Summary: As we look at 1st Peter chapter 2 and 3, we consider the background of this epistle. Peter wrote his letter to Jewish Christians in the dispersion throughout Asia Minor, in the Roman Empire.
As we look at 1st Peter chapter 2 and 3, we consider the background of this epistle. Peter wrote his letter to Jewish Christians in the dispersion throughout Asia Minor, in the Roman Empire. Jewish Christians were the recipients, but Peter also speaks clearly to the gentile Christians throughout Asia Minor as well. And Peter writes to these people, exiles, foreigners, people who are scattered, and he instructs them on how to live as exiles in a foreign land. But we will see that its more complicated than just Jews in exile, but more so, Christians in a fallen world.
Peter addresses many questions for us, that we even have today: How do we live in a society that doesn’t honor God? How do we live in our little Babylon, honoring God, but also obeying the laws and precepts of American society?
Watch this video from the The Bible Project titled “Exile.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSua9_WhQFE
1st Peter chapter one begins with a greeting, then goes into a beautiful depiction of the salvation message, split equally between grace through faith in Christ, and then a strong message of holiness and purity in the world. This section about holiness, which the NIV titles “Be holy” concludes by saying “put aside all sin, and grow up in your salvation.” So the context for our scripture today is this exhortation to be holy as God is holy. That leads into our portion, which seems to be the “how” of holiness. It starts “As you come to him, the living Stone…” How do we be holy? Continuously coming to Christ.
“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans 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.” -1st Peter 2:4-5
From the Reformation Study Bible: “living stone. Christ is this stone (1 Cor. 10:4). The image of “rock” and “stone” is common in the Old Testament (Ps. 118:22; Is. 8:14; 28:16) and is applied by Jesus to Himself (Matt. 21:42). “Living” indicates that Christ is the source and giver of life (John 1:4; 1 Cor. 15:45). Jesus often uses imagery drawn from stonemasonry, a trade He was intimately acquainted with. Carpenters in antiquity worked with stones as well as wood.”
Question: It says Jesus was rejected by humans but chosen by God. How in your life have you experienced a rejection from humanity? Have you noticed ways in your life that God shows he considers you chosen and precious?
Question: We’re spiritual stones, being built into a house of God. What spiritual sacrifices do you offer to God? (morning detail, 6 am snow shoveling? Big or small, doesn’t matter)
We are exiles in the world, and yet we are so precious and chosen, and being built as a holy priesthood in a lost world.
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 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.” -1st Peter 2:9-10
Question: What was it like before you knew Christ as Lord? “Once you were not a people.”
It was very dark for me. I was a badly addicted soul. Several times in early twenties I was near suicide. I didn’t know what life was really about. And I called out to God that night and I felt only emptiness. Life without God is very dark, at least for me it was.
Question: What’s it like now to live with Christ in the light?
“Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 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.” -1st Peter 2:11-12
The sinful desires of this life wage war against our very souls. Which tells me that I’m in danger. We find ourselves as foreigners and exiles in a kingdom that is not our own. We wrestle with the sins of Babylon, and try to throw them off ourselves. And that’s what God calls us to. Abstain from sinful desires God says to us. Abstain by prayer and the Spirit’s victory in us.
For me, I’ve had to really wrestle, to kind of see past the indoctrination our society has put in me. If I don’t resist, I’m prone to become selfish, materialistic, always accumulating more possessions, loving my Starbucks and my high tech gear, and my luxurious accommodations more than I love God. The idol of self is the primary false god of modern society, in my view.