1 So clean up your lives and stop doing bad things. Don’t tell lies but tell the straight and true story. Don’t say you are good if you’re not. Stop being jealous and stop wanting the things that other people have. Don’t rubbish another person.
2 You see, you have to know God’s word better and better. Little babies always want milk. It makes them grow and get strong. Well, just like that, if you know God’s word better it makes your spirits get strong, and God saves you.
3 You see, you already found out that Jesus Christ is really good.
We are joined to Jesus
4 I will tell you a picture story about the way men build a house out of stone. At first they put one good stone in its place. This stone is the important one. They join all the other stones together on to this important stone. Well, this is a picture of Jesus Christ and us. Well, he is like that most important stone. Other people didn’t want him, but God picked him to be the most important one. So come to Jesus and join up with him.
5 Just like stones join together to make a house, you join up with Jesus to make a sacred house for God, so he will live with you. You are like the men that look after God’s ceremonies and that give him good things. Jesus will help you do this and God will be happy with whatever you do.
6 This is what God says about Jesus in his book,
Look I picked out a person that is very dear to me.
He is like that most important stone.
And I put him in that town called Jerusalem.
And if you trust him, God will never shame you.
7 You do trust him, so he is very important for you. But he isn’t important to those that don’t trust him. We read this in God’s book,
The one that the leaders didn’t want
is now the most important one.
8 God’s book also has this about Jesus,
He will be like a stone that people trip over,
so that they fall down and hurt themselves.
They hurt themselves because they don’t listen to God’s word and they don’t do anything it says. Long ago God said this will happen to them.
9 But you are the people God picked out for himself. Together you work for him, like the men that look after his ceremonies. You are his own family. God called you away from doing bad things, so you can do good things. It is like you used to live in the dark so that nobody could see you do bad things there, but now he called you away from that to live in his good light. So let’s tell everyone that God is really great and really good.
10 At one time you were not God’s family, but now, you are in his family. At one time you didn’t understand that God is very good, but now you know that he is. He was very good to you. He saved you.
Keep doing whatever is right and good
11 My friends, your real home is in heaven but right now you are like strangers here in this world. I’m telling you this really strongly. Sometimes you will really want to do something bad, like other people here, but you have to be strong and leave it. You will think, “I really want to do that bad thing,” but then you will think, “My spirit is telling me it is the wrong thing to do.” So you’ve got to leave it.
12 You live in the same place with people that don’t follow Jesus. You have to make up your mind to always do things that are good. Sometimes people might tell lies and blame you and say you have done wrong. But if you always keep doing whatever is right, they will notice that you do good things. Later, after God comes to judge everybody, they will remember the good things you did, and they will respect him.
Show respect to your leaders
13 Our leader, Jesus, wants you to listen to your community leaders and government leaders, and do whatever they say. You have to do this for the most important government boss,
14 and for the ones that he puts up to be your judges. They punish anyone that does wrong. They also notice the people that do the right things and they tell everybody that these people are good.
15 God wants you to live the right way, and if you do that, nobody will have anything to say against you. Those people that want to blame you for no reason or tell lies about you, they will not be able to say anything.
16 You know you are free from that old Jewish law, but that doesn’t mean that you can do something that is wrong. You belong to God and work for him, so you have to do whatever is right.
17 Show respect to everyone. Love other Christians a lot. Thank God and respect him for being good and great. And show respect to the big government boss.
Be like Jesus
18 Some of you are working men. You belong to your bosses. Maybe your boss is good to you, or maybe your boss is rough on you. It doesn’t matter. You have to listen carefully to your boss anyway and do whatever he tells you. Sometimes you do nothing wrong, but your boss makes trouble for you or hits you because you are following Jesus. You have to respect him anyway and take it quietly. Don’t try to pay him back.
19 Then God will be pleased with you and he will say that you are good.
20 But if you do wrong, and your boss hits you, and you take it quietly, that is just the way it goes. Everyone knows you did wrong, so nobody will say that you are good for taking it quietly. But sometimes somebody might punish you for nothing. You have to be like Jesus and take it quietly.
21 If you do that then God will say that you are good. Jesus Christ did nothing wrong, but people beat him. They killed him for nothing. God wants you to copy him and live good, like Jesus lived.
22 In God’s book we read this about Jesus,
He never did anything bad,
he never lied.
23 People rubbished him, but he didn’t rubbish them back. They hit him, with whips, but he didn’t talk to them in a bad way. No, he trusted God. God is the one that judges fairly.
24 Jesus never did bad, but he died in our place there on the cross. He died so that we will stop doing bad but instead we will do the right things. God fixed you up and made you his family.
25 Before that you were like sheep, going the wrong way and getting lost. But now you have come back to God and he looks after you and keeps you safe.