1So get rid of all evil behavior. Be done with all deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and all unkind speech. 2Like newborn babies, you must crave pure spiritual milk so that you will grow into a full experience of salvation. Cry out for this nourishment, 3now that you have had a taste of the Lord’s kindness.
Not only are we being told to get rid of or stop all types of evil behavior and unkind words, we need to crave what is right and good. We are being compared to newborns and since we are born again, that makes perfect sense. We should crave Jesus, our spiritual milk, without him how can we grown into the full experience of our salvation. We need to grow and become mature Christians. Now that we have had even a taste of His goodness, how can we not desire more?
Living Stones for God’s House
4You are coming to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s temple. He was rejected by people, but he was chosen by God for great honor.
The cornerstone is living because it is both personal and life giving.
5And you are living stones that God is building into his spiritual temple. What’s more, you are his holy priests.Through the mediation of Jesus Christ, you offer spiritual sacrifices that please God. 6As the Scriptures say,
“I am placing a cornerstone in Jerusalem,
chosen for great honor,
and anyone who trusts in him
will never be disgraced.”
7Yes, you who trust him recognize the honor God has given him. But for those who reject him,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has now become the cornerstone.”
In the OT, the priesthood was restricted to a qualified minority. Their unique responsibility was to offer sacrifices to God on behalf of His people. But now through Jesus Christ, every true Christian has been made a priest to God. This means all believers have direct access to God. All believers are obligated to live holy. All believers must offer spiritual sacrifices such as living in obedience and not conforming to this world. We must be willing to pray and praise and serve with our whole hearts. All true believers are to intercede and pray for others and to defend God's word and to spread the message of Jesus Christ.
“He is the stone that makes people stumble,
the rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they do not obey God’s word, and so they meet the fate that was planned for them.
Those that accept Christ give their lives to him and base their lives on his principles and purposes. But those that reject him, will stumble and fall over his truth and standards. Unbelief as a choice, out of your own free will, will destine you to eternal damnation. God did not plan for anyone to make that choice but because of our free will, many will do so.
9But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
10“Once you had no identity as a people;
now you are God’s people.
Once you received no mercy;
now you have received God’s mercy.”
Just as the Israelites were called God's chosen people in the OT, all followers of Christ today are considered chosen. All believers are set apart. As a holy nation we are to reflect the glory of God. We are to spread his message and bring honor and praise to him. We have an identity in Christ Jesus and we have received his great mercy.
11Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.
It makes it very clear here, that we are set apart from the corrupt ways of the world. We are part of Christ's kingdom. We are not identified with our surroundings, we are merely passing through. Our true citizenship is with Christ in Heaven.
12Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
Respecting People in Authority
13For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, 14or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
15It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. 16For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. 17Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.
18You who are slaves must submit to your masters with all respect. Do what they tell you—not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are cruel. 19For God is pleased when, conscious of his will, you patiently endure unjust treatment. 20Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing good and endure it patiently, God is pleased with you.
WE are taught to live for the Lord even among the unbelievers. This shows honor to God as well as allowing the unbeliever to witness your behavior. We are actually told to submit to our human authority, this is how we live honorably in the eyes of God. It is God's will that by the very example we set, we will silence the ignorant. We may be free but we are "slaves" or servants of God. We can not let that freedom of being God's servant be used as an excuse to do what is not right in this world. We are to love everyone and to honor our maker. We are to respect those in authority even when they aren't the greatest person for the job. God is pleased when we follow his will even when we don't get the credit or are treated badly for it. So through our suffering and endurance and patience, we will be honoring God and he will be pleased.
21For God called you to do good, even if it means suffering, just as Christ suffered for you. He is your example, and you must follow in his steps.
22He never sinned,
nor ever deceived anyone.
23He did not retaliate when he was insulted,
nor threaten revenge when he suffered.
He left his case in the hands of God,
who always judges fairly.
Regardless of how we are being treated, we are to do good and do God's will. We are to become Christ like. Only God himself is to judge and hand out revenge.
24He personally carried our sins
in his body on the cross
so that we can be dead to sin
and live for what is right.
By his wounds
you are healed.
25Once you were like sheep
who wandered away.
But now you have turned to your Shepherd,
the Guardian of your souls.
Christ died for us. When you accept Jesus Christ, you are born new and awakened. We are to live right because that is how he lived for us. When we wondered away into the ways of the world, he came after us. As a believer, you have turned to Jesus, our Shepherd. He will guard our souls.