The Ultimate Purpose for Your Salvation: A meditation on 1 Peter 2:9-10
The Ultimate Purpose for Your Salvation
1 Peter 2:9-10
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
Why did you come to Jesus? Why are you a Christian? Why did God give you the identity of being “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession who have received mercy?” The answer is crystal clear in these verses. He saved you so that you would say how great He is. In short, He saved you for His glory.
But when we first come to Jesus, we have no idea about God’s ultimate purposes for saving us. That seems to be the experience of all the believers I know. It certainly is my own experience. God’s “ultimate purpose” in saving me was not on my radar. I was a lost, hopeless, pot-head and drunk who was scared out of his mind concerning “What will happen to me when I die and face God.” It was all about “me.” I had an emptiness I desperately wanted to be filled. I had a sin problem I wanted a solution for. I was miserable and wanted to find true happiness. When I heard the Gospel, Jesus seemed like the most beautiful reality in existence. I had this overwhelming sense that He alone would satisfy the longings in my heart. I came to Christ for my sake, not for God’s sake…at least not consciously.
But that’s okay because God’s calling us out of darkness into His marvelous light is only the beginning of the Christian life. We are meant to be transformed by God’s word. We are meant to learn who God made us to be. We belong to a race of people that is not based on the color of our skin, but is based on “God’s choosing us.” He has mercy on whom he has mercy. His choosing to call us into His light is what made us His people, His priesthood. This is meant to cause 19-year-old confused newborn believers to exclaim, “Wow! That’s my new identity!”
But when we are reading scripture it is so important to not stop at the “what,” but to go on to the “why.” Peter says, “We are these things, not as an end; but as a means to the ultimate end of proclaiming how great God is.” The language of verse 9 is clear: You have been given this identity for the purpose “That you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” God chose to save you and make you His own special possession in order that His greatness, value, love, and freedom in choosing you may be proclaimed through you.
Let me be honest. When God called me to faith back in 1981, the idea that the reason He was saving me was to give me the life purpose of making His excellencies known did not cross my mind. But here is the beauty of it all: The internal conversion that new birth produced and the reason I came to embrace the cross were at the very core of fulfilling the ultimate purpose of God’s desire to be praised for His greatness. That is, without thinking about it, I was proclaiming the excellencies of Him who called me out of darkness into His marvelous light.
The way God constructed salvation makes our joy in Him and our living for His glory one goal, not two. We are not to be torn between seeking our own well-being and seeking to glorify God by proclaiming His excellencies. Our identity laid out in these verses is an appeal to our real eternal happiness. You have been chosen out of what you deserve (out of eternal darkness) and placed in the light to see and enjoy the light of Christ as the all fulfilling treasure that He is. Wow! What could be better? To say, “Your purpose is to glorify God by proclaiming His excellencies” is the same as saying, “Express how you feel about God saving you.” The reasons I initially came to Jesus (for my sake) is one and the same as acting for God’s glory. You cannot separate your desire for true happiness in Jesus and your duty to live for His glory.
1 Peter 2:9-10 is like me choosing 100 children to eat and enjoy my homemade ice cream so that they will proclaim how excellent my ice cream making is. Wouldn’t it seem silly if I said, “Now, kids, remember I called you here for the ultimate purpose of glorifying the ice cream maker, so do not pursue your enjoyment of the ice cream but proclaim how excellent of an ice cream maker I am?” We all know that to the extent they pursue their enjoyment of the ice cream is the extent to which they eat to the glory of the ice cream maker.
Gorge yourself on God. Pursue true happiness in Jesus. Long to taste and see how good He is to you in the Word. Then try not to proclaim how excellent He is. You will find it impossible.
The framers of the old catechism had it right: “The chief end (that’s end not ends) of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.”
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