Monday, January 9, 2012

7. First Peter 2

(This is the fourth in a series of ten posts counting down my ten favorite chapters in the New Testament. My friend David is also counting down his ten favorite chapters in the New Testament. You can find the corresponding post on his blog by clicking here.)

The end of First Peter chapter 1 mentions regeneration, which is the beginning of our Christian life, but chapter 2 covers just about everything that happens throughout the rest of our Christian life - growth, transformation, building, and suffering. In verse 23 of chapter 1, Peter likens regeneration to the planting of a seed. So naturally, the next step is for that seed to grow. How does the seed, which is the life of Christ, grow within us? Verse 2 has the answer:
"As newborn babes, long for the guileless milk of the word in order that by it you may grow unto salvation."
As newly regenerated believer is a newborn babe in the Lord and ready for some nourishment. As Christians, we all grow by taking the word of God as our nourishment, and the result of that growth is further salvation. But as we grow, we are also being transformed, as revealed in verses 4-5:
"Coming to Him, a living yourselves also, as living stones..."
Christ is the living stone (He is also the cornerstone, topstone, foundation stone, precious stone, stumbling stone, smiting stone, and the cleft rock in the Bible). As we grow, more of Christ's stone element is added to us and we also are transformed into living stones. Transformation indicates an inward metabolic change. It doesn't make too much sense scientifically for stones to be living, but the fact that the stones are living allows for transformation.

But what are stones for? Stones are for building. God is not after a bunch of individual transformed stones; he is after transformed stones built together corporately as a spiritual house (verse 5). The purpose of the spiritual house is found in verse 9:
"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people acquired for a possession, so that you may tell out the virtues of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light."
Everything that the Lord has done for us - regenerating us, growing in us, transforming us, and building us up together - is for the proclaiming of Christ so that others may enter into this same process.

Finally, the chapter ends with a more sober message, but one all Christians need to hear. The Christian life is many times a life of suffering. Sometimes, the suffering may be entirely unfair. Verses 19-20 are encouraging word for Christians under a time of suffering:
"For this is grace, if anyone, because of a consciousness of God, bears sorrows by suffering unjustly...if, while doing good and suffering, you endure, this is grace with God."
Christ Himself left us a model how to receive grace by suffering (verses 21-25). Actually, the section on suffering is very much related to the early part of the chapter. If we remain open to the Lord, it is often in times of suffering that we experience the most growth, transformation, and building.


thejoyofgermany said...

Yay! Definitely one of my favorite chapters. I have to say...I am agreeing with you completely on most of these...if Romans 8 is somewhere in the running, I may just have to steal your list. And Ephesians 3. =)

thejoyofgermany said...

Yay! One of my absolute favorite chapters! As well as Philippians 3. Now I am excited to see if my other favorite chapters make it onto your list.

Oh. And I might steal this idea for my blog. Just to let you know.

Leon Dean said...

Steal away...I would love to see some more top tens out there.

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