1 Therefore, rid yourselves of every kind of evil and deception, hypocrisy, jealousy, and every kind of slander. 2 Like newborn babies, thirst for the pure milk of the word so that by it you may grow in your salvation. 3 Surely you have tasted that the Lord is good! 4 As you come to him, the living stone who was rejected by people but was chosen and precious in God's sight, 5 you, too, as living stones, are building yourselves up into a spiritual house and a holy priesthood, so that you may offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus, the Messiah. 6 This is why it says in Scripture: "Look! I am laying a chosen, precious cornerstone in Zion. The one who believes in him will never be ashamed."
7 Therefore he is precious to you who believe, but to those who do not believe, "The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,
8 a stone they stumble over and a rock they trip on." They keep on stumbling because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people to be his very own and to proclaim the wonderful deeds of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God. Once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.
11 Dear friends, I urge you as aliens and exiles to keep on abstaining from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. 12 Continue to live such upright lives among the gentiles that, when they slander you as practicers of evil, they may see your good actions and glorify God when he visits them.
13 For the Lord's sake submit yourselves to every human authority: whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15 For it is God's will that by doing right you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live like free people, and do not use your freedom as an excuse for doing evil. Instead, be God's servants. 17 Honor everyone. Keep on loving the community of believers, fearing God, and honoring the king.
18 You household servants must submit yourselves to your masters out of respect, not only to those who are kind and fair, but also to those who are unjust. 19 For it is a fine thing if, when moved by your conscience to please God, you suffer patiently when wronged. 20 What good does it do if, when you sin, you patiently receive punishment for it? But if you suffer for doing good and receive it patiently, you have God's approval.
21 This is, in fact, what you were called to do, because: The Messiah also suffered for you and left an example for you to follow in his steps. 22 "He never sinned, and he never told a lie." 23 When he was insulted, he did not retaliate. When he suffered, he did not threaten. It was his habit to commit the matter to the one who judges fairly. 24 "He himself bore our sins" in his body on the tree, so that we might die to those sins and live righteously. "By his wounds you have been healed." 25 You were "like sheep that kept going astray," but now you have returned to the shepherd and overseer of your souls.