“9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” NIV
It’s not unusual to see ‘before’ and ‘after’ photographs on promotions for dieting products: ‘This is how I looked before, but look at me now!’ That’s the message. ‘Follow this plan and you can experience the life change I did.’ The photos are ‘testimonies’ in a way.
‘’Once…but now…’’ (v.10. See how these words are repeated).
The Christian’s story is one of radical change. It goes much deeper than appearances. It’s a transformation on the inside that increasingly becomes visible on the outside. It is a ‘’darkness’’ to ‘’light’’ change (9). In the context, the way we ‘’declare’’ His praises very much appears to relate to the ‘’holy’’ (9) and ‘’good’’ (12) lives we lead in society. Obviously, words are also important (see 3:15), but here the emphasis is on deeds and lifestyle.
But although God changes persons (and we must ‘’come’’ (v.4) to Jesus personally), He is forming ‘’a people’’. It is the witness of this people of which the passage speaks. The language of verse 9 echoes Old Testament descriptions of Israel and applies them to the church.
In it all, we are to remember that the church ‘belongs’ to God. We are his treasured posssession:
‘’…the church of God, which he bought with his own blood’’ (Acts 20:28b).
PRAYER: Lord, even in days when your church cannot meet in the usual way, may your people still glorify you, and shine brightly into the darkness of the world.