1 Peter 2

The Way We Grow

Having given the exiles reasons to endure, Peter turns his attention to instructing them how to grow into mature followers who are able to endure.

First Growth (1-3)

Peter wants the exiles to know they must rid themselves of:

malice (the motive to hold a grudge or hurt another),
deceit (speaking with hidden motives),
hypocrisy (concealing genuine motives),
envy (the motive to possess what belongs to someone else),
and slander (the motive to verbally assault another for the purpose to harm) (1).

Instead, they were to maintain a childlike quality of craving for the spiritual milk (2). They would know when they had tasted true milk, for even in their suffering, they would recognize the Lord is good (3).

Community Growth (4-8)

They were not only to begin to grow but continue to grow together as house for God. They were to be built together as a house by coming to the Stone (Jesus) Who was rejected by the Jewish leaders (4). They were further to become a spiritual house where their main purpose was to worship (5). Peter then quotes an Old Testament passage (Isaiah 28:16; Psalms 118:22) showing that God recognized Jesus would be rejected but also that those who believed would would never be embarrassed by God’s not fulfilling His promise (6). Peter then made it clear that those who did not believe but were offended by Christ's plan would stumble and be the ones ultimately shamed (7-8).

Ultimate Growth (9-10)

Peter then explains the ultimate destiny for these exiles.

They were to be a:

chosen people (God taking the initiative),
royal priesthood (ministering to the earth for the King and ministering to the King for the earth),
holy nation (a whole new, set apart, ethnic group),
people for His possession (a people belonging to God) (11).

Their whole existence was going to be one great song of praise (11): “We didn't exist, but now we do and look at all the mercy we are receiving" (12).

Practical Growth (11-18)

Part of ultimate growth is practical actions necessary to become His people by nature.

1. They would need to abstain from passions that destroy their souls (11).
2. They would need to keep their conduct open and visible so their good deeds could be seen by all (12).
3. They were to be subject to governing authority (13), treating them as sent from God (14); honoring government is the will of God (15).
4. They were to be free people but not use their freedom to cover up some hidden desire to fulfill their lusts and do what pleased themselves. They were to use their freedom and live as servants (17).
5. They were to honor everyone, including the emperor, and love their brothers (17).
6. Those who were servants were to be subject to their masters, even the bad ones (18).

Suffering Wrongly, the Most Difficult Part of Growing (19-25)

Peter's whole point was simple: enduring sorrows while suffering unjustly was the God-honoring and gracious thing to do (19-20). This was their true calling. Their lives would not be void of hurts but they were called to endure unjust treatment just as Christ gave them an example to follow (21).

Peter points out that while Jesus was suffering He:  

committed no sin,
did not say something deceitful to lighten His suffering,
did not spit back aspersions when accused,
and did not threaten when condemned (23).

Jesus simply bore the unjust suffering for our sins so they could be healed (24).

Peter mentions they had been straying from this calling; they had been refraining from enduring suffering, but they were now returning to let Jesus shepherd and oversee their souls through such moments of unjust suffering (25).