1 Peter 2:1-25
1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,
3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,
5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A CHIEF CORNERSTONE, ELECT, PRECIOUS, AND HE WHO BELIEVES ON HIM WILL BY NO MEANS BE PUT TO SHAME.”
7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE,”
8 and “A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.
9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,
12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme,
14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.
15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—
16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh.
19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
22 “WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH”;
23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
Though we have been seated and secured, there is a purpose for which this has been given us that is so much greater than just a claim of heavenly citizenship. Our new life in Him now qualifies us to not only serve His presence but to actually be the temple of His residence. Like a child, though, born with all the potential in the world, there is a need to grow into and develop into the fullness of our new capabilities. This requires steady maintenance of what drew us to this life in the first place – drinking in of our promised nearness to our Holy Master and Savior. Our needed growth must have this essential staple, but this amazing experience requires that we not be yielding to old and unholy ways He saved us from. Rather than emulating the world’s rejection of His holiness, we can allow it to be the foundation for what establishes us as the living stones of His temple. The heart, when maturing in this savoring of His presence, will be increasingly freed from an insistence on violating any established law that doesn’t contradict His. It will be kept from a tainted conscience in consideration of the One who remained pure against all the reasons He had to respond in malice or offense. There is this precious following of Him as our Shepherd that will be a glorious liberation from those growth-stunting consumptions of the world. He will always lead to pastures and streams of righteousness where consciences remain clear and fulfilling our greater purpose loses all hindrance.