|Photo courtesy of jamez0|
The last part of the verse serves as a wonderful reminder of why all of this is made possible. It would be extraordinarily easy for us to become prideful or even arrogant after finding out that we are royalty of the highest order, or that we are handpicked for God. Knowing that that is the case the Holy Spirit inspired Peter to ground us right back in reality and place the focus on who is really important in all of this...God. He says;
that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light (ESV).
This is our reason for being. This is the reason that God has adopted us, called us and saved us; so that we might make much of Him. Once we realize that we have not earned any of what God has graciously given us then there is no other course of action than to stop and magnify His name in all the earth. The great and mighty God of the universe has bestowed grace upon grace on us and we should want nothing more than to tell others how marvelous He is.
If we look to the example of our Lord we find that honoring God was His overriding motivation. In John 17:1 He says;
Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you.
This sentence belongs to the opening line of what has become known as "the High Priestly Prayer" of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane. This was mere hours before He would stand before an unjust court and be sentenced to die by crucifixion. Yet, in the forefront of Jesus' mind was bringing glory to God the Father. What kind of mindset produces such incredible selflessness? A mindset that puts God's fame, honor and will over and above our own. It is a total re-prioritization of what is important in our lives and what we are living for. What Jesus knew then, and what we know now, is that He would soon die, be raised again and ascend into Heaven to be seated at the right hand of God. This is the ultimate honor and one that only God Himself can bestow. What Jesus is saying is, "Do all of that so that you will gain the glory." God the Son wanted all of that done so that people could see the overwhelming mercy, love and grace of God and exalt Him for it. We are invited to become royalty not so that we can polish our fingernails on our shirt and have people look at how wonderful we are. We have become royalty to display to the world the unfathomable grace of a God who would sacrifice everything on our behalf, a God who extracts us from the darkness of sin and places us in His light filled presence, a God who gives us a new life through His Son Jesus Christ.
You may be thinking, "Hey, what kind of arrogant and egotistical God do we serve?" This would be a reasonable question if we were simply talking about a fallen human, but we are talking about the perfect God. God wants us to glorify and exalt Him because that is the kind of thing that only comes from an intimate relationship with Him. God wants us to proclaim His excellencies because that points more people to Him who will then come into a relationship with Him and spend eternity in His awe inspiring presence. Unlike a private party where three or more makes for a crowd, in Heaven the old saying holds very true, "the more the merrier." This verse points out a truth that is often times lost in our proclamation of the Gospel. We are not inviting people into a relationship with a God who begrudgingly saved us from the fires of Hell. We are proclaiming that God has rescued us from the darkness that is in the world and transferred us into the light. This is an act of gracious mercy that was not required of the Almighty. He chose to do it and in light of that choice we should be inexpressibly grateful to the point that we want to make Him famous in all the world.
So, it is true that we are royalty, we are chosen, we are holy and we are God's own possession. However, to truly understand why all of this is the case we have to understand that God has done that for us so that we will magnify Him. He didn't do it because we deserved it and He didn't do it so that people would think highly of us. He did it so the world around us would think highly of Him. This is the reason you are royalty in the line of Christ and specifically chosen by Him. Now we must live like it and talk like it.