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, these things mentioned here should have no part of our lives. We are to put them all away. We should not be mean, hateful and spiteful people. We should not be people who practice telling lies in order to deceive (betray, mislead, and trick) others. We should also not be hypocritical, making an outward show of one thing while we live the exact opposite behind closed doors, when no one is looking.
We should not be envious of others, lusting after what they have, wishing we had what they have instead, and maybe even plotting how we might take it away from them. We should not be those who slander others, who falsely accuse them of what they did not do in order to destroy their reputations so that others will hate them and reject them, especially out of jealousy of them, and out of resentment, because we don’t have what they have.
For, Jesus Christ died for us on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, but to deliver us out of slavery to sin, and to empower us to live righteously, for the glory, honor, and praise of God (Rom. 6:1-23; Eph. 4:17-24; 1 Pet. 2:24).
So, as followers of Jesus, we are to walk (conduct our lives) according to (in agreement with) the Holy Spirit, and we are to no longer walk according to our sinful flesh. For, if we walk according to the Spirit, we have eternal life with God, but if we walk according to the flesh, we will die in our sins (Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:16-21; Eph. 5:3-6; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; 1 Jn. 2:3-6; Gal. 6:7-8).
And, this necessitates that we hunger and thirst after the Word of God and his righteousness, and that our desire now is for God, and for doing his will. We should no longer want to live to please our sinful flesh. So, we need to be feeding on the Word of God, particularly on the New Testament, listening to our Lord speak his words to our hearts, and then doing what he commands.
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.”
We who believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives are the church. We are the house of the Lord. The Holy of Holies dwells within us. God doesn’t live in buildings built by human hands. He lives in human hearts which have been transformed from death to life by the power of God.
So, even if buildings called “church” have closed their doors right now, that does not mean the church has ceased to exist, for the church is not a building. We are not limited by four walls or a particular physical space. We can meet with other believers in Jesus Christ any day of the week at any hour of the day at any location and it is still the church gathering together, whether in person or virtually via the internet.
For, the church is not something physical. It is spiritual. It is not an organization. It is a living organism made up of living stones, not brick and mortar. So, as long as Christians are still alive, the church is still alive and well and active. So, be encouraged by these words! And, this church is not being built on the marketing schemes of human beings, but Jesus Christ is the builder of this church, and we are to build one another up in the faith.
And, we are not being built in order to be socially acceptable to the world so that they will like us, either, and so that they will want to come to our gatherings. Jesus isn’t building this church so that everyone will be entertained by whimsical preachers, either, who know how to make people laugh and to keep them coming back for more.
We are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. And, holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made into the likeness of Jesus.
And, spiritual sacrifices are those which God requires of us, and which are for his praise. And, that is that we give our lives over to the Lord, holy and pleasing to him, which is our reasonable and acceptable worship of God. And, we are to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed in heart and mind of the Spirit of God away from sin to obedience to Christ (Rom. 12:1-2; Eph. 4:17-24; Tit. 2:11-14).
For, the reason Jesus died on that cross is that we might honor God with our lives. It is that we should no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. And, it is that we should die with him to sin and live with him to his righteousness (1 Co. 6:20; 2 Co. 5:15, 21; 1 Pet. 2:24).
1 Peter 2:9-12 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.
“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.”
When Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross, it was to buy us back for God that we would now be his possession, and it was that we would now honor him with our lives. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, for we were bought with the blood of Christ. Sin and the flesh are to no longer be our masters. Jesus is to be our ONLY LORD.
But, he didn’t change us and make us new creatures in Christ Jesus just so we could clean up our old lives some, and perhaps live a little bit better than we did before. He didn’t die just to rid our lives of sinful practices, either, but that we might put on Christ and his righteousness daily and walk in obedience to his commands.
And, his will for our lives is not just that we forsake our sins and live righteously, but that we take his gospel message to the world around us so that many more people can be saved from slavery to sin and have eternal life with God. Our faith in Jesus Christ, in other words, was not intended for us to keep to ourselves. It is to be shared.
We are to proclaim the excellencies of Christ Jesus who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light, so that others can also be delivered out of the darkness and brought into the light of God and his righteousness and holiness.
But we must be those who practice what we preach. It doesn’t mean we are absolutely perfect people. But, lack of perfection is never to be used as an excuse for continued willful and often premeditated sin against Almighty God. We must walk (conduct our lives) according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, too, if we want to have eternal life with God.
Footprints of Jesus
Lyrics by Mary B. Slade, pub. 1871
Music by Asa B. Everett
Sweetly, Lord, have we heard Thee calling,
Come, follow Me!
And we see where Thy footprints falling
Lead us to Thee.
Though they lead o’er the cold, dark mountains,
Seeking His sheep;
Or along by Siloam’s fountains,
Helping the weak.
If they lead through the temple holy,
Preaching the Word;
Or in homes of the poor and lowly,
Serving the Lord.
Though, dear Lord, in Thy pathway keeping,
We follow Thee;
Through the gloom of that place of weeping,
If Thy way and its sorrows bearing,
We go again,
Up the slope of the hillside, bearing
Our cross of pain.
By and by, through the shining portals,
Turning our feet,
We shall walk, with the glad immortals,
Heav’n’s golden street.
Then, at last, when on high He sees us,
Our journey done,
We will rest where the steps of Jesus
End at His throne.
Footprints of Jesus,
That make the pathway glow;
We will follow the steps of Jesus
Where’er they go.
Copyright status is public domain
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