The Exhortation to Grow: 1 Peter 2:1-3
Peter uses a metaphor here to exhort Christians to grow spiritually. They should desire the pure milk of the Word of God. Christians are those who tasted the goodness of the Lord in salvation. They have been born again through the living Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). It is a life giving Word of grace (John 6:33). It is also a life transforming Word of salvation (Galatians 2:20; John 10:10). Since we have tasted the grace of the Lord we should grow to maturity. Christians should put off their old nature and put on the new nature daily by growing in the grace (Ephesians 4:22-24). We must get rid of the sin of malice, hypocrisy, deceit, envy and slander daily. These sins can destroy the fellowship among believers and hinder our spiritual growth. Christ and sin cannot go together. Christ will not taste sweet to us until sin tastes bitter. As one rises, the other falls. Like newborn babies Christians are to be fed with pure spiritual milk. Here pure milk is a reference to the Word of God. Where there is no desire for milk, there is no growth. Only the pure Word of God gives proper nourishment. Adding water to the Word of God is harmful and destructive. Born again believers will have a passion for the Word of God (Psalms 42:1; 119:103). By God's grace we are born again and the same grace leads us to godliness. Godliness is the transformed life produced by the Holy Spirit as we grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Godliness is Christlikeness.
The Spiritual House: 1 Peter 2:4-8:
Peter uses the metaphor of a building to show our position in Christ. He refers to the church in the same way the Old Testament referred to Israel. Christians are "a royal priesthood and a holy nation" (1 Peter 2:9). This indicates that, Jews and non-Jews find their identity in Christ and become part of the church. They are redeemed to live a holy life. The church made up of Christians is a spiritual house. Christ is referred to as the living stone in the Old Testament (Isaiah 28:16). Jesus made a reference to it when he was rejected by the Jewish leaders (Matthew 21:42). Though the world rejected Christ he became the cornerstone by his resurrection. Christ is referred in the Bible as the "the living stone, the cornerstone, the sure foundation and the precious stone" (Isaiah 28:16; 51:1; 1 Peter 2:4, 6 7; Romans 9:33;
1 Corinthians 10:4). Those who have come to Jesus Christ have received life through Him and become the living stones by which the church is built. Church is not a building but the gathering of the called out people of God (1 Corinthians 3:16). It is built upon Jesus Christ (Matthew 16:18). Those who reject Jesus, He is a stone of stumbling and offense (Isaiah 8:14; 1 Peter 2:8). But to those who believe Christ, He is precious. Is Christ precious in your life?
The Holy Priesthood: 1 Peter 2:9-10.
Christians are those who find their identity in Christ. They are a separated or holy people. Their behavior flows from their belief and relationship with Christ. Christians are chosen people to function as holy and royal priesthood. They are a holy nation and God’s own people (2:9). There is much misunderstanding about holiness and sainthood among Christians. In the scripture saint is the designation of every believer in Christ. They are saints because they are in Christ. He has cleansed their sin and clothed them with His righteousness. Christians are set apart for God’s use like the Tabernacle and Temple in the Old Testament. Also holiness speaks of our practice and attitude in our living. Scholars suggest that the noun “Saint” speaks of our relationship with Christ. They are set apart for God’s use and the verb sanctify speaks of our practice. The function of priesthood in the Old Testament was to offer animal sacrifices. They were chosen from the tribe of Levi. The New Testament Church is the holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices unto God (Hebrews 13:15). It is the privilege of all believers and not some selected few. The Old Testament also speaks about spiritual sacrifices such as sacrifice of praise, sacrifice of righteousness and the sacrifice of prayer (Psalms 50:23; 51:19; 141:2). Peter urges believers to live in such a way to show the excellence of God to others. They are set apart for the glory of God. Whatever they do must bring glory to God who saved them.
Christians should live a Honorable life: 1 Peter 2:10-11.
In the New Testament we read about many sacrifices. We are exhorted to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God (Romans 12:1). Our faith is referred to as a sacrifice in Philippians 2:17. Our material gifts to the Lord is also referred to as a fragrant sacrifice (Philippians 4:18). Our praise and sharing with others are acceptable sacrifices unto God (Hebrews 13: 15, 16). Preaching the gospel is a priestly sacrifice (Romans 15:16). We are the chosen people of God. God saved us and made us part of his family (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). Christians are the royal priesthood because they are chosen to serve Christ. They should fear the Lord and obey His Word. If we remain faithful, we shall reign with Him (2 Timothy 2:12). Christians are a holy nation and God’s own people. They are born of God (John 1:13). That is how we become the holy people. Our true identity is whether we belong to Christ or not. He saved us to become zealous for good works (Titus 2:14). Once we were not God’s people but we obtained mercy. When we experience God's mercy, it will always lead us to live a new kind of life. Peter sums up here that we should declare the praise of God who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. God in His mercy has saved us to proclaim His praises. Do we proclaim God’s wonderful works in our lives? They are too numerous to be numbered (Psalms 40:5). What a merciful Savior! Do you know Christ as your Lord and Savior?
Christians should live Godly Life: 1 Peter 2:12-20.
Peter encourages believers to live a godly life. They should be an example to others by loving one another. We live in a fallen world and battle against the flesh (Galatians 5:24). So Peter encourages them to keep away from evil desires of the flesh. Paul also exhorts Christians to put on Christ that they make no provision for the flesh to satisfy its carnal desires (Romans 13:14). When we are satisfied with Christ we will not sin. Secondly believers are exhorted to have honorable conduct among gentiles so that they may observe our good conduct and come to Christ. Christians must submit to authority for the Lord’s sake because they are appointed by God (Romans 13:1). The Apostles refused to submit to religious leaders because their order was against the will of God (Acts 4:18-20; 5: 29). Peter also exhorts servants to be subject to their masters even if they are not kind and reasonable. This suffering is temporary and God will reward us if we endure it patiently. In the end, God will ensure that justice is done. Our good life will silence those who slander us. God rewards them for being faithful to their masters. Christian freedom should not be an excuse to practice evil but to serve others in love. We should show respect for everyone and love fellow believers. Christians are identified by their love for one another (John 13:35). They should fear God and show respect to authority (Matthew 10:28).
Follow Christ’s Example: 1 Peter 2:21-25.
Peter exhorts believers that they should be humble and submissive. God's gracious purpose in suffering is that they do not get despair over suffering as if it were God's punishment. Christ himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we do not have to suffer the judgment of God for sin (1 Peter 2:24). It is comforting to know that our suffering is not a sign of God's anger (Romans 8:1). Christ suffered for us, leaving an example for us to follow His steps (1 Peter 2:21). The main purpose of Christ’s suffering was to save us. Even in that suffering He set an example to follow His humility and submission. Christ never sinned and never deceived anyone yet He suffered (Mark 3:21, 22; Matthew 26:67). He did not retaliate but patiently endured the unfair treatment of the enemies. Verses 22-24 are quotations from Isaiah 53:4-9. Christ was obedient to His heavenly Father. Christ died on the cross for us so that we might die to ourselves and live in righteousness. We have been healed from the sickness of sin by His wounds. This is a picture of our redemption from sin and not our physical healing. We will be ultimately healed and made perfect when Christ returns. Once we all were willfully wandering away from God like lost sheep. Christ the good shepherd has gathered us to Himself. He is our great shepherd and the guardian of our soul. Do you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior? Are you willing to take up your cross and follow Him?