11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation” (I Peter 2:11-12).
Peter continues to urge his fellow believers, who are beloved in Christ, the consequences of what a life committed to holiness should look like. First, believers are to abstain from the passions of the flesh. This commandment reflects a daily battle in the Christian’s life which must be taken seriously.
Second, Peter also challenges his audience to keep their conduct honorable among those who do not know the Lord as their Savior. To keep (ἔχω; echo) is the daily discipline of possessing and holding on to something. In the immediate context, that which believers are to consistently hold on to is their honorable conduct.
The word honorable (καλός; kalos) means that which is good fine and praiseworthy. Conduct is a familiar word for Peter. It is the Greek word ἀναστροφή (anastrophe) meaning behavior or one’s conduct in life. It is a word Peter used in I Peter 1:15 and will use again in I Peter 3:1 and 2 Peter 3:11. The believer’s daily life and living is to be praiseworthy to God.
The purpose of this type of lifestyle is that when, not if, but when non-believers, or Gentiles, speak against us as evildoers they will ultimately see our good works and glorify God. To speak against (καταλαλέω; katalaleo) means to slander and to speak evil of someone. The grammar here refers to a continual slandering. The slanderous accusation is that the believer in question is an evildoer (κακοποιός; kakopoios) or a criminal.
The antidote to this situation Peter says is to have honorable conduct before your accusers. Why? The promise God gives is that when they continually observe (ἐποπτεύω; epopteuo) and watch your honorable conduct or good deeds (ἔργον; ergon) done for the Lord, even as they are accusing you of the opposite, they will eventually glorify God because of you.
When will they glorify and praise God with their entire being? When He visits them with salvation and converts their own souls. Think about it! Your honorable behavior before those who are currently slandering you could be the very testimony God uses to bring that individual to saving faith in Christ. How awesome is that.
There are times when behaving in an honorable way before God, and our accusers, is not easy. However, God gives us an exceedingly precious promise in I Peter 2:12. You may not be one who articulates the gospel message clearly in your speech, but you may speak volumes in the way you live for the Lord.
Soli deo Gloria!