Live as God’s Chosen People
4 You are coming to Christ, the living stone who was rejected by humans but was chosen as precious by God. 5 You come to him as living stones, a spiritual house that is being built into a holy priesthood. So offer spiritual sacrifices that God accepts through Jesus Christ. 6 That is why Scripture says,
“I am laying a chosen and precious cornerstone in Zion,
and the person who believes in him
will never be ashamed.”
7 This honor belongs to those who believe. But to those who don’t believe:
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,
8 a stone that people trip over,
a large rock that people find offensive.”
The people tripped over the word because they refused to believe it. Therefore, this is how they ended up.
9 However, you are chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, people who belong to God. You were chosen to tell about the excellent qualities of God, who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not God’s people, but now you are. Once you were not shown mercy, but now you have been shown mercy.
11 Dear friends, since you are foreigners and temporary residents ⌞in the world⌟, I’m encouraging you to keep away from the desires of your corrupt nature. These desires constantly attack you. 12 Live decent lives among unbelievers. Then, although they ridicule you as if you were doing wrong while they are watching you do good things, they will praise God on the day he comes to help you.
Respect the Authority of Others
13 Place yourselves under the authority of human governments to please the Lord. Obey the emperor. He holds the highest position of authority. 14 Also obey governors. They are people the emperor has sent to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15 God wants you to silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing what is right. 16 Live as free people, but don’t hide behind your freedom when you do evil. Instead, use your freedom to serve God. 17 Honor everyone. Love your brothers and sisters in the faith. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
18 Slaves, place yourselves under the authority of your owners and show them complete respect. Obey not only those owners who are good and kind, but also those who are unfair. 19 God is pleased if a person is aware of him while enduring the pains of unjust suffering. 20 What credit do you deserve if you endure a beating for doing something wrong? But if you endure suffering for doing something good, God is pleased with you.
21 God called you to endure suffering because Christ suffered for you. He left you an example so that you could follow in his footsteps. 22 Christ never committed any sin. He never spoke deceitfully. 23 Christ never verbally abused those who verbally abused him. When he suffered, he didn’t make any threats but left everything to the one who judges fairly. 24 Christ carried our sins in his body on the cross so that freed from our sins, we could live a life that has God’s approval. His wounds have healed you. 25 You were like lost sheep. Now you have come back to the shepherd and bishop of your lives.