1 Peter 2:9-10 – Christian Identity and Purpose


1 Peter 2:9-10


The author continues to make use of quotations from the Old Testament to describe the new status that followers of Jesus receive.


It is important to remember that for the residents of Asia Minor there was little separation between family, culture, and religion. Becoming a follower of Jesus called into question a person’s relationship to their family and their ethnicity. With regard to family relations, the persistent use of the designation “Father” for God sought to establish a new head of household for followers of Jesus. Though their membership in their earthly families did not cease, they now recognized an authority beyond their earthly fathers. 

In terms of their ethnic relations, the author of 1 Peter, like the Apostle Paul, makes use of the nation-building resources of the Old Testament. Drawing again on Exodus and Isaiah as well as Hosea (see 1 Peter 2:4-8 A Stone for Building and Stumbling), images of nationhood and peoplehood paint a picture of God’s concern for the new followers of Jesus. Though they may be uncertain of their relationship to their ethnicities, the author seeks to assure the new followers of Jesus that they have taken on an elevated status as a royal priesthood and a holy people (2:9). The author draws on Hosea 1:6-9 to claim an even more radical transformation. It is not just that the followers of Jesus have traded membership in one people for another. In light of God’s calling, their former memberships are revealed as no-people at all. Only now, in their calling out of darkness, can they understand themselves to truly belong to a people and family (2:10).Like the Israelites at Mt. Sinai, the followers of Jesus now are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people (Ex 19:6); they too have been called into the service of God to proclaim the mighty, saving acts of this One who called them. These same words still apply to us, for we too have received mercy.