You Can’t Afford to Ignore This

I 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.”

We, as followers of Jesus Christ, are to rid our lives of all hatred, spite, meanness, cruelty, wickedness, evil, deceit, lying, fakery, hypocrisy, envy, greed, resentment, bitterness and jealousy (except for being jealous for the church like Paul was). These are not to be a part of our lives.

We are not supposed to be like newborn infants, unless we are newborn in Christ Jesus, but we are to crave (thirst after) the pure (unadulterated) spiritual milk (sustenance, nourishment) of God’s word, like newborn infants crave their mother’s milk. And, that is some powerful craving, indeed!

And the purpose of this is so that we may grow up into salvation and become mature in our walks of faith, not that we should remain infants in immaturity, living childishly in self-indulgent lifestyles. For, we don’t get a “pass,” just because we may be new to the faith, permitting us to live in sin.

I like it that many Scriptures include “if” clauses, for it helps clarify what is intended. For one, these are used sometimes to let the readers know that the writer is not presuming that everyone reading his letter has, indeed, come into genuine faith in Jesus Christ.

For, some people have this idea that they can grow in their walks of faith when genuine faith in Jesus may not even exist in their lives. They think if they prayed a prayer to receive Christ that means they are saved. It may, but it may not. So, if we are going to grow to maturity in Christ, we have to first have the correct foundation.

The gospel, in a nutshell, is that Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (1 Pet 2:24; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-14).

I 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,’

and

‘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 building. It is not a church denomination like Baptist, Methodist, Lutheran, Charismatic or Presbyterian. It is not an institution of men or a corporation under the government. And it is not a business created by humans marketed just like any other business, although it is treated as such, and it is promoted as such.

The church, the body of Christ, comprised only of those having genuine faith in Jesus Christ, via death to sin and living to righteousness, is a spiritual building, not a physical one. So, we are living stones that make up this church, not brick and mortar. And Jesus, who was rejected by men, but in the sight of God is chosen and precious, is our cornerstone on which this spiritual building is built.

We are not spectators in a building, though. We don’t come to a building to sit in a chair and to listen to a cool band play and to hear a gifted orator speak and then go home and do whatever it is we do. We are this building. And we offer up our lives to the Lord Jesus as spiritual sacrifices on his altar in submission to his will to do whatever it is he has called us to do.

We don’t just “go to church.” We are the church! We don’t turn it off as soon as the service is over. It is 24/7 church all the time. And Jesus is maturing us in him to be a spiritual house, not a physical one that focuses on entertaining the masses. And we are called to be holy, set apart from the world and unto God, not to blend in with the world so they’ll like us.

And biblical Jesus, and his biblical gospel (the whole counsel of God) is an offense to those who are perishing and who are just “playing church,” but who have never given their hearts and lives to Jesus Christ. And that is why the vast majority of today’s “church” has rejected the gospel of Christ in favor of a cheap grace gospel, for it allows the “old man” to still live.

I 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.”

So, we aren’t here for ourselves. Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins and to promise us heaven when we die and then tell us we can now continue living in sin, only now without guilt, and that we can ignore him, reject his commands, and that we can still be ruler of our own lives.

We are for God’s possession. We died, remember? We are not our own. We were bought back for God with the blood of Christ shed for us on that cross that we might now honor God with our lives (with our bodies). I am crucified with Christ so that “I” no longer live but Christ lives in me and I now live by faith in him (1 Co 6:19-20; Gal 2:20).

And as his possession, what are we supposed to be doing? We are to be proclaiming the excellencies of our Lord who called us OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS marvelous LIGHT. Jesus called Paul to turn people from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God that they might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those sanctified by faith in Christ.

And what else are we to be doing? We are supposed to live like we don’t belong here. We are to come out from the ways of the world and live holy lives unto God. And we are to ABSTAIN from the passions of the flesh which are at WAR against our SOULS, and we are to have honorable conduct.

How can anyone read the New Testament, thus, and come away with the false notion that faith in Jesus Christ requires nothing of them at all, and that they don’t have to submit to Christ or obey him or forsake their sins?

Great is The Lord

Ward, Asaph Alexander

Great is the Lord
He is holy and just
By His power we trust
In his love
Great is the Lord
He is faithful and true
By his mercy he proves
He is love

Great is the Lord
And worthy of glory
Great is the Lord
And worthy of praise
Great is the Lord
Now lift up your voice
Great is the Lord

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