Proclaiming the Excellencies of Christ
One of the central themes in the letter of Peter is Christian calling, but what is calling? All dictionaries break the meaning of this word down to two parts, as the Oxford dictionary says, “1) a profession or occupation, 2) an inwardly felt call or summons.” The word conjures up the idea of someone calling our name or beckoning us to come, which in the spiritual sense is what God does as He calls men/women to salvation, and places upon them a certain way to live. The Christian calling is centered in the person of Jesus Christ who calls men to follow Him.
The God who calls men to Himself views Christ differently than the men of this world, this distinction is in 2:4, “And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God.” Apart from the grace of God to alter the hearts of men, they reject Christ, His person, work, will, and most importantly His rule over their lives. However, to God Christ is both choice and precious and He becomes choice and precious to those who receive His calling. We should take note of the term “And coming to Him,” indicating we were in another place, “For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.” 2:25, “for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD” 2:10”
Concerning this word “choice” from 2:4 one Greek Lexicon says, “The best of its kind or class;” in God’s viewpoint Christ is the best of the human race. Christ is the best because as a man He delights to do the will of God, “"THEN I SAID, ‘BEHOLD, I HAVE COME (IN THE SCROLL OF THE BOOK IT IS WRITTEN TO DO YOUR WILL, O GOD’ “Hebrews 10:7. The second word Peter uses is like the first, “Precious,” which means highly regarded or more distinguished. Christ is highly regarded by God because unlike sinful men Christ delights to do God’s will, He makes God His first priority in everything, even when that meant going to the cross to bear the sins of many at the hands of unjust men.
We are told in John’s Gospel Jesus came to His own and His own received Him not, and in Peter’s letter he continues to emphasize the point that Christ was rejected, as in 2:7, “This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve, "THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED, THIS BECAME THE VERY CORNER stone." There is a great divide in this world among men, and that divide is Christ; He divides false religion from the true, lovers of God from lovers of self, hypocrites from the authentic, and for this reason, He is hated by the men of this world and especially the “religious.”
Peter gives us three purposes behind our Christian calling, and each purpose centers on separation from this world and thereby a rejection by it. In our unity with Christ, we are to experience the same type of rejection by the world He experienced and through Him obedience to God. The Christian is chosen and called for the divine purpose of proclaiming the Excellencies of Him who does the calling, but how then can we proclaim His Excellencies and not incur the same rejection that He did? As stated in verse 12, “Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them; glorify God in the day of visitation.” Only unfair and prejudice people slander others as evildoers while observing their good deeds.
“But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” 1 Peter 2:9
Those who are without Christ, alienated from Him, and hostile to Him live in the darkness of their own self-righteous pride by rejecting the glory of Christ, however those who have been called to Him live for the purpose of proclaiming His excellencies in the face of constant rejection. Often Christians are accosted with the notion that they are doing something wrong when people refuse to hear the message of the Gospel, but rejecting the Gospel is the normal course of this world.
The first purpose of the Christian’s calling is to proclaim the Excellencies of Christ who calls men from darkness to light; the other two purposes for Christian calling will be stated in following Blogs.