Part 3 in the God’s People series
April 17, 2016 | text: 1 Peter 2:1-12
Therefore… you can’t begin with therefore. Peter is about to draw a conclusion based on every piece of evidence he has presented so far. Look again at chapter 1 and recall everything we said about being called to holiness; we must be prepared, be holy and love with a pure heart because the Word of God endures forever. Once we have “And this word is the good news that was preached to you” fresh in our minds, we can go on to 1 Peter 2.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Psalm 34:8
Peter references the Psalm in verse 3. The 34th Psalm is a plea to choose good over evil because God protects and rewards the one but condemns the other. In the original Hebrew language the Psalm is an acrostic poem (each line begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet). Verses 15 and 16: “The eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous and his ears toward their cry. The face of the Lord is against those who do evil, to cut off the memory of them from the earth.” The Psalm ends with these words: “Affliction will slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be condemned. The Lord redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned.” Peter is aware of the 34th Psalm and aware that he is writing to a potentially persecuted Christian church. His attitude is positive and optimistic as his faith is in the one who redeems.
The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone. This prophetic description of Jesus first appears in Psalm 118 but Jesus used it himself in declaring the Kingdom of God would be taken away from the rulers of Israel and given to others. Peter proclaimed Jesus to the be the rejected stone by you the builders when speaking before the high priests Annas and Caiaphas in Acts 4 explaining that God raised him from the dead before going on to say there is salvation in no other name. Peter uses the metaphor of Christ as the cornerstone here to say he is indeed a living stone, and that we come to him as living stones, laid on the foundation that God has prepared as he builds a spiritual house. Believers are becoming a spiritual house and a royal priesthood that offers spiritual sacrifices pleasing unto God. The Levitical priests went before God with the blood of the slain and offered the burnt flesh of dead animals. He is not God of the dead but of the living Jesus told the Sadducees and we offer ourselves as a living sacrifice. Christ was raised from the dead and he came that we might have life and have it more abundantly. In verse 8 he is an obstacle to the disobedient and unbeliever “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people…” Don’t let the world tell you who and what you are. God defines who and what we are. Trust his word and not those that will be judged by him.
Live before the world. In light of who we are and whose we are, Peter urges all believers to live holy, righteous and blameless before the world from v. 11 to the end of the chapter. It’s never about self-righteousness but in honor of the righteous one that lived before us an an example. He lived humbly, endured persecution, suffered unjustly but did not revile or threaten in return. By his stripes we are healed. “For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.” 1 Peter 2:15-16
God’s people have been called out of the world, from all the nations, to be priests in his service, living holy lives as the one who called us is holy, and to carry the good news of the gospel to all people. We are chosen, we are sent, and we are bear the great responsibility of representing the Kingdom of God as ambassadors in a foreign land. We will never do these things perfectly. In our weakness God is strong. Our calling is to do the best we can with what we’ve got; He will bring the kingdom.
Peace and God bless.