Besides the introduction to the book of 1 Peter, Ty has covered three important themes in the first chapter. The first was our identity as chosen by God as one of His children. The second was the fact that this includes a magnificent inheritance that is guarded for us in heaven. And, what follows from this as the necessary expectation that we live as obedient children before our God who saved us in Christ. Finally, chapter one ends on the assurance that this salvation and inheritance is not a passing fancy. It is fixed securely on the fact that we were born again by God’s incorruptible, eternal word, when we believed the gospel — and what is that Gospel? That all our sins, past, present and future we paid for in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Therefore — get rid of sin:
You’ve been born again by God, therefore as his child purify your soul by getting rid of all malice. What is malice? A simple definition is: the desire to inflict injury, harm, or suffering on another. Proverbs warns against this. In Proverbs 24:17 it reads: Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles.
You’ve been born again by God, therefore as his child purify your soul by getting rid of all deceit. What is deceit? This problem is so common that we have all sorts of synonyms for it. Let me share just a few: lying, false witness, falsehoods, shading the truth, cheating, all of which can be connected to the hypocrisy of trying to make yourself “look” better than you really are.
You’ve been born again by God, therefore as his child purify your soul by getting rid of all envy. What is envy? On the surface, it is wanting other people’s stuff. But, it would also including everything that others’ might represent in terms of popularity, looks, gifts, intelligence, relationships. Now, this seems somewhat less serious (in terms of sin) than malice and deceit, but don’t deceive yourself! Paul in Colossians 3:5 identifies covetousness (envy) with idolatry: Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.
You’ve been born again by God, therefore as his child purify your soul by getting rid of all evil speaking. We don’t need a definition for evil speaking, but we may need help in identifying when we are doing this. Criticizing others, putting them down, passing on gossip comes so easily that I confess that most of the time we may not be seeing our words in this light. From Ephesians 4:29, “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.only speak encouraging words.”
Therefore … grow:
“as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,”
God is not just concerned about cleaning house by getting rid of stuff. We don’t want the house cleaned but empty inviting 7 spirits worse than the original to return. We want to put off and then put on. Here, the command is to desire more of the word of God. And, this expectation is built on verse 3 that asks the hypothetical question — IF you have tasted or know that God is gracious!
1 Peter 2:4-5 echoes Paul in Ephesians 2:19-22. In both the Peter and Paul passages, the message is clear. Jesus is the cornerstone, chosen by God. What is a cornerstone? What does that “picture” represent? It is the first stone laid in the building. From it every other stone is measured and aligned and fitted. Everything hangs on Him. Hear the echo in Colossians 1:15: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.”
Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
“Behold, I lay in Zion, A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
Peter is quoting from Psalm 118. Jesus too is recorded as quoting this passage in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke 20:17) when asked about his authority, and Jesus turns the question of the religious leaders on them asking about John the Baptist. Did you believe him? Jesus challenged them with this question about John and then told them a parable about the wicked vine dressers who rejected the son of the owner when he came to collect the rent. It was here that Jesus quotes Ps 118 connecting his calling and authority from the Father with their unbelief. And for Peter this is not the first time that he has used it. Peter and John testify to the truth of this Psalm when they are called before the council in Jerusalem because they continued to preach Jesus’ resurrection from the dead as the sign of Jesus identity and authority.
Outcome of Belief or Unbelief:
In 1 Peter 2:7-8, God confirms that Jesus is His chosen cornerstone and that this stone not only forms the foundation for those who believe but also stumbles those who don’t believe. This verse was an important junction in my road of understanding this doctrine. It is clear, unambiguous, direct. This all in the context of Peter telling us that God’s salvation was also planned from before the foundation of the world in Chapter 1.
God’s sovereignty messes with our desire to be in control — as it should. And, it messes with our sense of fair play. Many argue that it is simply unfair or capricious on God’s part. Or, they would add that it makes us out to be robots so don’t worry about anything as you don’t have any say in the matter. But, to go here is wrong headed. As for being fair, if God was totally fair, we would all be lost. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. There is none righteous, no not one. And, the wages of sin are death. This applies to everyone. So, in giving salvation to anyone, God is not being fair and THANK GOD that is so.
Now, having addressed those who deny Christ, what about those who believe?
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
As Ty taught from Chapter 1, Peter emphasizes the election/choosing of both Christ for His role in the salvation of the world and also our election in Christ.
Christ’s role is to be that Cornerstone, the key to everything that follows. And what follows is a reaffirmation of our identity in Christ. Like Christ, we are chosen. Like Christ, our role is given in a picture. Instead of the cornerstone or foundation, we are pictured as living stones of a temple and as the King’s priests. God’s own. And as a result we have a purpose. In chapter 1, we have the link of children of God and Holiness in imitation of our Father. Here, we are royal priests, people of God called to proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness, and that sound like a straightforward mission.