Peter is one of the most fascinating characters in the New Testament. His struggles and flaws are written for all to see, but so is the patience and love Jesus had for him. In Peter’s two letters, we get to see examples of his growth and maturity. One of Peter’s struggles was how Jews who had become Christian should treat Gentiles. In Galatians 2:11-21 is a story of Paul rebuking Peter for his hypocrisy toward Gentiles, and in Acts 10 and 11 is a story of Peter receiving a vision from heaven telling him not to treat Gentiles as unclean, because God can make anyone clean.
In 1 Peter 2:9-10, he shares this lesson with his readers:
“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.” (emphasis mine)
The bolded words clearly call back to the story of the Old Testament prophet Hosea, who God told to marry a prostitute named Gomer to teach a lesson about idolatry. Hosea’s children by Gomer are named in Hosea 1:6-9 –
“She conceived again and bore a daughter. And the LORD said to him, ‘Call her name No Mercy, for I will no more have mercy on the house of Israel, to forgive them at all. But I will have mercy on the house of Judah, and I will save them by the LORD their God. I will not save them by bow or by sword or by war or by horses or by horsemen.’ When she had weaned No Mercy, she conceived and bore a son. And the LORD said, ‘Call his name Not My People, for you are not my people, and I am not your God.’” (emphasis mine)
As Peter grew in Christ, he learned the same lesson Hosea learned: that all of God’s people are like Gomer and her children: once estranged from God in spiritual prostitution and adultery, but now a beloved people, betrothed to one faithful God. Jesus, our Holy High Priest, made the necessary sacrifice for the salvation of anyone and everyone who will come to Him. Those He saves join His “royal priesthood”, proclaiming His excellent work to all people who have not received mercy, but who His blood covers.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” – Matthew 7:1-2