Last week we had an overview of 1 Peter 2, this week, a musing upon themes that we would do well to slow down, and ponder. These themes continue into chapter three as well.
To begin, slow read and re-read:
“And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,”I Peter 2:4
God, the Father has not rejected Jesus Christ. Rather He is “choice and precious.” He sent Him, and never abandoned Him. “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” “Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him…” (Isaiah 42) Jesus never for a moment doubted the Father’s love, and the more you ponder the love shared among the Trinity, and how Jesus has drawn you into this one true love, into Himself–in whom your life is hid–the less you will doubt, especially in times of suffering. He is the Rock we need as suffering of all kinds happen to and among us in this fallen, broken world.
Jesus Christ suffered on the cross, choice and precious in the sight of the Father; not rejected. Let this seep into your theology as you ponder the cross, redemption, reconciliation, propitiation, and Jesus’ obedience on our behalf.
In His Love
We keep sober in spirit (1:13) by pondering this eternal love, keeping ourselves in this love (Jude 20-21), bringing it to mind daily (Psalm 92), and returning to our first love whenever we stray, as a prodigal son returning home to see the Father running toward us, arms outstretched.
The man who confronted Jesus, telling Jesus that suffering should not happen, is the one preparing us for the inevitable suffering that must take place in our lives. Jesus lovingly and sharply corrected Peter, and Jesus continued to teach and ultimately restore Peter. And Peter reminds us that as His living stones, we will look like Him and be built up together, with each other and upon our Cornerstone. What will this look like in our lives? It will look like:
Meekness, Humility, Living Righteously
We come now to another theme in chapter 2, and repeated later in the epistle. For Christ’s sake, in His strength, we submit, we walk in His meekess. Later in the book we’ll hear that we “entrust our souls to a faithful Creator.” This is who we ultimately submit to. The One who holds all things together, Who created everything, Who is omnipotent.
What does this meekness look like? To start, we do not grasp for power, or for heaven on earth, or for perfection of humanity now. Nor do we demand that those outside Christ treat us with righteousness and justice–we will be wronged, we know it. We turn the other cheek. We give, expecting nothing in return. We humbly submit to authority, when doing so does not clash with obeying God. We are peacemakers but not peacekeepers. We fight evil without being crusaders. We do not revile when threatened, we protect others as He protected us. We pray, even in our last breath.
We will see next week how this obedience will cause the world to grumble against us. We might think “success” is everyone around us seeing Christ’s light and wanting what we have. Yet, we know, that if the world hated Him it will hate us too. We do not follow His example and think we will be popular, or well liked. We will be misunderstood; our shortcomings will be used to “prove” Christianity is hypocrisy–the world has no place for repentance and mercy, they are found in Christ alone.
This is why we must be devoted to the fellowship of believers under the Word. We have have purified our hearts for a sincere love of the brethren–we must continue in that love, in that fellowship (1:22). In love we bear with and restore one another; hold one another up, forgive as we’ve been forgiven. We are being built together, we build one another up in Christ.
We need Christ, who is the head of the Body, and we need His Body, which is the church. We will walk together in His ways, in His deeds (2:12) and will be slandered for it now. Yet, remember His love? His mercy? His delight? This matters to us, this sustains us.
As believers, we submit to one another. We also submit to the authorities around us; we know we are not in charge of the world–and that God has ordained that some be in positions of authority for good purposes. Local, State, Federal powers, boss, elders, etc. We submit for His sake. We render unto Caesar the things that are his. And if any of us is granted authority, or elected into positions of authority, we exercise it as for His glory, in His meekness. It will be a daily battle to put to death the pride that so easily ensnares.
We are free–and we freely honor others, love the brotherhood, and fear God (rather than fearing the ones who can kill the body but not the soul; Luke 12:5). To God alone belongs our ultimate devotion, whether fear, reverence, awe, worship, setting Christ as LORD in our hearts; knowing He is ultimate, supreme, unchangable.
Whether in the moment of His crucifixion, or in the years leading up to it, Jesus obeyed His Father. He listened. Thought, word, deed. We cannot attain to this, yet we have His righteousness by faith. And we have His Spirit abiding in us, who leads us in obedience. Whether while we suffer, or while we live a quiet peaceful life, He will lead us.
Picture with me, a mama deer is leading her young during a harsh winter, through the woods, looking for food. She is very particular about how and when and where she steps–and her young, if they are obedient, step exactly in her footsteps. Two fawns, following in her steps exactly. They expend less energy this way, and learn the wisdom of walking carefully–a lesson that will greatly increase their quality of life. A tracker walking through those same woods would assume only one deer had come through. The two young are safe, hidden in their mama’s tracks. (You can read about this in William J. Long’s “School of the Woods”)
We were straying, but are now brought in–into this life, into His righteousness, into a life of following in His steps. Thoughts, words, deeds. They all matter, and His Spirit at work in us will transform us to think, feel, plan, pray, speak, and act, in ways that honor our God. Not perfectly in this fallen world, but more and more as we walk with Him, at His pace. Peter wants us to follow Jesus’ example, so let us encourage one another in this, and walk this way together.
“So that…” Christ died so that we would live to righteousness. His cross is effectual. His promises in John 15 are strong, and true. If we abide in Him, He makes us fruitful; even the fruit of righteousness, Christ-likness. Make this your prayer, for you and your local church:
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