As Living Stones, God’s Chosen FamilyTherefore, laying aside all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander, 2 like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation, 3 if you have tasted the kindness of the Lord. 4 And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For this is contained in Scripture:
“Behold, I lay in Zion a choice stone, a precious corner stone,
And he who believes upon Him will not be put to shame.” 7 This precious value, then, is for you who believe; but for those who disbelieve,
“The stone which the builders rejected,
This became the chief corner stone,” 8 and,
“A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”They stumble because they are disobedient to the word, and to this stumbling they were also appointed. 9 But you are a chosen family, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul, 12 by keeping your conduct excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good works, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Be Subject to Authority13 Be subject for the sake of the Lord to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do good. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing good you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 16 Act as free people, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as slaves of God. 17 Honor all people, love the brethren, fear God, honor the king. 18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are crooked. 19 For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unrighteously. 20 For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it, you endure, this finds favor with God.
Christ, Our Example21 For to this you have been called, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that you should follow in His steps, 22 who did no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; 23 who being reviled, was not reviling in return; while suffering, He was uttering no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously. 24 Who Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that having died to sin, we might live to righteousness; by His wounds you were healed. 25 For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.