Peter calls us to become like living stones in the building of the spiritual temple, but before that we must rid ourselves of things that hinder us from being useful living stones.
- Rid yourselves then of all evil
- no more lying
- no more hypocrisy
- no more jealousy
- no more insulting language (v1)
As we read in James 3 and 4, we need to control our tongues and be careful of our conduct. Not living as the world lives but as citizens of heaven. Our desires for the things of the world only lead to jealousy and hatred leading us to sin.
We are urged to be like new born babies, pure and innocent and crave only the spiritual “milk” which enables us to grow up in our faith. It is interesting to note a comparison to Hebrews 5 v 13 where Paul comments about those who have to drink milk because they were not mature enough to eat the solid “food” of adults – the spiritually mature. Peter is using the term in the context of a healthy baby with a good appetite because they are growing. We don’t stop drinking milk as adults as we still need the vitamins and nutrients that it gives as part of a balanced “diet”.
We can then come to the Lord who is the Living stone rejected by people as worthless, but as we saw in chapter 1 v20, he was chosen before the creation of the world to be the most valuable stone – the cornerstone on which the whole building depends. So;
Come as living stones, and let yourselves be used in building the spiritual temple, where you will serve as holy priests to offer spiritual and acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ (v5)
Peter was given his name by Jesus – it means Rock. Peter was to be the initial foundation on which the church would be built and Peter shows that each one of us have an assigned place in the building. Each stone is carefully selected and placed in the right place. If you have ever watched a dry stone wall being built, the builder chooses each stone carefully and sometimes has to knock a few bits off to make it fit how he wants it. Each stone is different in shape and size but the skilled craft-man fits them all together. We are not like the massed produced bricks that are all exactly the same.
As these living stones we are then to serve as his holy priests
But you are the chosen race; the King’s priests, the holy nation; Gods own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvellous light. (v9)
Peter then moves on in verse 11 to remind us again that we are strangers and refugees in this world. We are to conduct ourselves in such a way that our accusers will have no foundation.
Your conduct among the heathen should be so good that when they accuse you of being evildoers , they will have to recognise your good deeds and so praise God on the Day of his coming (v12 – see also Titus 2 v 8)
We are to submit to authority as ultimately we are submitting to Him (see verses 13 – 15 and Titus 3 v 1) Peter in Acts 4 v 19 was still courteous when told not to go on teaching Gods word and again in Acts 5 v 29
We must obey God , not men
Paul shows in Romans 13 too that we must submit to authority but also shows clearly that they are accountable. By opposing them we are ultimately opposing God. If we are doing what is right then we have nothing to fear as God is ultimately the judge but of course we must obey God first.
We are to live as free people, but that does not mean that we are free to keep on sinning or doing evil – rather our liberty means that we are free NOT to sin.
In submitting this way we know that God will bless us if we endure (see verse 19-20) If we suffer unfairly? well Christ suffered for us and he had done no wrong – was that fair? But through this Christ carried away our sin so that we may live and be healed.
Quotes from Good News Bible