Living stones: Devotional Commentary for January 26-February 1
This is the Word of God. May the Spirit of Truth give us Wisdom and Insight to receive what has been conveyed through His Word by His Inspiration.
1Therefore, putting aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander,
2like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation,
3if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord.
We have already noted in our previous meditation that the heart of the redeemed is set free from the burden of the cares and concerns of the ungodly world and its evil allies, including sufferings and persecutions for the sake of Christ. Instead, the redeemed trust God and their heart is filled with His fervent Love. Now Peter teaches us, that same transformed heart is also set free from the ungodly attitudes of the old nature.
These attitudes of the old nature reflect the inherent reactions of the natural man toward dislikes or matters regarded with distaste or aversion, or when one is offended or feels wronged. Peter's exhortation is clear. If the old nature is no longer governing the heart of the redeemed because of salvation, then neither should its natural inclinations or attitudes continue to impose ungodliness on the behaviors of God's child. Therefore, believers must rid themselves of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander.
That means, if one has tasted God's fervent Love and His redeeming Grace, one should not persist in evil works, deception, hypocrisy, jealousy, or malicious accusations. If one is still in spiritual infancy, one must seek the sincere milk of God's living Word so that one might grow out of spiritual immaturity and away from the natural inclinations of the natural man. Put away ungodly attitudes and feed upon the bread of life and the living water: the Word of god. Do not let the new baby in Christ suffocate in the old and familiar environment of unwholesome attitudes.
4And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God,
5you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
As God's children are drawn to Christ by the Holy Spirit, believers must begin to be aware that each one is brought closer to the Living Stone—Christ Himself—as living stones of building blocks of God's temple, the Church. That Living Stone is Jesus Christ, Who is chosen by God but rejected by men. So are His children the redeemed: chosen by God but rejected by the ungodly world.
As chosen by God, the heart of the redeemed ought to be filled by God's fervent Love. The believer is set free from the burden of the cares and concerns of this world and is, therefore, able to serve as God's vessel of love. Still focused, fervent, and responsible, the believer is free in Christ from the corrupt attributes of the old nature. And as such, Christians ought to be aware that we are each a living building block of God's Church in which we are called and appointed to offer sacrifices of petitions, praise, and worship that are pleasing to God, as His priests of the Royal Priesthood. We are commissioned to execute the services of God in the Body of Christ's Church built by what each redeemed member supplies. We are living building blocks of the Royal priestly order headed by the Chief Royal Priest Christ Himself, the Cornerstone, the Head.
Peter was very careful and deliberate in showing us who we have been made in Christ, what our response should be to Christ, and how we should relate to God and with one another as God's redeemed children, before he proceeds to instruct us with life-changing precepts inspired in him by the Spirit of Truth.
Chosen and precious, we have been made alive in Jesus Christ for the Glory of God. We make up the Church, the Body of Christ. We are God's priests of His Royal Priesthood. We are His vessels. We live to serve Him in total surrender to His Will and Purpose. That is who we are in Christ. That is who we are to God our Father.
Therefore, we cannot take what belongs to God and commit it to another "authority" such as the old nature or worse, and dishonor God. We cannot have the corrupt attributes of the old nature prevail upon the New Man. We cannot have the transformed heart of the redeemed infested with malice and evildoings, deceit and dishonesty, hypocrisy and smug sanctimony, envy and greed-laced jealousy, or just falsehood. Our heart is the seat of God's temple. In it, we worship God and serve Him, and Him alone.
We consciously reject the characters of the old nature. We no longer serve the sin-nature. Our debt to the Law is paid in full. Therefore, our indivisible allegiance is to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Who paid our debt in full. Our souls should never be dissuaded from serving, worshipping, and glorifying God by the pressures of pain, sufferings, persecutions, or the urge to react with the corrupt ways of our old nature, that old child of disobedience which once ruled the roost. We are the living building blocks of the Church of Jesus Christ, not the house of corruption.
Redeemed and preserved by God, secure and cleansed by Christ, and taught and led by the Spirit, let us be nurtured by the sincere milk of God's living Word so that we might grow beyond spiritual infancy and consciously come to Christ the Living Stone as God's maturing living stones, "… to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ", if indeed we have tasted the Grace of God.