A Holy Nation

There are two great Exoduses in the Bible. God carries out both in order to have a people. In Exodus 19 he says to Israel:

"You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on Eagle's wings and brought you to myself. Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all the nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation."

Of course the problem was that they didn't keep the covenant and therefore didn't receive the promised blessings.

But there is a second Exodus. A greater Exodus. Luke tells us that at the Transfiguration of Jesus, Moses and Elijah appeared and talked with him "about his Exodus which he was about to bring to fulfilment at Jerusalem." Not this time a rescue from Egypt for God's people, but a rescue from sin. Just like the first it happened at the Passover. Just like the first it involved a sacrificial lamb. Just like the first it involved a covenant with God - the New Covenant in Jesus blood.

And just like the first it was to produce a people, a holy nation, a Kingdom of priests. But this time there was no failure. Which is why Peter (who was there on the mountain with Jesus) later says of the Church of Jesus Christ, in language straight out of Exodus:

"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 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." (1 Peter 2:9-10)

Christians are a nation of priests. But not an Old Covenant priesthood to offer sacrifices. A New Testament priesthood whose function is witness to the excellencies of God. To the extent that we don't do so, we fail in our calling. The fundamental call to every biblical church - almost the foundational definition of a biblical church - is to declare to the world the praises of him who called us out of darkness.