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The Living Stone and the Holy Nation

2 1So don't do anything to hurt [other people], don't lie, don't do things to fool people, don't be jealous, don't say bad things about people. Put all these things out of your life. 2Be like babies that are newly born. Be hungry for the pure milk (teaching) that feeds your spirit. By drinking that you can grow up and be saved. 3You have already tasted the goodness of the Lord. 4The Lord [Jesus] is the "stone"* that lives. The people [of the world] decided they did not want that stone (Jesus). But he was the stone God chose. To God he was worth much. So come to him. 5You also are like living stones. God is using you to build a spiritual temple.* You are to serve God in that temple as holy priests. You are to give spiritual sacrifices* to God that he will accept because of Jesus Christ. 6The Scripture* says: "Look, I have chosen a precious (valuable) cornerstone,* and I put that stone in Zion*; the person that trusts in him will never be disappointed." Isaiah 28:16

7That stone (Jesus) is worth much to you people who believe. But to the people who don't believe, he is: "the stone that the builders decided they did not want. That stone became the most important stone." Psalm 118:22

8To people who don't believe, he is: "a stone that makes people stumble, a stone that makes people fall." Isaiah 8:14

People stumble because they don't obey what God says. This is what God planned to happen to those people. 9But you are chosen people. You are the King's priests. You are a holy* nation of people. You are people who belong to God. God chose you to tell about the wonderful things he has done. He called (brought) you out of darkness (sin) into his wonderful light. 10At one time you were not God's people. But now you are God's people. In the past you had never received mercy. But now you have received mercy [from God].

Live for God

11Dear friends, you are like visitors and strangers [in this world]. So I beg you to stay away from the evil things your bodies want to do. These things fight against your soul. 12People who don't believe are living all around you. Those people may say that you are doing wrong. So live good lives. Then they will see the good things you do, and they will give glory to God on that day when he comes.

Obey Every Human Authority

13Obey the people who have authority* in this world. Do this for the Lord. Obey the king who is the highest authority. 14And obey the leaders who are sent by the king. They are sent to punish people who do wrong and to praise those people who do good. 15So when you do good, you stop foolish people from saying stupid things about you. This is what God wants. 16Live like free men. But don't use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Live like you are serving God. 17Show respect for all people. Love all the brothers and sisters of God's family. Fear (respect) God, and honor the king.

The Example of Christ's Suffering

18Slaves, accept the authority of your masters. Do this with all respect. You should obey the masters that are good and kind, and you should obey the masters that are bad. 19A person might have to suffer even when he has done nothing wrong. If that person thinks of God and bears the pain, then this pleases God. 20But if you are punished for doing wrong, there is no reason to praise you for bearing that punishment. But if you suffer for doing good, and you are patient, then that pleases God. 21That is what you were called to do. Christ gave you an example to follow. You should do the same as he did. [You should be patient when you suffer], because Christ suffered for you. 22"He (Christ) did no sin, and no lies were found in his mouth." Isaiah 53:9

23People said bad things to Christ, but he did not say bad things to them. Christ suffered, but he did not threaten (speak against) the people. No! Christ let God take care of him. God is the One who judges rightly. 24Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross. He did this so that we would stop living for sin and live for what is right. By his (Christ's) wounds you were healed. 25You were like sheep that went the wrong way. But now you have come back to the Shepherd and Protector of your lives.

stone The most important stone in God's spiritual temple or house (his people). temple God's house, where God's people worship him. sacrifices A sacrifice is a gift or offering for God. Scripture Part of the Holy Writings--Old Testament. cornerstone The first and most important rock of a building. Zion Another name for Jerusalem, the city of God's chosen people. holy God's people are called holy because they are made pure through Christ, and they belong only to God. people ... authority Rulers, governors, presidents, or other government leaders.

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