to greater service and devotion to God. Our entire lives should be surrounded with constant reminders of the blessings that God has freely bestowed. We should be eternally thankful to our Creator.
In the second chapter of first Peter, Peter opened with similar ideas (2:1-3). If we have tasted the kindness of the Lord and understood the richness of His Word, then we should be stimulated to put off the life of this world by putting on Jesus Christ. Our lives on earth are temporary and but a vapor, but those who do the will of the Father will live forever (James 4:14; 1 John 2:17). Our weaknesses and sins that once controlled our hearts and minds should be repented of and driven completely out of our lives. We should not only raise our children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord,” but we ourselves should be trained by the glories revealed in the Bible.
Peter continued to strengthen his readers by compelling them to see the greater glories revealed in the church of our Lord. Peter instructed the Christians to remember that they “are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (2:4). These tasks, as spiritual priests, take us from the realm of this earth and exalt us to a greater and higher plane. Paul spoke of this place in the book of Ephesians and called it “the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:3, 20; 2:6; 3:10; 6:12). It is as if our entire lives are elevated from the physical pressures of this life, and we are given the opportunity to see heaven in the distance as we press onward to making our goal. We must learn to imitate the faith and heart of Abraham who confessed to be a stranger and pilgrim on this earth and by faith searched for the better country above (Hebrews 11:13-16).
Peter would ultimately conclude his thoughts with giving Old Testament descriptions to the New Testament Christian. Every individual Christian has been called to be apart of “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession” (2:9a). A Christian has been called by the gospel to live a life pleasing to God (2 Thessalonians 2:14; Ephesians 5:10). A calling that went forth from Jerusalem and can now be found in every part of the earth. This calling is not limited to nationality, race, sex, or culture, but rather it is open to all who will listen and obey. As Peter continued to say, “for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you has not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (2:10). Is there any greater blessing extended to mankind?
Finally, it is when we understand all of these great blessings that our hearts cannot contain our joy, but rather in praise we “proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out darkness into His marvelous light” (2:9b). We pour out our hearts in praise and exaltation to our Lord. As Peter said, “and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory” (1:8). Our lives have completely evolved from living day-to-day and being filled with selfish desires, to living for eternity and giving all praise to our God. Is your life given to proclaiming the excellencies of God, or are you still living in the darkness of sin?