“For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10)
Scriptures throughout the New Testament attest that confession is an essential part of the process of conversion. As with faith, it is not the only part as both faith and confession are described as steps that take place as one goes toward salvation.
Before we can confess, we must believe in God and in Jesus as the Son of God. With such faith, a person has a solid foundation for deciding to change from his former life and live in the way Jesus instructs, for telling others about this new-found faith, and for submitting to the watery grave as the final act of obedience of the gospel. Then, Peter says in Acts, the Lord adds that person to His church.
Initially, we are not to confess our sins—rather, we are to confess our faith: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.” This is the confession the Ethiopian made to the evangelist Philipp as he traveled on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza. Then, Philipp baptized him, and he continued on his journey rejoicing.
Fifth and final in a series of studies in 1 Peter 2:1-5
“You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 2:5).
Not only is Jesus Christ a “Living Stone,” those who follow Him are also living stones, not of our own worthiness but because of our attachment to Him. Peter continues the metaphor of a building as he describes those who belong to Jesus.
This same group of believers forms “a holy priesthood,” moving his imagery from a physical temple to a spiritual one and, at the same time, providing a contrast with the Old Testament arrangement. “Holy” means “set apart for a special purpose,” and “priesthood” designates all baptized believers who make up the new spiritual temple under the New Covenant.
The purpose of “priests” under the Old Covenant was to offer physical sacrifices on behalf of all of God’s people; the purpose of “priests” under the New Covenant is to offer spiritual sacrifices—that is, for each believer to perform this function individually by giving his or her own life as a “living sacrifice.”
And God accepts our spiritual sacrifices, not because they make us worthy nor because He is required to, but because His Son and our precious Savior, Jesus the Christ, made acceptable whatever we do in the name of the Lord and according to His will. His supreme sacrifice sealed our acceptance by the Father.
Fourth in a series of studies in 1 Peter 2:1-5
“Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious” (1 Peter 2:4).
That the Apostle Peter’s uses the word “stone” to refer to Jesus is no surprise since both the Old and the New Testaments use this word to indicate something powerful. And when it is used in reference to Jesus, it always denotes a massive rock, not a small, throwing stone.
The word “coming” does not refer to a Christian’s one-time obedience of the first principles of the gospel; rather, it refers to the regular, even daily, reliance on Jesus for spiritual sustenance.
Not a lifeless piece of rock, Jesus is “living,” meaning He is a real, resurrected Savior who will never die again. As well, He has brought spiritual “life” to all who will come before Him in full submission to His will.
That people in the world have rejected Him is meaningless because His Heavenly Father chose Him, once for all, to be the Savior of all mankind. To God, Jesus is indeed, “precious,” as He should be to us.
Third in a series of studies in 1 Peter 2:1-5
“If indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious” (1 Peter 2:3).
Having just admonished his readers to take in the milk of the word so they can grow, Peter continues the metaphor by describing the action they took to be in such a position: they “tasted” the graciousness of the Lord; that is, they obeyed Him.
The word “if” does not suggest doubt: it describes a condition they have met. The word “since” provides more clarity here—they have fulfilled the conditions necessary to be in a relationship with God.
“Tasted” means to “partake of,” and “gracious” refers to God’s goodness and His benevolence. Those who come to the Lord in obedience have come to realize His goodness and to appreciate His benevolent Spirit.
Every person has the invitation to experience the Lord’s benevolence in giving His Son to die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins. Those who reach a full awareness of this great gift are the ones who truly “taste that the Lord is gracious.”
Second in a series of studies in 1 Peter 2:1-5
“as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2).
As Peter turns from listing negative qualities new Christians are to eliminate from their lives, he provides edification and encouragement. In describing new Christians as “babes,” he suggests a contrast between those who have been in Christ for a while and those who are newly baptized.
The apostle then establishes the attitude new Christians are to have: “desire.” As babies strongly desire a mother’s milk, the new Christian is to have a craving to understand more and more about God’s will—our spiritual food. This desire cannot be casual: it must be intense.
The use of the term “milk” establishes some differences in the complexity of scriptures: a person begins by learning the basics of what God expects of those who want to be His children. After mastering the basics, he or she is prepared to understand some of the deeper points of doctrine.
In either case, the milk must be “pure,” that is, it must be “guileless or unadulterated.” God’s word must always be accepted for what it says without any attempts to change its meaning to suit what individuals might want it to say.
Purpose of this process is growth—spiritual growth. As a disciple of Christ, we are to continue learning more of God’s word, growing in faith, and reaching a level of spiritual maturity, thus pleasing God and preparing ourselves for heaven.