Outrageous Hope Extravagant Joy | Week 4
Jean Stockdale covers the end of 1 Peter 2 in Week 4 of "Outrageous Hope Extravagant Joy" from Bellevue Women.
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For All to See
Week 4 - 1 Peter 2:13-25
Peter continues to urge his readers to strive to make our practice reflect our position in Christ. Why? Because “we are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20). “We are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2 Corinthians 2:15). We are a “letter (an epistle KJV) . . . known and read by all men; being manifested that [we] are a letter of Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:2-3 parenthesis mine). Having been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:4), we should forsake “the former lusts which were [ours] in [our] ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14) prior to our conversion and “long for the pure milk of the Word” (1 Peter 2:2).
I. Submit - 1 Peter 2:13-17
Peter addresses the relationship between the child of God and authority figures. In 1 Peter 2:13 he writes, “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution.” Therefore, we should submit to the authority established by human government. We are ambassadors for Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20) and it is important that we honor and respect the office of our authorities even if we disagree with the politics or dislike the person occupying the position. Obedience to the injunctions of governing authorities reflect our reverence and submission to the Lord.
It may be tempting for Christian believers, especially in pagan societies, to construe their loyalty to Christ as a license for rebellion against the ungodly authorities that govern them (Jobes, K. H. “1 Peter” p.174).
Biblical submissive is often extremely misunderstood, especially in our self- centered society that places a high premium on personal rights, civil liberties, and assertiveness. Submission is a military word which means “to place under rank.” It has the idea of one equal voluntarily placing himself under the authority of another equal for the common good of all.
Subjection to human authority is part of God’s will so that “by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15). As Christians, we are to (strive to) live exemplary lives in order to stop the mouths of those who criticize our faith. The idea here is one of obedience to authorities. Submission to authority is God’s desire for His people. We can trust God because all governments and authorities are ultimately appointed and controlled by Him. Obviously, this is not required for actions that are sinful or contrary to the Word of God. In Acts 5:17-29, Peter and the apostles were brought before the Council and the Sadducees in Jerusalem. The high priest forbade them to continue teaching about Jesus. In Acts 5:29 Peter replied, “We must obey God rather than men.”
“As children of God, we are truly free. We are free from hell and eternal separation from God. We are free from sin. It has no power over us, except that which we give it.” (Outrageous Hope Extravagant Joy p. 81).
In Christ we are free from the ruling power of sin our in our lives, free from guilt (see Psalm 32:5), and free from the impossible self-effort of attempting to earn God’s favor through good works. Therefore, we are to “act as free men” (1 Peter 2:16).
Our freedom comes with a warning, “Do not use your freedom as a covering for evil” (1 Peter 2: 16). Our freedom does not extend to disobedience to our authorities nor does our freedom permit us to disobey God. We are “bondslaves of God.” In the original language this word translated “bondslaves” is doulos and literally means “a slave”. We are free yet paradoxically we are slaves who serve God. Christian freedom is always to be restrained by Christian responsibility. We are not free to do as we like but rather we are free to do as we ought. “As obedient children . . . be holy yourselves in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Peter 1:14; 15). “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution . . . for such is the will of God. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil. Fear God” (see 1 Peter 2:13-17).
II. Serve - 1 Peter 2:18-20
As the Romans began to conquer the world, they used their prisoners of war as slaves. Many of them were well-educated and included doctors, teachers, musicians, and household managers. Many were well loved and considered trusted members of the family. Peter described their masters as “good and gentle” (1 Peter 2:18). That was not true in all cases. Peter called upon these servants (literally “household slaves”) to respectfully and voluntarily submit. The word Peter uses for masters is a strong word meaning “absolute ownership and uncontrolled power.” His word of instruction to servants in regard to masters, even difficult ones, was to be submit and serve as unto the Lord. In Ephesians 6:5-7, Paul wrote a similar admonition, “Slaves, be obedient to those who are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ; not by way of eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but as slaves of Christ. Doing the will of God from the heart. With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good thing each one does, that he will receive back from the Lord, whether slave or free.” Servants, be submissive to your masters” (1 Peter 2:18). Why? Quite simply, “this finds favor with God” (1 Peter 2:20).
III. Surrender - 1 Peter 2:21-25
Peter points to Jesus, “the Shepherd and Guardian of [our] souls” (1 Peter 2:25) as the ultimate example of suffering unjustly, all the while “entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:23). Peter was writing to Christians experiencing persecution. He further builds the case for patiently enduring suffering, especially that which is undeserved, for “this finds favor with God” (1 Peter 2:20). Surrender your will to the Lord and trust in Him!
Furthermore, because we are “aliens and strangers” (1 Peter 1:22) living counter- culturally, suffering is a natural result. Fear not, beloved, Jesus is our example. He “committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously” (1 Peter 2:22-23).
Peter’s reference to the suffering of Jesus focuses on the unique character of His suffering. His sacrificial, substitutionary death was on behalf of sinners. He bore our sins on the cross. He endured the ultimate suffering in order to redeem lost humanity because “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and we were “continually straying like sheep”!! Praise God, we “have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of [our] souls” (1 Peter 2:25).
We “were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from [our] futile way of life inherited from [our] forefathers, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19). Such knowledge causes us or (should cause us) to “honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, [and] honor the king” (1 Peter 2:17) for “this finds favor with God” (1 Peter 2:20). And should fill us with Outrageous Hope and Extravagant Joy!