Translations: Chinese GB Big5

1Peter 2:1-12 (web)

Sanctification: Maturity & Ministry

In view of God's Purpose for us

2:1 Putting away therefore all wickedness, all deceit, hypocrisies, envies, and all evil speaking,
2:2 as newborn babes, long for the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby,
 
2:3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious:
2:4 coming to him, a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God, precious.
2:5 You also, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood,
to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
 
2:6 Because it is contained in Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, chosen, and precious: He who believes in him will not be disappointed." (Is 28:16)

2:7 For you therefore who believe is the honor,
but for such as are disobedient, "The stone which the builders rejected,
Has become the chief cornerstone,"
(Ps 118:22)
2:8 and, "A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense." (Is 8:14)

For they stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed.

2:9 But you are a chosen race,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation,
a people for God's own possession,
that you may show forth the excellencies of him
who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
2:10 who in time past were no people, but now are God's people,
who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Glorifying God through 
Honorable Behavior in the Society

2:11 Beloved, I beg you as foreigners and pilgrims,
to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

2:12 having good behavior among the nations,
so in that which they speak against you as evil-doers,
they may by your good works,
which they see, glorify God in the day of visitation.


Discussion Questions

vs 1 What do these characteristics have in common?
vs 2 What is spiritual maturity?
What role does the Bible play in spiritual growth?
vs 3 What experience do you suppose he is referring to here?
vs 4-10 To what type of a role has God assigned Christians?
How might this be a motivation for maturing as a Christian?
Who are the different kinds of builders in this section?
What kind of house was each building?
vs 5 What are spiritual sacrifices? (Rom 12:1)
vs 8 In what way does Christ cause some to stumble?
From this passage, in what ways can we identify with Christ?
vs 12 How do you resolve the conflict between this verse and verses like Matt 6:5,6; Prov 27:2?
Is the motivational emphasis in this section more on salvation of non-Christians, or simply that God would be glorified?

Comment


Have Done with Wickedness

1Peter 2:1
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.

Consider these categories. In each case a person has to examine himself and consider how he may repent of wrong attitudes, actions, behaviors, or lifestyle choices.

Malice is not just having a dislike for someone, but rather wishing them evil. The modern usage of the word "hate" is rather ambiguous and as such it has largely lost its usefulness to accurately describe an idea. You may "hate" spinach. But not anything like Hitler who "hated" Jews. One is speaking of a preference. The other is just plain malice. Now there are those who claim that God hates sinners because they are his enemies. But in fact God loves his enemies and has commanded us to love our enemies, even though we may not prefer to be around them.

Deceit is not to be confused with being diplomatic. The Bible commends those who have control over their tongue and as such don't speak everything they have on their mind. For "when words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." Pr 10:19 and "a man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.  Even a fool is thought wise if he keeps silent, and discerning if he holds his tongue." Pr 17:27,28 However, deceit is purposely misleading. True that even Jesus at times spoke in a manner which could me misinterpreted. But it was not his intention to mislead. But it's not just about being honest to others. It's also about not decieving ourselves. For example, "If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves" 1John 1:8

Hypocrisy goes along with deceit. It's largely the result of a person who has deceived himself - saying one thing but doing another. People who are particularly prone to this are those who pridely love positions of honor, which is why it is so characteristic of politicians and among the religious elite as Jesus had noted in Matthew 23 "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!" Such has been historically and characteristically been the case among those who claim the moral high ground. Perhaps much of this could be avoided by not caring so much what people think of you and consequently practicing your convictions with integrity and earning honor rather than usurping it by simply gaining a title.

Envy is highly encouraged today, on much the same basis as Solomon noted, "I saw that all labor and all achievement spring from man’s envy of his neighbor. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind." Ecc 4:4 Envy is much celebrated in the valueless, greedy world we live in today. But from a Biblical perspective it's just plain idolatry. (Col 3:5) Works and achievements which are the result of idolatry are like the tower of Babel, like the grass they will not benefit one eternally. Furthermore envy leads to other sins, like theft and adultery, even murder. Wars are started due to a man's envy of his neighbor. And those who envy lose the capacity for contentment.

Slander is basically bearing false witness against your neighbor. Though more literally or precisely here the word in Greek is katalalia, which refers to defamation. That is to bear false witness against your neighbor for the purpose of defaming their character. Though in saying "of every kind" we should recogize slander in its various forms. Paul tells Titus to remind the Christians, among other things, "to slander no one, to be peaceable and considerate, and to show true humility toward all men." Titus 3:2

Crave the Milk of the Word

1Peter 2:2,3
Like newborn babies, crave the pure milk of the Word, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Those who have been saved have an inherent craving for the Word. Thus one indicator of a person's salvation status is whether they are regularly studying the Bible with a view towards application. Growing as a Christian is firstly a function of Bible study, apart from which there will be no spiritual growth. And then developing applications from Bible study indicates one has embraced its truths. Just as in school one first learns the facts and later learns to apply them, so also with the Christian life.

Beware of the tend some have gotten caught up in of  replacing the Bible with an existentialistic experience of Christ. Growth is gained through Bible study and not simply by having "experiences". While Biblical Christianity contains both of these, many abandon the Bible, replacing it with a New Age type of Jesus that they "feel", and go on to make such a "Jesus" in their own image, making up their own doctrine. That's why we have the Bible - to insure that our experience of Christ is an experience of the Biblical Christ and not some idol.

Start with the basics. What are the fundamentals of the faith. What are the essential elements of the gospel and what constitutes basic Christian living? Paul writes to the immature Corinthians, "I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready." 1Cor 3:2 Don't delve into issues of advance theology until you have embraced and applied the fundamentals. Realize also that you are required to mature and even to go on to teaching. Hebrews 5:12 says, "In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!" So get on with it! "Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteous living. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Heb 5:13,14

Realize also that not all who have tasted of the good Word of God have been genuinely saved. By their fruits you will recognize them. And beware, for "it is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace. Land that drinks in the rain often falling on it and that produces a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed receives the blessing of God. But land that produces thorns and thistles is worthless and is in danger of being cursed. In the end it will be burned." Heb 6:4-8

Living Stones

1Peter 2:4,5 As you come to him, the living Stone— rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

There's a real contrast between that which is alive and a stone. If you were to ask people to give examples of something which is not alive, an obvious answer would be rocks and stones. Jesus himself used the absurdity of stones being alive when he was told to stop his disciples from praising him. He replied, "If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." Luke 19:40. And yet what he said has come to pass. The living stones do cry out his praises to this day.

But in what ways is Jesus and Christians in general like stones? For one thing, stones cannot be killed and are pretty difficult to corrupt or destroy, unlike wood hay and straw. "The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever." 1John 2:17 Another thing is that stone is inflexible. In today's post-modernistic subjectivism, the saints can often be recognized by their inflexible stance with regards to essential doctrine, being not based upon mere opinion but upon clear emphatic statements made in the Bible.

But not only are we analogous to stones, but of stones used in building a house. "Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit." Eph 2:19-22

But what of this priesthood relegated to the saints? Seems that while Christ is our high priest, yet we also have a priesthood, just as Christ is The Living Stone and we are living stones. This is understandable when you think about it, given that the role of priests is to intercede for others. And this is not only the case in regards to prayer. For since salvation is by faith in Christ, and "salvation is found in no one else" Acts 4:12, and "faith comes from hearing the message" Rom 10:17 and we are given the responsibility to deliver the message, the salvation of people all over the world is partly dependent upon us. We are God's representatives, delivering God's Word so to save lost sinners. That's part of our priesthood.

And what are "spiritual sacrifices"? They are the applications of our faith. Our faith put into action. Paul writes, "I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God— this is your spiritual act of worship." Rom 12:1

Corner Stone, Stumbling Stone

1Peter 2:6-8  For in Scripture it says:
"See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame." Isaiah 28:16
Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,
"The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone," Ps 118:22
and, "A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall."
Isaiah 8:14a
They stumble because they disobey the message— which is also what they were destined for.

The rejection of Christ by the Jewish leadership - and even today by the majority of Jews - not only does not discredit the claims of the gospel, rather this fact affirms it. For it was prophecied that the builders of Judaism would reject the messiah. "For both houses of Israel he will be a stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall. And for the people of Jerusalem he will be a trap and a snare." Isaiah 8:14 "He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not." Isaiah 53:3

And why did they reject him, indeed why do most reject Christ  - pride. He humiliates the proud. God has ordained the gospel and orchestrated circumstances such that the proud are destined to stumble. They are destined to disobey the message. But if the proud humble themselves - then such will not be their destiny. Such was the change in Paul's fate. While God predestined the proud, each person makes their own choice of entering such categories.

A Royal Priesthood

1Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Here we can see that Peter is not speaking categorically to Jewish Christians alone. Jews, as Jews, have categorically been God's chosen people from their very inception. God chose them for the purpose of carrying down His Word, and through them illustrating his Word, and providing an environment for the Word to come - Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the Son of God. But they were not chosen categorically for the same purpose as Christians. Peter is speaking categorically of Christians here of those who had previously not been the people of God, but now are the people of God. For Christians are also categorically a chosen people and have a royal priesthood and are a chosen nation. Under the Law of Moses the chosen nation of Israel, by their sinfulness in comparison with the Law, revealed the need for a Savior. But now Christians, God's chosen people, can declare the praises of him who has provided a Savior who has saved us from the what we deserve and enlightened us to that which was hidden - a mystery in the Old Testament. For "the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints." Col 1:26 


Abstinence

1Peter 2:11
  Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul.

"the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want."
Gal 5:17 Christians should nurture a sense of strangeness, a sense of uncomfortable unfamiliarity towards sinful desires. They are like the enemy living in our flesh. In fact in Romans 7 Paul expresses an attitude towards such desires in himself as if such desires were themselves personified as a stranger living in his flesh. The challenge is that we are so familiar with ourselves as to naturally feel comfortable with whatever desires come from our flesh. Denial of the presence of sinful desires, the lack of struggle against such desires, is an indication that one walking according to the flesh. But walking in the Spirit is like war. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires." Gal 5:24 It's unpleasant. Self-control is vital to our sanctification. If you don't intentionally control yourself, sin will.

The battle is fought in realms of the mind, the will, the emotions, the attitudes of the heart with regards to one's expectations and one's desires, and in the realm of  the spirit with regards to one's conscience and one's intuition. For one must purify their understanding with the intention and self-control to apply the Word, and with the right attitude of heart, conforming one's desires and inclining one's heart to that which is according to the Word, setting our hope on that which God has promised, while freeing up our expectations with regards to that which God has not promised, developing a healthy conscience "by constant use having trained ourselves to distinguish good from evil." Heb 5:14

Concerning weaknesses in our flesh, avoid that which leads to sin. If one is prone to getting drunk, don't go into a bar! If one is proud, then keep your achievements to yourself. Avoid the limelight and don't boast or seek the praise of others. Or if one is greedy. Practice generosity. Get used to giving up that which has a hold on you. For Christians - if we don't control ourselves, God will.

"The Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live! Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Heb 12:6-11


 A Testimony of Good Works

1Peter 2:12
Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

 Jesus said,  "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Mt 5:16 Though such response may not occur in this life. In fact there's a general truism which Peter alludes to here, "No good deed goes unpunished" or as David wrote, "They reward me evil for good.", which was also Christ's experience. But "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil" Is 5:20a

But as for publicizing your good deeds, realize that Jesus also said of the religious elite of his day, "Everything they do is done for men to see" Mt 23:5a Whereas Jesus instructed us, "Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them." Mt 6:1 But while this statement of Jesus seems a contradiction to what he said above in Mt 5:16, in fact he is speaking of motivation. We should focus on living good lives rather than going out of our way to publicize what good lives we live. "Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips." Pr 27:2


Condition for Growth An honest evaluation of self
and a proper attitude towards others
Areas of Evaluation:
  • Malice: hatred of others
  • Guile: deceiving others for personal gain
  • Hypocrisy: hiding self under a false appearance
  • Envy: Evil desires for what others have
  • Evil speaking: Verbally hating others
  • Catalysis for Growth The Word of God
    Example for Growth Jesus Christ
    Purpose for Growth To declare the virtues of God
    Christ Christians
    The Living Stone
    Redeemer
    Priest
    Holy
    The Living Stones
    Redeemed
    Priesthood
    Holy Nation
    Rejected by men
    Chosen by God and Precious


    1Peter 2:1-12 RAP

    2:1 Get rid of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy 
    Envy and slander, which may not be easy 
    2 Like newborns crave milk feed on the word 
    Grow in your spirit till you've fully matured 
    3 That is if you've tasted how good the Lord is 
    Born of His Spirit and become fully His 
    4 As you come to Him, the living stone 
    Who was rejected by men, but He was God's own 
    5 You also who are stones, and not just wood 
    Are being made into a house, yes a holy priesthood 
    Offering sacrifices to God through the Lord 
    Which are pleasing to God and never make him bored
    6 See I lay a stone in Zion is what the Scriptures say 
    The one who trusts in him, will never find dismay. 
    7 Now precious is this stone to you who do believe what's said 
    But those who don't, reject the stone that really is the head 
    8 A stone that causes men to stumble and also to fall down 
    Who stumbled cause they disobeyed not destined for a crown 
    9 But you are a chosen people, kings and priests too 
    To declare the praise of him who to the light brought you
    10 Once you were no people, but now God's people you are 
    You once received no mercy, now mercy's not so far 
    As a fellow stranger in this world of sin 
    11 Abstain from those desires that harm your soul within. 
    12 Live good lives among the pagan, though accused of doing wrongs 
    That they may see and glorify God one day in praise by singing songs.

    The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources


    Jul 29,2015