The Living Stone and the Holy Nation
1 So then, stop doing anything to hurt others. Don’t lie anymore, and stop trying to fool people. Don’t be jealous or say bad things about others.
2 Like newborn babies hungry for milk, you should want the pure teaching that feeds your spirit. With it you can grow up and be saved.
3 You have already tasted the goodness of the Lord.
4 The Lord Jesus is the living stone. The people of the world decided that they did not want this stone. But he is the one God chose as one of great value. So come to him.
5 You also are like living stones, and God is using you to build a spiritual house. You are to serve God in this house as holy priests, offering him spiritual sacrifices that he will accept because of Jesus Christ.
6 The Scriptures say,
“Look, I have chosen a cornerstone of great value,
and I put that stone in Zion.
Anyone who trusts in him will never be disappointed.” Isaiah 28:16
7 So, that stone brings honor for you who believe. But for those who don’t believe he is
“the stone that the builders refused to accept,
which became the most important stone.” Psalm 118:22
8 For them he is also
“a stone that makes people stumble,
a rock that makes people fall.” Isaiah 8:14
People stumble because they don’t obey what God says. This is what God planned to happen to those people.
9 But you are his chosen people, the King’s priests. You are a holy nation, people who belong to God. He chose you to tell about the wonderful things he has done. He brought you out of the darkness of sin into his wonderful light.
10 In the past you were not a special people,
but now you are God’s people.
Once you had not received mercy,
but now God has given you his mercy.
Live for God
11 Dear friends, you are like visitors and strangers in this world. So I beg you to keep your lives free from the evil things you want to do, those desires that fight against your true selves.
12 People who don’t believe are living all around you. They may say that you are doing wrong. So live such good lives that they will see the good you do, and they will give glory to God on the day he comes.
Obey Every Human Authority
13 Be willing to serve the people who have authority in this world. Do this for the Lord. Obey the king, the highest authority.
14 And obey the leaders who are sent by the king. They are sent to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do good.
15 When you do good, you stop ignorant people from saying foolish things about you. This is what God wants.
16 Live like free people, but don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live as those who are serving God.
17 Show respect for all people. Love your brothers and sisters in God’s family. Respect God, and honor the king.
The Example of Christ’s Suffering
18 Slaves, be willing to serve your masters. Do this with all respect. You should obey the masters who are good and kind, and you should obey the masters who are bad.
19 One of you might have to suffer even when you have done nothing wrong. If you think of God and bear the pain, this pleases God.
20 But if you are punished for doing wrong, there is no reason to praise you for bearing that punishment. But if you suffer for doing good and you are patient, this pleases God.
21 This is what you were chosen to do. Christ gave you an example to follow. He suffered for you. So you should do the same as he did:
22 “He never sinned,
and he never told a lie.” Isaiah 53:9
23 People insulted him, but he did not insult them back. He suffered, but he did not threaten anyone. No, he let God take care of him. God is the one who judges rightly.
24 Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross. He did this so that we would stop living for sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you were healed.
25 You were like sheep that went the wrong way. But now you have come back to the Shepherd and Protector of your lives.