So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.2 Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation— 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, 5 you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it stands in Scripture:
“Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious,
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
7 So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone,”
“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. – 1 Peter 2:1-8
When I was in college my parents decided to remodel the basement of the 60-plus-year-old house in which we lived. There are many realities that go along with a house built in 1923, with uneven basement floors, challenging plumbing and electrical wiring, and low ceilings. To top it off, we decided to do this on the cheap.
We bought used 2X4’s for the framing, and the cheapest particle board paneling we could find. We laid vinyl tile over the very uneven floor. We hung 2X4 ceiling tiles (again the cheapest we could buy) in the grid that we had to finagle to get straight cuts and square tiles to fit. By we, I actually mean me. During that project we took the throw-away lumber and other overlooked building materials to do our project.
Although Jesus is described here as the stone the builders rejected, he is not inferior building material. In fact he is the most precious, choice, and worthy cornerstone upon which God’s church will be built.
Peter speaks here of the church as a building; something built on stone. Recall how Jesus spoke to Peter, “You are Peter and on this rock [emphasis mine] I will build my church…” (cf. Matthew 16). Peter uses the image of a house to describe the church, no doubt because he was deeply touched by Jesus’ words to him.
Perhaps that also shaped his commentary on doing away with “malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander.” Peter was a colorful, full-throttle man with his heart on his sleeve. He struggled to keep his mouth shut. It would make sense that he would recognize how an uncontrolled mouth might not be the best reflection of God’s work in your life.
The grace and truth revealed in God’s word is precious and powerful. God’s word is pure, gracious, truthful, with grace and mercy for all. Through that pure spiritual milk of God’s word we will grow up into the salvation that has been won for us by our Lord Jesus.