Tuesday after the Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: 1 Peter 1:13—2:10 (NKJV)
1:13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
20 He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you 21 who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, 23 having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 24 because “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, 25 But the word of the LORD endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
2:1 Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 4 Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, 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.
6 Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, “Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” 7 Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone,” 8 and “A stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.” They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
We Christians have been redeemed by the blood of Christ, which was sprinkled on us in Holy Baptism. We have been made holy in God’s sight through faith in the precious Blood of the Lamb of God. We have received pure, undeserved mercy from God. Therefore, says Peter, we have a solemn duty to lead holy lives that fit with the holy status we have been granted. Even as God, Who gave us birth through His Word, is holy, so we are called to be holy in all that we do, “set apart” from the sinful world for the sacred service of the holy God.
Such holiness begins with faith, which is born of God’s Word and continually nourished and fed by God’s Word, just as babies are nourished with milk. Faith in Christ purifies the things that we do and makes them acceptable to God, for Jesus’ sake. It makes us into living stones in God’s temple, and priests who offer acceptable sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ.
Those sacrifices are the works of love with which we serve our neighbor, according to our various vocations. We offer priestly sacrifices to God when we do good to our neighbor, pray for him, defend him, and speak the truth to him about his sin and about God’s mercy in Christ. These sacrifices do not atone for sin; only the sacrifice of Christ accomplished that. They are, instead, offerings of thanksgiving, offered up daily by thankful priests, by Christians who have been chosen by God and called out of darkness into the marvelous light of Christ.