Where do the doctrines in your church come from, God's Word or tradition?
Peter told us in chapter 1 that because Christ redeemed us by His precious blood and we have faith and believe in Him, that we have a wonderful and magnificent future that awaits us.
Therefore we should conduct our lives appropriately, i.e. in a holy manner (because He is holy), and be kind and loving towards one another.
And why not, for our future is secure and locked in heaven with Him and no man can take it away.
Peter now continues in chapter 2 with some basic, simple teaching.
Once you've shed the ways of your former self, the old man, and had a rebirth (1:23), then...1 Peter 2:1
Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Of course that means that there must be corrupt and adulterated milk.
So how does it become that way?
Answer: Through the teachings of the traditions of men which make void the Word of God and sour the milk.
Here are Christ's own words:
Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
Does your church teach the rapture theory instead of instructing Christians to put on the gospel armor and take a stand against the devil [the false-christ] (Eph. 6)?
Does your church teach an ever-burning torture of men's souls, instead of the second death when all the wicked will perish as John 3:16 says?
Does your church roll Easter eggs?
Does your church teach that the terms Hebrew, Israelite and Jew are all synonymous and that all non-Jews are gentiles?
Does your church teach the Adam and Eve ate an apple in the garden and that a snake stood upright and spoke to Eve?
If the answer to the above questions is yes then you're drinking contaminated, adulterated (adulterous) milk, and "in vain do you worship Him" He just said so in Mark 7:7.
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
A person starts going to church once a week (another tradition and ritual in itself) and 15 years later knows little more than he or she started out with.
Is that good?
Here's what the Apostle Paul has to say about it:
Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing.
 For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
Good, you should be skilful in His word and be able to teach others.
But no, you still can't understand the deeper level of God's Word because you not only haven't grown in the grace and knowledge of His word, you're still drinking sour milk and have need to start all over on the pure, unadulterated truth, and be taught the first principles of the oracles of God.
 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
The baby will have to grow-up first.
Let's read again what Peter said in verse 2.
1 Pet. 2:2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
Hebrews 5:14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
The next few verses by the Big Fisherman will test our level of understanding.
The subject is the Lord.
1 Pet. 2:4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
This of course is nothing new and we can be assured that Peter knew well the Song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32 where it is written in verse 4 that "He is the Rock".
(Peter also knew that in verse 32:31 it is written that there is another "rock" that is not our Rock.
He would be the king of Tyre (Ezek.28) which translated means "rock".
The king of Tyre is Satan, the false rock.)
Peter now continues the analogy to explain that Christians are also as "living stones" and are the building blocks of the holy priesthood of God.
It reminds me of the expression we use "he's a chip off the old block".
 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
He sure doesn't need our burnt offerings or our money, does He?
1 Pet. 2:6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
The quote here is from Isaiah 28:16.
Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.
But if you have been drinking sour milk then you are surely confused, which means you don't know one rock (Jesus) from the other (Satan, the spurious christ), or even that there are two rocks, and you will be put to shame.
You must have rocks in your head!
Paul even talks about the chief cornerstone:
For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;
 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:
1 Pet. 2:7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
Answer: Even those who are supposed to be building the temple, who call themselves Christians.
 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
Does this mean just to the Jews?
No, Christ is a "stumbling block" to them which STUMBLE AT HIS WORD.
Even though one calls himself Christian, he either believes in Christ or he doesn't.
You see, everyone knows you don't stumble over something that you "see", you stumble over something that you "don't see", and those who stumble over the Word don't "see it", and those who stumble over the cornerstone don't see the true Christ, though they are following a "rock", just not our Rock.
They actually see the King of Tyre [Satan]
(Ezek. 28), which means "rock", and he appears
unto them as Jesus, as an angel of light.
And because many don't know the difference between the false messiah and the true Messiah, or even that there are two Christ's, how would they know which one comes first?
They expect Jesus to return at any moment and so they will stumble and fall into bed with "instead of Christ" and stumble into the wrong wedding and so will be (spiritually speaking) "with child" when Jesus returns and will be ashamed at His coming.
But what about you?
1 Pet. 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Do you remember back in chapter 1, verses 1 & 2, to whom Peter is addressing this letter?
It is to the scattered tribes of the House of Israel, the elect, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.
And yes this verse refers to both the national as well as the individual duties of the children of God.
But there is also a more in-depth meaning contained in this verse for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear and are not still sucking on a milk bottle.
It has to do with the "generation" that Jesus Christ spoke** of while he was hanging on the cross, a generation that would come and serve Him.
It is contained in the last few verses of Psalms 22.
**Note: Here is another traditional teaching of many churches.
It is commonly taught by many that God the Father temporarily turned His back on Jesus Christ when He cried out in Matthew 27:46
"Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?
Tat is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?"
But such is not the case, neither will He turn His back on you when you die.
There is no record anywhere in the scriptures where Jesus called the Father "God". He always addressed Him as "Father". And when He was hanging upon the cross, with the thief witnessing His crucifixion, even as he was being crucified himself, Jesus taught the 22nd Psalm which begins "... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? ...
You see, the 22nd Psalm documents, right down to the detail of the Roman soldiers gambling for His clothing and the very words the high priest would say and that not one bone would be broken in His body, that Jesus Christ was indeed the Messiah.
Imagine the emotions of the thief, who no doubt knew the 22nd Psalm, as he watched Jesus quote that Psalm as the events unfolded before his very eyes EXACTLY as they were written 1000 years before that day.
It is recorded in Matthew 27:46 & Mark 15:34 that Jesus spoke these words"... My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? ..." which are the first words of the 22nd Psalm.
It is recorded in John 19:30 that the last words Jesus spoke before He bowed His head and gave up the ghost was "It is finished".
If you have a Companion Bible it will document for you that in the Hebrew language the very last words of Psalms 22 are "It is finished".
So we have documentation that Christ quoted the first and the last verse of Psalms 22.
If you have eyes to see and ears to hear then you know He taught the entire 22nd Psalm on the cross at Calvary.
Knowing that, Psalms 22 can never be read the same again for it is so moving and beautiful when read knowing that it was the last words of our Savior.
And the thief?
He was converted.
So kiss the traditions of men goodbye and learn the sincere Word of God!
Now, back to the "chosen generation", the royal priesthood, that Peter spoke of.
Consider the last two verses of Psalms 22 that Christ spoke on the cross:
A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.(It is finished)
That generation is the same one that Christ told His disciples
about in Mat. 24 and Mark 13.
It is the final generation, the generation of the "fig tree" and guess what?
you do as Christ said and learn the parable of the fig tree then
you will know that that final generation began on May 15, 1948, and that
you and I are living in that final generation.
Can you see? Then...
Praise God for His sincere Word of Truth!
What a great and knowledgeable teacher that big old lovable fisherman was.
He told us all about how Jesus Christ is the chief cornerstone of all the "living stones" that make up the temple of God.
But he also told us that Christ can be, and even is, a stumbling block and an offense to those who stumble at the Word of God.
But ye who are of that chosen generation, His royal priesthood, should show forth praises, i.e. give thanks to Him Who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light!
What an honor and a privilege it is.
Peter now completes that thought in verse 10.
1 Peter 2:10
Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
They are called the "lo-ammi" periods (see appendix 50 in the Companion Bible).
There were also times in many of our lives that the same could be said of us.
But thank God for His mercy, made possible by the blood sacrifice of His only begotten Son.
In verse 11 Peter begins a new subject and he will give us some very simple, easy to understand (though not necessarily easy to follow), "rock solid" instructions on how to conduct our lives.
 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
So that's the problem!
It's a fight!
Mr. Flesh fights Mr. Soul in the battle for superiority.
And this "knock down" "drag out" match goes on round after round after round.
Here's how it works:
(1) Get an urge!
(3) Hear the bell?
(4) Start punching!
And we can't get out of the boxing ring until we die or Christ returns first.
So guess what?
We'd better learn how to fight and deliver knock down punches to Mr. Flesh or he'll thump us time after time.
Here's a little secret: Exercise discipline and self control.
He won't necessarily like it but he has to listen to you if you take charge.
Those are the rules.
And did you catch what Peter said about us being strangers and pilgrims?
If you are one of God's elect, then you have traveled here, now absent from home and His presence, because you have a purpose and a destiny in fulfilling God's plan and helping to bring your brothers and sisters back to Him!
So if you have eyes to see and ears to hear and know the glory that awaits that Peter talked about in chapter 1, then just as Paul said in 2 Corinthians, you'd rather be back home with Christ (where you don't have fight the flesh hulk).
2 Cor. 5:6
Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord:
2 Cor. 5:8
We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Are you one His disciples?
Here's Jesus' own words:
I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
1 Pet. 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
If you claim to be a Christian then you'd better act [behave] like one.
And even so, you can be sure they are going to talk about you, you evil right winger!
But all the while they are "flapping their jaws" THEY ARE NOTICING!
And your conduct can help bring about the salvation of a soul.
It's that important.
And here's one that is getting tougher and tougher as abusive government continues to strip away the rights and freedoms of its citizens:
 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
Take heed and pay your taxes, "render unto Caesar", because if you get your royal highness tossed in the slammer you won't be free to do His will.
So be a good citizen for the Lord's sake.
 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
He's is control.
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
1 Pet. 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
It is God's will that we be good upstanding citizens.
There are really two points to be made by this verse.
(1) If you don't obey the authorities, like don't pay your taxes and go to jail or just get your name printed in the paper, then you lose credibility in discussing the Word of God, and you'll wear the label of hypocrite,
(2) When you have credibility and know the "sincere" Word of God and are skilful in it, then you can silence the ignorance of those who hold fast the traditions of men, for you are free do to your job.
 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
One is in noticing through personal experience in "business situations" that whenever someone goes out of their way to "declare" that they are a "good Christian brother", the fear arises that someone is about to be "screwed".
We call it "hiding behind his religion".
Our works and reputations declare us, not our mouths.
And secondly, be gentle as the servants of God.
One should never use the knowledge of the truth which has set us free to "slice" up, i.e. to belittle or make a fool of someone who doesn't have eyes to see or ears to hear.
That's not God's way.
This is God's way:
 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
"Let your light so shine before men", remember?
Here's the NIV translation:
1 Pet. 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. (NIV)
Now what about the workplace?
1 Pet. 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.
 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
He jumps up and down and yells "I DIDN'T DO IT, YOU, YOU *@#$^%R$!"
Knock him out before he does that!
Handle it God's way trusting that there will be resolve and closure.
One thing is as sure and death and taxes:2 Tim. 3:11
Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.
 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
Today in much of society one is admired for his or her courage to come out of some closet and admit to being a practicing pervert.
But woe unto those who claim to be Christian.
No, I say woe unto those who persecute God's own!
Remember the guards who tossed Shadrach, Meshach and Abedneggo into the fiery furnace?
They were instantly barbequed, weren't they?
The point is that if you are living a Christian life and are wronged for it, God will take care of it, for He takes care of His own.
We heard from Peter regarding how important it is to be good law abiding citizens and to treat people and employers respectfully.
Some may ask "What if the so-n-so doesn't deserve any respect?
Well, you can tell someone "the way it is" and still be respectful.
Respect in this sense means civility and doesn't mean that you have to agree with or even like the other person.
You can even become righteously indignant and maintain a respectful demeanor (theoretically of course, heh, heh).
Aren't you awed sometimes when you see really good conservatives tear apart their discourteous, disrespectful opponents on a talk show debate with facts and substantive reasoning?
The "left' usually fight back with name calling and other disrespectful innuendos.
And of course guess who's on the sofa or chair saying "you stupid, ignorant, anti-Christian, anti-American, loser, *&^%!@#$"... when all of a sudden someone says "there goes Dad again". Oooops.
I bring this up for a reason.
We are all human.
But we are fast approaching that period of time of increased persecution and the soon to be "delivering up" of God's elect, which is to whom Peter addressed this letter, right?
The subject that Peter is writing to us about is enduring or suffering "wrongfully", i.e. for righteousness sake.
Let review verse 19:
1 Pet. 2:19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
There is a reason for suffering wrongfully and it's not just so you can practice controlling your emotions, the "flesh man".
Peter will talk a great deal about this and even show that it is part of your "calling", part of your job down here (while sojourning), even your vocation in helping others to salvation.
You see, if you are one of God's elect, you are not here to save yourself!
Get with the program!
What is having a good conscience toward God?
Peter will explain it in the next chapter, so let's jump ahead a little.
1 Peter 3:16
Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.
No, that's not a godly conscience.
You see, for many, "being ashamed" is step one in the process of conversion, in accepting Christ as their personal Savior.
When you endure wrong suffering and false accusations with proper conduct, "committing yourself to Him that judgeth righteously" (vs. 23), then you allow the "grace of God" to work upon the accuser toward salvation.
It's not for your benefit, though you shall be rewarded greatly for your righteous acts.
Again remember, if you are one of God's elect your future is secure and protected by Him (1 Pet. 1:4).
Peter now continues with suffering wrongly.
1 Pet. 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
Because you're guilty and you know you deserve it!
But when you are given a "bad rap" it's not nearly as easy to maintain your composure.
Now lets put two and two together and know that Peter certainly knew of the persecutions and even the "delivering up" to befall those saints in the latter days.
He was familiar with the sermon on the mount which we have recorded for us in Mat 24 and Mark 13.
And we know from Acts chapter 2 that he knew that in the time of the end God would pour out His spirit upon His sons and daughters and they would teach and follow Christ.
And if you do that, what is guaranteed to happen?
You will be persecuted!
And who will benefit from your persecution?
That depends on how you handle it!
That's why what Peter is telling us is so important to handle it patiently.
His instructions are written to God's elect!
We all need to pay close attention to this next verse:
"For this you were called - it is inseparable from your vocation." (Amplified Bible)1 Pet. 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
Handling persecution is part of our job and Jesus Christ set us the perfect example.
You who are called, as part of that chosen generation, the royal priesthood, to take a stand as Paul told us in Eph. 6, where he instructs us to put on the gospel armour and get ready to take that stand, yes you: How are you going to take the heat?
Christ showed us the way.
This is a direct quote from Isa. 53:9. Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
Think about it.
It's real easy to engage in a heated exchange when someone accuses you of doing that which you are guilty of but the emotions are elevated even higher when someone falsely accuses you.
Are you easily offended and immediately
defensive when someone
(like maybe your spouse or a relative) merely calls you a Bible thumper or religious nut?
How do you handle it?
Listen to Peter.
This book is important to all but especially to God's elect.
Again, when Jesus was reviled He didn't revile back and tell everyone to go to you-know-where or threaten them.
He even confronted the Kenites and accused them of being hypocrites and descendents of Cain, all while maintaining His dignity and respectful demeanor.
Maybe we should review just how bad some of His persecution was.
And some began to spit on Him, and to cover his face, and to buffet Him, and to say unto Him, Prophesy: and the servants did strike Him with the palms of their hands.
Can you take a "punch"?
So Jesus Christ endured both physical and mental abuse.
They spat on Him and slapped Him in the face and sarcastically yelled at Him to prophesy, like "Hey prophet of God!
Who was it that hit you that time, huh?"
Now notice the very next verse.
And as Peter was beneath in the palace, there cometh one of the maids of the high priest:
So meanwhile, at the same time that Jesus is being "buffeted" and spat upon and railed against, Peter is below in the courtyard warming himself.
And along comes one of the high priest's maids:
And when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked upon him, and said, And thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth.
 But he denied, saying, I know not, neither understand I what thou sayest. And he went out into the porch; and the cock crew.
While Jesus Christ, a totally innocent man, is suffering pain and abuse for Peter (and the rest of us), Peter is simultaneously denying that he even knows Him!
Do you think Peter wasn't thinking about all this when he wrote this first epistle to God's elect with the instructions to follow the example set forth by Jesus?
Yes he was.
It is so documented in the very next verse, because his thoughts now shift directly to the beating [stripes] Christ endured and the crucifixion itself as he quotes the great prophet Isaiah.
1 Pet. 2:24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
For you and me!
So why should we patiently endure persecution?
Not for you and me, but with a good conscience toward God, for our brothers and sisters so that by observing our conduct the grace of God might find a place in their hearts, i.e. our very conduct is a witness unto Christ.
Here's the scripture from Isaiah that was in Peter's head when he wrote verses 24 & 25.
But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
We were once like sheep gone astray and had our own way, but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
Oh Peter, that big old lovable fisherman.
How his heart must have melted when he thought on these things and then it poured over with love for his Lord as he knew that Christ had forgiven him.
And he did become a solid rock in the church of God even as Jesus Christ knew he would from the beginning when He chose the big brute and said to him with a smile on His face "Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone" (John 1:42).
Yes, there was time in Peter's life, even while following Christ, that he opted for the "escape plan" to save his own flesh hide, but not by the time he wrote this epistle, not any more, for as he said in the closing verses of chapter 1, "all flesh is as grass... and withereth away.., But the Word of the Lord endureth forever"!
We leave you with the following quote from the "Dictionary of the Bible", Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, 1963, concerning the death of Peter.
"The First Epistle of Clement (c 96) provides indirect evidence of Peter's martyr death in Rome. Support for this tradition is also given by Gaius, a Roman presbyter (c 200) quoted in Eusebius, and by early Roman liturgical calendars which contain statements regarding the date and place of the martyrdom. According to Eusebius, Origen (c 225) wrote that Peter was at his own request nailed to a cross head downwards, since he deemed himself unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as his Lord." (pg. 754)
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