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!

We Have been Healed.

24” He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (I Peter 2:24).

The penal-substitutionary atonement by Jesus Christ while on the cross is the one of the most important doctrines contained in the Scriptures. The doctrine is that Jesus Christ took the sinner’s place while on the cross and received upon Himself the just wrath of God. It is taught not only in I Peter 2:24, but throughout the Scriptures (Isaiah 53; 4-11; Hebrews 9:27-28; I Peter 3:18).

Within the immediate context of I Peter 2, the apostle indicates the purpose of Christ’s substitutionary work on the sinner’s behalf would not only be salvation from the penalty of sin, but also would include salvation from the power of sin. The phrase, “that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” supports this additional meaning.

Peter is referring to Christians in the latter half of vs. 24. He introduces a purpose clause by using the word “that.” To “die” (ἀπογίνομαι; apoginomai) means to no longer respond to, or to no longer have any part in something. In this context, the death to which Peter refers is our participation in the practice of sin.

The believer must recognize that Jesus’ death on the cross is not to be considered cheap. It was a heavy cost that was paid for our salvation. Therefore, the believer now consciously lives a life to no longer participate in sinful rebellion, but rather to live righteously (δικαιοσύνη; dikaiosyne) in gratitude to God.

In Christ, the sinner is declared just before God (2 Corinthians 5:21) because our just penalty has been paid by Jesus. Therefore, we are not only declared just, but we are now to live a just and righteous life empowered by the Holy Spirit (Romans 6).

Because of the wounds of Christ on our behalf on the cross, believers are spiritually healed from the deadly disease of sin. Our physical transformation will occur at the moment of glorification (Revelation 21:1-4). It is then that the believer in Christ will experience no more physical pain, illness or death.

Let us live today for the glory of God in light of the cross of Christ. Since He died for us, may we live for Him.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

By His Wounds.

24” He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (I Peter 2:24).

The penal-substitutionary atonement by Jesus Christ while on the cross is one of the most important doctrines contained in the Scriptures. The teaching is that Jesus Christ took the sinner’s place while on the cross and received upon Himself the just wrath of God. It is taught not only in I Peter 2:24, but throughout the Scriptures (Isaiah 53; 4-11; Hebrews 9:27-28; I Peter 3:18).

The phrase “He Himself” refers in the context to Jesus Christ. The word “bore” (ἀναφέρω; anaphereo) means to carry up, to lead up or to carry a load. Jesus carried the sinner’s sins (ἁμαρτία; hamartia) in His body on the tree (ξύλον; xylon) which literally means the cross.

As pastor Dr. John MacArthur explains, “Christ suffered not simply as the Christian’s pattern (vv.21-23), but far more importantly as the Christian’s substitute. To bear sins was to be punished for them (Numbers 14:33; Ezekiel 18:20). Christ bore the punishment and the penalty for believers, thus satisfying a holy God (I Peter 3:18). This great doctrine of the substitutionary atonement is the heart of the gospel.

While Christ’s substitutionary atonement is sufficient in principle for all sinners, actual atonement is efficient or effectual for only those who believe, that is the elect (Leviticus 16:17; 23:27-30; John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:19; Ephesians 1:1-2:10; I Timothy 2:1-6; 4:10; Titus 2:11; Hebrews 2:9; I John 2:1-2; 4:9-10).

Take the opportunity today to pray for those who have yet to receive Christ as their Savior and Lord. Pray that God would grant them repentance leading to eternal life (2 Timothy 2:25). Take time also today to thank God that He has chosen to save you through the substitutionary atonement provided solely by Jesus Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

Substitutionary Atonement.

24” He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed” (I Peter 2:24).

The penal-substitutionary atonement by Jesus Christ while on the cross is the one of the most important doctrines contained in the Scriptures. The doctrine is that Jesus Christ took the sinner’s place while on the cross and received upon Himself the just wrath of God. It is taught not only in I Peter 2:24, but also in these selected portions of Scripture.

Isaiah 53:4-6, 11 – “Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. 11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied; by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant, make many to be accounted righteous, and he shall bear their iniquities.’

Matthew 8:14-17 – 14 “And when Jesus entered Peter’s house, he saw his mother-in-law lying sick with a fever. 15 He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she rose and began to serve him. 16 That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

Hebrews 9:27- 28 – “And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

I Peter 3:18 – “18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,”

Take time today, and each day, to thank Jesus for bearing your sins on the cross. Read and meditate upon these portions of Scripture. I would also encourage you to read Romans 3:1-26 and Ephesians 1:1-2:10.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

Looking to Jesus.

21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. 22 He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. 23 When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (I Peter 2:21-23).

What example has Jesus set for us when we encounter suffering and persecution for our faith in Christ? How did Jesus respond to the persecutions He encountered? Once we see how our Lord reacted, it will give us a clear understanding of how we should react when facing tribulation.

Peter writes that when Jesus was reviled, He did not revile in return. The word reviled (λοιδορέω; loidereo) means to be slandered, strongly insulted and abused. Jesus received all manner of such abuse when He ministered for three years. However, He did not slander, strongly insult or abuse others in retaliation. Jesus was the perfect example of patient submission when He faced unjust suffering.

Peter goes on to say that when Jesus suffered (πάσχω; pascho) or experienced pain, He did not threaten (ἀπειλέω; apeileo) those who were inflicting Him with the pain. Jesus did not get mad and He did not get even.

Jesus also kept entrusting (παραδίδωμι; paradidomi) Himself over to the Father who judges justly. Jesus trusted, depended, was committed to and worshiped the Father all the while He was being persecuted.

One pastor writes, “Humanly speaking, the provocation to retaliate during Christ’s arrest, trial, and crucifixion was extreme. Yet He suffered in silence, committing Himself to God. Peter explained (1 Peter 2:24) why the One who could have destroyed His enemies with a word patiently endured the pain and humiliation of the Cross. God was justly judging our sins which His Son bore (2 Cor. 5:21).”

When facing unjust suffering and persecution for your faith in Christ, look to Jesus. Look to Jesus not only to see His example of patient endurance, but note that His suffering brought you by grace alone, through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone into the kingdom of God and for God to declare you righteous.

Soli deo Gloria!

Following in Jesus’ Steps.

“21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps.  He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth” (I Peter 2:21-22).

The sinlessness of the Christ is clearly presented in the Scriptures: both Old and New Testaments (Isaiah 53:9; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; I John 3:1-5). While Jesus lived on this earth as fully God and fully man, He never sinned in thought, word or deed.

In speaking to the Pharisees Jesus said, “45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe me. 46 Which one of you convicts me of sin? If I tell the truth, why do you not believe me? 47 Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”(John 8:45-47).

There was no treachery, trickery or deceit in what Jesus said to the Pharisees in John 8, or anywhere else for that matter. His sinlessness permitted Him to take our place on the cross because of our sinfulness (2 Corinthians 5:21). His sinlessness makes what He says about suffering, and its purposefulness, a truth in which we can find comfort and rest.

We often say the reason why Jesus came to earth was to die on the cross and rise again. While this is certainly true, Jesus also came to earth, born of a virgin, in order to live a perfect life in complete conformity to the written revelation of God. In doing so, He was worthy to be an acceptable sacrifice to God the Father on behalf of the sinner. Since Jesus suffered for, I therefore should suffer for Him: not in order to become acceptable to Him, but rather to be identified with Him as my Savior and Lord.

One theologian puts it this way. “Peter powerfully supported his exhortation to slaves by citing Christ’s example of endurance in unjust suffering. Christians are called (eklēthēte; cf. 1:15; 2:9) to follow Christ, to emulate His character and conduct, because He suffered for them. The word rendered an example (hypogrammon, lit., “underwriting”), appearing only here in the New Testament, refers to a writing or drawing that a student reproduces.

We are called to reproduce the character of Christ while living here on this earth. This is especially true when copying Jesus’ response to suffering.

Soli deo Gloria!

An Inconvenient Truth.

21 For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (I Peter 2:21)

The reality of suffering persecution as we follow Jesus Christ is a predominant theme in Scripture: not only in Peter’s first epistle but also throughout the New Testament. Here is but a brief sampling.

John 16:32-33 – 32 Behold, the hour is coming, indeed it has come, when you will be scattered, each to his own home, and will leave me alone. Yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me. 33 I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”

Acts 14:21-22 – “21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.”

Romans 5:1-5 – Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

In commenting on Romans 5:1-5, John Calvin writes, “By saying that the saints glory in tribulations, he is not to be understood as though they dreaded not, nor avoided adversities, or were not distressed with their bitterness when they happened (for there is no patience when there is no feeling of bitterness). But as in their grief and sorrow they are not without great consolation, because they regard that whatever they bear is dispensed to them for good by the hand of a most indulgent Father, they are justly said to glory: for whenever salvation is promoted, there is not wanting a reason for glorying.”

This is one of the Bible’s inconvenient truths and ironically an evidence that the Bible is authored, not by man, but rather by God. No man would come up with the idea that man is destined to suffer when they follow God. That certainly is not one’s best life now. This may be a life ending with martyrdom, of suffering unjustly when people slander and lie about your character in order to advance their agenda, or even the breakup of your home when your unbelieving spouse no longer wants to be married to a Bible toting, church attending Christian.

If we are to follow Jesus, we follow Him on the road of tribulations. He is our example. The health and wealth gospel of America cannot stand under the scrutiny of God’s Word. This is what Jesus meant when He said to His disciples, “Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23).

Thank God today for His many blessings, including the blessings of suffering because of Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!

Endurance.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.” (I Peter 2:18-20).

One final note regarding respectful obedience to our employers, even when they treat us unfairly. Let us make sure that we are suffering unjustly. If we have done something wrong at work, or failed to do what we are supposed to do, then we have no room to complain about any ill-treatment. We deserve what we get: whether it be points, a reprimand or even termination.

If you endure ill-treatment from a boss because of a failure on your part, then keep quiet and go back to doing your job with a renewed sense of commitment to excellence. We all fail at times and it can be embarrassing.

However, if you are ill-treated unjustly, then do the same thing. Keep quiet and go back to doing your job with a renewed sense of commitment to excellence. After all, you are ultimately working to please God and not man (Ephesians 6:5-7). This displays God’s grace and therefore brings God glory.

Specific people and periods throughout church history have highlighted the commitment to Soli Deo Gloria. Leonard R. Payton, chief musician of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Austin, Texas, explains that, “It has almost reached the stature of a proverb that Johann Sebastian Bach often placed the abbreviation ‘SDG’ (for Sola Deo Gloria or to God alone be glory) at the end of many of his musical manuscripts. What is less known is that many of the manuscripts contain the abbreviation ‘J.J.’ (Jesu Juva or Jesus help me) at the beginning – and this from a man whose brilliant music poured out of his fingers more quickly than many of us write letters!”

What a way to begin your work day. First, by praying “Jesus help me” today to honor you in my work. Conclude your work day by praying “Lord, may all that I did for you be glorifying to your name.”

Soli deo Gloria!

Living Graciously.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly.” (I Peter 2:18-19).

When God commands us to do something, He is under no obligation to explain Himself as to why He wants us to do it. What He desires is obedience, first and foremost. No explanations are necessary.

However, God does sometimes give us reasons why He commands us to display a particular behavior. With respect to servants being obedient and respectful of their masters, He gives us a reason for this command in I Peter 2:19.

God says that such obedient respect by servants to masters, and by implication employees to their employers, is a gracious thing. It parallels the unmerited favor of God towards us as sinners when we display the same grace towards masters and employers. We display the character of God. What believer in Christ would not want to do this?

As we are consciously aware of God in our daily lives, we can endure sorrow when suffering unjustly. Sorrow means sadness and overwhelming grief. It is a deep seated, rock your world mental pain and anxiety. The kind of anxiety you may often feel when you arrive at work and wonder what the day may bring.

To endure means to bear up and put up with the injustice we may often face, particularly at work. This is especially true when we experience unjust or unfair sorrow and pain because of ill treatment.

Let us make sure that we are never the cause of a person experiencing unjust sorrow. If and when we face such unjust sorrow, may we be gracious in continuing to obediently respect our employer. This pleases God!

Soli deo Gloria!