Honorable Conduct.

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!

 

Committed to Holiness.

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. Harking back to I Peter 1:1, when he again refers to Christians as temporary residents of this world, what does a life of holiness involve?

First, it involves “abstaining from the passions of the flesh.” To abstain (ἀπέχω; anexo) means to keep yourself away from something. It means to personally and infinitely avoid something?  What is it that we are to avoid?

We are to avoid the passions (ἐπιθυμία; epithumia), lusts or cravings which are evil. The flesh (σαρκικός; sarkikos) means worldly, base and sinful. Bodily desires, such as sexual intimacy, are not wrong in themselves, but can become so when perverted by man’s sinful nature or flesh. These desires not only include sins committed by the body, but also attitudes of the mind and emotions.

These desires battle within us. The phrase “which war against your soul” refers to one of three areas of conflict believers in Christ battle: the soul. The other two are the fallen world and the devil.

The word war (στρατεύω; strateueo) means battle, warfare and the life of a soldier. Each believer is engaged in a war (Galatians 5:16-21). The Apostle Paul called it a good battle (I Timothy 1:18). He also said God has given us weapons to fight this battle (2 Corinthians 10:4). This battle is fought in our minds, emotions and will. It is a battle for our loyalty: either to God or Satan.

As we live in a sinful world which is not our home, let us daily resolve to no longer live as if this world, with its sinful desires, is our home. Let us be distinctively different from the world in what we consider as holy attitudes and behavior.

We may begin by evaluating what we read, what we watch on television, and what we search for on the Internet in comparison to Scripture. Do we find ourselves increasingly in agreement with what we expose our minds to? Everything we see, hear, and think about must be biblically evaluated.

It won’t be easy, but you know what, no battle ever fought and won was, or is, easy.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

Mercy.

“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (I Peter 2:10).

It is always good to remember our responsibility to tell everyone what God has done for us in the person and work of Christ. It is also good to remember to live a holy life before God and others in light of all we are in Christ. This is what the Apostle Peter reminds us in 2:10. God once again tells us what believers were and what they are now.

Once we were not a people. What the apostle means is that at one time we were not God’s people. In our unconverted condition we did not belong to God, but rather were His enemies (Romans 5:10) and objects of His holy and righteous wrath (Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3; Acts 3:23).

Once, we had not received mercy. Mercy (ἐλεέω; eleeo) means to receive compassion, when you deserved judgment. Mercy is often defined as God not giving us what we as sinners deserved: damnation. It is often compared with God’s grace, which is God giving sinners what they do not deserve: salvation.

As one theologian explains, “The practice of holiness, in which God’s people serve as a holy and royal priesthood offering spiritual sacrifices and extolling His excellencies, is the proper response to the mercy (1 Peter 1:3) they have received.”

Musician Steven Curtis Chapman expresses the need to remember God’s mercy in his song Remember Your Chains.

Remember your chains,  

Remember the prison that once held you,

Before the love of God broke through.

Remember the place you were without grace,

When you see where you are now.

Remember your chains

And remember, your chains are gone.

 Remember!

 Soli deo Gloria!

 

God’s People.

“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy” (I Peter 2:10).

It is always good to remember our responsibility to tell everyone what God has done for us in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is also good to remember to live a holy life before God and others in light of all we are in Jesus Christ. This is what the Apostle Peter reminds us in I Peter 2:10. God once again tells us what believers were and what they are now.

Once we were not a people. What the apostle means is that at one time we were not God’s people. In our unconverted condition we did not belong to God, but rather were His enemies (Romans 5:10) and objects of His holy and righteous wrath (Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3; Acts 3:23).

People do not want to hear this today. Unfortunately, not only do the unconverted not want to hear the truth of the gospel, but also there are many of God’s people and pastors who do not want to share the gospel truth of God’s wrath upon the unconverted. Salvation has become God saving us from poverty, an unfulfilled life or life’s problems, rather than from God’s judgment.

The gospel message declares that by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone (Romans 3:21-26; Ephesians 2:8-10) God has made sinners His people. We belong to Him (I Corinthians 6:19-20). We are His possession.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,                                                                                          that saved a wretch like me.                                                                                                                 I once was lost, but now am found.                                                                                             Was blind, but now I see.

Thank you God, for making me your child.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proclaim.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9).

What is the believer’s identity in Jesus Christ?

First, all believers are a chosen race. Second, believers are a royal priesthood. Third, believers in Christ are a holy group of people. Fourth, the church belongs to God. As one theologian says, “As Israel was “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God,” so too believers today are chosen, are priests, are holy, and belong to God.”

What then is our purpose and mission in possessing these four privileges? Our purpose in light of what all believers are in Christ is to proclaim, announce and speak about Jesus Christ. Proclaim (ἐξαγγέλλω; exangello) is the word from which we derive the English word angel. Among the many responsibilities angels possess, one of their main functions was to announce God’s truth as God’s messenger. God calls us to announce His great and wonderful character in saving sinners by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.

God calls sinners out of the evil realm of darkness and death (Ephesians 2:1-3). This is the realm we all were a part of in our unconverted existence. But God, by His grace, called and summoned us into a covenant relationship with Him. This is truly wonderful.

The Apostle Paul explains it this way in Ephesians 2:4-7. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.”

Remember your responsibility to tell everyone what God has done for you in the person and work of Jesus Christ. Remember to also live a holy life before God and others in light of all you are in Jesus Christ.

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

A Holy Status.

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light” (I Peter 2:9).

God has revealed through the Scriptures that the disobedient are destined for destruction and ruination (I Peter 2:6-8). How does the believer in Christ differ from the unbelieving sinner? The Apostle Peter reminds the church of its holy status because of God’s grace.

First, all believers are a chosen race. We are God’s chosen people, whether Jew or Gentile (I Peter 1:1; Deuteronomy 10:15; Isaiah 43:20). This status which was solely applied to Israel in the Old Testament is now applied to the New Testament church.

Second, believers are a royal priesthood. Because believers are chosen by God, they become, as Peter already stated (I Peter 2:5), a priesthood of believers. The word royal refers to belonging to and serving a king. Priests offer sacrifices to the one true God and king they serve. We have the privilege of offering our very lives as a living sacrifice unto God (Romans 12:1-2).

Third, a holy nation. Holy means dedicated and pure. Once again, Peter makes sure believers understand their position before God and their responsibility to God is to be holy in everything (I Peter 1:16). Nation means a large group of people. The church is this group.

Fourth, the church is called “a people for His own possession.” The church is a large group of people who belong to God. God preserves the church for Himself, as He did Israel. As one theologian says, “As Israel was “a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God,” so too believers today are chosen, are priests, are holy, and belong to God.”

Resolve to remember your identity in Jesus Christ. Today, memorize these four privileges you have, and are, in Christ.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

Precious and Valuable.

7 “So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do. (I Peter 2:7-8).

Peter continues to quote from the Old Testament to explain the significance of Jesus being the cornerstone of our faith. He quotes Psalm 118:22 to support the doctrine that Jesus the Savior is the believer’s security and defense. He is our cornerstone. Therefore, He is precious and valuable.

But what about the unbeliever? What significance does Jesus have in being likened to a cornerstone? Quoting from not only Psalm 118:22, but also Isaiah 8:14 and 28:16, Peter explains that to the unbeliever Jesus is a stone, not of security and defense, but rather a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.

A stone of stumbling means an obstacle which causes offense and which implies opposition (I Corinthians 1:23; Galatians 5:11). The reason why unbelievers stumble over the person and work of Jesus Christ is because in their heart and soul, they are His enemies (Romans 5:10) and objects of God’s wrath (Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3). Rather than being a comfort, to them Jesus is a curse.

It is ironic that for the past several decades, many churches seek to make the gospel as inoffensive as possible to the unbelieving community. Sin is seldom, if ever, mentioned and anything to do with the cross is removed: either in the church’s architecture or in the content of the worship service.

While believers must never be needlessly offensive when sharing the gospel, it should be noted that the biblical gospel will offend. To the sinner, the gospel is an offensive message. This continuing opposition signifies the sinner’s ultimate destiny (Romans 9:22-23; Jude 4).

When do you find yourself, if ever, tempted to downplay the offensiveness of the gospel message? To whom? Resolve never to give in to the temptation of “watering down” the truth of the gospel as others have done. Never be ashamed of the gospel nor the name of Jesus Christ (Romans 1:16-17).

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

Our Sure Foundation.

For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame” (I Peter 2:6).

One of the supporting evidences the Bible is the Word of God is the perspective the writers of the New Testament had toward the Old Testament. The Apostle Paul frequently quoted from the Old Testament as God’s holy revelation (Romans 3). So did Jesus (Matthew 5-7). So too does the Apostle Peter.

When Peter writes, “For it stands in Scripture,” he was saying that the subject of Jesus Christ being our living stone, and believers also being living stones because of Christ, is found in the Old Testament: the Scriptures.

The word “stands” means contained. Contained in the content of the Old Testament writings is the doctrine of Christ being a stone or foundation for the believer. The passage to which Peter refers is found in Isaiah 28:16.

In Isaiah 28:16, the subject is God the Father. He lays or brings about and appoints a stone in Zion, which is another word for Jerusalem and Israel. The stone which God appoints is not just any stone, but rather a cornerstone (ἀκρογωνιαῖος; akrogoniaios) meaning a capstone, which is an essential stone for a building’s construction.

Notice also this stone, this cornerstone, is chosen (ἐκλεκτός; eklektos) and precious (ἔντιμος; entimos). These thoughts regarding Jesus are not unique to the apostle, but rather are also taken from the prophet. There is an agreement in what both men are saying. The Apostle Paul concurs in Ephesians 2:20.

The purpose of Jesus being our cornerstone is that he who believes and trusts in Him for salvation will never be ashamed for having done so. The word “ashamed” means to be humiliated or disgraced. This will never happen for those who believe in Christ. Our salvation and security in Christ is a like a sure foundation.

The hymn writer put it this way when he wrote:

The Church’s one foundation
 Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
She is His new creation
 By water and the Word:
From heav’n He came and sought her
 To be His holy Bride;
With His own blood He bought her,
 And for her life He died.

Rejoice today in that Jesus is your rock, your foundation which will never be moved.

Soli deo Gloria!

Called to be Christ-Like.

4 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:4-5).

Christians are called to be Christ-like. Isn’t it interesting the not only does the Apostle Peter call Jesus the living stone, but he also identifies believers in Christ as being like living stones. When I visited Israel several years ago, I noticed that in the Galilean area many ancient and present day buildings were/are constructed from the stones found in the local countryside. One family my tour group visited was in the process of building their new home out of the stones collected from a nearby hillside

In maintaining this symbolic image, Peter goes on to say the God is building believers, much like a builder uses stones, into a spiritual house or dwelling place. The phrase “are being built” means the work God is doing He is accomplishing in the lives of believers. It is His work, of which the believer is the beneficiary. Each believer in Christ increasingly becomes a holy sanctuary or temple of the Holy Spirit (I Corinthians 6:19-20).

What is God’s purpose in doing this construction in us? The answer is so that believers would become a holy priesthood. What did the Old Testament priests do? They were holy, or dedicated, to offer up sacrifices to God. That is what God has called believers in Christ to do for His glory and honor.

As one commentator explains, “All believers are priests (cf. 1 Peter 2:9; Hebrews 4:16; Revelation 1:6) and need no mediator other than Jesus Christ to approach God directly (I Timothy 2:5). Such priestly service requires holiness (cf. 1 Peter 1:16, 22). Praise to God and doing good to others are spiritual sacrifices that please Him (Hebrews 13:15). However, “living stones” may also offer themselves as “living sacrifices” (Romans 12:1), acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

We have much to offer God, through Christ, in gratitude and appreciation for all that He has done for us. Let us love God and serve others for His glory today, and as we do so let us thank Him for the privilege.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

Rejected by Men.

4 “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ” (I Peter 2:4-5).

Even though Jesus is the living stone, He was rejected by men. To be rejected means to be regarded as unworthy and to be perceived as something bad. In man’s eyes, Jesus was unworthy of their worship when He lived on earth and He remains unworthy in many people’s perspectives even now as He is in heaven. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied this in Isaiah 53:3:

“He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”

This is the opinion of the world regarding Christ and His followers. But how does God the Father view God the Son? The Son is chosen, meaning uniquely selected for the task of salvation, and precious, which means honored. God the Father chose the Son to accomplish His will. The Son was willing to obey and fulfill the Father’s will (John 10:7-19).

Much like Christ, Peter says we too are chosen and precious in the sight of God (1:1, 18). What a wonderful privilege and position we as believers in Christ possess before God the Father.

May we choose to live today in light of our exalted privilege.

Soli deo Gloria!