Jesus Is the Living Stone
1So then, rid yourselves of all evil, all lying, hypocrisy, jealousy, and evil speech. 2As newborn babies want milk, you should want the pure and simple teaching. By it you can mature in your salvation, 3because you have already examined and seen how good the Lord is.
4Come to the Lord Jesus, the “stone” that lives. The people of the world did not want this stone, but he was the stone God chose, and he was precious. 5You also are like living stones, so let yourselves be used to build a spiritual temple—to be holy priests who offer spiritual sacrifices to God. He will accept those sacrifices through Jesus Christ. 6The Scripture says:
“I will put a stone in the ground in Jerusalem.
Everything will be built on this important and precious rock.
Anyone who trusts in him
will never be disappointed.”#Isaiah 28:16
7This stone is worth much to you who believe. But to the people who do not believe,
“the stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone.”#Psalm 118:22
8Also, he is
“a stone that causes people to stumble,
a rock that makes them fall.”#Isaiah 8:14
They stumble because they do not obey what God says, which is what God planned to happen to them.
9But you are a chosen people, royal priests, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession. You were chosen to tell about the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10At one time you were not a people, but now you are God’s people. In the past you had never received mercy, but now you have received God’s mercy.
Live for God
11Dear friends, you are like foreigners and strangers in this world. I beg you to avoid the evil things your bodies want to do that fight against your soul. 12People who do not believe are living all around you and might say that you are doing wrong. Live such good lives that they will see the good things you do and will give glory to God on the day when Christ comes again.
Yield to Every Human Authority
13For the Lord’s sake, yield to the people who have authority in this world: the king, who is the highest authority, 14and the leaders who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15It is God’s desire that by doing good you should stop foolish people from saying stupid things about you. 16Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live as servants of God. 17Show respect for all people: Love the brothers and sisters of God’s family, respect God, honor the king.
Follow Christ’s Example
18Slaves, yield to the authority of your masters with all respect, not only those who are good and kind, but also those who are dishonest. 19A person might have to suffer even when it is unfair, but if he thinks of God and can stand the pain, God is pleased. 20If you are beaten for doing wrong, there is no reason to praise you for being patient in your punishment. But if you suffer for doing good, and you are patient, then God is pleased. 21This is what you were called to do, because Christ suffered for you and gave you an example to follow. So you should do as he did.
22“He had never sinned,
and he had never lied.”#Isaiah 53:9
23People insulted Christ, but he did not insult them in return. Christ suffered, but he did not threaten. He let God, the One who judges rightly, take care of him. 24Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so we would stop living for sin and start living for what is right. And you are healed because of his wounds. 25You were like sheep that wandered away, but now you have come back to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
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