Wednesday, July 28, 2010

1 Peter 5 – Elder Shepherds

[Topics in 1 Peter – Election and inheritance, Separation, Submission, Suffering]

I Peter 5:1-7

About 20 years ago a funny piece was written called "The Perfect Pastor". It's a wonderful composite of the expectations that every pastor feels from his people:

"After hundreds of years the perfect pastor's been found. He is the leader who'll please everyone. He preaches exactly 20 minutes and then sits down. He condemns sin, but never steps on anybody's toes. He works from eight in the morning to ten at night, doing everything from preaching sermons to sweeping. He makes $400 per week, gives $100 a week to the church, drives a late-model car, buys a lot of books, wears fine clothes, and has a nice family. He always stands ready to contribute to every good cause, and to help panhandlers who drop by the church on their way to somewhere. He is thirty-six years old, and has been preaching forty years. He is tall, on the short side; heavyset, in a thin sort of way; and handsome. He has eyes of blue or brown (to fit the occasion), and wears his hair parted in the middle – left side dark and straight, right side brown and wavy. He has a burning desire to work with the youth, and spends all his time with the senior citizens. He smiles all the time while keeping a straight face, because he has a keen sense of humor that finds him seriously dedicated. He makes fifteen calls a day on church members, spends all his time evangelizing nonmembers, and is always found in his study if he is needed. Unfortunately he burned himself out and died at the age of thirty two."

Now that's a heavy burden to carry! While the exaggeration of "pastoral expectations" is humorous, the effect of them can be painfully real. In his book "Pastors at Risk", H.B. London quotes some startling statistics from a survey of pastors conducted in 1991 by the Fuller Institute:
80% believe that pastoral ministry has affected their families negatively
33% say that being in the ministry is an outright hazard to their family
50% feel unable to meet the needs of the job
90% feel they were inadequately trained to cope with ministry demands
40% report a serious conflict with a parishioner at least once a month
70% do not have someone they consider a close friend

This suggests that Satan is still targeting the "shepherds" to trip up the sheep. In 1 Peter 5:1-4, the apostle relates to his "fellow elders" by reminding them of particular rules that apply to their calling as shepherds of God's flock. He then goes on to address rules for the sheep that are under their particular care in verses 5-7.

I . Rules for Elders (5:1-4)

1 The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed:

[Throughout Scripture, the Holy Spirit affirms that the spiritual leadership and responsibility of the church belongs to elders. The first mention of elders is in Acts 11:30, where they are described as the leaders of the Jerusalem church. Subsequent references (Acts 14:23; 15:4, 6, 22, 23; 16:4, 20:17, 21:18) continue to make clear the elder role within the church. In 1 Timothy 5:17 Paul identifies them as those men who rule while laboring "in the word and doctrine". Titus 1:5 establishes that elders were to lead every church in every city. The qualifications for such men appear in 1Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9.

The word for elder is (presbuteos; cf. 1 Tim. 5:19; 2 John 1; 3 John 1).

The word "elder" emphasizes the man's spiritual maturity necessary for such ministry.

2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;

[The task of the elder to "shepherd the flock" carries with it an unequaled responsibility before the Lord of the church. While it includes the positive elements of spiritual leadership toward maturity and Christ-likeness, and spiritual guardianship to protect the flock, its chief objective is the feeding of the flock through the skillful preaching and teaching of divine revelation, which is the source of all those positive elements.

Some manuscripts add "according to God" after "willingly", highlighting a willing response to the call of God to leadership. In John 21:15-17 we remember the encounter on the sea shore between Simon and His Savior. Jesus asked Simon Peter three times if he loved Him, and following Peter's affirming response Jesus commanded Him, "feed my sheep" 3 times but used slightly different words to convey 3 tasks – feed the young lambs, shepherd the flock, feed the flock. Peter warns the elders about three dangerous temptations in ministry leadership: 1) laziness (not by compulsion), 2) the love of money (dishonest gain), and 3) lording their position over others (being lords over those entrusted to you – suggesting a prideful heart).

They should instead serve the flock of God "willingly", "eagerly", and humbly; knowing that it is Christ Who has called them, commissioned them, and will hold them accountable. ]

3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;

[Peter, then admonishes the elders to "be examples to the flock". Pastors are to establish a pattern of godliness for their people to follow. The most important aspect of spiritual leadership and the best test of its effectiveness is the power of an exemplary life (see the Apostle Paul's application of this in Acts 20:17-38; 2 Cor. 1:12-14; 6:3-13; 11:7-11; 1 Thess. 2:1-10; 2 Thess. 3:7-9; 2 Tim. 1:13-14). Paul even went so far as to exhort his "sheep" to be imitators of him (I Cor. 4:16; 11:1; 1 Thess. 1:6)!]

4 and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.

[Peter reminds his fellow elders that one day (Christ's revelation at the Second Coming) the Chief Shepherd (Jesus Himself) will appear and reward them with the "crown of glory". In the Greco-Roman world of Peter's day, crowns rather than trophies were the awards for victory at athletic events. Paul speaks of the imperishable crowns that await believers who run the race of faith in 1 Cor. 9:24-25.

James wrote of the crown that is life (James 1:12). Paul wrote of the crown which is righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8), and the crown that is rejoicing (I Thess. 2:19). Even the finest of earthly crowns will eventually rust, or fade away, but all facets of these crowns are of eternal blessing and are imperishable!

The reward of eternal glory ought to be all the reason any shepherd needs for desiring to serve faithfully. The full expression of a shepherd's eternal, glorious crown will be in proportion to his faithful service on earth (1 Cor. 9:24-27; 2 Cor. 5:10; 2 Tim. 4:6-8; Rev. 2:10).

Shepherding the flock is a serious, sobering responsibility, and elders are accountable to God for their ministry. James was fully aware of that accountability when he wrote, "Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgment" (James 3:1).

Not only does Peter admonish the Shepherds in this passage, he admonishes the sheep under their care. ]

II. Rules for the Sheep (5:5-7)

5 Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for
      " God resists the proud,
gives grace to the humble."(Prov. 3:34)

[Peter uses homoios ("likewise" or "in the same way") as a transition word. The word marks a change of focus from one group to another. In verse 1-4 Peter addressed church leaders; now he turns to the congregation. As shepherds submit to the Chief Shepherd, so the flock submits to their shepherds.

Submission is a fundamental attitude of spiritual maturity (1 Cor. 6:15; 1 Thess. 5:12-14; Titus 3:1,2; Heb. 13:7, 17).

Although no one is exempt from Peter's exhortation that everyone is to be submissive to their "elders", he targets specifically the "younger people". Though it is not stated in this context why he singled them out, he probably did so because they generally tend to be the most aggressive and headstrong members of any group.

The term that Peter uses for "submit" in this verse is a military terms which means to "line up under". He calls everyone in the church to put aside self-promoting pride and willingly and respectfully place themselves under the leadership of their shepherds (cf. 1 Tim. 5:17; Heb. 3:7).

Given the previous context of verses 1-4, "elders" clearly refers to spiritual leaders, the shepherds and pastors, not merely to older saints. That the entire church has the obligation to submit to those God has placed in authority over it, is also a theme in Paul's letters:

"Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first-fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints), that you also be in subjection to such men and to everyone who helps in the work and labors" (1 Cor. 16:15-16).

"But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another" (1 Thess. 5:12-13).

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Purpose of Suffering

1 Peter 3

Suffering for Right and Wrong

And who
is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness' sake, you are blessed. "And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled."
(Isaiah 8:12) 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;

[Is Christ the Lord of your heart? If so we are to have a different toward suffering. The natural man will avoid suffering, but the spiritual man will suffer boldly, motivated by his faith. The world can only threaten us in the physical sense which is temporary, but the Lord gives us a hope last lasts forever, knowing we receive an eternal inheritance in Jesus.]


16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

[Nobody wants to suffer, but we are soldiers of the cross. Does a soldier go into battle expecting that the enemy will not try to kill him? Imagine a boxer who goes into the ring and complains that his opponent is trying to hit him. If you are going to suffer, suffer for doing good not evil, that your suffering will honor God and fulfill his purpose. For a soldier it dishonors you to get shot in the back, because that probably means you were running away from the battle. So it is for a Christian if our suffering is caused by our own bad conduct.]

Christ's Suffering and Ours

18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us
(you) to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit, 19 by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,

[In suffering for our redemption, Christ became a "life giving spirit", he preached in the prison of fallen angels (the world) who were cast out of heaven.

1 Corinthians 15

45 And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord from heaven.

This does not means that Jesus became the Holy Spirit, but rather that he surrendered his temporary physical body, to put on his eternal glorified spiritual body. A spiritual body seems paradoxical but not when you consider the entire physical world is temporary, and only the spiritual world is eternal.]

20 who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited
in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.

[The longsuffering God waited patiently to judge the world while one man built the arc, so that mankind could be saved passing through the flood.]

21 There is also an antitype (a figure or example) which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.

[Baptism is a figure of the resurrection of Jesus, and only the redeemed can receive this scriptural baptism. So that the suffering that lead to Christ resurrection returned him to his former glory in heaven, and through salvation his suffering returns us to a right standing or "good conscience" toward God. Not that we had earned something in being baptized, but that the suffering of Christ delivered us from our own guilt. This reconciliation with the eternal God, so that man can have a relationship with God, is the original intent of God for man in creation.]

1 Peter 4

 1 Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.

[Notice Peter is using the same battle symbolism we discussed earlier. "Arm yourselves" with the mind of Christ, knowing that when you have suffered like Christ, you have overcome the desires of the flesh. We are to use this success in overcoming the flesh to do the will of God.]

3 For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. 4 In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you.
5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

[Here we have a dark description of the depravity of man; lusts, drunkenness, idolatries. The world gets upset with the redeemed when we don't run after the same things they seek, even calling Christians "evil" when we stand for righteousness. But the upgodley men of this world will face the God of creation who judges all men. That is why the gospel is preached to the spiritually dead, because death alone will not save them from judgment. Only those born again of the spirit, will live for God by the Spirit.]

Serving for God's Glory

7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins."
(Proverbs 10:12) 9
Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him
speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

[Notice the sharp contrast between the depravity of the natural man, and the good works of the redeemed; prayers, love, hospitality, stewardship. All the things abound to the glory of God in the lives of his people.]

Suffering for God's Glory

12 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.[d] On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. 15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. 16 Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.[e]
17 For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18 Now

      " If the righteous one is scarcely saved,
      Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?"
(Proverbs 11:31)

 19 Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.

[All suffering we might experience in the physical world is temporary. All the rewards we will reap in the spiritual world are eternal. When God asks us to suffer for the souls of others will we be submissive and obedient to his will, or will we behave as the natural man and avoid suffering. When Jesus was faced with this choice he had a simple answer; "not my will but thine". Jesus endured suffering for the eternal purpose of redemption, and inherited the glory of his kingdom, not for himself only, but for all who follow him in this way.]

Monday, July 12, 2010

1 Peter 2&3 – From Separation to Submission

1 Peter 2

Living Before the World

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

[As we studied last week at the end of Romans 7, there is a conflict between the desires of the flesh, and the Spirit of God, these ware against the soul, or the mind of the believer. People who are really pilgrims realize the world is not their hometown any more, as we are citizens of God's kingdom. It is the task of a pilgrim to pass through this world while abstaining from its lustful experiences.]

12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

[It matters to God how we conduct ourselves here on earth. We are to behave honorably. The word for gentile is "ethnos" meaning heathens, or unbelievers. We will sometimes be called evil doers by these unbelievers because they have a different set of values. But even in their blinded state they will remember works of kindness. A day might come when they see the connection between what we believe, and they good works we do in Jesus name. In that day they will glorify God, because he is the one who transforms us through the power of redemption. But this will only happen when our lives are truly separated to God, free from the corruption of this world, and filled with works that glorify God.]

1 Thessalonians 5:23 

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[spirit – pneuma, soul – psuche, body – soma

The Lord will sanctify or separate you completely; the word for saint means something holy. Either God will separate you from your sin, or your sin will separate you from God.]

Submission to Government

13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

[Here is an interesting paradox, that Jesus has freed us from the bondage of sin and the law, and by his grace has given us this liberty, yet in the context of that freedom he asks us to submit. But there is no contradiction; in that our submission is just another example of our Christ likeness. The pre-incarnate Christ had all the rights of the creator of the universe, yet Jesus taking on the form of man willingly submitted himself to the eternal purpose of God. He further submitted to the authority of his parents (Luke 2), and even to the civil and religious authorities who would conspire to condemn him.


Yet there are some who say that they have trusted Jesus and use their freedom from the law as an opportunity to sin. Here Peter refutes this attitude, and asks that we make ourselves bondservants of God. A bondservant submits to a master as payment of a debt. ]

Submission to Masters

18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

[Who has never experienced a bad boss? Here it explains we submit not just to the virtuous, but also to the harsh, and unworthy. Not that we should do things which are illegal, unethical, or immoral, but we honor an unjust master, respect his authority and accept his judgments even when we are treated unfairly. We do this as a debt owed to God, and when we suffer long with patience, this honors God.]


21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
" Who committed no sin,
      Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; (Isaiah 53:9)

 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

[Verse 21 tells us this submission is part of our calling, because it was also part of Christ's example to us. When Jesus bore unrighteous judgment, he did it trusting in God, not trusting the earthly rulers. To die to our own sins, requires that we conquer pride and our sense of entitlement. Instead we place our faith in God, when we submit to even unjust punishment. Remember Jesus is the Overseer of our souls, it is the same word used for Bishop, someone watching over us, responsible to God for the outcome.]

1 Peter 3

Submission at home

 1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.

[So submission is not just for the convenient or desired relationships, It's also for the awkward and difficult. This even applies to a woman who married an unbeliever, when she herself has been converted. Peter says that such a woman can persuade her husband to trust the Lord by virtue of her submissive attitude. So whether your spouse is a Christian or not, your submission is part of God's purpose. Ephesians 5 says this submission is "as unto the Lord". It's not contingent on the quality of your husband's leadership, but each home has one leader, in the same way that Christ is the head of the church.]


3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

[This one is simple; be as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. Peter tells us that a gentile and quiet spirit, is precious in the sight of God, and more attractive than any hair style you could ever wear.]


5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

A Word to Husbands

7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being
heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

[For husbands it's not any easier than it is for wives. We are commanded to deal with our wife in understanding, honor, and tender loving care. The example is the way you handle fragile containers like glass. When moving we wrap the glass carefully and mark the box "fragile", not complain that they are made of glass. For men to fail in this attitude would even hinder your prayers to God.]

Called to Blessing

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

[Outside the home we are called to be compassionate, tenderhearted, and kind. In short be a blessing to others, so God may himself share his blessings with us.]


10 For
      " He who would love life
      And see good days,
       Let him
refrain his tongue from evil,
      And his lips from speaking deceit.
Let him
turn away from evil and do good;
       Let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the LORD
on the righteous,
       And His ears
are open
to their prayers;
      But the face of the LORD is
against those who do evil."
(Psalm 34)

[Speak no evil, do no evil, instead to good. For the "eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers". Who doesn't want the blessing of God? God clearly ties his blessing to our conduct.

Ephesians 2:10 

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Submission is a difficult doctrine because of pride an emotion. In the world we are taught to assert our rights, not submit our will. Even though we are called to submit to authority it is a matter of grace not of law. We are never to use submission as a method of human control, but those who submit do it for the Lord, trusting he gives them the grace to submit. And to those who do submit and are a blessing to others, God has promised his blessing in return. This is a part of our calling, if we truly trust in His grace.]

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

1 Peter 2 - Separation

The Enduring Word

22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because

      " All flesh
as grass,
      And all
the glory of man[f]
as the flower of the grass.
      The grass withers,
      And its flower falls away,
But the
word of the LORD endures forever."

(Isaiah 40:6-8)

    Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.

[The word for soul refers to the life, the mind, the innermost part of a man. The transformation brought by renewing your mind, purifies your life, by obeying the word of truth under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. The result of this purification is Christian love. But please note this transformation is only possible after being born again. Too often Christians in the political realm decry the sin of the world without realizing this is their natural state. I do not hope for sinners to be more acceptable sinners, I hope for their regeneration in Christ Jesus.

The flesh and all it can achieve is temporary, but the things brought about by the word of truth will endure. The life of sin is short term gain for eternal loss, but the life of a believer is short term work for everlasting benefits.]



13    unprepared

14    ignorant

15    lustful

17    self justified

18    corruptible

20    indebted

22    unclean

23    decay









Born again


(Romans 12:2)

1 Peter 2

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord
is gracious.

[The work of salvation is to separate you from your sin so that you can be made holy to God. This is a continuing process throughout your Christian life. This desire for the word of God and the growth it brings is evidence of your conversion. As babies desire their mother's milk, so we desire the food of the gospel. Notice the "if" in verse 3. Only if you have tasted the grace of God in salvation, will you have this desire to grow in Christ.

Romans 8 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.

There is an old Gaither song called "The Old Rugged Cross made the Difference" and I love the truth of that song. Salvation makes all the difference, especially when the Spirit of Truth continues its work in our lives, growing in grace. We are separated from sin, separated to God.]

The Chosen Stone and His Chosen People

4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 5 you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,

      " Behold, I lay in Zion
      A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
      And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame."

(Isaiah 28:16)


[The word for stone in verse 4 is "lithos" a stone cut for a particular purpose, Jesus was predestined before the creation of the world to be our redeemer, the cornerstone of our faith. The same word "lithos" is used in verse 5 for us. We are cut or formed in his image, for holiness, we are the temple of the Holy Spirit, and priests, not in the flesh offering the blood of animals, but in the Spirit offering our hearts to God through Jesus Christ. There is no shame, no guilt, for those who trust in Jesus, He paid the penalty for our sin, his blood atones for our guilt.]

7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,

      " The stone which the builders rejected
      Has become the chief cornerstone,"


 8 and

      " A stone of stumbling
      And a rock of offense."

   They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed.

[Jesus is divisive. He is precious, only to those who trust in Him. The word for disobedient in verse 7 is "apeitheo" from which we get the word apathy. We have looked at this word before in Ephesians 2. Its literal meaning is without belief, both translations are correct because unbelief is disobedience to the gospel of Christ. Ephesians 2 makes it clear that those who are apathetic to the gospel are being prepared for the wrath of God. Their unbelief is their crime, their offense. The same Jesus they reject as savior will be their Judge. If you face Jesus as Judge, without first knowing him as savior it will be too late to repent. Those who do not bow in repentance will later bow in shame.]

9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

[Verses 9 and 10 invoke parallels between the Old Testament priesthood and those who trust Christ Jesus.

In Exodus 28 God chooses the sons of Aaron, in John 15 in his discourse on the vine and the branches Jesus said "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit". Further parallels: priests are cleaned from sin before service (Leviticus 8, John 13); priests are specially clothed for service (Exodus 28, Isaiah 61); priest are anointed (Leviticus 8, Acts 2); priests are called to obedience (Leviticus 10, 1 Peter 1)]