\But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; (2:9).
Excellencies. It’s not a word we use much in our contemporary English. But sometimes archaic language says it best.
Excellencies: the plural of excellency: outstanding or valuable features or qualities; the qualities of being excellent.
Excellent: eminently good (exceeding others in rank, status, quality or importance).
And who else but God Exceeds all others in rank, status, quality and importance?
Other versions translate His excellencies as His praises, His virtues, His goodness, and His perfections.
In context, the Greek word describes God’s superiority in His work of salvation, His wonderful acts, and His powerful deeds.
703. ἀρετή aretḗ; gen. aretḗs, fem. noun. ..the superiority of God revealed in the work of salvation, Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
76.14 ἀρετήb, ῆς f: a manifestation of power characterized by excellence—‘wonderful act, powerful deed, wonderful deed,’ Louw- Nida Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament.
And while much of today’s chapter places emphasis on Christian living, Peter diligently expounds on His Excellencies that enable the believer to live in accordance with His commands, for obedience is the result of His work in us, not our own.
Consider His Excellencies
When reading of His Excellencies, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the last words penned in the gospel of John.
And there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written in detail, I suppose that even the world itself would not contain the books that would be written, (John 21:25).
And while the whole world itself cannot begin to count or contain His Excellencies, today we can devote ourselves to filling our hearts and minds with what the world cannot contain as we consider His Excellencies.
- His Excellency in His Kindness
- if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord, (2:3).
- His Excellency in His Building Up
- you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ, (2:5).
- His Excellency as the Only Foundation of Faith
- For this is contained in Scripture:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”
7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
“The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the very corner stone,” (2:6-7).
- For this is contained in Scripture:
- His Excellency in His Choosing a People as His Own
- But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession… (2:9).
- His Excellency in His Deliverance out of Darkness
- …so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, (2:9).
- His Excellency in His Mercy
- 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, (2:10).
- His Excellency in His Suffering
- For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you… (2:21).
- His Excellency in His Example
- …leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, (2:21).
- His Excellency in His Holiness
- who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth, (2:22).
- His Excellency in His Humility
- and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously, (2:23).
- His Excellency in His Healing
- and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed, (2:24).
- His Excellency in His Continual Provision and Faithful Care
- For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls, (2:25).
How do we respond to His Excellencies?
The twelve passages above highlight just one aspect of His eminent qualities that Exceed all others in rank, status, quality and importance, and are impossible to be contained.
The Lord will be faithful to empower us to put aside the deeds of the flesh as we give our thoughts and devotion to His Excellencies. For how can there be room in our hearts and minds for anything else?
Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, (2:1).
And the more we reflect on His Excellencies, the more we will long to do so. For once we have tasted the amazing grace of His salvation, won’t we come to yearn for His amazing grace for our sanctification? Oh, that our passionate longing for His Word would ever increase as we consider His Excellencies.
like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord, (2:2-3).
It is His Word that will grow us in respect to His Excellent Salvation. And the more we consider His Excellencies, the more we will be moved to share with others, for how can we keep His Excellencies to ourselves? Proclaiming His Excellencies will be a privilege we enjoy for the rest of eternity. But let us not wait. Let us answer His call today that we would proclaim His Excellencies until He comes again.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 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, (2:9-10).
And let us not simply proclaim His Excellencies with lip service, but let us live in such a way that our behavior will glorify God, that He might use our lives to prepare others for that Excellent day when He comes again
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. 12 Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation, (2:11-12).
We have been called to follow His Example. What a glorious privilege it would be if others might be drawn to know Him because they got a glimpse of His Excellencies in the way we followed Christ.
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, (2:21).