So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.
Now, like infants at the breast, drink deep of God's pure kindness. Then you'll grow up mature and whole in God.
You've had a taste of God.
Welcome to the living Stone, the source of life. The workmen took one look and threw it out; God set it in the place of honor.
Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you'll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.
The Scriptures provide precedent: Look! I'm setting a stone in Zion, a cornerstone in the place of honor. Whoever trusts in this stone as a foundation will never have cause to regret it.
To you who trust him, he's a Stone to be proud of, but to those who refuse to trust him, The stone the workmen threw out is now the chief foundation stone.
For the untrusting it's . . . a stone to trip over, a boulder blocking the way. They trip and fall because they refuse to obey, just as predicted.
But you are the ones chosen by God, chosen for the high calling of priestly work, chosen to be a holy people, God's instruments to do his work and speak out for him, to tell others of the night-and-day difference he made for you -
from nothing to something, from rejected to accepted.
Friends, this world is not your home, so don't make yourselves cozy in it. Don't indulge your ego at the expense of your soul.
Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they'll be won over to God's side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives.
Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. Respect the authorities, whatever their level;
they are God's emissaries for keeping order.
It is God's will that by doing good, you might cure the ignorance of the fools who think you're a danger to society.
Exercise your freedom by serving God, not by breaking the rules.
Treat everyone you meet with dignity. Love your spiritual family. Revere God. Respect the government.
You who are servants, be good servants to your masters - not just to good masters, but also to bad ones.
What counts is that you put up with it for God's sake when you're treated badly for no good reason.
There's no particular virtue in accepting punishment that you well deserve. But if you're treated badly for good behavior and continue in spite of it to be a good servant, that is what counts with God.
This is the kind of life you've been invited into, the kind of life Christ lived. He suffered everything that came his way so you would know that it could be done, and also know how to do it, step-by-step.
He never did one thing wrong, Not once said anything amiss.
They called him every name in the book and he said nothing back. He suffered in silence, content to let God set things right.
He used his servant body to carry our sins to the Cross so we could be rid of sin, free to live the right way. His wounds became your healing.
You were lost sheep with no idea who you were or where you were going. Now you're named and kept for good by the Shepherd of your souls.
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)