Wednesday, January 23, 2013

1 Peter 2:1–10

1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 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.” 7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 9 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; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

 Vs. 1 Having exhorted us all who believe to be holy as God Himself is holy, the Apostle Peter now lays out some practical ways to do just that. The Apostle Peter begins by saying that we are to lay aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, and all evil speaking. Four things which undermine our having a peaceful relationship with God and each other. For not only are they Scripturally condemned as sin, they do not show the love of Christ to, or for anyone. Which is what we as Jesus' disciples are supposed to do. Love one another so that all might truly know that we are Jesus' disciples, and just what He is like. Therefore these four words will be looked at individually.

The word translated malice here generally means to harbor feelings of ill will towards another, possibly with the desire to do them harm. So I'm assuming that the Apostle Peter is referring to a believer having such feelings because they have have suffered a wrong or an injustice in some way,  but these are not a state of their person; that is they are not angry with another believer without a cause (consider Matt 5:22). Which would clearly indicate that they are not Christ's (see 1 John 3:14-15; 4:20). For though our old sin nature will at times flare up in us as we live in a fallen world where experiencing hurt and injustice are the norm, not the exception. We have to vanquish all feelings of ill will and revenge by the Power of Christ's love. For if a believer does not properly process their hurt feelings, but instead chooses to harbor resentment or hate in their heart towards those who have hurt them, they will be blinded by it, by the darkness that they allow into their hearts and lives (1 John 2:9-11), and thus they will make errors both in behavior and in judgment. For in doing so they open a very wide door to Satan into their lives, who is always looking to get a foothold in a believers life by which he might mislead or harm them, or even others unwittingly through them. For harboring ill will, vengeance or wrath is utterly toxic and corrosive to living the Christian life well. For though we are to be angry at sin, we are not to let the sun go down on our wrath (consider Lev 19:17-18; Eph 4:26). And thus when we are sinned against by another believer we are to seek out the person and seek their repentance, as well as their reconciliation, as Jesus commands of us all. So as to prevent feelings of ill will taking root in our own hearts, or others hearts as well. Therefore given the Lord Jesus' commandment for forgiveness (Matt 6:15), and to seek reconciliation whenever possible (Matt 18:15-20). There is no justification for any believer to harbor ill will, or feelings of hate towards another believer, as both the Gospel (Matt 18:21-35; Luke 17:3-5) and the law command (consider Lev 19:17-18). For the only way to prevent anger from turning into malice (and thus producing all kinds of negative and destructive fruit in ones life, is forgiveness and being reconciled to one another, which will thwart Satan's schemes, as the Apostle Paul so wisely commands of us in 2 Cor 2:5-11.

Having addressed malice amongst believers the Apostle Peter exhorts to put away all deceit. The word translated deceit here appears twelve times in the N.T. and is primarily used of one seeking to deceive or mislead another. Though deception can also be an inward state of being, as one can be self deceived and so will be discussed later. Thus deceit is a work of the sinful human heart (Mark 7:22; Rom 1:29), and is not something God's children are to do. For we as believers are to be totally transparent and trustworthy, harboring neither hidden motives nor agendas, and certainly not treachery, as the word indicates in one context (Matt 26:4; Mark 14:1). To quote from the Dictionary of Bible themes:  *"Deceit is totally contrary to the nature and purposes of God. The gospel is grounded in the complete truthfulness and trustworthiness of God, whereas sin is based upon self-deception." Therefore we who believe are to always gird our waist with the belt of truth, in every aspect of our lives (Eph 6:14). For to practice deceit is the way of the wicked (Exodus 21:14; Lev. 19:16; Deut 27:27; Psalm 9:28; 34:20; 35:4; Psalm 52:4; 55:9-11, vs 11; Pr. 12:5; 12:20; 16:28; 26:24-26, vs 26) and or spiritual deceivers (Job 13:17; Jer 5:27; Acts 13:10) and thus Satan (Dan 8:25). But is not to be the way of the people of God (Psalm 23:4; 31:2; 33:14; 1 Peter 3:10).

Therefore consider what the Lord God says in Jeremiah 9:6 to Israel:
Your dwelling place is in the midst of deceit;
Through deceit they refuse to know Me," says the Lord.
 In Jeremiah's day deception was widespread. And like all deceit (whether of a moral or spiritual nature) deceit keeps people from knowing God. Now deceit can be a willful outward act of deceiving another, or it can be inward, whereas one is self deceived in their living and or worshiping of God. Now understanding that principal is foundational to understanding and knowing God, as Jesus said to the Samaritan woman whose people were then worshiping God according to their own dictates and traditions, which brought about Jesus' Words: 23 But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:23-24
Therefore backing every profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ there must be a lifestyle and worship of God that is in accord (or seeking to be in accord) with the Word of the Lord, and not the commandments, decrees or traditions of men who supplant God's Word with their own. Making the Word of the Lord of no effect by conforming themselves and others to their own traditions and decrees (consider Matt 15:1-9). For profession without obedience to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is only deception (Matt 7:15-20). And that is what happened to Old Covenant Israel. They forsook the Word of the Lord for their own, and thus they began living and justifying their own evil desires, which they found strong endorsement for from the nations around them. For morally there were many people (within the covenant community) who were living in direct violation of God's commandments (see Jeremiah 9:1-9). And so even though living under the Old Covenant of God, in the community of God, and thus they had access to the Promises of God, they had no true relationship with God. Because they were living in deceit; both morally and spiritually. Something their elders, prophets and priests were supposed to rebuke and correct by executing justice and judgment amongst them. But instead they were more concerned about lining their own pockets, and or participating in worshipping the pagan god's, and practicing the pagan rituals with them, then with anything to do with sanctifying God's people (Jer 6:13-15; 8:8-12). And so instead of turning them away from their evil doings, they were only deceiving them by saying all would be fine, when all was about to fall (Jer 5:12-13). For having rejected the Word of the Lord, they had ceased listening to the voice of the Lord, and thus they were only following the dictates of their own hearts (Jer 17:9-10). And that is a the most perilous state for anyone to to be in. For the person who receives a rebuke from God, who heeds His word and trembles at it, and thus believes and seeks to repent of their ways, always has hope (Job 33:14-30; Isaiah 66:1-2; James 4:4-10). But those who harden themselves towards God will have no prospect (consider Job 9:4). And that was the state of Israel at that time. Therefore even while God was chastening them, and declaring His imminent judgment on them, to try to turn them back to Himself, before His judgment fell on them. They were only living in open rebellion and defiance towards Him (see Jeremiah 5:21-25). Now Spiritually they were still declaring the Lord God's Name and seeking Him in His Temple. But they were doing this while worshiping the pagan gods, and serving those rituals which God strictly forbid them not to do. And so though they knew the Name of the Lord God, they and their leaders did not obey Him as their God (consider Jeremiah 5:1-31; 6:10-20; 7:1-20). Therefore instead to hallowing the Lord's Person and Name, His Holy Name became to them just a name they applied to whatever "gods" or decrees they applied themselves to. Even the Temple itself had surpassed the Person of God in their hearts and minds, as the be all of their faith, as if the Temple somehow could miraculously save or sanctify them. When it is the Lord God who ultimately sanctifies the Temple and the people who worshiped and sought Him in it. Now unless you think the church is immune to all of this please consider that in the last days there will be a great apostasy from the true faith before the lawless one is revealed (see 2 Thess 2:1-12). And truly there are signs of this already unfolding as false spirituality, and the demons associated with them (Deut 32:16-22; 1 Cor 10:20; Matt 24:11, 24), along with a progressively grotesque and increasing moral decline finds not only its defenders and advocates in the world (Rev 9:20), but also in the church! For as Jesus warned in the last days because lawlessness will abound the love of many will grow cold (Matt 24:12). And thus as faith in the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead, as the saving and transforming power of God through the gospel is lost on those who do not believe, yet they remain in the greater household of faith. Empty Ceremonialism, worthless ritual, and or false spirituality inevitably takes the preeminence, at the expense of true godliness, holiness and love as the way every disciple of Jesus Christ is called too (1 John 3:1-3; 4:1-3; 1 Peter 2:1).

The next thing that Peter says all believer must put away is hypocrisy (consider Rom. 12:9). Though related to deceit in some ways, hypocrisy is not as sinister as deceit, but rather at its heart it is to pretend something, whether this is to have some virtue or character that one really does not possess, or possibly even a spiritual gift or calling. And so Jesus has some very strong words against hypocrisy (Matt 23:27-28). Now since no one is immune to it, we all have to be diligent about guarding against hypocrisy in our own lives. Because hypocrisy does its greatest damage to the Gospel when it is given a foothold amongst believers (Luke 12:1-3). Therefore we must be diligent to rebuke it when we are exposed to it. Something the Apostle Paul did when he found Peter eating with the Gentiles. But when certain Jews came from Jerusalem he separated himself from them (as if by doing so he was "faithfully" keeping the Law, as if justification came through the law, to hold their favor). Yet all Peter was doing was creating a great schism in the church, by distorting the Gospel with his hypocrisy, which others, even Barnabas followed (see Gal 2:11-21). And so, in doing so, Peter who was once given a vision by the Lord Jesus Christ of God's acceptance of all people through the Gospel (see Acts 10, vs 15) and who later fervently defended the grace of God at the first and only Biblical church counsel to settle this issue once and for all (Acts 15:1-29). Was now pandering to those opponents of it. And in doing so he was denying that all people are now equal in Christ irregardless of their ethnicity, gender, or background, because of the cleansing of Jesus Christ's blood and the sanctifying Presence of His Spirit in us the moment we believe in Him (1 Cor 6:10-11; Rom 5:1; Gal 3:26-29; Eph 1:13-14). Therefore within the Body of Christ there should be no cliques and such showing partiality to their own "kindred," whether these are people who grew up in the faith with them, or are of the same ethnic background or anything else (Acts 10:34-43). For truly there are only two kinds of people in the world, sinners who repent and believe the Gospel and sinners who don't. Now as noted this specific word appears in five other verses in the N.T. (see Matt 23:28; Mark 12:15; Luke 12:1; Gal 2:13; 1 Tim 4:2), but its related words appear well over fifty times in the N.T. So suffice it to say that and exhaustive examination of them is not possible in this short blog. Nonetheless hypocrisy however it manifests itself, whether through self-righteousness or by overt displays of ones own piousness or faith,  are utterly discordant with the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and must now be put away. For the truly righteous and humble know and trust one thing and one thing only. That it is the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and raised from the dead and their faith in Him that justifies them in the sight of God and nothing else (Rom 5:1), and that this glorious grace from God is likewise available to everyone, who also repents and believes (Matt 9:9-13).


Louw Nida gives this as the definition of the word translated envy here: "a state of ill will toward someone because of some real or presumed advantage experienced by such a person—‘envy, jealousy.’ And that is the thrust of the words usage in eight of its nine usages in the N.T. Only in one context where it is used of the Holy Spirit who yearns jealousy for us (James 4:5); is it a justifiable disposition. Outside of that usage, of the Divine Spirit jealously yearning for our loyalty to God and Christ, it always indicates a characteristic of the sinful/unregenerate nature (Rom 1:29; Titus 3:3). Therefore envy must not be given any place in us who believe where it's destructive nature maybe manifest or justified as the Apostle Peter commands here. For those who live according to it will be shut out of the Kingdom of heaven (Gal 5:21). For in doing so men and women inevitably justify the most unjustifiable words and deeds in seeking to satisfy their own ambitions and desires (see James 3:13-18 vs. 14, 16 where and even stronger word is used). Consider it was because of envy that the chief priests plotted against and sought Jesus' Crucifixion (Mark 27:18; Mark 15:10). And that it was because of envy of the Apostle Paul that certain Jews were preaching Christ to the Gentiles, not to bring about their salvation by God's grace, but to put them under the yoke of the law, and thus add affliction to Paul while imprisoned, who could not then rebuke, nor reason against them (Phil 1:15-16). Similarly in Act 13:45 where the same that used in James 3:14, 16 appears is also used to describe the Jews envy of the Apostle Paul that brought about their blaspheming and opposing the truth of the gospel as he preached it to the Gentiles. And so envy of another especially of another believer because of their God appointed gifts, standing, or abilities or even opportunities In Christ is utterly untenable to the working and functioning of the Body well.
For that is when envy renders its most damage amongst believers, when false brethren take up the cause of Christ, they inevitably distort the gospel and sow all kinds of discord amongst brethren (consider 1 Tim 6:3-4).

Evil Speaking
The word translated evil-speaking appears only here and in 2 Cor 2:10 in the N.T. being translated "backbitings" there. The word basically means to slander, defame. It's masculine noun equivalent appears in James 4:10 where it carries the same impetus, there telling every believer essentially to fear God and not to speak evil of one another. For as the Scripture warns there, those who who speak evil of a brother and judge their brother, speak evil of the law and judge the law, all which the Scripture condemns (see Ex. 23:1; Lev 19:16; Deut 19:16-21; Ps 15:1-6 vs. 3; 50:16-21, vs 20-21; 52:1-9; 69:26-28; Psalm 101:5; Pr 8:13; 10:18; 11:9, 13; 12:22; 17:4, 9; 25:23; 26:20; 26:22; 35:15; 64:1-10; Matt 5:11-12; 5:22; 7:1-5; 12:35-37; 15:10-11; Rom 1:29-30; 2:1; Gal 5:15; Eph 4:29; 1 Tim 3:8; Titus 3:2 many, many, more could be listed).

Vs 2-3 Having commanded us to put away all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking; the Apostle Peter now exhorts us as newborn babes, (that is as newly born-again believers) indicating that Peters audience were mostly new believers, to desire (lit. to greatly desire or long for) the pure milk of the Word so that we may grow thereby (vs. 2), if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious (vs. 3). Thus Peter links desiring the pure milk of the Word with one having tasted that the Lord is gracious. That is one has received His grace and salvation and thus remission of all their sins and everlasting life by faith in Him. For it's highly unlikely an unregenerate person is going to desire in the sense that Peter is indicating here the Word of God as one who is newly born-again and thus has the Spirit of God and Life of Jesus Christ within them, which fuels their unquenchable desire to know Him better.
Now Peters emphasis here on the Word of God and the importance of desiring it should not be lost on any believer. For believing the gospel and receiving Jesus Christ is easy, and all that is required to have salvation. But if your new life In Christ is going to have any meaningful and ongoing impact in this world than you got to be in the Word of God. For it is only there that one receives true and unadulterated instruction in all righteousness (2 Tim 2:15-16). And thus when one commits themselves to study and meditate on the Word of God, one not only forwards their own mind renewal (Rom 12:2), as they begin to filter all things by the Spirit of God's illumination and instruction through the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16). But they also are equipping themselves to make wise and discerning and informed decisions, not just on moral or ethical issues, but also on Spiritual (2 Cor 10:3-5; 1 John 4:1-3; Jude 3-4 etc.). And thus they are preparing themselves for greater service and opportunities to serve the Kingdom of heaven here and now on earth. And thus to be able to do as the Apostle Paul said: "to fight the good fight of faith" (1 Tim 6:12). For in a world where Biblical illiteracy is at epidemic levels. The church needs to focus it's primary resources on teaching and preaching God's Word and supporting those ministries that are committed to that end. To make the Lord Jesus Christ through the Gospel known to every one regardless of their social standing or culture or nation in which they dwell. Now that's as a collective entity; a church if it wants to be relevant and alive for the the Lord Jesus' purposes here on earth must commit itself to that end; to both an ongoing internal Christian discipleship of it's members through the teaching and preaching of the Scriptures. But it must also have an intentional and tactful evangelism outreach, of declaring the Gospel, and or disseminating Scriptural truth through God's people, who are not only desiring the pure milk of the Word, and are growing up to maturity In Christ through it, but are themselves disseminating a fragrance of the Lord Jesus Christ and knowledge of God in whatever stations of life they are in. Now this they can do through innumerable ways and activities as God moves them and or provides personal opportunities for them to do so, to be Jesus Christ's witnesses through their own unique backgrounds, personalities, styles and or experiences. For it's not so much how they do that (as if God only follows certain man-made or contrived formulas) it's that they do that! That they avail themselves to the Lord to be His witnesses and workers wherever they are. For only in seeking to do good to all, do we truly represent the Lord Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of heavens purposes here on earth (Psalm 34:14-16; 37:3-4, 27-28; Isaiah 1:17; Matt 5:44; Acts 10:38; Rom 2:7; Gal 6:9-10; 2 Thess 3:13; 1 Tim 6:18; Heb 13:16).

Vs. 4 Having instructed us to desire the pure milk of the Word, the Apostle Peter now commends us as believers to the Lord Himself: "Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious" For though Jesus was, and will always be, rejected by those who belong to this world (consider John 15:18-25). Even so He is chosen by God, beloved and precious by God, and all who believe in Him. For Jesus is the Living Stone; foretold in the Scriptures (see Isaiah 8:13-14, 28:16; Daniel 2:34) who is the Living foundation, upon which all that God is building for all eternity is founded and rests. And thus we are commended to come to Him, and Him alone, in our relationship with Him (see Heb 4:14-16).  

Vs. 5-6 Therefore in coming to Jesus individually, in having a personal relationship with Him, we are not just disconnected individuals in the faith (consider 1 Cor 12:12-27). Rather we are as Christ is, also living stones, who are being built up a spiritual house upon Jesus Christ who is the Chief Cornerstone upon which all that God is building, so we who believe are also living stones, being built upon the foundation that God Himself has laid (see Eph 2:20-23). For as a building is built upon and upwards from it's foundation or chief cornerstone (so are we) being collectively built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. In this I think it fair to say by the Holy Spirit gifts the Spirit of God has given us (1 Cor 12:4-11). For God having laid the foundation, there is still an ongoing building of God's spiritual house. For as each new believer, in each generation, becomes apart of this grand spiritual house (that transcends time, peoples and place), they themselves become apart of something far greater then themselves; a spiritual house whose individual members make up its holy priesthood for the expressed purpose of offering up spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. For as the Old Covenant priests were set apart by God to serve Him. So now each and every believer has a priestly function In Christ. And that is to offer up spiritual sacrifices, not animal sacrifices as the Old covenant priests did, but spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ (vs. 9). For that is what a church and people within it are supposed to do. Give glory and bring glory to God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 

Vs. 6 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.”

The Apostle Peter is here quoting from Isaiah 26:18. A Passage that the Apostle Paul also frequently cites in his defense of salvation through God's grace by faith in Jesus Christ alone (consider Rom 9:30-33). It was given at a time when Israel and it's leaders, scribes and priests had gone far from the Lord and made themselves a covenant with "lies and death" by imposing and living by their own decrees and ways (Isaiah 28:14-15). And thus was given as a promise of a future and a hope for all who held fast to the Lord; who would believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. For it would be the Lord God alone who would lay His foundation in Zion, the epicenter of everything the Jews held sacred in terms of Jewish religion, worship and power. For it would be there that God would place His most precious Son at the heart of all that is rightfully His, to redeem and rule all that is His, as King David by the Spirit says of Him (Psalm 110:1-2). And so in the New Testament Zion is indicating God planting His elect (i.e. chosen) and precious Son Jesus in the heart of all things that the Jews held dear, so that Jesus would be the Chief Cornerstone of God's redemption and salvation plans, so that whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame (consider Rom 10:9-13).

Vs. 7-10 Therefore to everyone who believes in Jesus, He is indeed most precious, because it is through Him and Him alone that we have remission of all our sins and everlasting life (vs 7). But to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. (vs 7-8). Here the Apostle Peter is quoting from Psalm 118:22 and Isaiah 8:14 which foretell that the Jews leaders would reject God's Son Jesus as the Messiah, and thus would be in direct disobedience to the Will of God for them (see Matt 21:33-46 to understand why). Nonetheless their rejection/opposition of Jesus Christ does not annul neither His elect status, nor God's plans for Him and through Him (this same principal likewise applies to us who believe). Therefore though Jesus was rejected by "the builders"; that is the Jewish elders, priests, scribes, Pharisees and leaders; whom God appointed to oversee His house of faith until Jesus' arrival. With Jesus arrival, God having placed Him as the Chief Cornerstone (vs. 8) of all that He has planned and is building, and thus of all that will last for all eternity. Jesus is only to them, and all who would try to seek salvation from God by trying to bypass Him, and serve their own religious ideals, “A stone of stumbling And a rock of offense.” For the Scriptures says they stumble over God's Rock of offense, that is Jesus Christ crucified, and faith in Him, as the only means for the salvation for both Jews and Gentiles, and thus they stumble over God's stumbling stone and rock of offense, by rejecting the Lord Jesus Christ and trying to earn salvation through their own works and ways.

Therefore in contrast to the disobedient and unbelieving, (though holding high office and power by the will of men) the Apostle Peter says of us all who believe, and thus trust in Jesus alone, that we are by the will of God: "... 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; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Therefore in contrast to the disobedient and unbelieving, (even if holding high office and power by the will of men) the Apostle Peter says of us all who believe, and thus trust in Jesus alone, that we are by the will of God: "... 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; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. vs 9-10

There's a lot there to digest so lets look at them individually. The first is that we are a chosen generation (John 15:16, 19, 17:2; Eph 1:4; 2 Thess 2:13). That is every believer in every generation by the Will of God is a part of God's chosen people, and thus none are insignificant, or will be lost, abandoned by, or stolen away from Him (John 10:27-30; Rom 8:28-39; Heb 13:5).
The second thing we are called and apart of is a royal priesthood. The Jewish priesthood originated by the will of God from Levy, Jacobs third son and his descendants (the Levites) of which Moses and Aaron were (Ex 6:16-27). And so when God gave Moses the Law He consecrated the Levites to Himself instead of the firstborn in Israel (see Num 3:12-13). And He commanded that all priests who were to serve Him under the law would thereafter be drawn from Aaron and his sons and their descendants (Exodus 28:1; 40-43). Thus they were the ones God appointed as His priests of the Old Covenant sacrifices and rituals, which were temporary until God would make a Holy and Sinless sacrifice for all sins, through the sacrifice of His Son. And so when Jesus came, He came to fulfill all the law with the sacrifice of Himself, by suffering Crucifixion death for us all (Heb 10:14-18). And having by His broken body and shed blood on the cross atoned for all our sins, and thus ushered in the New Covenant, Jesus rose from the dead to be seated at the right hand of God until all His enemies are made His footstool (Heb 10:11-13). And so it is that the Lord Jesus Christ who is God's Anointed King, and one day will rule on throne of David; for now until God makes all His enemies His footstool; has taken up the second part of His Messiahship and that is, Jesus Christ alone serves as High Priest to God, for no man takes this honor unto himself (See Heb 5:4). Thus it is from there He both reigns and intercedes for us all who believe in Him (Heb 4:14-16; 1 John 2:1). For the Scripture says that the Lord Jesus Christ alone is High Priest to God according to the order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:1). The Old Testament person (See Gen 14:18-20) whose kingship/priesthood foreshadowed Christ's. And thus to whom Abraham paid tithes too. And in doing so Abraham the Father of both Jews and Gentiles who believe, acknowledged through Melchizedek's priesthood Jesus Christs (please see Heb 7:1-28 to understand). And so now because of the indwelling Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit in each and every believer we who believe are all apart of Jesus' royal priesthood. That is what the Apostle Peter is saying, that we ourselves are not only under the Authority of God's Son, we ourselves are apart of His royal priesthood (consider Rev 20:6 and the believers who come out of the tribulation period having neither worshiped nor received the mark of the beast on their hands or foreheads, who were beheaded for their witness for Jesus and the Word of God, for these are truly blessed, for they serve God and Christ as priests and will reign with Him a thousand years Rev. 20:4-6). And so we have the privilege to pray for and intercede on the behalf of others here and now in this current era of grace, just as Jesus does as our High Priest. Therefore there is no Biblical grounds for the ecclesiastical and hierarchical man-made priesthood that shrouds the truth by their worthless rituals and man-made traditions, making people trust in those things, as if atonement for sins comes through them and their dead works. But for us who hold fast to the truth of the Gospel there is no other way than the Lord Jesus Christ crucified and risen from the dead and ones faith in Him as the sole means to remission of sins and everlasting life, which one receives the moment they believe in Him (Eph. 1:13-14). Anything else is trying to unite the works of man with the Supreme Work and grace of God, and thus is counted as debt against, and not grace towards, all those who do and trust all such things (Rom 4:4-5).

A holy nation: The Apostle Peter now says that we who believe in Jesus are holy nation. But what is a nation? Here's my simple definition: A nation is a group of people that shares a common territory and is governed by a common set of laws, applicable to all its citizens. Therefore with that in mind let us see how we are a holy nation under the legal authority of our King Jesus. First is that in belonging to the Lord Jesus Christ we who believe share a common territory. That is we are regardless of where we were born, or now live are first and foremost citizens of heaven. For that is what Jesus taught and preached the Kingdom of heaven/Kingdom of God, and that entry into it comes only by being born-again, which is by faith in His Person (John 3:3-5, 16). And so it is open to anyone who believes in Him. (In regards to this consider Matt 8:5-13 where Jesus announces that a Roman centurion who believed Him will be there, while unbelieving Jews will not; again where Jesus says that harlots and tax collectors will be there but the Jewish religious leaders who did not believe Him won't, Matt 21:28-32). And so the holy nation referred to here is neither the exclusive domain of the earthly church, nor earthly Israel, since both contain within them people who do not believe, and thus neither can said to contain all the people of God. For the holy nation that is born from on high now comprises of all people regardless of their ethnicity or backgrounds or congregations or anything else that one would try to distinguish them by, for all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ in whatever generation they believe are the Holy nation of God, being made up of both Jews and Gentiles (Eph 2:19-22). Yes there still is much Scripture to be fulfilled regarding Israel as a nation (i.e. Zechariah 12:10). And so the church is now the visible witness of Christ Jesus and earthly manifestation of the Kingdom of God, because of the sanctifying work and empowering of the Holy Spirit through it's members who believe, and thus is the holy nation Peter refers to here. But we as a holy nation made up of both believing Gentiles and Jews will not see it's permanent and full glory until King Jesus returns for us all and takes full possession of it, to forever be with all people who believe in Him, who are within it.

His own special people: the phrase the Apostle Peter uses here was once thought the exclusive domain of Israel, because of God first choosing them and entering into a covenant relationship with them (see Exodus 19:5-6; Deut 7:6; 14:2; 26:18). But with their fall, or stumbling at the Stumbling Stone, salvation has come (as God foretold it would in the prophets, Hosea 2:23) to the Gentiles (Rom 11:11-12). And that is the current era in which we now live (see Rom 9:1-11:36 for complete picture). And thus as God first chose Israel to be His own special people, so He has chosen both the Jews and Gentiles who believe in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ to be His own special people (Eph. 1:3). And that is what Scripture calls us all who believe, for Jesus gave Himself for us, so that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous or good works (see Titus 2:11-14). I don't know where your at today but I do know this, God loves and gave His Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die for you so that by faith in His person crucified for our sins remission and risen from dead, you and I can have new and everlasting life the moment we believe in Him. And thus have and experience life in all it's fullness. For in being reconciled back to God by faith in Jesus' Person, everything else in this life is truly a bonus! For there is a wonderful freedom in knowing your sins are paid for, that you don't have to try to earn God's favor or fear His rejection, and so now God's purposes for you in having reconciled you back to Himself by faith in His Son, we can freely become a blessing to others as well. For positive living comes from positive giving, and so as we give of ourselves in Jesus' worship and service we not only grow in our faith and lives, we reap the rewards of living positively for God!


Word Studies and their Scriptural Usages
(Note: original word may not always be translated as under its title heading)

(Matt. 6:24; Acts 8:22; Rom. 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:8; 14:20; Eph. 4:31; Col. 3:8; Titus 3:3; James 1:21; 1 Peter 2:1, 16); (Str 2549; GK 2798; TDNT 3.482; TDNTA 391; LN 88.105; 88.199) 11x

(Matt. 26:4; Mark 7:22, 14:1; John 1:47; Acts 13:10; Rom. 1:29; 2 Cor. 12:16; 1 Thess. 2:3; 1 Peter 2:1, 22, 3:10; Rev. 14:5); (Str 1388; GK 1515; LN 88.154; DBL Hebr 5327) 11x

Note: All Old Testament quotes are occurrences where the word translated deceit in 1 Peter 2:1, also appears in the Septuagint Old Testament Scriptures.
*Quote from Dictionary of Bible Themes (logos library systems) under title heading: 6146 deceit, and God’s nature

(Matt 23:28; Mark 12:15; Luke 12:1; Gal 2:13; 1 Tim 4:2; 1 Peter 2:1); (Str 5272; GK 5694; TDNT 8.559; TDNTA 1235; LN 88.227) 6x

(Matt. 27:18; Mark 15:10; Rom. 1:29; Gal. 5:21; Philipi 1:15; 1 Tim 6:4; Titus 3:3; James 4:5; 1 Peter 2:1); (Str 5355; GK 5784; LN 88.160) 9x
Also see: envy, zeal, jealousy, jealousies, indignation (Str 2205; GK 2419; TDNT 2.877; TDNTA 297; LN 78.25; 88.162;DBLHebr 7863); (John 2:17; Acts 5:17, 13:45; Rom. 10:2, 13:13; 1 Cor. 3:3; 2 Cor. 7:7, 11, 9:2; 11:2, 12:20; Gal. 5:20; Phil. 3:6; Col. 4:13; Heb. 10:27; James 3:14, 16) 17x

 Evil Speaking (Str 2636; GK 896) 2x

All Scripture Quotations:
The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982


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