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The Living Stone and a Chosen People May 10, 2014

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
Tags: , , , ,

Here are my thoughts on 1 Peter 2:4-12.

Summary: Peter begins by stating that since his readers believe in Christ, He is the foundation of His church; He has life in Himself, and they derive their life from Him. Moreover, they have been set apart to offer the following to God:

  • their prayers
  • their praises
  • their lives

and since they are clothed with righteousness in His Son, He will delight in these offerings. He then quotes from Isaiah 28:16 to reinforce this point:

  • God chose His Son – due to His inner excellence – as the foundation of His church
  • God laid Him in the center of true religion
  • those who place their confidence in Him will never be separated from Him.

Indeed, they acknowledge the inner excellence of God’s Son. He then contrasts their perception of Christ with that of unbelievers, quoting from Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 8:14, where it is shown that:

  • although the Pharisees, the chief priests, and the teachers of the law slighted Christ, He was confirmed as the foundation of His church
  • since unbelievers slight Christ, they will be miserable – accomplishing God’s secret purpose.

Peter then asserts that his readers have:

  • been effectually called by God
  • been consecrated by God to obey the Holy Spirit, pray for others and live righteous lives
  • been set apart from the world
  • God as their inheritance

and so they should glorify Him. They had been destitute of all spiritual truth and comfort, but now He has provided them with a correct knowledge of Himself through the Gospel message. They had been so miserable that they were equivalent to a heap of filthy carcasses, but now He has shown His compassion to them by establishing an enduring relationship with them.

In light of these awesome truths, Peter concludes with the following appeals to his readers:

  • since their earthly lives are relatively brief, they must hate the corrupt affections that characterize an unspiritual mind, as these affections can cause them to break God’s law – subjecting them to His wrath
  • they must lead holy and blameless lives among those who observe them so that even if they are accused of wrongdoing, their accusers will either embrace God or bring Him glory at the Last Judgment.

Thoughts: In verse 9, Peter tells his readers that God has set them apart as priests to serve Him. Leighton offers some interesting thoughts on this point:

The worth of the holy function of believers is emphasized by these two words (royal and priesthood) being put together. By analogy this shows the importance of the ministry of the Gospel, which God has placed in his church in place of the priesthood of the law. So this title of spiritual priesthood rightly signifies a great privilege and honor that Christians are given. They are linked to royalty because the office of priesthood was so honorable.

I must admit that I rarely view myself as one of God’s “royal priests,” as I naturally neglect my awesome calling from God while fulfilling my day-to-day responsibilities. I feel rather disconnected from the notion of “royalty,” especially since monarchs have receded into the background of the 21st century. I also feel rather disconnected from the notion of “priesthood,” especially since I was not raised as a Catholic. Yet I am still confronted with this question: am I offering acceptable sacrifices to God on a daily basis? Perhaps I need to ruminate the great fact that God has shown me His divine favor by allowing me to serve Him; hopefully that will spur me to offer Him more fragrant sacrifices in the future.

In verse 12, Peter exhorts his readers to live righteously among non-believers so that God will be glorified by their actions. Leighton offers some thoughts on this point:

David says, “Lead me, O Lord, in your righteousness because of my enemies – make straight your way before me” (Psalm 5:8). The word for “enemies” is “observers” or those who scan my ways, every step I take. If there is a single slip, they will be sure to note it. So we depend on the Spirit of God to be our guide and to enable us to lead a holy and blameless life.

Given that we live in a postmodern society that largely subscribes to moral relativism, I wonder if non-believers are concerned with the actions of the Christians in their midst (of course, it should be noted that many Christians have not revealed their faith to the non-believer in their midst). Consider the following hypothetical interaction between a Christian and a non-believer:

  • the Christian reveals their faith to the non-believer
  • the non-believer dismisses this revelation and proceeds with their daily routine.

Genuine seekers and relatively militant non-believers might respond differently in this scenario, though I wonder how many non-believers fall into one of these two categories. How can my life spur non-believers to judge my actions and assess my beliefs? Clearly I need the help of the Holy Spirit, as I wonder how many non-believers truly ponder the importance of holding a worldview…



1. Peter and John Before the Sanhedrin | Ringing In - May 3, 2016

[…] was rejected by the Jewish aristocracy. This reminds me that Peter quotes from the same passage in his first epistle – highlighting the fact that after he received the Holy Spirit, he yielded his entire life to […]

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