Monday, July 12, 2010

1 Peter 2&3 – From Separation to Submission

1 Peter 2

Living Before the World

11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul,

[As we studied last week at the end of Romans 7, there is a conflict between the desires of the flesh, and the Spirit of God, these ware against the soul, or the mind of the believer. People who are really pilgrims realize the world is not their hometown any more, as we are citizens of God's kingdom. It is the task of a pilgrim to pass through this world while abstaining from its lustful experiences.]

12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.

[It matters to God how we conduct ourselves here on earth. We are to behave honorably. The word for gentile is "ethnos" meaning heathens, or unbelievers. We will sometimes be called evil doers by these unbelievers because they have a different set of values. But even in their blinded state they will remember works of kindness. A day might come when they see the connection between what we believe, and they good works we do in Jesus name. In that day they will glorify God, because he is the one who transforms us through the power of redemption. But this will only happen when our lives are truly separated to God, free from the corruption of this world, and filled with works that glorify God.]

1 Thessalonians 5:23 

23 Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

[spirit – pneuma, soul – psuche, body – soma

The Lord will sanctify or separate you completely; the word for saint means something holy. Either God will separate you from your sin, or your sin will separate you from God.]

Submission to Government

13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.

[Here is an interesting paradox, that Jesus has freed us from the bondage of sin and the law, and by his grace has given us this liberty, yet in the context of that freedom he asks us to submit. But there is no contradiction; in that our submission is just another example of our Christ likeness. The pre-incarnate Christ had all the rights of the creator of the universe, yet Jesus taking on the form of man willingly submitted himself to the eternal purpose of God. He further submitted to the authority of his parents (Luke 2), and even to the civil and religious authorities who would conspire to condemn him.


Yet there are some who say that they have trusted Jesus and use their freedom from the law as an opportunity to sin. Here Peter refutes this attitude, and asks that we make ourselves bondservants of God. A bondservant submits to a master as payment of a debt. ]

Submission to Masters

18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.

[Who has never experienced a bad boss? Here it explains we submit not just to the virtuous, but also to the harsh, and unworthy. Not that we should do things which are illegal, unethical, or immoral, but we honor an unjust master, respect his authority and accept his judgments even when we are treated unfairly. We do this as a debt owed to God, and when we suffer long with patience, this honors God.]


21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
" Who committed no sin,
      Nor was deceit found in His mouth"; (Isaiah 53:9)

 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

[Verse 21 tells us this submission is part of our calling, because it was also part of Christ's example to us. When Jesus bore unrighteous judgment, he did it trusting in God, not trusting the earthly rulers. To die to our own sins, requires that we conquer pride and our sense of entitlement. Instead we place our faith in God, when we submit to even unjust punishment. Remember Jesus is the Overseer of our souls, it is the same word used for Bishop, someone watching over us, responsible to God for the outcome.]

1 Peter 3

Submission at home

 1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.

[So submission is not just for the convenient or desired relationships, It's also for the awkward and difficult. This even applies to a woman who married an unbeliever, when she herself has been converted. Peter says that such a woman can persuade her husband to trust the Lord by virtue of her submissive attitude. So whether your spouse is a Christian or not, your submission is part of God's purpose. Ephesians 5 says this submission is "as unto the Lord". It's not contingent on the quality of your husband's leadership, but each home has one leader, in the same way that Christ is the head of the church.]


3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.

[This one is simple; be as beautiful on the inside as you are on the outside. Peter tells us that a gentile and quiet spirit, is precious in the sight of God, and more attractive than any hair style you could ever wear.]


5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror.

A Word to Husbands

7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being
heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered.

[For husbands it's not any easier than it is for wives. We are commanded to deal with our wife in understanding, honor, and tender loving care. The example is the way you handle fragile containers like glass. When moving we wrap the glass carefully and mark the box "fragile", not complain that they are made of glass. For men to fail in this attitude would even hinder your prayers to God.]

Called to Blessing

8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.

[Outside the home we are called to be compassionate, tenderhearted, and kind. In short be a blessing to others, so God may himself share his blessings with us.]


10 For
      " He who would love life
      And see good days,
       Let him
refrain his tongue from evil,
      And his lips from speaking deceit.
Let him
turn away from evil and do good;
       Let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the LORD
on the righteous,
       And His ears
are open
to their prayers;
      But the face of the LORD is
against those who do evil."
(Psalm 34)

[Speak no evil, do no evil, instead to good. For the "eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayers". Who doesn't want the blessing of God? God clearly ties his blessing to our conduct.

Ephesians 2:10 

10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.

Submission is a difficult doctrine because of pride an emotion. In the world we are taught to assert our rights, not submit our will. Even though we are called to submit to authority it is a matter of grace not of law. We are never to use submission as a method of human control, but those who submit do it for the Lord, trusting he gives them the grace to submit. And to those who do submit and are a blessing to others, God has promised his blessing in return. This is a part of our calling, if we truly trust in His grace.]

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