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1Peter  ◦   Chapter 2

1Therefore rid yourselves of all manifestations of the infection of fear and selfishness such as malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind, and notice how each of these harm others and promote self.2Instead of acting to promote self, become like newborn babies: not only craving the pure spiritual milk of love and truth, but trusting your Father to provide your needs, so that your minds and characters may be fully healed and you may grow to become mature friends of God.3Do this in confidence, as you have now experienced for yourselves that the Lord is truly good.

4And as you come to Christ, who was rejected by people but was chosen by God and is precious to God because he is the living Foundation Stone of God's true temple5realize that you also are living stones — the conscious, breathing, sentient building blocks — whom God is using to construct his eternal temple. You are a holy priesthood bringing intelligent, reasonable and loving self-sacrifice — that is in harmony with God’s character of love — through your union with Jesus Christ.6This is exactly what the Scripture is talking about:

"See, I will put a Stone in the Land of Promise: an especially chosen, perfect foundation Stone; and whoever trusts in him and is set in harmony with him will never be put to shame."

7For you, who know and trust God, this Stone is life's one true treasure; but to those who don't know or trust God, "This Stone was thought to be worthless, and rejected; but it is actually the one upon whom all life is built."

8"A Stone of pure love that trips up selfish human beings, and a Rock of holiness, humility and truth, over whom the sinful, proud and deceitful fall." They trip and fall because they prefer selfishness to love, and unhealed selfishness is a terminal condition–exactly as God diagnosed.

9But you, who trust God and build upon the Stone, are a select and special people — royal ministers of God’s healing Remedy, a clean and purified nation, a people whose hearts and minds are in unity and oneness with God — who with words and lives may commend him who called you out of the darkness of fear and selfishness into his wonderful light of truth and love.10Prior to the healing of your minds and hearts, you were not a family — but now you are the unified children of God; for you had previously not accepted God’s merciful Remedy — but now you have received it.

11My dear friends, since you are now part of God's kingdom, you are his ambassadors and representatives; therefore do not choose to indulge selfish and sinful desires, as such indulgence damages the mind and warps the character.12Instead, live such selfless, loving and godly lives among the godless that though they may slander you, they may see your beneficent care for others and acknowledge God as righteous on the day he returns.

13Commit yourselves fully to the Lord's cause and glorify him by promoting the good news about God, and don't get diverted into politics: whether seeking to change rulers,14or governors, or judges who have been appointed to punish the guilty and reward those who do good.15For it is by God's design that you will reveal his character of love by doing good and thereby silence foolish people from saying stupid things, like accusing you of pursuing earthly power in order to control others.16Live as the free people you are in Christ, serving God and others in love and not indulging in evil.17Treat everyone with dignity: love and cherish your spiritual family, be in admiration and awe of God, and be respectful of earthly governments.

18If you are a slave, be respectful to your master and submit to their authority–not just to those who are kind and good, but also to those who are cruel and severe.19For God is pleased when we freely choose to honor him by graciously bearing unjust treatment and thereby revealing his character of selfless love.20How is God's healing of your character revealed if you endure a beating for doing wrong? But if you are beaten for doing good, and graciously endure it, this reveals the character of God and brings him honor.21This is what you were called to do: reveal God's character in your life, because Christ suffered for your healing and restoration–giving a perfect revelation of God–and you should model your life after his.

22"Christ never sinned, not even in thought. He never spoke a lie or practiced deceit."

23When they called him every foul name imaginable, he was compassionate and did not seek revenge; when he was tortured, he forgave and made no threats. He understood the greater reality and entrusted himself to his Father who accurately assesses everyone's true condition.24He took upon himself our sinfulness (our terminal condition) and in his own person carried it upon the cross so that we could be freed from sin and live the right way — loving God and others more than ourselves. You have been healed by the Remedy procured by his painful ordeal.25For you were like lost sheep wandering aimlessly in the world, but now you have come home to the Shepherd and Defender of your entire being.