World English Bible translation
2:1Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking, 2:2 as newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby, 2:3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious: 2:4 coming to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, precious. 2:5 You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 2:6 Because it is contained in scripture,
"Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious:
He who believes in him will not be put to shame."
2:7For you therefore who believe is the honor, but for such as are disobedient,
"The stone which the builders rejected,
Has become the chief cornerstone,"
"A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense."
For they stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed.
Beginning with yesterday's lesson Peter had begun to write about the practical things that his readers would need to begin to accomplish to endure the persecutions that they were to face. He reminded them that they were to live as strangers in this world. The most important thing that Peter had to tell them was that their love for one another needed to mature from brotherly affection to fervent love. This was because they would need each other to sustain themselves in the time of adversity. Christians never stand alone. Not only is God standing with us, but God also brings His people together to face this world. We find salvation in the body of Christ and it is as a body that we are to face adversity and trials.
Peter had already told these believers that they were to be holy because God was holy. He had also told them that God was calling them away from the useless way of life that their fathers had lived. Now he gets very specific. He writes to them that they should put away "all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking." Just as these believers are meant to love one another deeply, Peter wants them to know that they must put away the sin that separates them from one another. Each of the sins that he lists here is particularly destructive to the body of believers. Nothing will strike at the love that God is trying to engender in believers like deceit, hypocrisies and evil speaking. We must set these aside if we are to be led by the Spirit of God into a unity of believers. If I am to be led into unity with you as a child of God I cannot deceive you, speak ill of you or envy your possessions.
Instead of our former sins, we must "long for the pure milk of the Word." We must desire to feed on the word of God and to grow in His ways. For Peter tells us that we have come to "a living stone," Christ, who was rejected by men but approved by God. Christ is the cornerstone to "a spiritual house," a holy temple of believers that God is building. Each of us becomes another stone in this building that God is building. But we, as Christ before us, are not dead stone God mortars into place. We are living stones God is using for construction. God is building a home for Himself and we are the construction materials. He will dwell in us throughout eternity.
All men and women who reject Christ cannot be a part of this temple. They reject the cornerstone and exclude themselves from what God is doing. He becomes for them a "stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." Our reaction to Jesus Christ determines whether or not we will be included in God's plans. Those that except Him become a part of what God is accomplishing. Those who reject Him stumble and are disobedient.
This principle is so important. It is why we, as believers, must present Christ to the world. He is the one the world must accept or reject. Christ is the issue. The issue is not whether the world likes me or accepts me. Do they accept or reject Christ? My beliefs or opinions are like the flowers on the grass that Peter wrote about in yesterday's lesson. They will fade and die. Only Christ remains forever. We must preach Christ and live Christ so that the world my accept Him or reject Him. He lives in you and I. We must allow Him to live through us fully!
Will you give up envy, deceit and evil speaking of others in order to become a living stone? Will you allow Christ to live in you, even if it means that some will stumble and fall over Him?
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