It has been a hectic few days for me. Not sure where we left off at but we will pick up at 1 Peter 2: 11. In these next few verses Peter gives instruction on how a Christian is to live before the world, that we as Christians are to obey the government that we find ourselves under, and a portion dealing with slaves and their relationship to their masters Then in Chapter three there is some advice to both husbands and wives, a few words about blessings, and a few words about suffering for right and suffering for wrong. And then some about Christ‘s suffering and ours. Actually, I am not going to look at these in chronological order. First, I would like to take a look at verses 13-16. This is about being obedient to the government. One of the roles of government is to punish those who do evil. Today, we call them criminals. Those who are disobedient to the laws of the land. Lets look at the verses before I go off ona rabbbit trail here.
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. 15For 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.
Here, Peter, is commanding that Christians voluntarily submit to the governing authorities. This is not a matter of personal conviction or a choice. Peter use the phrase, “every ordinance of man” , This means we are to obey all the rules we may encounter, not just from civil authorities, but from employers, schools, ect… It is God that has ordained the governments and those who hold offices whether it be a king, a president, or a governor, or a mayor, or a city councilman, it is God that has put them in place. This obedience to authority will silence those who oppose us, as they will have no legitimate charge to bring against us, and this obedience is honoring God.
Ok now lets jump back to verse 11–12 :
1 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 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.
Peter begins by reminding us, that this world is not our home, we are just passing through, (hey, that line might make a good lyric for a song!)
That word “abstain” is a verb and it means to hold ones self away from. What are we to hold ourselves away from? Peter says “Fleshly lusts”, but exactly what would those be? They would be idolatry, fornication, all appearance of evil and sinful desires. WOW! This is a tall order that Peter is commanding here! And it is these very things that entice us to sin and it is these very things that we, in moments of weakness, do yield to. It is these things that are the enemies weapons of war, and it is a war that we are in, not on the physical plane, but spiritual war, and what is at stake is our salvation and eternal destiny. Gentiles in this context refers to those who are not believers in Christ. In spite of our good works, nonbelievers will slander us, but they will not have any case due to our obedience to both God and those whom He has placed in authority over us.
day of visitation- most likely refers to Judgement Day. When all ( believers and unbelievers alike) will fall on their knees before the Lord.
We will finish the chapter next time. And get into a bit of chapter three.
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New King James Version (NKJV)
Be acceptable in Your sight,
O LORD, my strength and my Redeemer.