Yesterday, we read about being born again and having a new identity in Christ. We know that God sees us now as completely new, perfected, and righteous. We need to believe the new and eternal name He has for us, not the accusations of Satan or the world. What does that mean for our lives? How does the world see us now? In God’s sight we are noble, but in much of the world’s estimation we are detestable. That cannot stop us from striving to be who God says we are and growing into maturity as the image of Jesus Christ. That begins by living up to our new identity and not living the way we did before Jesus saved us. Verses 1-3 read,
So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
What is the pure spiritual milk we crave? It is the Holy Spirit teaching us and revealing Christ to us. It is His guidance as He divulges the Word of God to us. And it is the unwrapping of the mystery of the Gospel. The more we ask the Lord to feed us the spiritual food He offers, the more we will grow up into who He made us to be. Those of us who have been Christ followers for a little while know that the bread of the Word is better by far than anything the world ever offered. We have tasted have found that the Lord is good. We ask the Lord for more and He is happy to comply. We seek Him and He is happy to be found. We knock and He opens the door (Matthew 7:7-8).
We go to Jesus as the founder, builder, and finisher of our faith, not so that we will look good, but so that we will be made good. Don’t expect the world to applaud. They didn’t admire, receive, or honor Jesus. Verses 4-8 read,
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 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. 6 For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
The world doesn’t honor us, they think we’re fools. They rejected Christ and they reject us, especially as we grow into His image. They think that the way we live, in obedience to the law of love and choosing righteousness is nuts. They not only do not want to obey God, they cannot. That is why our cornerstone, our foundation is their stumbling block. They have to reach a point where they realize their need of Jesus. Our obedience to live as our new self, reveals Jesus to the lost and as they understand that they cannot be good without Him, they will fall to their knees and ask for salvation.
That is where the honor is for us. We get what they are missing. We can be righteous because God made us righteous by Jesus’ blood and He makes us able through the indwelling of His Spirit. The more we look like Jesus, the more we live up to how God sees us. We are part of the kingdom of God! We are chosen by Him and united with Him! That is truly amazing. Verses 9-10 tell us how God sees us.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
We are a people for God’s own possession! He adores us. When God considers you, Believer, He smiles. I for one want to live up to the way God sees me. I want to be worthy of the pleasure I give Him and His calling on my life. Verses 11-17 tell us,
Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
13 Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Just because people in the world do not show us honor, does not mean we have the right to retaliate and dishonor them. God loves the person who ridicules your beliefs as much as He loves you. God wants them to know it. We reflect Jesus for the lost. We live in the kingdom of Heaven no matter where we are and that means treating people well and submitting to authority as a testimony to humility, kindness, and love. The way we interact with others is a witness to who God is and who He has made us to be. Verses 18-25 read,
Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. 24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. 25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
God loved you before you loved Him. Jesus forgave you while you were still a sinner. Romans 5:6-8 says,
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We love people in their sin. Jesus suffered. He did no wrong. He loved people. He healed them. He didn’t wait for them to be worthy of being healed or loved. He simply loved. He not only didn’t wait for people to deserve His love, He made us worth it by taking all our sin onto Himself. He was blameless, but He made us blameless! He died for all of us, for all of them. They whipped Him and beat Him and hung Him on a tree in the most torturous kind of death imaginable, yet Jesus didn’t retaliate. He endured.
The honor the world showed Jesus was non-existent. They lifted Him up to kill Him. But that most cursed of deaths blessed us and gave us new life. Let’s live up to the honor Jesus shows us by living in the way the world cannot. Let’s be Jesus to them and be the stumbling block so that they can know The Rock of Jesus Christ. Let’s love them enough to honor them even though they don’t deserve it yet.