In a brilliant and edifying way, the apostle Peter refers to Christians using numerous terms for Israel found in the Old Testament. In 1 Peter 2, for example, he calls followers of Jesus “a holy priesthood” that offers up “spiritual sacrifices” (1:5 NASB). He also says that believers are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” and “a people for God’s own possession” (1:9 NASB). He then references the names of Hosea’s children in 2:10: “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). Here’s how Joel Green nicely comments on 2:10:
The consequence of God’s salvific work and choice is the creation of a people that previously did not exist (v. 10). In naming his children Loruhamah (“shown no mercy,” Hos 1:6) and Lo-ammi (“not my people,” Hos 1:9), Hosea had pronounced judgment on Israel, but also anticipated a reversal when his children would be renamed Ruhamah (“shown mercy,” 2:1, 23) and Ammi (“my people,” 2:1, 23). Borrowing these categories from Hosea, Peter deploys language used of the judgment and restoration of Israel to designate the significance of the conversion of his now-Christian audience—thus highlighting further the embeddedness of Christians in Israel’s story with the result that the Scriptures of Israel are seen more and more as the account of their heritage—and to celebrate the saving and generative mercy of God.
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