Get rid of…
Peter says in verse 1, “Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. The word malice signifies ill will that originates in our sinful nature. Malice is a desire to inflict pain or injury on our fellow human beings. Once again Peter uses the adjective all to include every thing that is deceitful. Peter wants everyone who wants to grow spiritually to get rid of these things including hypocrisy, envy, and slander. “All slander” means “all evil speaking” or “slander of every kind”; This ancient Greek word has more the idea of spicy, hurtful gossip than the idea of profane speech. Peter does not tell his readers to fight against these evils but to lay them aside as a garment and to get rid of them. Let us examine our own lives–in our home (with our family members), in our church (with our church members), in our community (with our neighbors)! Also think about how we treat the strangers we meet in a doctor’s office, airport, supermarket, restaurant, post office, car repair center, gym/street and the politicians we hear through TV, Radio and Social Media. They may not hear us, but we know that God hears all of our words.
Peter says in verse 2, “Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation.” Parents know how newborn babies vocally express their desire to be fed regularly. In fact, newborn babies act as if their life depends on the next feeding. Likewise, we Christians must show our longing for the Word of God. Peter encourages his readers to crave the milk of God’s Word. Our soul will be nourished by it, and we will grow to become mature disciples of Jesus Christ. Please notice that Peter describes God’s Words as pure, spiritual milk. There are many ways you can drink this spiritual milk these day such as personal Bible Reading, Bible Studies, Wesley Groups, Personal/Family Devotions, Sermon on Sundays (you can read my sermon on our church’s website), Sunday School, Bible DVD and car radio . . .etc.
Taste and See
Peter says in verse 3, “if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good . . .” Psalm 34:8 says, “O taste and see that the Lord is good; happy are those who take refuge in him.” “Taste and see” is same as “personal experience.” It is not enough to know about Jesus and His Words with our head, but we must experience Him–His amazing love and grace in our daily lives. We must walk with our risen Lord every day! God does not want us to be religious people/church members, but disciples of Jesus who worship God and serve their neighbors wholeheartedly.
Ex. Psalm 130:1 says, “I wait for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” Share my own experience when I was in the U.S. Army: The Guard Duty in Bosnia and Morning Devotion Time.
If we have personally experienced that the Lord is gracious, then we have all the more reason and responsibility to receive the word in the enthusiastic way, like babies crave for their milk.
Come to the Living Stone
Peter invites us to come to Jesus by saying, “Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight.” He was like a stone thrown out by the builders, but God used him as the cornerstone. Jesus was rejected by people yet chosen and precious in God’s sight. The Israelites and the religious leaders of his days rejected Jesus since they did not know the true value of Jesus since they were spiritual blind. Jesus said in Matthew 13:44 “The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which someone found and hid; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. In this parable, Jesus is the treasure hidden in a field. Many people in today’s society still refuse to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior since they do not know who they are and who Jesus really is.
Be Built into a Spiritual House
Peter says in verse 5, “like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Peter’s picture here is that God is building a spiritual temple, using living stones (Christians), those who have come to the ultimate living stone (Jesus). This spiritual house shows that as much as Israel had a temple, Christians also have one. But the Christian’s temple is spiritual, and they themselves are the temple. Jesus is first called the living stone, and then we are called living stones. We live because we are connected with Him who is the source of life.
As much as Israel was chosen by God, so is the church. As much as they had a priesthood, so Christians are a holy priesthood. This expression, commonly phrased as “the priesthood of all believers.” It means that every true believers is a priest in the household of God. And as much as they have sacrifices, so Christians offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God. The Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:1, “I appeal to you therefore, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” Our lives as Christian believers or members of our church should be holy, living, and accptable sacrifice to God.
Is Jesus a Cornerstone or Stumbling Block?
Jesus can be a cornerstone to those who believe, but to those who do not believe and also to those who disobey God’s Words, he can be a stone that make them stumble. Peter says in verses 6-8, “For it stands in scripture: ‘See, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the very head of the corner,” and “A stone that makes them stumble, and a rock that makes them fall.” They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.”