Please pardon my missing a day. I’m on a trip for Gander Brook Christian Camp and sometimes find it difficult to jam a time for reflection and writing.
The book or letter of 1 Peter was written by apostle Peter as a general letter to churches of what we’d call Turkey, who were struggling with persecution from the government, from masters, from family and other directions. The premier question of the letter is essentially, “What am I supposed to do when I am encountering persecution and wrong doing directed toward me?” and the consistent answer is simple and yet challenging: “Do the right thing.” With this brief introduction behind us, let take a look at a few highlights of this encouraging book.
Reserved in Heaven for you – 1:3
Yes, it will all be worth the struggle. The self-discipline, the suffering, the refraining from revenge, the persecution, the long-suffering, etc will be worth it. We’ve seen this encouragement a number of times already in other passages, but the struggle in this world needs constant encouragement and reminder, because the siren call of giving up is so powerful. It’s the reason for the Pauline exhortation for keeping our eyes fixed on things above, because when we drop our eyes to this world, we tend to throw our hands up in surrender.
Be holy for I am holy – 1:15,16
This and other encouragements in the surrounding verses are sounding the theme of doing the right thing regardless of what things might come your way. I find the core of it to be “holy for I am holy.” Here’s the foundation of all morality – be like God. Do you have a question about what the right thing to do is? Look to God, or particularly, Jesus. Consider in your persecution what Jesus Himself did – a reminder to be found a number of times in 1 Peter.
Remember who you are – 1:17—2:12
- Blood bought – the highest price imaginable was paid for your freedom and redemption. Do not waste His great sacrifice for you.
- Born again – you’re not the same old person you used to be, live like it!
- Living stones of the Temple of God – like with any building, the materials make a difference and they must be strong. When one stone fails, the rest are then at risk. Be strong, the Lord deserves such a Temple.
- Chosen race – the Jews have long understood the privilege of being chosen, do we?
- Royal priesthood – offering acceptable sacrifices to the Lord of our lives– which sometimes includes suffering. Offer such sacrifices with honor.
- A people for God’s own possession – God’s treasure!
- Aliens and strangers – the best way to live in this world is to understand that we are different, we’re supposed to be, so live that way.
Submit – 2:13
Yes the government may persecute, there may be temptation to despise and rebel against the kings, governors, and even masters who mistreat, hate, or take advantage of us, but act like Jesus and submit to the authority, because Jesus did. Do what’s right.
Yeah, but what about that man/woman who is so mistreating me!? Oh, in that case — do what’s right! Submit to your husband like Sarah did to Abraham, who was not the most honorable of men to be married to – lying about his marriage relationship to Sarah to men who wanted her. Treat your wife with understanding and honor even if you don’t think she deserves it. Treat the aggravating spouse well – do what’s right.
Give an answer – 3:15ff
This is two fold in its exhortation. Not only should we have a good verbal answer, but we need to have a good behavioral answer to them. We can study up on all the Christian evidences we can get our hands on and have a debate worthy answer, but it will do little good, if we respond poorly to the suffering we encounter. What kind of answer to the revilers in your life do you give?
See you tomorrow, Lord willing