1 Peter 2

1 So you must refuse to do any evil things. Do not tell lies to deceive people. Do not be hypocrites. 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. Then you will continue to grow as believers so that God saves you. 3 Do this, because you have already begun to know how kind the Lord is to you.

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 offerings that you give 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 the city of Jerusalem, either on earth or in heaven. Jerusalem, the capital of Israel, was the place where the Israelites built the Temple.

Anyone who believes in him will never be disappointed.’

2:6See Isaiah 28:16.

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.’

2:7See Psalm 118:22. Many years before Jesus lived on the earth, the Israelites 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 also says this:

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

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

2:8See Isaiah 8:14.

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

9 But you are not like that. You are a special group of people that God has chosen. You serve God like priests who serve a King. You are his own holy people who belong to him. 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 did not forgive you. But now he has been very kind to you and he has forgiven you.

2:10See Hosea 1:6; 1:9; 2:23.

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. 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 as judge, they will give honour to him.

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 sent them to 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 do not think, ‘Because I am free, I can do any bad thing that I want to do.’ 17 Respect all people. Love the believers as you would love your family. 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. If you know that you are serving God, 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 is cruel to you, nobody should praise you for that. But your master may punish you even when 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 when trouble comes. 22 The Bible says this:

‘He never did anything that was wrong.

He never said anything that was not true.’

23 People insulted Christ, but he did not say any bad thing to answer 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 fairly. 24 When Christ died on the cross, he carried our sins in his own body. He took this punishment so that sin would no longer rule over 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.

2:24See Isaiah 53:4, 12.
2:24‘Well’ means that we become well in our spirits.