A CHOSEN RACE
1 Peter 2
Grow Up Into Salvation
Peter directs believers to put aside malice, deceit, and hypocrisy because of the brotherly love that comes from a pure heart. Christians who are born again by the word are to grow up into salvation. The word of God is the bread from heaven, the water that washes, and the milk that nourishes. There is no such thing as a Christian who grows apart from the word. The Christian should long for the word the way a newborn longs for milk. For the newborn, milk is not an optional benefit. The Christian must feast upon the word for it is part and parcel for growing up into salvation. The people of faith have tasted the grace of God by the word of God, and they know that the Lord is good. Jesus Christ delights of the soul.
A Spiritual House
Peter's given name was Simon, but here he declares that Jesus Christ is the rock. Jesus explained that he would build his church upon the rock of the revelation that he is the Christ. Christ is the living foundation of the church. The church is a people and not a location. God set Christ in place although he was rejected by men, he was chosen and precious to the Father. Peter magnifies the love of God as he explains that as the Son is precious so too are believers who are living stones. God perfectly fashions his living stones and uses them to build a spiritual house. God's people are a royal priesthood who offer spiritual sacrifices declaring his praises which are pleasing to God through Jesus Christ. Church fellowship is not optional. Peter quotes from Isaiah 28:16 where God promises a new work that would replace the temple. Peter also cites Isaiah 8:14 to show that the rejection of Christ was prophesied long ago. The church is described as a living body, a building built on the foundation of Jesus, and as a select people. Peter again refers to the Old Testament, this time connecting Exodus 19:6 to the church being a new spiritual nation, not based on ethnicity or geography but the people who belong to Christ. The church has been called out of the darkness and into his marvelous light. The church is a people whom God has called to himself, and they have received mercy. Peter reminds the Christian that this world is not our home and believers only sojourn for a short time. God's people should abstain from the fleshly passions which war against the soul. Peter urges God’s people to demonstrate distinctive, obedient behavior to convince critics of their faith. Since they are living as God’s people in a pagan world, they are called to live in such a way that the only thing they can be accused of is being honorable and doing good deeds. The lives of believers should bring glory to God on the day of visitation.
For The Lord's Sake
Believers are to submit to one another and to the authorities that God has established for an orderly society. God expects Christians to be subject to authorities who are neither believers or morally upright. The purpose of civil government is briefly defined as sent by God to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. God will use the behavior of his people to silence those who would falsely slander Christians. Christians have liberty and should live as free people, but Christian freedom must not be used to indulge the flesh or to cover over evil. True freedom is experienced in complete surrender to God. Christians should be respectful of all people. Christians should love their fellow Christians. Christians should fear God with a holy reverence. Christians have an obligation to the state, but they have a greater responsibility to other believers and God. Peter begins to give practical examples of submission for the Christian. Peter commends believers to accept legal and economic authorities. God is pleased when his people trust him during unjust suffering because they follow the example set by Christ. The Christian must trust that God will ultimately bring justice and that will allow the believer to submit without resentment or despair. Christ gave the example to follow when he entrusted himself to the one who judges justly. Jesus Christ bore the sins of believers in his body on the cross so that the people of God might die to sin and live to righteousness. Christ's wounds are healing for the Christian. Christians have come to Christ the Good Shepherd, and he is the guardian of their souls. This Servant King can be trusted and is to be obeyed. Submission is a kingdom value.
Things To Consider:
- How can Christians actively put away sin?
- Do you long for the word like a desperate infant?
- Are you taking in God's word daily?
- What spiritual sacrifices are you offering to God?
- Are you proclaiming the excellencies of Christ? To whom and how?
- Are you living honorably before those around you?
- Are you walking in subjection to the authorities that God has placed in your life?
- Do you believe that God is just?
- Do you believe that he will obtain justice for you?
- Will you endure suffering with confidence?
- Are you using Christian freedom to indulge in sin?
- What comfort do you receive from knowing that Christ is your Good Shepherd and your guardian?
- Will you offer a sacrifice of praise this very moment?