1 Peter Chapter 2

Welcome back as we start the second chapter of 1 Peter. You may remember that chapter 1 ended with the knowledge of redemption that comes through the gospel. Peter moves on to tell us how that gospel ought to change our lives. Let’s get started.

1 So rid yourselves of all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all slander. 2 Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, 3 since you have tasted that the Lord is good. 4 Coming to Him, a living stone—rejected by men but chosen and valuable to God— 5 you yourselves, as living stones, are being built into a spiritual house for a holy priesthood to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 6 For it is contained in Scripture: Look! I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and honored cornerstone, and the one who believes in Him will never be put to shame! 7 So honor will come to you who believe, but for the unbelieving, The stone that the builders rejected—this One has become the cornerstone, 8 and A stone to stumble over, and a rock to trip over. They stumble because they disobey the message; they were destined for this.

Peter primed this section by reminding us about God’s grace and told us that it should have changed our lives. Because of the enormous grace God has given us we must get rid of anger, hate, lies, trickery, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. In its place, we are to desire ‘spiritual milk’ or spiritual nutrients like scripture and discipleship. You should grow by it, knowing the Lord is good. We must come to Jesus. He is the cornerstone of our faith. Jesus was rejected by men but He was chosen by God. Peter continues with an analogy. Jesus is the cornerstone and we are living stones that are being built on Him into His temple. Those who believe in Jesus will never be put to shame. The Old Testament said this long before Jesus came. Those who do not believe, who rejected Jesus, will trip and stumble over Jesus. They will not obey His words.

9 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Those who do not accept Christ will fall, but those who do believe in Christ become part of Jesus body, described as a royal priesthood. Each of us has access to God like the priests in the Old Testament. We are called to this so that we may praise God for His grace, calling us from darkness to light and giving us mercy.

11 Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and temporary residents to abstain from fleshly desires that war against you. 12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that in a case where they speak against you as those who do what is evil, they will, by observing your good works, glorify God on the day of visitation. 13 Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the Emperor as the supreme authority 14 or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good. 15 For it is God’s will that you silence the ignorance of foolish people by doing good. 16 As God’s slaves, live as free people, but don’t use your freedom as a way to conceal evil. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the Emperor. 18 Household slaves, submit with all fear to your masters, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel. 19 For it brings favor if, mindful of God’s will, someone endures grief from suffering unjustly.

This life is only a temporary shelter and not our home. We are called to resist the war that is against us fought by fleshly desire. We are called to act honorably among unbelievers that way even when they speak against us they will know our good works and this will bring glory to God. To live honorably among unbelievers, we must obey authority that is over us. We are called to do good and to silence our enemies by doing good. We are allowed to live as free people, but in the context of being slaves to God. We must never use our freedom in Jesus as a way to do evil. Honor all people, love your brothers and sisters, fear God. We are to submit to masters, both good and cruel. In doing all of this it brings favor to God.

20 For what credit is there if you sin and are punished, and you endure it? But when you do what is good and suffer, if you endure it, this brings favor with God. 21 For you were called to this, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you should follow in His steps. 22 He did not commit sin, and no deceit was found in His mouth; 23 when He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He was suffering, He did not threaten but entrusted Himself to the One who judges justly. 24 He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but you have now returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

            If we suffer for our sin then what good is it? But if we suffer for no reason and endure, God sees this and blesses us. We are called to endure suffering as Jesus endured suffering. Jesus did not sin and lived a life that put His enemies to shame. He suffered to the point of bearing our sin to the point of death. We are healed and forgiven by Jesus wounds. We all had gone from God and lived in sin, but He called us back and paid for our sin.

So What Do I Do With This Now?

All the information is great, but what do I do with it now?

1 God’s grace ought to change our lives and push us to let go of malice, deceit, slander and other evils that live in our hearts. We are called to let go of hatred and lies and instead show God’s love.

2 We are called as a royal priesthood so that we will praise God. We all must do a better job praising God.

3 Remember that this world and life are not our homes. Our home is in heaven and we must not lose sight of that.

4 Resist fleshly desires.

5 Obey all human authority unless it directly defies God’s standards for our lives.

6 Never use freedom in Christ to do evil.

7 Endure unjust suffering, knowing Jesus endured even worse for our sake.

Well thank you for pushing though this chapter. I hope you see what Peter is trying to say about the power of the gospel and the change it ought to inspire. Have a blessed day.

1 Peter Chapter 1

Welcome to the start of 1 Peter. Last week we talked briefly about the background of this letter and now we will pick up in chapter one. Remember that Peter is writing to a mixed audience of Jews and Gentiles and that he is trying to encourage and instruct them. Let’s begin.

1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ: To the temporary residents dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, chosen 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father and set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ. May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

As has already been said this is a letter from Peter, possibly written in Rome, to churches throughout the region of Asia Minor, modern day Turkey. Peter states that the believers are chosen by God. They are chosen because of God’s foreknowledge. That is just of fancy way of saying God knows what is going to happen before it does. They were chosen and then they were set apart by the Spirit. They were set apart that they would obey, as all of us should, and that they would be cleansed by Jesus blood. Peter wraps his greeting up by wishing for grace and peace for the believers.

Side Note: Many people use these verses as definitive proof of predestination and the lack of free will. To do so is a mistake for three reasons. First, this ignores the wealth of passages that talk about man’s free choice and the accountability for those choices. Secondly, this ignores the context of the passage itself. They were chosen because God knew what they would choose, this still conveys choice. Thirdly, the assumption of both predestination and free will ignore that fact that God uses both in a way we cannot fully grasp. It seems contradictory to the human mind, but think about it. An all-powerful God can use man’s free choices to accomplish His own will. That is the simple truth.

3 Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. According to His great mercy, He has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, uncorrupted, and unfading, kept in heaven for you. 5 You are being protected by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 You rejoice in this, though now for a short time you have had to struggle in various trials 7 so that the genuineness of your faith—more valuable than gold, which perishes though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8 You love Him, though you have not seen Him. And though not seeing Him now, you believe in Him and rejoice with inexpressible and glorious joy, 9 because you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Take a second to reread verses 3 and 4. Are we ever truly thankful for the mercy God has shown, or do we take it for granted? We were given new life through the resurrection of Jesus. We get an inheritance that cannot be destroyed or corrupted. As part of this, God protects us through our faith. We are to rejoice in this. We will go through various trials and through them God will refine and prove our faith. This faith, tested and proven, is far more valuable than anything on earth. That genuine faith results in praise, glory, and honor for Jesus. Our lives, if lived as God desires, glorify God. One more point to bring up is that Peter talks about what the goal of our faith is. He points out that the goal of faith is the salvation of our soul.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that would come to you searched and carefully investigated. 11 They inquired into what time or what circumstances the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating when He testified in advance to the messianic sufferings and the glories that would follow. 12 It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you. These things have now been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Angels desire to look into these things. 13 Therefore, with your minds ready for action, be serious and set your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires of your former ignorance. 15 But as the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; 16 for it is written, Be holy, because I am holy.

Peter uses this next section to dive into salvation. He points out how the prophets, like Isaiah, Ezekiel, and more, searched carefully to know more. God revealed to them details of what would happen long in advance of when they did (these Biblical texts have been confirmed in the Dead Sea Scrolls which were dated nearly 200 years before Christ was born) and Jesus fulfilled all of them, bring grace to all of us. These prophets were told they would not live to see the fulfillment of what they were told, and so what they did was a service to us and others. This fulfillment was revealed to them, and us, through the preaching of others and by the Holy Spirit. Angels themselves wish to look into these things. Now, because we have been given this assurance and revelation, we must be serious and put all our hope on Jesus. We are called to be obedient, as children of God. As such we are not to pursue our former desires, or the desires of our flesh. Then Peter quotes the Old Testament, reminding his audience that we are called to be Holy, because God Himself is holy. Again Peter tells us that we must live obediently to God.

17 And if you address as Father the One who judges impartially based on each one’s work, you are to conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your temporary residence. 18 For you know that you were redeemed from your empty way of life inherited from the fathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. 20 He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 By obedience to the truth, having purified yourselves for sincere love of the brothers, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again—not of perishable seed but of imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God. 24 For All flesh is like grass, and all its glory like a flower of the grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, 25 but the word of the Lord endures forever. And this is the word that was preached as the gospel to you.

Peter points out that God is an impartial judge and that He will judge our work. Because of this, we again are called to be obedient and do all that God asks us. We are only here for a short time, and then we will be in eternity. This life is little indeed when put in that light. We were redeemed from the worthless things we once did, not by anything like gold, but only by Jesus’ blood. This had been planned by God before the world ever existed and revealed to us. God raised Him from the dead and so our faith must be in Him. By obedience we are called to love one another earnestly from a pure heart. We have been born again, and unlike the flowers of the field, this new birth will not perish. God’s word will endure forever, and these words will continue to be preached to us all.

So What Do I Do With This Now?

All the information is great, but what do I do with it now?

1 All believers have been set apart by the Holy Spirit with the purpose of obeying God. As believer’s we are called to obedience. We must read through God’s word and apply His commands to our lives.

2 We are called to glorify God. If we live in the way He desires, then others will see this and give glory to God. Live in such a way that your actions glorify God.

3 In light of what God has done we are called to live in obedience. I cannot stress the importance of this. It is directly stated at least three times in this chapter alone!

Hurrah! You made it through the whole thing. I hope you take this word seriously and truly grasp the importance of learning what God desires of us and doing it. I am currently putting together a book that focuses on all the things God desires of us. I hope to have it available for you soon. Until next time, God bless!

1 Peter Background

Well here we go into another book! Sorry it has been awhile, I have been traveling. We are now going to start 1 Peter and then we will do 2 Peter right after. These letters have much to say about what God desires of us. Take a brief moment to read the background and next week we will dive into chapter 1.

Background

As the name suggest 1 Peter was written by Peter through Silvanus. In verse 1 we see it was written to the temporary residents dispersed in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia. These were areas in Asia Minor, known as modern day Turkey. The letter was likely written from Rome. Peter refers to it as Babylon, but most scholars agree this is just a metaphorical use as a reference to Rome’s growing sin and coming judgement. To date the letter, we need to look at the contents. Peter does not mention the death of Paul, so it is probable that he wrote before Paul’s death in 64 AD. The best presented arguments agree that Peter wrote sometime between 63 and 64 AD. It was written to both a Jewish and Gentile audience over a wide range of places. Looking at the letter as a whole it can be seen that Peter wrote for the purpose of reassuring their salvation, warning of persecution, and exhorting them to stand tall and to do good works. This letter has much to say on the type of works expected of Jesus’ followers. As you read, note these commands and seek to apply them to your own life.