Why did Peter state this, and to whom was it stated?
There is a controversy boiling today over first the validity of the Apostle Paul. Was he truly chosen by the Lord. Some are teaching that he was not on equal par with the 12 (you can read some about this on https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/) this is actually a good site and I would recommend it. The comments are where most of the controversy reveals itself.
Then secondly, and on the complete opposite side of the coin, there are those claiming that Paul was chosen as the only Apostle and purveyor of the gospel of grace to the Gentiles; teaching that the other twelve, which would include Matthias, were only called to take the gospel to the Jews; and to the Jews only they took the gospel of the kingdom. A different gospel they say than Paul’s gospel of grace for the Gentile church.
I will not try and reinvent the wheel as I have already written on this subject before. But think about how far afield men have strayed from pure unadulterated truth in order to support an adulterated theory of truth.
As Paul aptly put it there is only one gospel, and there is only one people of God made up of Jew and Gentile, which he calls the one new man. The only possible implication by Paul of there being two gospels is contained in Galatians, where he shows his amazement that the churches in Galatia are leaving Grace for Law which did not circumcise the heart, but only the flesh. This other gospel that he condemns is not any longer a route to salvation for any man Jew or Gentile.
The passage of scripture that Maria Tatham posted that gave birth to this article is written by Peter.
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; 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 .
1 Peter 2:9-10 NASB
What is being taught by some Dispensationalists today, is that this passage cannot be speaking to the Gentile church. Why? — because it is the promise given to Israel, and if you follow Dispensationalist teaching it is founded on the separation of the church and Israel.
So is this foundational premise correct. Part of the structure built upon this premise as the structure has evolved today is this teaching that the Epistles written by the original disciples were all written to the Jews of the circumcision who accepted Christ. Thus we are as Gentiles excluded from this holy nation. Yet the word here itself reveals the recipients. “For you once were not a people, but now…”. The Jews were the chosen of God, but now you are added to that commonwealth of Israel and her saints. No more Jew or Gentile, but one new man. Read Ephesians chapters two and three, and digest what Paul is saying. Never does Paul who proclaimed himself to be a Pharisee of Pharisees imply that he is not of this body, and there can be somehow those who are residing and placing their hope in a different gospel, or a different age.
Paul, an apostle ( not sent from men nor through the agency of man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead), Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
Notice here Paul uses the pronoun “our” and “us” when relating to his message of the grace of God provided only through Jesus to deliver us from this evil age. No separation of the people of God and no separation of this age that is evil.
Paul did call himself the Apostle to the Gentiles, but it was his hearts desire revealed in Romans chapter 9, that whole of his people the Jews would be saved.
It was there that he said:
Isaiah cries out concerning Israel, “ Though the number of the sons of Israel be like the sand of the sea, it is the remnant that will be saved; What shall we say then? That Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, attained righteousness, even the righteousness which is by faith; but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone,
Our faith in the good news of Jesus, over whom most do stumble, is the only avenue to salvation. There is salvation in none other, and in no other thing. Only in Christ are you a holy nation and a royal priesthood.