Sunday, June 12, 2011

Precious Stone or Rock of offense?

In chapter 2 of 1Peter, Peter uses the imagery of building something up; a building from stones, a building of living stones. We see in Scripture that Jesus is the Rock, the Foundation of our Faith:

Romans 9:33 as it is written, "Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame."

1Corinthians 10:4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.

1Corinthians 3:11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

With Jesus as the Foundation, the Cornerstone from which a building is focused on, and built around, those that are born-again are being built up for a specific purpose. What is that purpose? The believers are being built up to offer spiritual sacrifices to God. Don't confuse these spiritual sacrifices as earning your way to Heaven, these spiritual sacrifices are to glorify God and are also evidence that a person has been regenerated (born again):

1Peter 2:5 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.

Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. 2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Some people may read that and wonder, "what does that mean, what does the life of a born-again Christian look like?" A part of that answer was in the first verse of todays chapter:

1Peter 2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,

ESV translates it this way:
1Peter 2:1 So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.

As we can see, God expects His children to conduct themselves a certain way. Our conduct is suppose to be a certain way ALL THE TIME. The Word doesn't say, "don't deceive, except around tax time, then do ahead and use every trick in the book." The Word doesn't say, "don't slander, except when you get together with your girlfriends for 'girls night'." The Word doesn't say, "Don't be a hypocrite, except for when there is a really good dirty joke you want to share." The Word doesn't say, "don't envy, except when your co-worker gets a promotion you should have received."

Everyday, all day, we have opportunity to be obedient to The Word. Our response to those opportunities is an indicator of just how serious we are about "being holy and He is Holy". I remember about 10 years ago when the marketeers pounced on an opportunity to make money with the WWJD bracelets; as such, it became kind of a watered down question: "What would Jesus do?" The better question would be, "What would Jesus want me to do in this situation?" "Would He want me to divert my eyes from the girl walking across the street, or would He want to to fantasize about her?" "Would He want me to claim this $3000 cash job on my taxes, or would He want me to deceive the government about my income?" "Would He want me to dress in such away that would draw attention to myself and get stares from the guys, or would He want me to dress modestly?" You get the idea. We are letting the world know where our allegiance lies by our obedience (or lack there of) to The Word of God.

Over and over again in The Word, we see these two words coupled together: Belief and Obedience. In every case I have seen, there are those that "believe" and there are those that are "disobedient". So, we can make the logical conclusion that, those that truly believe are obedient, and those that are disobedient don't really believe, even if they say they do:

1Peter 2:7-8 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, "THE STONE WHICH THE BUILDERS REJECTED HAS BECOME THE CHIEF CORNERSTONE," 8 and "A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE." They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

Titus 1:15-16 To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled. 16 They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.

2Corinthians 2:8 Therefore I urge you to reaffirm your love to him. 9 For to this end I also wrote, that I might put you to the test, whether you are obedient in all things.

Peter, like Paul, pleads with the readers of this letter (including the readers in this generation) to turn away from fleshly desires. We know that if Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed. The burden of sin has been lifted. Peter goes on to say that we are NOT to use this freedom as permission to sin:

1Peter 2:11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

Romans 6:20-23 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 What fruit did you have then in the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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