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Sabbath School Lessons on 1 & 2 Peter
About the Author
Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
is the author of these Sabbath School lesson study outlines. He is the Reed Larson Professor of Labor Law at Regent University School of Law. Professor Cameron has devoted his life to promoting the Gospel and defending believers. In addition to teaching at an overtly Christian law school, he continues his 41 year practice of law which is limited to the litigation of constitutional rights and religious freedom cases for employees. He holds an undergraduate degree from Andrews University and a Doctor of Law from Emory University School of Law.
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Lesson 3: A Royal Priesthood *
Introduction: How does God organize His people today? Is it like the
structured organization that began after the Exodus from Egypt? If it
is different, what does that mean as a practical matter for the
present followers of Jesus? How might it impact our theology in
other ways? Last week we ended with Peter telling us that God's word
is eternal and that we are born again to eternal life. The rest of
humanity, however, is fading fast like the grass and the flowers.
Let's jump into our study of the Bible to learn more about what God
has in mind for us who are built for eternity and are sharing an
- Final Touches
- Read 1 Peter 2:1. How would your life be if it was free of
all of these things?
- Would you enjoy life more?
- Would others enjoy being around you more?
- Do you have any idea of how you can "rid yourselves"
of these undesirable attitudes?
- Read 1 Peter 2:2-3. Why does Peter compare us to "newborn
babies?" Does it have anything to do with the fact that we
are "born again?"
- Where do we find "spiritual milk?" (It makes sense
that Peter is talking about God's word since he just
(at the end of the last chapter) told us that God's
word "stands forever.")
- What does this suggest about your ability to "rid"
yourself of these attitudes? (It suggests that this
is not something that you can do on your own. You
need to take in "spiritual milk" to "grow" in this
way. That, of course, is what you are doing right
- What, specifically, is growing? (You are to "grow up
in your salvation." You would expect a "born again"
person to grow.)
- Let's consider what this means about grace.
Does this mean that you are already saved? How
does the instruction to "rid yourselves" of bad
attitudes fit into the question of grace? (This
is a critical point. Peter is not telling us
that we need to rid ourselves of these
attitudes in order to be saved, rather he is
telling us that this is how the saved are to
grow toward greater holiness. If Peter was
talking about ridding ourselves of bad
attitudes, then the statement in 1 Peter 1:23
that we are "born again" of "imperishable" seed
would make no sense.)
- The New Order
- Read 1 Peter 2:4. Who is this "Living Stone?" (It must be
a reference to Jesus.)
- Let's revisit a discussion we had two lessons ago.
Read Matthew 16:16-19. At the time I did not want to
get into a discussion of what Jesus meant by the
"rock" on which the church is built. Some think it is
Peter and some think it is Peter's declaration that
Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. What
have we learned from 1 Peter 2:4 about Peter's
understanding of the rock? (Peter says it is Jesus!
This is powerful evidence that Peter believes that
Jesus' message to him in Matthew 16 that Jesus is the
Rock on which the church is built.)
- Read 1 Peter 2:5. What does this say is being built on the
Rock? (Living stones are built into a "spiritual house to
be a holy priesthood.")
- Who are these living stones? (They are us. They are
people who believe that Jesus is the Son of the
- What did the priests do under the Mosaic system?
(They were God's special representatives. They cared
for the sanctuary, they offered sacrifices, they were
in many ways the connection between God and humans.)
- What does this tell us about the way the church
should be organized today? (Obviously, we are
organized in a very different way than the
organization under Moses. We are all part of the
- What does this say about what you should be doing as
a "living stone" priest? (Let's jump ahead and read 1
Peter 2:9. This confirms that every member is now a
priest. The special duties given to a few men based
on family affiliation in the Old Testament are now
given to all Christians based on our choice to be a
living stone built on Jesus.)
- What, specifically, is our duty? (To praise
God. The specific message is how we were called
out of darkness into the "wonderful light.")
- Let's go back and finish our discussion of 1 Peter 2:5.
What kind of spiritual sacrifices are we offering?
- What does it mean that we offer these spiritual
sacrifices "through Jesus?" (Recall that the animal
sacrifices under the old priesthood system were for
the remission of sin. Thus, our sacrifice includes
telling what Jesus has done for us through His life,
death and resurrection, and it also gets back to the
issue of "ridding" ourselves of bad attitudes through
the power of the Holy Spirit.)
- Is this a sacrifice? (You have a choice to follow
your human nature or follow the promptings of the
Holy Spirit. Advancing the Kingdom of God is a
- Read 1 Peter 2:6. Why mention "shame?" (Jesus had been
killed as a criminal. Peter's audience had fled due to
persecution. God tells us that when we follow Him things
will end well.)
- The Rock Effect
- Read 1 Peter 2:7-8. The Rock causes people to react
differently. Why? (It has to do with belief in Jesus. If
we believe in Him, then He is precious. If we don't
believe in Jesus, we will disobey, stumble and fall.)
- We have another reference to predestination. What
does this mean here? (I would argue that if we do not
believe in Jesus we are destined to stumble and fall.
We make the choice, and the rest automatically
follows. But, let's continue to explore whether we
have a choice in our salvation.)
- Read 1 Peter 2:9-10. If we were predestined one way or the
other, how can we switch from "not a people" to "the
people of God?"
- Read Romans 10:10-13. What does this say about
predestination? (That those ("anyone") who call on Jesus
will be saved. It is your confession of Jesus that makes
all the difference.)
- Read Romans 10:16-18 and Romans 10:21. Israel was God's
chosen people. But, this shows that although God destined
them for salvation, not all answered His call. We
(Gentiles) are now destined for salvation and we must make
a choice to answer God's call to be built on the "Living
Stone." I think that this shows that God destines all to
be saved, and it is our choice that determines the outcome
of the matter.)
- Right Living
- Read 1 Peter 2:11-12. Is Peter asking for the impossible -
for us to control our desires? (This sounds like the "rid
yourself" statement in 1 Peter 2:1.)
- When you look at verse 12, Peter is talking about
actions, not desires. Why does he talk about actions
("live such good lives") after he writes about
desires? (Sin begins in the mind. Sinful desires are
at "war" with what God wants for us. If we are not
desiring sin, we will not act on sinful desires.)
- What will pagans say about us? (They will make false
accusations against us. This is something that we
- What can we control? (Whether the accusations
are true or not. Pagans will know their
accusations are false when Jesus calls them to
account. However, if the accusations are true,
we bring harm and not glory to God.)
- What argument is Peter making here? (He says first
watch your desires. Avoid those desires that are
going to lead to trouble in your life. He then tells
us that if we get into trouble, it will play into the
hands of the "pagans" who are anxious to lie about
us. But if the accusations are true it harms God.)
- What has this got to do with the Rock? What does this
have to do with the new order in which you are a
priest? (You are now God's priest, His
representative. God's reputation is shaped by what
- Friend, will you take your priestly status seriously? Will
you ask the Holy Spirit to help you to bring glory to God
in all of your activities?
- Next week: Social Relationships.
* Copr. 2017, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.