While the world proclaims that the ‘good life’ is all about money and things, in 1 Peter 3:8-12, Peter tells us that ‘the good life’ consists of harmonious relationships – first with God and then with others. Living in relationship with others can be hard, so Peter also tells us that the key to relationships is found in the way we live before others (our walk) and in the way we speak to others (our talk). As a response to God’s grace, we are to be tenderhearted, brotherly and sympathetic. In our speech we are to be careful not to retaliate to verbal abuse and to use words that build others up. In short, we are to be like Jesus.
After calling his readers to imitate the example of Jesus in the way we respond to people in authority over us, in 1Peter 3:1-7, Peter then applies the same principle to marriage. While the world is intent on redefining marriage, Peter has some clear things to say about the roles of wives and husbands that have not changed since God created marriage. These biblical principles involve wives submitting to their husbands and husbands living considerately with their wives. By such behaviour to one another, marriage is shown to be a beautiful part of God’s plan and He is glorified.
The cross of Jesus Christ is central to the truths of Christianity. Understanding the cross helps us grow in our love for God as well as standing firm when false teaching comes our way. 1 Peter 2:24-25, Peter tells us that on the cross Jesus dealt with the penalty of sin by taking our place and dying for us. He also dealt with the power of sin by breaking sin’s ‘hold’ upon us. On the cross, Jesus also brought us back into the ‘fold’ of the His Father. Believers are like sheep under His care.
In this message preached on Good Friday from 1 Peter 2:24, we are reminded of the lengths that our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, went in order to complete all that the Father had sent Him to do. He went to the cross Himself. He did not send another in His place, but went willingly. As He did that, He wore a crown of thorns, but one day when He returns in all His glory, it will be another kind of crown that He will bear.
Continuing on in his theme of living a godly life in a hostile world, in 1 Peter 2.18-23, Peter reminds his readers that the right response to unfair treatment in life, especially at work, is one of submission. This submission will not be easy, especially when we feel our rights have been violated, but it is the pattern that Jesus left us to follow. When He was reviled and hated and insulted, he did not retaliate, but trusted final judgement to God. Life isn’t always fair, and this was especially true for Jesus whose obedience to the Father led Him all the way to the cross to save His people. Sorry, audio problems meant the recording is inaudible.
In a day when governments and politicians are generally derided, in 1 Peter 2:13-17, Peter reminds his readers that the right response to the governing authorities is one of submission. This response recognizes that God has arranged human governments to promote the good and legislate against evil, and that this is one of the ways in which God exercises His will on earth. However, there is a limit to this submission, and Peter reminds us of this too. Submission to God comes first and always takes priority. Yet, believers are called to be the best citizens we can be for Jesus’ sake.
When Peter used the terms ‘sojourners and pilgrims’ to describe his readers, he reminded both them and us that believers are to be in but not of this world. In 1 Peter 2:11-12, we are taught that in order that we may live as the people of God, we are to have a mindset that this world is not our home, that we are engaged in a war against the desires of the sinful nature, that good deeds will show to the watching world the reality of our faith and that there is a day coming when all will be required to face God as Judge. Peter’s words are a challenge to believers to pursue and value our treasure in heaven over and above the treasures of earth.
In this world where people are vainly searching for their identity, in 1 Peter 2:4-10, Peter lets his readers know just who they are as ‘living stones’ in the spiritual house that God is constructing for the glory of His Son, Jesus. As ‘living stones’, believers are being built upon the one foundation and cornerstone (Jesus) in whom we find our identity as God’s chosen and precious people, and as those called out of darkness of sin into the light of His grace. Then, as God’s people, are task is to be in the world declaring aloud the praises of Him who loved us and brought us to Himself – all because of His grace.
If believers have been ‘born again’ by the imperishable seed of the Word of God, it follows that the natural outcome of this new birth will be hunger. In 1 Peter 2:1-3, Peter tells believers that we should be hungry for that which gave us birth (ie the Word of God) and presents this to us in the image of craving milk just like a new-born baby. But in order to feed properly and be full on the Word of God, we need to put aside those sins which would hinder us, as well as ensuring that we do not fill up on the ‘junk food’ of the world leaving no room for the real truth of the Word.
When Peter told his readers that they had had been redeemed by through the precious blood of Christ, in 1 Peter 1:22-25 he urged them to therefore have a sincere, pure and fervent love for one another. This kind of love would be evidence that they had been made new (born again) through the Word of God which they had received and believed. Love for others will also be the main evidence that we also belong to Jesus and know the depth and the value of his redeeming love.