A Holy Status.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9).

God has revealed through the Scriptures that the disobedient are destined for destruction and ruination (I Peter 2:6-8). How does the believer in Christ differ from the unbelieving sinner? The Apostle Peter reminds the church of its holy status because of God’s grace.

First, all believers are a chosen race. We are God’s chosen people, whether Jew or Gentile (I Peter 1:1; Deuteronomy 10:15; Isaiah 43:20). This status which was solely applied to Israel in the Old Testament is now applied to the New Testament church.

Second, believers are a royal priesthood. Because believers are chosen by God, they become, as Peter already stated (I Peter 2:5), a priesthood of believers. The word royal refers to belonging to and serving a king. Priests offer sacrifices to the one true God and king they serve. We have the privilege of offering our very lives as a living sacrifice unto God (Romans 12:1-2).

Third, a holy nation. Holy means dedicated and pure. Once again, Peter makes sure believers understand their position before God and their responsibility to God is to be holy in everything (I Peter 1:16). Nation means a large group of people. The church is this group.

Fourth, the church is called “a people for His own possession.” The church is a large group of people who belong to God. God preserves the church for Himself, as He did Israel. As one theologian says, “As Israel was “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God,” so too believers today are chosen, are priests, are holy, and belong to God.”

Resolve to remember your identity in Jesus Christ. Today, memorize these four privileges you have, and are, in Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

Precious and Valuable.

7 “So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (I Peter 2:7-8).

Peter continues to quote from the Old Testament to explain the significance of Jesus being the cornerstone of our faith. He quotes Psalm 118:22 to support the doctrine that Jesus the Savior is the believer’s security and defense. He is our cornerstone. Therefore, He is precious and valuable.

But what about the unbeliever? What significance does Jesus have in being likened to a cornerstone? Quoting from not only Psalm 118:22, but also Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16, Peter explains that to the unbeliever Jesus is a stone, not of security and defense, but rather a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.

A stone of stumbling means an obstacle which causes offense and which implies opposition (I Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 5:11). The reason why unbelievers stumble over the person and work of Jesus Christ is because in their heart and soul, they are His enemies (Romans 5:10) and objects of God’s wrath (Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3). Rather than being a comfort, to them Jesus is a curse.

It is ironic that for the past several decades, many churches seek to make the gospel as inoffensive as possible to the unbelieving community. Sin is seldom, if ever, mentioned and anything to do with the cross is removed: either in the church’s architecture or in the content of the worship service.

While believers must never be needlessly offensive when sharing the gospel, it should be noted that the biblical gospel will offend. To the sinner, the gospel is an offensive message. This continuing opposition signifies the sinner’s ultimate destiny (Romans 9:22-23; Jude 4).

When do you find yourself, if ever, tempted to downplay the offensiveness of the gospel message? To whom? Resolve never to give in to the temptation of “watering down” the truth of the gospel as others have done. Never be ashamed of the gospel nor the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16-17).

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

Our Sure Foundation.

For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame” (I Peter 2:6).

One of the supporting evidences the Bible is the Word of God is the perspective the writers of the New Testament had toward the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul frequently quoted from the Old Testament as God’s holy revelation (Romans 3). So did Jesus (Matthew 5-7). So too does the Apostle Peter.

When Peter writes, “For it stands in Scripture,” he was saying that the subject of Jesus Christ being our living stone, and believers also being living stones because of Christ, is found in the Old Testament: the Scriptures.

The word “stands” means contained. Contained in the content of the Old Testament writings is the doctrine of Christ being a stone or foundation for the believer. The passage to which Peter refers is found in Isaiah 28:16.

In Isaiah 28:16, the subject is God the Father. He lays or brings about and appoints a stone in Zion, which is another word for Jerusalem and Israel. The stone which God appoints is not just any stone, but rather a cornerstone (ἀκρογωνιαῖος; akrogoniaios) meaning a capstone, which is an essential stone for a building’s construction.

Notice also this stone, this cornerstone, is chosen (ἐκλεκτός; eklektos) and precious (ἔντιμος; entimos). These thoughts regarding Jesus are not unique to the apostle, but rather are also taken from the prophet. There is an agreement in what both men are saying. The Apostle Paul concurs in Ephesians 2:20.

The purpose of Jesus being our cornerstone is that he who believes and trusts in Him for salvation will never be ashamed for having done so. The word “ashamed” means to be humiliated or disgraced. This will never happen for those who believe in Christ. Our salvation and security in Christ is a like a sure foundation.

The hymn writer put it this way when he wrote:

The Church’s one foundation
 Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is His new creation
 By water and the Word:
From heav’n He came and sought her
 To be His holy Bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
 And for her life He died.

Rejoice today in that Jesus is your rock, your foundation which will never be moved.

Soli deo Gloria!

Called to be Christ-Like.

4 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:4-5).

Christians are called to be Christ-like. Isn’t it interesting the not only does the Apostle Peter call Jesus the living stone, but he also identifies believers in Christ as being like living stones. When I visited Israel several years ago, I noticed that in the Galilean area many ancient and present day buildings were/are constructed from the stones found in the local countryside. One family my tour group visited was in the process of building their new home out of the stones collected from a nearby hillside

In maintaining this symbolic image, Peter goes on to say the God is building believers, much like a builder uses stones, into a spiritual house or dwelling place. The phrase “are being built” means the work God is doing He is accomplishing in the lives of believers. It is His work, of which the believer is the beneficiary. Each believer in Christ increasingly becomes a holy sanctuary or temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

What is God’s purpose in doing this construction in us? The answer is so that believers would become a holy priesthood. What did the Old Testament priests do? They were holy, or dedicated, to offer up sacrifices to God. That is what God has called believers in Christ to do for His glory and honor.

As one commentator explains, “All believers are priests (cf. 1 Peter 2:9; Hebrews 4:16; Revelation 1:6) and need no mediator other than Jesus Christ to approach God directly (I Timothy 2:5). Such priestly service requires holiness (cf. 1 Peter 1:16, 22). Praise to God and doing good to others are spiritual sacrifices that please Him (Hebrews 13:15). However, “living stones” may also offer themselves as “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1), acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

We have much to offer God, through Christ, in gratitude and appreciation for all that He has done for us. Let us love God and serve others for His glory today, and as we do so let us thank Him for the privilege.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

Rejected by Men.

4 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:4-5).

Even though Jesus is the living stone, He was rejected by men. To be rejected means to be regarded as unworthy and to be perceived as something bad. In man’s eyes, Jesus was unworthy of their worship when He lived on earth and He remains unworthy in many people’s perspectives even now as He is in heaven. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied this in Isaiah 53:3:

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

This is the opinion of the world regarding Christ and His followers. But how does God the Father view God the Son? The Son is chosen, meaning uniquely selected for the task of salvation, and precious, which means honored. God the Father chose the Son to accomplish His will. The Son was willing to obey and fulfill the Father’s will (John 10:7-19).

Much like Christ, Peter says we too are chosen and precious in the sight of God (1:1, 18). What a wonderful privilege and position we as believers in Christ possess before God the Father.

May we choose to live today in light of our exalted privilege.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

Rock of Ages!

4 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:4-5).

Augustus Montague Toplady, the author of “Rock of Ages,” was born at Farnham, Surrey, November 4, 1740. His father was an officer in the British army. His mother was a devoted woman to Christ.

He prepared for the university at Westminster School, and subsequently graduated from Trinity College, Dublin. While on a visit in Ireland when he was sixteen he was converted by the gospel at a worship service held in a barn. The text was Ephesians 2:13: “But now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

The text of the hymn Rock of Ages, reflects the text of I Peter 2:4-5.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its guilt and power.

 

Not the labors of my hands
Can fulfill thy law’s demands
Could my zeal no respite know
Could my tears forever flow
All for sin could not atone
Thou must save and thou alone

Nothing in my hand I bring
Simply to the cross I cling
Naked come to thee for dress
Helpless look to thee for grace
Foul I to the fountain fly
Wash me Savior or I die

While I draw this fleeting breath
When mine eyes shall close in death
When I soar to worlds unknown
See thee on thy judgment throne
Rock of Ages cleft for me
Let me hide myself in thee

CCLI Song # 40588

Thank you Lord for being the rock, the living stone, of my salvation.

 

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

Growing Up.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (I Peter 2:1-3).

Peter may be using this simile, comparing the Scriptures to milk, in order to illustrate that his readers were to hunger for the basic truths of Scripture. Truths which are easily understood. This would be in contrast to the more difficult truths found in the Bible, which the Apostle Paul described as “solid food’ (I Corinthians 3:2). Truths which you have to chew on, so to speak.

The apostle describes the Scriptures as pure (ἄδολος; adolos) genuine and real, and also spiritual (λογικός; logikos) meaning rational and true. The purpose for our desire for God’s Word, which is pure and spiritual, is that the Word would cause us to grow up (αὐξάνω; auxano) in our salvation in Christ.

The foundation to any spiritual growth is a preceding new birth. Spiritual growth cannot occur unless a person has been spiritually re-born (John 3:1-3). Peter uses the word tasted (γεύομαι; geuomai) to figuratively refer to an experience or personal birth or conversion from God by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone.

However, God does not save us so that we simply remain spiritual babies. As a newborn infant begins the growth process physically, so too are believers in Christ to begin the long, slow process of growing spiritually. As Peter will remind us later on in this epistle, sometimes believers experience growing pains. These so-called “growth pains” are all part of the process of maturing.

How is your spiritual growth coming along? Ask someone you trust whether they see any spiritual maturity in you, and if so, what it may be. Ask God today to help you grow in whatever area of your life where such maturity is needed.

Have a blessed day, beloved.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

Pure Spiritual Milk.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (I Peter 2:1-3).

We must always remember that the Bible is literature and as such, we must interpret it with a recognition that it is literature. Therefore, we must observe various parts of speech and figures of speech. I Peter 2:2 is an example of one such figure of speech.

I Peter 2:2 introduces the reader to a figure of speech known as a simile. A simile is a comparison using the words “like” or “as.” The Apostle Peter uses such a comparison to explain a particular truth which believers ought to be aware.

Like a newborn infant who craves or longs for their mother’s milk, such is to be our longing for the Word of God. Believers are to long (ἐπιποθέω; epipotheo), deeply desire or have great affection for the Scriptures as a nursing infant craves a bottle.

How do you know when a baby wants milk? They cry out! The do not hesitate to let you know they are hungry for their formula. Their hunger is so great that nothing will satisfy them until that desire is fulfilled. That is the kind of desire believers are to have for God’s Word.

The goal in our longing for truth is maturity. As a physical body grows and matures in eating food, beginning with milk, so believers are to grow and mature spiritually in biblical truth beginning with the elementary facts of Scripture.

Are you growing? This is the goal and purpose of hiswordtoday.org. I trust you have enjoyed today’s meal. Resolve to be in God’s Word each day.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

Put Away All Slander.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (I Peter 2:1-3).

Chapter Two of I Peter begins a conclusion which directs the reader throughout the rest of the epistle. Peter identifies “five” sins involving our speech and attitudes which we must eliminate.

The word “so” is another way of saying “therefore.” As a consequence of who we are in Christ and our desire to be holy as He is holy (I Peter 1:16) God directs believers to put away or cease what we are accustomed to doing. What follows is not a pretty list, but Peter is less concerned with hurting people’s feelings as he is with truth. Please notice the adjective “all” which precedes all five nouns. This repentance is to be a total renunciation of ungodliness.

The first sin mentioned is malice. The second is deceit. The third is hypocrisy. The fourth is envy. The fifth and final sin is slander.

Slander (καταλαλιά; katalalia) is evil speech. It is to speak evil of someone with the intention of harming them. It is backbiting lies. Unfortunately, this sin was a concern the Apostle Paul had for the Corinthian church (2 Corinthians 12:20).

James 3:5-10 says, So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire! And the tongue is a fire, a world of unrighteousness. The tongue is set among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the entire course of life, and set on fire by hell. For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so.”

Our growth in the Lord is not just about pursuing holiness, but also repenting from unholy behavior and emotions. The desire for God’s Word should give us an appetite for holiness, with an ever increasing desire for more. Resolve today by the Spirit’s power to guard what you say and speak today (Proverbs 4:23-27).

Have a blessed day, beloved. Soli deo Gloria!

 

Put Away All Envy.

“So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good” (I Peter 2:1-3).

Chapter Two of I Peter begins a conclusion which directs the reader throughout the rest of the epistle. Peter identifies “five” sins involving our speech and attitudes which we must eliminate.

The word “so” is another way of saying “therefore.” As a consequence of who we are in Christ and our desire to be holy as He is holy (I Peter 1:16) God directs believers to put away or cease what we are accustomed to doing. What follows is not a pretty list, but Peter is less concerned with hurting people’s feelings as he is with truth. Please notice the adjective “all” which precedes all five nouns. This repentance is to be a total renunciation of ungodliness.

The first sin mentioned is malice. The second is deceit. The third is hypocrisy. The fourth is envy.

Envy (φθόνος; phthonos) is jealousy. It is to hate someone for a presumed advantage they have. Envy is not only wanting what someone else possesses, but also resenting them for having this “something” when you do not. Envy can result in corruption and destruction in order to acquire what it is you believe you must have. Check out the Old Testament story of Naboth and King Ahab and a certain vineyard in I Kings 21.

God tells us in the final commandment of the Ten Commandments that believers are not to covet (Exodus 20). It doesn’t matter what it is, God says don’t envy and covet. It can be destructive.

Envy was regarded by the Apostle Paul to be a sin of the flesh (I Corinthians 3:3). Envy is among the things that comes from the heart, defiling a person (Mark 7:14-23). Jesus said the whole body is full of darkness when the eye, the lamp of the body, is bad (Luke 11:34-36).

Proverbs 17:5 says, “He who is glad at calamity will not go unpunished.” Envy ruins the body’s health, making bones rot (Proverbs 14:30). Envy prohibites one inheriting the kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19-21). Sometimes, as a punishment, people are left in their sins, falling prey to envy and other sins (Romans 1:18-32).

Envy is credited as the basis of all toil and is therefore deeply ingrained in man’s nature (Ecclesiastes 4:4). Envy comes into being when man lacks certain things, or when things are used for one’s own selfish pleasures (James 4:1-3). Envy may be caused by wealth (Psalm 73:3).

For example, Isaac, envied the Philistines (Genesis 26:12-15), by the brightness of wealth, power and beauty Assyria envied other kingdoms (Ezekiel 31:1-9), and by political and military popularity King Saul envied David from the moment he heard the women’s songs of joy (I Samuel 18:5-9).

Leah envied her sister Rachel (Genesis 30:1-2), Joseph’s brothers envied Jacob’s love for him (Genesis 37:1-11). The religious leaders envied the apostles (Acts 5:12-20) and the popularity of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13:44-47). Unfaithful Jews envied the success of Paul and Silas in the conversion of many Thessalonians (Acts 17:1-5) and the chief priests envied Jesus’ virtues and true power to heal, to make miracles and to teach people (Matthew 25:15-26; Mark 15:6-15).

Ask God to reveal to you what areas of your life you are prone to envy. Repent of them knowing that godliness with contentment is great gain (I Timothy 6:6).

Have a blessed day, beloved.

Soli deo Gloria!