1 Peter 2 ESV (Select verses)
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.
If we have participated in (shared in, experienced) the goodness of the Lord via salvation from sin, by his grace, through faith in him, then we are to put sinful practices such as these out of our lives.
We are to no longer be those who make it their practice to be hateful and spiteful towards others. We are to no longer be those who make it our habit to tell lies and to purposefully and willfully mislead other people to believing the lies over the truth, either.
We are also not to be among those whose custom it is to pretend one thing while we do another, especially if we do so with the full intent to deceive others into thinking we are living righteously while, instead, we are living in sinful addiction behind closed doors.
And, our normal routine should also not be one of resentment (bitterness) towards others who have something we desire, but for which we are unwilling or incapable of attaining ourselves. And, so, to get even with them, we tell malicious (hateful) lies about them intended to hurt them and to destroy their reputations so that others will hate them, too.
As believers in Jesus, instead, we are to reflect Jesus Christ in our conduct. This is not saying we will be perfect, or that we will never sin, but sin should not be what we practice. It should no longer be what has power and control over our lives. Instead, we should be those who hunger and thirst for righteousness and whose desire and longing is for the Word of God, to do what it says, which will then result in us growing to maturity in Christ.
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.”
We, the people of God, are his body, his temple, his church. The church is not a physical building. It is not a church denomination. And, it is not a business, though it has been turned into such as these. Yet we, the people of God, are the building, not made with brick and mortar, but with people who have trusted Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of their lives.
And, this building, which is made up of people, which is a spiritual building, not a physical one, has Jesus Christ as its chief cornerstone and foundation on which it is built. This church is not built on humanistic philosophy or on the marketing schemes of human beings, but on Christ and his Word. And, God’s intention for his church, his body, is that we live holy lives, separate from the world of sin and unto God and to his service according to his will.
And, the spiritual sacrifices we are to offer up to God are those of broken and contrite hearts, submitted to the Lord, repentant of sin, and desirous to walk in obedience to our Lord. They are sacrifices of presenting our lives fully unto God, holy and pleasing (acceptable) to him, no longer living to please our sinful flesh, but now, by the Spirit, living to please our Lord.
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.
Yet, not everyone believes in Jesus Christ. Not everyone who claims to believe in Jesus Christ actually believes in him or in his gospel, either. For, to many, the gospel of our salvation is an offense, because it tells people that faith in Jesus Christ means forsaking our lives of sin to follow Jesus Christ in surrender and in obedience to his commands.
And, since they want to hold on to their sinful lifestyles, they reject the gospel of Jesus Christ, or they create their own gospel which allows them to continue in their sinful practices while claiming Jesus as their Savior and heaven as their eternal destiny. But, scripture is real clear on this issue. If we make sin our practice, and we don’t make righteousness our practice, then we don’t have Jesus as our Savior or heaven as our eternal home.
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.
When Jesus died on that cross for our sins, he bought us back for God with his blood, so that we are no longer our own to live however we want. We are now God’s possession, and we are his bond-servants, here to do his will. Jesus isn’t just Savior of our lives, but he is Lord (owner-master) of our lives, too. So, we are to follow him wherever he leads us to go.
Not only that, but we are to be his witnesses, his messengers in sharing the truth of the gospel of our salvation with others so that they can come to know him, too. Only we do not just proclaim his excellencies with our lips, but also with our lives. This doesn’t mean we will be perfect, but that our lifestyles, our regular conduct, our habits should reflect Christ and his purity, his love, his faithfulness, his kindness and his goodness.
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.
Although we live in this world, we are not to be partakers in what is ungodly, unholy, and of this sinful world. The world should not embrace us and love us as its own. We should stand out as different, unlike the world of sin. The world should think we are strange, odd, and peculiar because we don’t participate in the same things the sinful world does.
So, we should not be watching TV shows or movies or videos which are sensual in nature, or which are seductive, immoral, or perverted, or which glorify sinful practices. We should not be entertained by the sins of others, in other words. We should not be involved in sexual immorality in any form. But, we are to keep our conduct honorable, pure and upright in all that we do for the glory and praise of God.
He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
For, the whole purpose of our salvation from sin is not merely to have an escape from hell and so we can go to heaven when we die. It is that we might live righteously while we still live on this earth. It is that we might die to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness. For, his grace to us is not just to forgive us of our sins, but it is to eradicate sin out of our lives.
For, once we lived however we wanted, to please our flesh, and to do whatever our sinful flesh desired. But, now that we have believed in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, our desire should be for him, to do his will. And, our desire should no longer be to fulfill the lusts of our flesh.
Now we should want to live holy and godly lives, pleasing unto our Lord, instead of looking for loopholes to get out of obeying him or instead of making up excuses for why we continue down a sinful path while claiming that Jesus has saved us from our sins. For, Jesus put our sin to death on that cross so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And, he will empower us to do that, too. We just have to say “Yes” to him.
An Original Work / June 24, 2012
Based off John 10:1-18 NIV
My sheep hear me. They know me.
They listen to my voice and obey.
I call them and lead them.
They know my voice, so they follow me.
They will never follow strangers.
They will run away from them.
The voice of a stranger they know not;
They do not follow him.
So, I tell you the truth that
I am the gate, so you enter in.
Whoever does enter
Will find forgiveness and will be saved.
Nonetheless whoever enters
Not by the gate; other way,
He is the thief and a robber.
Listen not, the sheep to him.
Oh, I am the Good Shepherd,
Who laid his own life down for the sheep.
I know them. They know me.
They will live with me eternally.
The thief only comes to steal and
Kill and to destroy the church.
I have come to give you life that
You may have it to the full…
They know my voice, so they follow me.