So get rid of all malicious behavior and deceit. Don't just pretend to be good! Be done with hypocrisy and jealousy and backstabbing.
You must crave pure spiritual milk so that you can grow into the fullness of your salvation. Cry out for this nourishment as a baby cries for milk,
now that you have had a taste of the Lord's kindness.
Come to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God's temple. He was rejected by the people, but he is precious to God who chose him.
And now God is building you, as living stones, into his spiritual temple. What's more, you are God's holy priests, who offer the spiritual sacrifices that please him because of Jesus Christ.
As the Scriptures express it, "I am placing a stone in Jerusalem, a a chosen cornerstone, and anyone who believes in him will never be disappointed.b"
Yes, he is very precious to you who believe. But for those who reject him, "The stone that was rejected by the builders has now become the cornerstone." c8
And the Scriptures also say, "He is the stone that makes people stumble, the rock that will make them fall." d They stumble because they do not listen to God's word or obey it, and so they meet the fate that has been planned for them.
But you are not like that, for you are a chosen people. You are a kingdom of priests, God's holy nation, his very own possession. This is so you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light.
"Once you were not a people; now you are the people of God. Once you received none of God's mercy; now you have received his mercy." e11
Dear brothers and sisters, you are foreigners and aliens here. So I warn you to keep away from evil desires because they fight against your very souls.
Be careful how you live among your unbelieving neighbors. Even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will believe and give honor to God when he comes to judge the world. f13
For the Lord's sake, accept all authority -- the king as head of state,
and the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish all who do wrong and to honor those who do right.
It is God's will that your good lives should silence those who make foolish accusations against you.
You are not slaves; you are free. But your freedom is not an excuse to do evil. You are free to live as God's slaves.
Show respect for everyone. Love your Christian brothers and sisters. g Fear God. Show respect for the king.
You who are slaves must accept the authority of your masters. Do whatever they tell you -- not only if they are kind and reasonable, but even if they are harsh.
For God is pleased with you when, for the sake of your conscience, you patiently endure unfair treatment.
Of course, you get no credit for being patient if you are beaten for doing wrong. But if you suffer for doing right and are patient beneath the blows, God is pleased with you.
This suffering is all part of what God has called you to. Christ, who suffered for you, is your example. Follow in his steps.
He never sinned, and he never deceived anyone.
He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.
He personally carried away our sins in his own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by his wounds!
Once you were wandering like lost sheep. But now you have turned to your Shepherd, the Guardian of your souls.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)