2 So rid yourselves of all badness+ and deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all backbiting. 2 As newborn infants,+ form a longing for the unadulterated* milk of the word, so that by means of it you may grow to salvation,+ 3 provided you have tasted* that the Lord is kind.
4 As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men+ but chosen, precious to God,+ 5 you yourselves as living stones are being built up into a spiritual house+ to be a holy priesthood, in order to offer up spiritual sacrifices+ acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.+ 6 For it says in Scripture: “Look! I am laying in Zion a chosen stone, a precious foundation cornerstone, and no one exercising faith in it will ever be disappointed.”*+
7 It is to you, therefore, that he is precious, because you are believers; but to those not believing, “the stone that the builders rejected,+ this has become the chief cornerstone”*+ 8 and “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”+ They are stumbling because they are disobedient to the word. To this very end they were appointed. 9 But you are “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,+ a people for special possession,+ that you should declare abroad the excellencies”*+ of the One who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.+ 10 For you were once not a people, but now you are God’s people;+ once you had not been shown mercy, but now you have received mercy.+
11 Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and temporary residents+ to keep abstaining from fleshly desires,+ which wage war against you.*+ 12 Maintain your conduct fine among the nations,+ so that when they accuse you of being wrongdoers, they may be eyewitnesses of your fine works+ and, as a result, glorify God in the day of his inspection.
13 For the Lord’s sake subject yourselves to every human creation,*+ whether to a king+ as being superior 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish wrongdoers but to praise those who do good.+ 15 For it is the will of God that by doing good you may silence* the ignorant talk of unreasonable men.+ 16 Be as free people,+ using your freedom, not as a cover* for doing wrong,+ but as slaves of God.+ 17 Honor men of all sorts,+ have love for the whole association of brothers,*+ be in fear of God,+ honor the king.+
18 Let servants be in subjection to their masters with all due fear,+ not only to the good and reasonable but also to those hard to please. 19 For it is agreeable when someone endures hardship* and suffers unjustly because of conscience toward God.+ 20 For what merit is there if you are beaten for sinning and you endure it?+ But if you endure suffering because of doing good, this is an agreeable thing to God.+
21 In fact, to this course you were called, because even Christ suffered for you,+ leaving a model for you to follow his steps closely.+ 22 He committed no sin,+ nor was deception found in his mouth.+ 23 When he was being insulted,*+ he did not insult* in return.+ When he was suffering,+ he did not threaten, but he entrusted himself to the One who judges+ righteously. 24 He himself bore our sins+ in his own body on the stake,*+ so that we might die to* sins and live to righteousness. And “by his wounds you were healed.”+ 25 For you were like sheep going astray,+ but now you have returned to the shepherd+ and overseer of your souls.*