Read 1 Peter 2:9; Exodus 19:5-6; Deuteronomy 4:20; and Deuteronomy 7:6. What do these verses say about the special status of the people of God?
The church is about people, but not any kind of people.
The church is the people of God, the people who belong to God, who claim God as their Father and Savior, and who have been redeemed by Christ and who obey Him. This image underscores the concept that God has had a people on earth since the introduction of the plan of salvation and that there is continuity between Israel in the Old Testament and the church in the New. From the time of Adam, the patriarchs before and after the Flood, and Abraham, God has made a covenant with His people to be representatives of His love, mercy, and justice to the world.
God’s people are called a “chosen generation”, a “royal priesthood”, and a “holy nation.” These terms indicate that they are set aside for a special purpose: to “proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Pet. 2:9, NKJV). This is also an echo of a description of God’s gracious character, as described in Exodus 34:6-7. “God acquired the church as His own special possession in order that its members might reflect His precious traits of character in their own lives and proclaim His goodness and mercy to all men.” – The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 7, p. 562.
Read Deuteronomy 7:6-8. What prompted God to select the descendants of Abraham as His people? How is this still applicable today?
Perhaps we could ask ourselves, What country today deserves the label of “holy nation” (another image of the church)? None. All nations and ethnic groups are composed of people who do not deserve God’s love and grace. And though the Bible calls us to be a holy people, Scripture also teaches that the selection and establishment of Israel was based entirely on His love and not on any merits that human beings could bring to Him. The formation of God’s people is an act of loving creation and-despite sin and apostasy on a national scale-God kept His promise to Abraham that through his seed, Christ, He would save His people. Just as the election of God’s people was an act of His grace, so is their salvation. This theme reminds us of our common roots in the unmerited grace of God.
Why must we always keep before us the sacred truth that our salvation rests upon what Christ has done for us and not upon what we can ever do for ourselves, even if we are “the people of God”?