1 Peter 2:1-3 ESV
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
As followers of Jesus Christ, because of what Jesus did for us, in dying on a cross, and in taking our punishment upon himself so that we could be saved from our sins, we should live holy lives unto God in all of our conduct. No longer should we be living to please the desires of our sinful flesh, but we should be living to please God in all that we do and say (See 1 Peter 1).
Therefore, by the Spirit, we should be putting to death the deeds of the flesh, and we should be walking (conducting our lives) according to God’s Holy Spirit, in truth, and in righteousness. Thus, things such as malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, slander, immorality and impurity should no longer be what we do (what we practice). We should put those out of our lives.
And, instead, we should be hungering after the Word of God and his righteousness and holiness. We should long for God’s Holy presence in our lives and His Words should be what we crave, not the things of this sinful world. We should love to be in the Word of God, listening to our Lord speak his truths to our hearts. And, then our hearts and minds should be moved to obedience to our Lord, to live holy lives pleasing to him.
1 Peter 2:4-8 ESV
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
The church is not a physical building. It is not built with human hands out of brick and mortar. It is not a social organization, nor is it a corporation under the federal government. It is not a church denomination. It is not a business to be marketed like any other business, either, although this is what it has been turned into across these United States of America, for the most part.
The church is the people of God who have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives. And, it is a spiritual building with Jesus Christ as its chief cornerstone and with us comprising the rest of the stones, which are living stones. And, it is founded upon Jesus Christ and the apostles of the New Testament and the prophets of old (of God).
The purpose of the church, too, which is us, the people, is to be spiritually built up (encouraged, developed) as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood. And, holy means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Christ. And, a priest of the Old Testament was one who went into the presence of God, first to offer sacrifices for his own sins and then for the sins of others.
Yet, the sacrifices God requires of us are first of all broken and contrite (repentant) hearts. And, he requires that we give our lives to him wholly as living sacrifices on his altar, holy (set apart) and pleasing to him. We are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed (of the Spirit of God) in mind and heart away from living to sin and self to living to God and to his righteousness. And, this is what it means to believe in Jesus Christ, to surrender to his will for our lives.
Yet, not everyone believes. They find the truth of the gospel of our salvation an offense to them, because they don’t want to die to self or give up rule of their own lives. They don’t want to let go of their sinful practices, but they want to be able to continue to indulge in them. And, so they reject Jesus Christ and his gospel of salvation, although many of these who reject him will claim to know him. But, if we claim to be in fellowship with him, and yet we walk (conduct our lives) in the darkness (sin), we are liars (1 Jn. 1:6).
1 Peter 2:9-10 ESV
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
But, as those who claim to be in fellowship with our Lord Jesus Christ, we are no longer our own, to live our lives however we want. For, we were bought back for God (redeemed) with the blood of Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are to honor God with our lives, not continue to live to please ourselves. We are to live holy lives, set apart from the world, and set apart to God for his service and for his purposes for our lives.
Not only are we to be living to God, according to his will and purposes for our lives, and no longer be living to gratify the sinful cravings of our flesh, but we are also to be proclaiming him and his salvation to all who will listen. For many people are living without God and without hope in their lives and they need to hear the true gospel so that they, too, can die with Christ to sin and live with Christ to his righteousness. So, we need to be sharing his gospel in words, and also by our example, with the world around us.
And, the best way for us to share this gospel is by sharing our own testimonies of how God delivered us out of darkness (sin) and how he brought us into his wonderful light (truth and righteousness). But, this can’t be with words only, for people are pretty smart, and they can see right through us if what we are professing and what we are living don’t match. So, we need to walk the walk and not just talk the walk.
1 Peter 2:11-12 ESV
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
I hear so many people say that all you have to do is “believe” in Jesus Christ and you are saved. That is true, but we need to understand what this “believe” means for it is not just some assent to who Jesus is and to what he did for us in sacrificing himself for our sins.
Belief in Jesus Christ is first of all of God, and it is divine persuasion as to his holiness and righteousness and of our need to forsake our sins, to be cleansed of our sins, and to now walk righteously before him, in his power at work within our hearts and lives.
As we read through the New Testament, in particular, from Matthew to Revelation, it becomes abundantly clear that our belief in Jesus is not a mere acknowledgment of him nor is it a sinner’s prayer or some emotional experience. It is a lifestyle and heart transformation away from living to sin to living to God and to his righteousness. This is why our salvation is referred to as being “born again,” because we are changed like a caterpillar is changed into a butterfly. Jesus is not added on to our old lives, but our old lives die with him and he gives us new lives to be lived to him.
Our salvation is also not a one-time experience, we are in, and it can never be taken away from us. It is those who listen to Jesus, and who follow him who cannot be snatched out of his hands. And, it is those believing (present tense) in him who have eternal life with him, who are no longer living to the flesh, but who are living to the Spirit (See: Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Eph. 4:17-24; Acts 26:16-18; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-21; Gal. 6:7-8).
So, as those who have been taken out of the world of sin, who are no longer like the world, who have been cleansed of our sins, we should abstain from the passions of the flesh, for they wage war against our souls. They destroy us, which is why Jesus died to free us from all that. And, we need to live lives which are honorable, trustworthy, honest, and pure, so that even if people speak evil against us, they will see that we are people who are walking honorably before God and man.
Again, this is not to say that we will never sin (1 Jn. 2:1-2), but that sin should no longer be what we practice. We should no longer be giving our lives over to the sinful passions of our flesh, but we should be walking according to the Spirit in righteousness, holiness and in purity.
For Our Nation
An Original Work / September 11, 2012
Bombs are bursting. Night is falling.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Trust Him with your life today.
Make Him your Lord and your Savior.
Turn from your sin. Follow Jesus.
He will forgive you of your sin;
Cleanse your heart, made new within.
Men betraying: Our trust fraying.
On our knees to God we’re praying,
Seeking God to give us answers
That are only found in Him.
God is sovereign over all things.
Nothing from His mind escaping.
He has all things under His command,
And will work all for good.
Jesus Christ is gently calling
You to follow Him in all ways.
Men deceiving: we’re believing
In our Lord, and interceding
For our nation and its people
To obey their God today.
He is our hope for our future.
For our wounds He offers suture.
He is all we need for this life.
Trust Him with your life today.
Friday, November 2, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for loving us so much that you willingly sacrificed your life for us on that cross so that we could be delivered from our slavery to sin, and so that we could live now to you and to your righteousness. Amen!