Christian Identity

So, you can see that your identity—the question, "Who are you?"—leads directly to the question, "What are you here for?" Your identity leads to your destiny. You are chosen, pitied, possessed, and holy—all for a purpose—to minister as priests. And the heart of that ministry Peter describes for us very clearly.
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Read: 1 Peter 2:9-10

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

After praying, these are the questions that I want to ponder. Who am I? How did I get this identity? What is it for? Why am I here?

Who Are You?

Keep in mind that Peter is identifying Christians. This is who you are if you are a Christian. This is how you got your identity as a Christian. This is what you are here for as a Christian.

First, he gave five ways of describing your identity, answering the question of who you are.


Verse 9: "You are a chosen race."

I know that this is a corporate identity, he is talking about the church, the true Israel. But the implication is individual because this race is not racial. The chosen race is not black or white, or any other form of group or race. The chosen race is a new people from all the people who are now aliens and strangers to this world. 

See verse 11, "Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers . . . "

What gives us our identity is not our color or culture. It is the calling. Christians are not the white or black race. Christians are the chosen race. Out of all the races we have been chosen — one at a time, not based on our belonging to any group.

That is why this amazing phrase is individually crucial for you. You are part of the "chosen race" because the race is made up of individuals who were chosen from all the races. 

So, your first identity is that you are chosen. God chose you. Not because of your race, nor because of any other qualification. God chose you. 

Who am I? I am chosen. I do not know why. There was nothing in me that is of value above any other human. I did not earn it or merit it or meet any conditions to get it. It happened before I was born. I stand in awe of it. I tremble with joy at it. I bow and accept it. I long to be faithful to its purpose. I am chosen.


Verse 10b: " had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

I chose the word "pitied" because the word for mercy here in Greek is a verb and the closest word we have in English like "mercies" is "pitied." It's not a bad translation. When God chose us, He saw us in our sin and guilt and condemnation, and He pitied us. We are not just chosen; we are pitied. We are not just the objects of His choice, but the objects of His mercy.

I am chosen and I am pitied—or you could say I am "graced." I am "loved." God did not just choose me and stand aloof. He chose me and then drew near in mercy to help me and save me. My identity is fundamentally this: I have been shown mercy. I am a "pitied" person. I get my identity not first from my actions, but from being acted upon with pity. I am a pitied one.


This is expressed twice. Verse 9: "You are... a people for God's own possession." Verse 10a: "You once were not a people, but now you are the people of God."

You are chosen by God; you are pitied by God; and the effect of that pity—that mercy—is that God takes you to be His own possession. Now God owns everything. So, in one sense everyone is God's possession. This must mean something special. And, of course, it does. You are God's inheritance. You are the ones He aims to spend eternity with. When God says (in 2 Corinthians 6:16), "I will be their God and they will be my people [my possession]," what He means is that "I will dwell in them and walk among them."

You are chosen. You are pitied. You are God's possession; the ones with whom He will walk with and reveal Himself to in a personal relation forever.


Verse 9: "You are a . . . holy nation."

You have been chosen, pitied, and possessed by God; and therefore, you are not merely part of the world anymore. You are set apart for God. You exist for God. And since God is holy, you are holy. You share his character because He chose you, pitied you, and possessed you. You are holy. If you do not act in a holy way, you act out of character. You contradict your essence as a Christian. For your identity is holiness to the Lord: you are holy.

And finally,


Verse 9: "You are a . . . royal priesthood."

You are chosen by God, pitied by God, possessed by God, holy like God, and royal priests to God. The point here is, first, that you have immediate access to God — you don't need another human priest as a mediator. God himself provided the one Mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. 

You have direct access to God, through God. And second, you have an exalted, active role in God's presence. 

You are not chosen, pitied, possessed, and holy just to fritter away your time doing nothing. 

You are called now to minister in the presence of God. All your life is a priestly service. 

You are never out of God's presence. You are never in a neutral zone. You are always in the court of the temple. And your life is either a spiritual service of worship (Romans 12:1–2), or it is out of character.

Photo by: Jaime Legaspino