(Originally published January 12, 2021)
1 Peter 2
“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation-if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.” 1 Peter 2
Have you ever watched a baby that was hungry for his bottle? And the parents were frantically trying to get it to just the right temperature. All the while the baby is raising quite a fuss. And then when finally that bottle gets popped into the baby’s mouth and he begins to suck on it and receives his milk, and he starts to calm down, it’s so sweet to watch him calm down and sigh and be satisfied. Peter is saying here we should long for God’s word in much the same way and when we taste it, it should satisfy us.
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5
Jesus is the living stone, but he was rejected by men, but chosen by God. And our belief in Him makes us living stones that are built upon the cornerstone of Jesus. Peter is showing the Christians of his day a word picture of the temple and showing that our belief in Jesus is what is building a living temple, a spiritual house for God. Much the same way that the priests in the days before Jesus came, offered sacrifices in the temple, we now are considered a holy priesthood, chosen to offer our own sacrifices which are acceptable to God now because of Jesus.
“For it stands in Scripture: ‘Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.’” 1 Peter 2:6
Jesus is the cornerstone of our faith, of our spiritual house and He is precious to God, and precious to us. This brings us to the best question I have found in all of my studies. Is Jesus precious to you? He is precious to God and what He did for us on that cross should make Him precious to us. Think about things that are precious to you. What would you do for them? I would lay my life down for my children and my grandchildren, they are so precious to me, that my heart can feel warmth just by thinking of them. I want Jesus to be that precious to me too. And because He is that precious to me, I will take any amount of ridicule and persecution that may come along with my belief in Him.
“So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,’ and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” 1 Peter 2:7-8
You see our honor in our belief comes from above, from God. But to the world our cornerstone, our Jesus is a stumbling block, it offends them. We are so surprised many times at the persecutions that come to us as Christians and the fact that the world wants us to be tolerant of sin, but they get offended at our beliefs and they ridicule us for our belief in Jesus. But that is just the way for those who do not believe. We are God’s chosen people now, by our beliefs in Jesus on the cross and that He is now the cornerstone of the temple of our hearts. But our cornerstone, is what makes them stumble, what we believe offends them.
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:11
While it would be so easy to give in to our nature and to get into arguments with those that are offended by Christianity, that is not the way to win them over. Peter is telling the Christians of his day and this lesson being in the Bible, is also a good one for us – “keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable”. We will not win any lost souls by arguing with them over our rights and our beliefs, however you might win them over if you keep your conduct honorable and even if we don’t win them over, there will come a day that they will see.
In the latter part of this chapter Peter addresses submission to authority.
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institutions, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” 1 Peter 2:13-14
We are a divided country. Over the last few years we have seen people use the slogan, hashtag “not my President” and many people now on the other side want to use the same slogan, hashtag. However, as Christians we are to be subject to our human institutions and authority. We have to let our good, be what puts others to shame. This can be a bitter pill to swallow when you feel that you are on the right side. But we have to look at the directives of God’s word.
“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:16-17
Let’s let our freedom in Christ be the instrument we use to show honor to our leaders, and we love our fellow man and we have a holy fear, a reverence for God. We can show honor to our leaders, because of Christ living in us, whether our fleshly desire is to do so or not. Jesus took a beating and was crucified on a cross for us, yet the he suffered and died for us, he did not spew threats and insults back at the people who were beating Him.
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:21-24
Oh Jesus, thank you for being an example to us. Thank you for being our cornerstone and help us precious Lord as we attempt to treat others as You would have us. Help us as we honor our leaders and love our brothers and sisters, whether they believe as we do or not.