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 Christians, we are to live morally pure lives. So, how do we do that? And, is it even attainable? We do it in the power of God’s Spirit living within us, and as we yield to the control of the Holy Spirit over our lives.
And, we do it by resisting Satan, fleeing temptation, and drawing near to God in full assurance of faith. And, we do it by walking by the Spirit so that we don’t fulfill the lusts of the flesh. And, we do it by obeying the word of God and the instructions given to us, the saints of God, for us to follow.
For, if we ignore these instructions, and if we continue to go it alone, thinking we can make it, then we are bound for failure. For, we can’t conquer the flesh by the flesh, but only by the Spirit.
Deceit and Hypocrisy
Deceit and hypocrisy are big parts of moral failure. For, those who want to continue living in sin, but who are trying to put forward an image of purity, or of righteousness, or of faithfulness, will lie, lie, lie in order to hide their sinful practices from others.
Therefore, they will put on a false righteousness. And, this may include going ahead of the sin to try to cover up for it in advance in hopes to wane off any suspicion that they might still be failing. Or, they may give off the impression that they are somehow ignorant of something that they are knowledgeable about, again, in hopes to vanish any suspicion of failure.
The Lord just now put in mind this quote from Shakespeare: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” The quote is in response to an insincere overacting of a character in a play within a play. “The phrase is used in everyday speech to indicate doubt concerning someone’s sincerity” (Wikipedia).
Sometimes those who are trying to hide sin will over dramatize their “purity” to the point to where it sounds fake. The overacting, which the person hopes will persuade another of his/her purity, thus, actually ends up backfiring, because it is so overdone to where it is not believable.
Long for The Gospel
Do you know that the gospel of our salvation is not a quick fix, then you are good to go forever? The gospel of Christ is also not something you can contain in a small gospel presentation made up of a bunch of Bible verses taken out of context to make them say what someone wants them to say.
I can think of a few verses that summarize the gospel well, but even they do not represent the whole big picture (1 Pet 2:24; Eph 4:17-24; Tit 2:11-14).
But they do give a fair representation of the gospel message, as a whole. For, they teach that Christ died on that cross for us that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness and that coming to faith in Jesus Christ means leaving our sinful lifestyles behind us and following our Lord in obedience.
And, that really is the pure milk of the word, that we must be crucified with Christ in death to sin and we must now be enslaved to his righteousness. But this isn’t a one-time event and then it is done with. Every day we must, by the Spirit, be putting to death the misdeeds of the flesh and walking in obedience to our Lord, in his power and strength (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Lu 9:23-26).
1 Peter 2:4-5 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.”
When Jesus walked this earth, he had many superficial followers, for a time, until the majority of them walked away because his teaching was “too hard,” for it demanded that they die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness, and that they accept a life of suffering for the sake of Christ.
Most all rejected Jesus, including some from his own family, and from his own town, and his own faith, and some who were even rulers and leaders within the temple of God.
Under the Old Covenant, the temple of God was a physical building. Under the New Covenant, the temple of God is us who genuinely believe in Jesus to be our Lord (owner-master) and Savior (from slavery to sin). We are living stones in this spiritual building with Jesus as our cornerstone.
And, we who are living stones within this temple are being built up in Christ Jesus by our Lord and by our walks of faith, in his power and strength. We are built up as a spiritual house (not a physical one) to be a holy priesthood, to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus.
And, the spiritual sacrifices we are to offer up to God, which are acceptable to him, are those of a contrite heart, in humble submission to our Lord, yielding the control of our lives over to the Lord, living lives by the grace of God which are holy and pleasing to the Lord (Rom 12:1-2; Eph 4:17-24).
We must no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but we are to be transformed of the Spirit of God in our minds and hearts away from sinful lifestyles to now walking in holiness and godliness, and in purity.
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.”
When Jesus Christ died on that cross, he shed his blood for us to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now be God’s possession, and so that we would now honor the Lord with our lives (1 Co 6:19-20).
And, part of that honoring of God with our lives is to share his gospel message with others so that they, too, can be delivered from their bondage to sin, and so that they can now walk in holiness and in purity of devotion to our Lord Jesus, and so they will now be enslaved to Christ’s righteousness.
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.”
We are exiles (strangers) on this earth. This world is not our home, so we are not to become one with the world or to love it, embrace it, long for it, and desire it for our own possession. So, we are to keep away from all that is wicked, evil, immoral, and impure. For, we are not to give ourselves over to the lusts of the flesh to do what is wrong in God’s sight.
Instead of giving in to the passions of the flesh, we are to live such godly lives, in all honesty and sincerity, that although we may be spoken against, those who speak against us will see the sincerity of our devotion to Christ. And, that is because we are keeping our conduct honorable, and we are not putting on a show of piety to impress others. Amen!
On Zion’s Glorious Summit
By John Kent
On Zion’s glorious summit stood
A numerous host redeemed by blood!
They hymned their king in strains divine;
I heard the song and strove to join,
I heard the song and strove to join.
Here all who suffered sword or flame
For truth, or Jesus’ lovely name,
Shout victory now and hail the Lamb,
And bow before the great I AM,
And bow before the great I AM.
While everlasting ages roll,
Eternal love shall feast their soul,
And scenes of bliss, forever new,
Rise in succession to their view,
Rise in succession to their view.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts, on high adored!
Who like me Thy praise should sing,
O Almighty King!
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts, on high adored!
Holy, holy, holy.
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