1 Peter 2

1 So, you must refuse to do any kind of bad things. Do not tell any lies. Do not be hypocrites in any way. Do not be jealous of other people. Do not say bad things against other people. 2 Instead, you should want to learn about God more and more. New babies always want their mothers' milk, which makes them grow strong. God's true message is like good food that will make you strong in your spirits. Learn more about God every day, so that you continue to grow as believers. Then at the end, God will save you completely from the bad things of this world. 3 Already, you have begun to know how good the Lord is to you. If you really know that, you should want to know him more and more.

Jesus is like the most important stone in God's house

4 So come to the Lord Jesus. He is like a big stone that a builder uses to build a house. But he is alive. People decided that he was not important. So they refused him. But God had chosen him. To God, Jesus is very valuable. 5 You yourselves are also like stones that are alive. God is using you, like stones, to build a house where his Spirit lives. You will serve him like his special priests who offer sacrifices to him. God will be happy with the spiritual gifts that you offer to him, because you belong to Jesus Christ.

2:5In God's house in Jerusalem, Israel's priests offered sacrifices to God on behalf of the people. The sacrifices were special gifts to thank God, or to show that the people were sorry. They were sorry about the wrong things that they had done. We offer ‘spiritual sacrifices’ to God when we obey him completely. We choose always to believe God. We thank him. We do good things, to help other people. These are the kind of ‘spiritual sacrifices’ that we offer.

6 In the Bible, God says this:

‘Look, I have chosen a stone that is very valuable.

I have chosen this stone as the most important stone,

for the corner of my house in Zion.

2:6Zion is another name for Jerusalem city, either on earth or in heaven. Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was the place where Israel's people built God's house.

Anyone who believes in him will never be disappointed.’

7 This stone is very valuable to you who believe in Jesus. But the Bible says this about people who do not believe in him:

‘The builders refused to use a certain stone.

They thought that it had no value.

But now that stone has become the most important stone at the corner of the building.’

2:7Many years before Jesus lived on the earth, Israel's people built a special house for God. See 1 Kings 6-8. The stone at the corner of the house was the most important stone. It made the whole building strong and safe. It was the first stone that the builders put into its place. Then they put other stones next to it and above it, to build the walls. It was a big, square stone with very straight sides. So it made all the walls of the house straight and strong. Jesus is like the stone at the corner of God's house. God's true house is a spiritual house. God builds his true house with people who belong to Jesus Christ.

8 The Bible says this also:

‘This stone will cause people to fall to the ground.

It is a rock that will make them fall down.’

They fall like that because they refuse to obey God's message. God already decided that this would happen to them.

2:8In verses 6-8, Peter includes words from the Old Testament. See Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14. Peter shows that these words are speaking about Jesus.

9 But you are not like that. You are a special group of people that God has chosen. You serve God like priests. You are servants of God, the King. You are his own special people, who obey him completely. You belong to God himself. He has taken you out of the dark place of sin, and he has brought you into his great light. He has done all this so that you can tell people how great he is. 10 In past times, you were not people who knew God. But now you are God's people. In past times, God had not forgiven you. But now he had been very kind to you and he has forgiven you.

11 My friends, remember that you are really strangers in this world. You do not belong here. So I am telling you not to do the bad things that your bodies may want to do. Those bad things fight against what is good for your soul. They stop you from doing good things. 12 You are living among people who do not know God. So be very careful that you always live in a good way. Sometimes these people may wrongly say that you do bad things. But if you continue to live in a good way, they will see that you really do good things. As a result, on the day when God comes and shows himself to people, they will know that he is good.

Obey people who have authority over you

13 Obey all people who have authority in this world. Obey them, because you are servants of the Lord Jesus. First of all, obey the king, who rules everyone. 14 Also obey the officers that serve the king. He has chosen them to rule you on his behalf. They punish people who do bad things. And they praise people who do good things. 15 God wants you to do only what is good. Then silly people will not be able to say bad things against you. Those people do not really know what is true.

16 You are free people. But you are servants of God. So live in a way that will make God happy. Do not think, ‘Because I am free, I can do any bad thing that I want.’ 17 You must respect all people. Love all those people who are like your brothers and sisters because they are also believers. Obey God as your master. Respect the king.

18 You who are slaves must obey your masters. Always respect them. Do that to every kind of master. Obey those who are good and kind. But also obey masters who are not fair to you. 19 This makes God happy. Maybe your master will punish you when you have done nothing wrong. But if you know that you are serving God, you should continue to be patient and brave. 20 But if you do something wrong, then your master ought to punish you. That is only fair. Even if you are brave when he hits you, nobody should praise you for that. But you may have trouble and pain because you have done good things. Then God will be happy, if you are patient and brave. 21 When God chose you to be his servants, he wanted you to be brave like that. Christ had trouble and pain on your behalf. He has shown you how you should live. You must be patient and brave like him. 22 The Bible says this:

‘He never did anything that was wrong.

He never said anything that was not true.’

23 People said bad things against Christ, but he did not say any bad thing back to them. People caused him to have trouble, but he never tried to hurt them in return. Instead, Christ trusted God to help him. He knew that God always judges people in a true way. 24 When Christ died on the cross, he was punished for our sins. His own body received the pain on our behalf. He did this so that bad things would no longer rule us. Instead, we can now do the right things that God wants us to do. Because people hurt Christ's body, you have now become well. 25 Before, you were like sheep that were going the wrong way. But now you have turned round and come to Christ. He is your Shepherd, and he keeps you completely safe.

2:24‘Well’ means ‘well in our spirits’. We were dead in our spirits, because of our old nature. But Christ took away everything that made us dead. He took it away when he died on the cross. So now we can really be alive and we can know God.