Do not Revile.

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (I Peter 3:9).

In I Peter 3:8, Peter listed five virtues of Christian living specifically related to how we speak. I Peter 3:9 relates to how we physically behave towards others.

First, we are not to repay evil for evil. Second, we are not to revile when others have reviled us. What does it mean to revile?

Reviling (λοιδορία; loidoria) means to slander, or to strongly insult another person. The word slander means to defame someone’s character or to speak about them with the intent of hurting them or their reputation.

Notice, people may revile or slander us, but we are not to slander them in return. I’m sure you have experienced someone speaking unkindly of you. I’m also sure that your first inclination was to return the favor. How can I be so sure? Because this is how I feel when people revile and slander me. When hit, verbally or otherwise, our first desire is to hit right back. However, this type of response will not please God and will not be a good example to others.

Peter’s audience perhaps wanted to strike back at their enemies for their slanderous statements of being perverted in following Christ. People called first century Christians cannibals because they ate the so-called body and blood of Christ when they gathered to worship and observe the Lord’s Supper.

What are we to do instead? We are called to consistently bless. We are to praise and speak well of someone (εὐλογέω; eulogeo) all the time. This is what God calls or summons His children to do.

As you and I do this, God says we will obtain a blessing in return. God will praise and speak well of us, as will other people, when we behave this way. It may not always be easy, but it will be an example of excellent Christ-like behavior.

Who has recently, or in the past, slandered you? Do their names come to mind? Bless them right now, where you’re at. Don’t wait another minute to obey God’s calling. If necessary, and I’m sure it is, ask God for His help in doing what He has called you to do.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

Christian Behavior.

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing” (I Peter 3:9).

The Apostle Peter now transitions in speaking to all believers in Christ about living peacefully in a pagan culture. We can all identify I believe with that since the culture we are now living in has become pagan before our eyes.

In light of the perspective of submission to the God created institutions of government, work and marriage, the apostle begins to encourage all believers to embrace specific Christian attitudes and behaviors in all areas of living. While not an exhaustive list, it is one which all disciples of Jesus should seriously embrace.

In vs. 8, Peter listed five virtues of Christian living specifically related to how we speak. I Peter 3:9 relates to how we physically behave towards others.

First, we are not to repay evil for evil. I’m sure you have seen the sign or bumper sticker which says, “I don’t get mad, I get even.” The phrase Peter used literally means to give back evil for having received evil. Evil (κακός; kakos) means to treat someone harshly, harmfully, or in a damaging way.

The Christians to whom Peter was writing to had experienced evil treatment by the government and possibly by others. It would have been easy for them to retaliate or to respond with the same type of behavior. It comes naturally, but God says no.

The Apostle Paul says something similar in Romans 12:17-21:  17 Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. 19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” 20 To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”

So, instead of insulting the president, pray for him. Instead of yelling back at your boss behind his back, bless him/her. Instead of ignoring your wife or husband, speak kindly to them.

We may not be able to control the evil we encounter and experience in this fallen culture, but we sure can control how we respond to it. Have a blessed day!

Soli deo Gloria!

Peaceful Living.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind” (I Peter 3:8).

The Apostle Peter now transitions in speaking to all believers in Christ about living peacefully in a pagan culture. We can all identify I believe with that since the culture we are now living in has become pagan before our eyes.

In light of the perspective of submission to the God created institutions of government, work and marriage, the apostle begins to encourage all believers to embrace specific Christian attitudes and behaviors in all areas of living. While not an exhaustive list, it is one which all disciples of Jesus should seriously embrace regarding our speech.

First, to have a unity of mind. It means to be united in spirit (ὁμόφρων; homophron). It is to have the same attitude and to follow the same path. Believers are to pursue a likeminded attitude regarding the Scriptures and to not be argumentative with each other in areas of disagreement. In other words, while we may disagree at times we are never to be disagreeable.

Second, to have sympathy towards one another. To be sympathetic (συμπαθής; sympathes) means to be understanding, concerned and kind towards others. In other words, to be caring and compassionate.

Third, to have brotherly love. Brotherly love (φιλάδελφος; philadelphos) means to love one another as fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. It is to have a fond affection for fellow believers.

Fourth, to have a tender heart. Being tender hearted (εὔσπλαγχνος; eusplanchnos) parallels the previously mentioned word sympathy. It means to be compassionate and caring to others. The Apostle Paul used this word in Ephesians 4:32.

Fifth, to have a humble mind. To be humble (ταπεινόφρων; tapeinophrones) means to literally have simplicity of life, or to regard others as better than yourself.

Practically speaking, if we strive to put these virtues into practice in government, at work and in the home, I wonder how different life would become? Make every effort today to demonstrate these virtues before God and other people.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

Self-Sacrificial Love.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (I Peter 3:7).

How may a husband display a responsible self-sacrificial love (Ephesians 5:25) to and for his wife? The Apostle Peter gives two examples of how this must occur in the home for marriage to be God glorifying.

First, the husband must live with his wife in an understanding way. Understanding (γνῶσις; gnosis) means possessing knowledge. A husband must not only live with his wife having knowledge from God’s Word regarding his responsibilities as a husband, but also having knowledge about his wife’s personality. He needs to understand his wife’s spiritual, emotional and physical needs.

Second, he must honor his wife as the weaker vessel. To honor (τιμή; time’) means to give and recognize one’s wife as possessing a high status and deserving high respect. He does so because she is the weaker partner in the marriage. Weaker (ἀσθενής; asthenes) refers to physical weakness but not emotional or intellectual inferiority.

The husband carries out both of these responsibilities since the wife, if both are believers, is an heir with the husband of God’s grace. This refers to salvation by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

One of the results of such biblical behavior on the part of the husband is that the prayers of both he and his wife will not be hindered. To be hindered (ἐγκόπτω; enkopto) means to cause someone not to do something. Husbands are to be obedient to God’s instruction so the prayers of his wife, along with his own, will never stop. If one’s prayer life is in trouble, the marriage is in trouble.

Living in harmony with your spouse should be a lifelong goal. It can be consistently achieved as each partner follows God’s Word regarding their individual responsibilities in the marriage. Pursue it today, and keep on pursuing it ladies and gentlemen.

Soli deo Gloria!

Husbands.

Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered” (I Peter 3:7).

I often hear husbands demand submissiveness from their wives, while never understanding that husbands are to also be submissive to their wives. Even though husbands are the head of the home (Ephesians 5:22-24), they are likewise to be responsible to and responsible for their wives. In a word, they are to likewise be submissive.

How may a husband display a responsible self-sacrificial love (Ephesians 5:25) to and for his wife? The Apostle Peter gives two examples of how this must occur in the home for marriage to be God glorifying.

First, the husband must live with his wife in an understanding way. Understanding (γνῶσις; gnosis) means possessing knowledge. A husband must not only live with his wife having knowledge from God’s Word regarding his responsibilities as a husband, but also having knowledge about his wife’s personality. He needs to understand his wife’s spiritual, emotional and physical needs.

After 40+ years of marriage, I believe I know and understand my wife. My wife Diana does not cry easily or often. So if and when I receive a phone call from her and she is crying, I know it is a big deal. I need to immediately stop whatever I am doing and focus on loving my wife and meeting her needs at that moment in time.

Gentlemen, as you read this article, ask yourself this question: do you understand your wife and God’s instruction to you regarding your ministry to her? Second to your worship of God, this is your highest priority. Do you know what makes your wife sad, happy, angry or frustrated? If you don’t, you should. If you do, then minister to her today by demonstrating your understanding of who she is and how you may best love her.

This will truly bring God glory, and fill your home with happiness.

Soli deo Gloria!

Holy Women of God.

For this is how the holy women who hoped in God used to adorn themselves, by submitting to their own husbands, as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening” (I Peter 3:5-6).

In continuing his thoughts of submissiveness within the home, the Apostle Peter describes a truly beautiful woman as one who was holy. As we have already seen (I Peter 1:16), the word holy (ἅγιος; agios) means pure, divine, dedicated and separated from sin.

These holy women of the Old Testament were individuals who hoped (ἐλπίζω; elpizo) or possessed confidence in the character of God. Therefore, they believed God’s promises.

These were women who adorned or beautified themselves by submitting to their own husbands. They were responsible to and responsible for the husband God gave them. One such example was Sarah.

As one theologian explains, “Sarah is chosen as a specific example of a woman who was submissive to her husband. She obeyed Abraham and called him her master. That is, she recognized him as the leader and head of their household (Gen. 18:12). Like other holy women of the past, Sarah put her hope in God. This kind of conduct gives women the spiritual heritage of Sarah: You are her daughters if you do what is right and do not give way to fear (ptoēsin, “terror”—used only here in the NT). Wives who are fearful (perhaps because of disobeying their husbands) are not putting all their trust in God.”

Some women fear being submissive to their husbands. Many husbands give their wives reason to fear. Holy is the woman who trusts in the Lord and is obedient to God. This results in her specifically being submissive and responsible to her man.

Ask God to give you the courage to be obedient to Him today.

Soli deo Gloria!

True Beauty.

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious” (I Peter 2:3-4).

“Beauty is only skin deep.” This proverb was first recorded in 1613 by English poet and essayist Sir Thomas Overbury in which he wrote, “All the carnal beauty of my wife is but skin deep.” The meaning of his phrase was that a woman’s physical beauty is superficial and a person’s character is more important than how they look.

There is no question that physical appearance dominates the contemporary culture. It does not matter if you are a woman or a man, there is a preoccupation with a preferred physical form which is advertised and promoted by magazines, fitness clubs and fashion. More than about being healthy, it is about achieving an idealized image of a man or woman.

While one’s physical appearance is overemphasized within the culture, the pursuit of character is an afterthought, if it is even thought of at all. Character is defined as possessing moral excellence. It is being a person who pursues the highest of moral goals intellectually, emotionally and behaviorally.

In speaking to wives, the Apostle Peter hit upon this theme of beauty being only skin deep. He encourages women to not be fixated about their outward appearance. The word adorning (κόσμος; kosmos) means beauty or to make beautiful. God says to not pursue a beauty which is only external: such as the way a woman styles her hair, the clothes she wears, or the jewelry she places on her body.

Rather, true beauty, orderliness and adornment is determined by the way an individual thinks, feels and behaves in a way which glorifies God. Peter gives two examples of such a godly character. It is to possess a gentle (πραΰς; praus) or humble personality along with a quiet (ἡσύχιος; hesychios), peaceful and non-quarrelsome spirit.

Some of the most physically attractive people in the world have characters which have made their lives a train wreck. This has resulted in broken marriages, addictions, immorality, and illness for many of the so-called “beautiful people.” They may appear to have it all, but if so, why do so many seem so unhappy?

God views Christ-like character in a woman as precious and valuable. As King Lemuel said in Proverbs 31:30, “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.”

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

Wives.

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct” (I Peter 3:1-2).

What are wives responsible to do in the marriage relationship? They are to be submissive (ὑποτάσσω; hypotasso). As one commentator explains, (Hypotasso) is “a Greek military term meaning to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader. In non-military use, it was a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.” This second meaning is what Peter is referring to when he calls wives to be submissive.

Wives are not to be forced or physically compelled to submit to their husbands. They are not to be abused, either verbally or physically. Rather, they are to submit willingly. God calls wives to be voluntarily responsible to their husbands and for their husbands. This is a lifelong commitment in the marriage, which continues until death.

What is the purpose for wives to be submissive to their husbands? The phrase “so that” introduces a purpose clause to the preceding statement in vs. 1. The purpose of a wife’s submission to her husband is that if a husband is not a Christian and the wife is, she may lead her husband to the Lord because of her godly behavior.

Many a wife has found herself married to an unbelieving spouse. Rather than verbally hound her husband to come to Christ or to church, a wife should mostly remain silent and display godly behavior each day before her husband. Peter mentions behavior which is respectful and pure.

Titus 2:3-5 says, 3 “Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.”

Marriage is not always easy. It should be entered into with great care and seriousness because marriage requires great seriousness and care.

Have a blessed day.

Marriage.

“Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct” (I Peter 3:1-2).

Peter continues his examples of submission in chapter three. Building upon the illustrations of citizens to government, and servants to their masters, the apostle now delves into the relationship of marriage. Peter begins chapter three with the transitional word “likewise” (ὁμοίως; homoios) which means similar, or to be similar to something else.

He directs his attention, as he did with the God created social institutions of government and work, with the social institution of marriage and the home. He begins with the wife, much like the Apostle Paul does in Ephesians 5:22-33.

The word wives (γυνή; gyne) is plural. Peter is speaking to all wives. This instruction will be binding to all women who are in a covenant relationship with their husbands. Peter also affirms heterosexual marriage in this particular section. Without apologies, so do I.

What are wives responsible to do in the marriage relationship? They are to be submissive (ὑποτάσσω; hypotasso). As one commentator explains, (Hypotasso) is “a Greek military term meaning to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader. In non-military use, it was a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden.” This second meaning is what Peter is referring to when he calls wives to be submissive.

Wives are not to be forced or physically compelled to submit to their husbands. They are not to be abused, either verbally or physically.

Rather, they are to submit to their godly husbands willingly. This means that God calls wives to be voluntarily responsible to their husbands and for their husbands. This is a lifelong commitment in the marriage, which continues until death.

This relationship is uniquely between a wife and her own husband. She does not, and must not, be compelled to display this submissive behavior towards anyone else including her own husband. On the contrary, she willingly submits to only to her own husband and this becomes a sacred and holy bond of oneness between the two.

If you are a wife, do you find yourself misunderstanding the responsibility of biblically submitting to your own husband? Many Christian women do. So too do Christian men. May husbands and their wives strive to foster a biblical relationship in their marriage. To do so brings glory to God who created marriage in the first place.

Soli deo Gloria!

The Shepherd.

25 For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (I Peter 2:25).

One of the most frequent images found in the Scriptures illustrating the relationship of God and His children is of the shepherd and his sheep (Psalm 23; John 10; Isaiah 40; Ezekiel 34; Hebrews 13:20; I Peter 5).

The phrase “for you were straying” literally means to be led astray. This describes the sinner’s lost condition as condemned before God. To be led astray means to be deceived, mistaken and to wander about. The fallen sinner is led astray by either his sinful nature, the devil or the fallen world system.

There is but one hope for the sinner. To come into a personal relationship with the Shepherd: Jesus Christ. Remember when God brought you into the sheepfold of grace and mercy? Thank Him that once you were lost, but you have been found.

To return (ἐπιστρέφω; epistrepho) literally means to be turned around. When once we were led astray, we are also led to come to believe, come to accept or to have our belief system changed. Notice that we cannot to this on our own. We need help.

That help comes from the graciousness of God who not only saves us, but give us the ability to believe in order to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9; Philippians 1:29; Acts 13:48; 2 Peter 1:1-2). We were totally helpless in our sin. But God decided to save us from this lost and dead condition by His grace and grace alone.

God enables the fallen and dead sinner to come to the Shepherd (John 6). The dead sinner’s (Ephesians 2:1-3) will has been freed from bondage. He wanders in chains and darkness no more. He now walks in the light of God’s grace.

The word overseer (ἐπίσκοπος; episkopos) means guardian or one who is responsible for another. God has taken upon Himself the responsibility of saving us completely. “Shepherd” and “Overseer” emphasize Jesus Christ’s outstanding guidance and supervision of those who commit themselves to His care (Ezekiel 34:11–16).

John 10:14-18 says, 14 I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, 15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. 16 And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 17 For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. 18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

Like a shepherd, the Lord not only saves us from the danger of sin and damnation, but also leads us along through this life on earth. He truly is our good Shepherd. Take time today to praise Him for His leading and guidance.

Soli deo Gloria!