Put it All Away
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.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, our past lives of living for sin and self were put to death with Christ, by faith in Jesus Christ, and we were given completely new lives to now be lived for the honor, glory, and praise of God, in humble submission and in obedience to his commands (Rom 6:1-23; Eph 4:17-24).
So, we are no longer to live like we did before we believed in Jesus. We are no longer to be under the control of and in slavery to sin, doing what our fleshly passions desire. But we are to put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.
I find that list interesting, too, for those who are still living in slavery to sin will lie to cover up their sins, and they will live hypocritical lives in order to also cover up their sinful practices. And often the motivation behind their sinful practices comes from malice, envy, or resentment and bitterness, and they may also slander those who might get too close to the truth, too.
But a follower of Jesus is to have no part in all that, for Jesus set us free from our slavery to sin so we would now become slaves of God and of his righteousness. So, instead of following the passions of our flesh, we are to long for the pure spiritual word of God that we may grow up into salvation.
Like Living Stones
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,”
“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives, if we have, we become part of the body of Christ, the family of God. We who follow Jesus with our lives are his church. Church is not someplace we go to, it is not a building, and it is not a church denomination. It is us, the people.
Thus, the church is not something built with human hands and with brick and mortar, but it is built with human lives. We are the living stones of this building, and Jesus is the cornerstone of this building. And we are being built into a spiritual house, not a physical one.
And 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 the sacrifice God is pleased with is our lives as living sacrifices on his altar living holy lives pleasing to him, which is our acceptable worship of him (Rom 12:1-2).
And holy means to be separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus. And it means to be living righteously, in purity, in honesty, in integrity, in faithfulness, in uprightness, and under Holy Spirit control and no longer under the control of our sinful flesh.
We are to leave our sinful lifestyles behind us, and we are to walk in obedience to our Lord, in humble submission to his will for our lives. Then, we have the hope of eternal life with God. But those who continue to live in disobedience to the word of God, they will die in their sins.
For His Own Possession
I 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 we believe in Jesus with genuine God-given faith, Jesus becomes our Lord and master and we now become his possession, and our lives are now to be given over to him for his honor. He owns us because he bought us back for God with his blood. So now he is the one to rule our lives.
Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want, doing whatever we choose. But now our lives are to be lived for the glory of God, doing what our Lord requires of us. And one of those things is that we are to be proclaiming the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.
What this is saying is that we all are to be spreading the good news of the gospel as Jesus taught it and as his New Testament apostles taught it. We are to be telling people how Jesus can deliver them from their bondage to sin and how he can set them free to now walk in his righteousness.
Passions of the Flesh
I 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.”
Based on the song the Lord put in my mind to go along with this particular writing, I feel this last section here is key to this whole passage and to the message the Lord would have me share with you today. For, many professers of faith in Jesus Christ are still living for the passions of the flesh.
Many professing Christians, including pastors, are addicted to sexual sin in some form or another. And today’s modern adulterated gospel is giving them permission to continue living in that deliberate and habitual sin against God, against their spouses, against their families, and against the church.
And this is destroying their lives, their marriages, their families, and the spiritual life of the church. So, the strong message here is that we, as followers of Jesus, are to have no part with sexual immorality and with the sinful passions of our flesh which wage war against our souls.
Too many “Christians” are living like the world, and they are following their feelings (emotions) instead of following truth and righteousness. They think of “love” as what makes them tingle inside, and what makes them feel good, even when they are sinning against God. But love is not what we feel, but what we do. And love prefers what God prefers and it does no willful harm to another. And God’s love is not freedom to keep on sinning without guilt.
For, the grace of God, which brings us salvation, trains us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s soon return. For Jesus didn’t die on that cross just to forgive us our sins, but to put sin to death in our lives.
So, walk by the Spirit and no longer by the flesh to gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh. For, if you live by the flesh, you will die in your sins, no matter what you profess or confess with your lips. But if you live by the Spirit, you will have the hope of eternal life with God.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Tit 2:11-14; 1 Jn 3:4-10]
By Ann Aschauer
Well, some folks think that “love” means emotion,
So it comes and goes their whole life through.
Some folks never know that when the magic goes,
If you keep on lovin’, it’ll come back to you.
I was so afraid we’d lose the special feeling,
And someday we’d find our love wasn’t true,
But then God opened up my eyes and made me realize,
Love is not what you feel, it’s what you do.
And so we stood side by side at the altar,
As our wills and God’s power combined.
With His help I could say, “I do love you today,
And I will for a long, long time.”
c 1987 Ann Aschauer
Used by permission