Read 1 Peter 2
2 Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.
The Living Stone and a Chosen People
4 As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— 5 you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For in Scripture it says:
“See, I lay a stone in Zion,
a chosen and precious cornerstone,
and the one who trusts in him
will never be put to shame.”
7 Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
“The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone that causes people to stumble
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 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.
Living Godly Lives in a Pagan Society
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
18 Slaves, in reverent fear of God submit yourselves to your masters, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if someone bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because they are conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.
22 “He committed no sin,
and no deceit was found in his mouth.”
23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” 25 For “you were like sheep going astray,” but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
The way Christians live their lives on this side of eternity matters. Peter talks about who we are as God’s people and why we are called to be different from the world. We are to live holy lives, which means “set apart”. God set us apart from the world–we have a different purpose. In 1 Peter 2:12, Peter gets specific and tells us what that looks like in our day-to-day lives. He says, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us.”
Because of our identity as God’s children, Peter reminds us to be attentive to the things of God–to live fully for what’s ahead, instead of what’s currently happening around us. It’s easy to get caught up in the world today and find ourselves simply mirroring what everyone else is doing. But as Christians, we know that doesn’t end well. It doesn’t honor God. Through Christ, we have been forgiven of our sins. We are free. However, being free in Christ does not give us the right to rebel against God and do what we want to do and when we want to do it. We have been called out of darkness and into God’s light. Therefore, it matters that we lead good lives now. Not because we may lose our salvation (we will not), but because we represent Him to the world around us. As Christians, we must remember we are not “home” yet. We are foreigners in this world, preparing to leave to be with our Father for eternity.
Peter talks about how all Christians will suffer in this world and that it is for the good of the Kingdom (v. 19). That’s what happened to Jesus when He died on the cross for us. He endured pain and suffering and died the death that we deserved. We didn’t ask Him to do this but if He had not, we would still be lost sheep looking for a shepherd. Therefore, we are to submit ourselves to the Lord. Accept the Holy Spirit that is inside of us and live in a way that when our Master returns, we are honoring Him. And when we stumble (because there’s no doubt that we will), know that there is forgiveness and grace when we look to the cross.
- What are you doing in your day-to-day life that sets you apart from the world?
- Is there anything in your life that you need to repent for so that you may live a life that is honoring to God?
- Is there a time in your life that you suffered for the good of the Kingdom? If so, what did you learn from that experience? Talk to your Life Group about that this week.
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