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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

February 27, 2013

1 Peter 2:13-25

  1. Verses 13-15. As we continue our study today we must first see the overall purpose that the writer is trying to convey. Peter’s intention here is that our good deeds and ways be seen by the world. The world is slow to believe that the way of Christ is a better way so it should not come as a surprise that the word on the street is that those followers of Christ are “this and that." Allowing your light to shine often means that we will have to shine our lights under great pressure. It was said by many naysayers in these times that the believers of Christ were enemies to the Roman Empire. Often, the rumors would be spread that followers of Christ were against the Roman authorities and government. Peter’s intention is to remind the believers that they had to make sure that they were really living for God so that people would see their good deeds and come to realize that the rumors about them were incorrect. Even Christ was accused of being against the government. This accusation of being against the government was a common one because it would often lead to imprisonment. If a person did not like a believer they could charge them with treason and an arrest might follow given the climate of persecution towards people of the faith. Given the climate, Peter teaches the people that the best way to battle these rumors and false accusations was to submit to the government like any other citizen of the Roman Empire. Peter is not asking the people to do anything illegal or against God’s laws, but to make sure that as a believer you are living above the law so much so that no one could ever accuse you truthfully. In verse 15, Peter says it is God’s will that we silence those who would falsely accuse believers of doing wrong. This can only be accomplished by good godly living.

  2. Verses 16-17. Peter tells the church that we are to enjoy our freedom in Christ, but we should not allow that freedom in Christ to be used as a license to sin. We are free in Christ, but not free to sin against Christ. It is this freedom that many believers were making mistakes in. Some believers were using the fact that they were forgiven as an excuse to live like the pagans did. This type of behavior brought more and more shame on the church and fueled the rumors of many. Basically the apostle Peter encourages the people to be the model neighbors and citizens. When people see us, they should see models of good neighbors and citizens. They should not see much fault in how we treat people. We should be able to disagree with respect and honor, not with disrespect and dishonor. This world likes to disagree with disrespect and dishonor, but the child of God is called to be different.

  3. Verses 18-20. A key word that is used in 1st Peter is “submit." How we need to understand this word is to understand it’s opposite. The opposite of submit could be fight, resist, oppose, or contend. With that knowledge we define submit or submission as not fighting against, not resisting, or not opposing. Peter called for submission from citizens with regards to authorities, slaves with regard to masters, and wives with regards to husbands. All three categories were people who were under authority in society to someone else based on the culture and the laws of the land. The main objection to the faith at that time was that people who were under authority would now oppose their authority after becoming a believer. Peter knows that the world is looking for a way to accuse the people of faith of some sort of shortcoming. The easiest way to get a believer to crumble under pressure is to place them in a difficult situation and respond in a way not becoming of a person of faith. Many people in the empire were slaves. And many of those slaves became believers. William Barclay states “To understand the real meaning of what Peter is saying we must understand something of the nature of slavery in the time of the early church. In the Roman Empire there were as many as 60,000,000 slaves. By New Testament times slaves were counted by the million. It was not only menial tasks which were performed by slaves. Doctors, teachers, musicians, actors, secretaries, stewards were slaves. In fact, all the work of Rome was done by slaves. Roman attitude was that there was no point in being master of the world and doing one’s own work. Let the slaves do that and let the citizens live in pampered idleness. The supply of slaves would never run out. Slaves were not allowed to marry; but they cohabitated; and the children born of such a partnership were the property of the master, not of the parents, just as the lambs born to the sheep belonged to the owner of the flock, and not to the sheep.” Peter knows that his audience contains many who were slaves and slavemasters who were cruel. Peter wanted his audience to live such good lives that the only suffering they would get from their masters was unjust suffering, and unjust suffering is suffering that is rewarded. Slaves would not be commended by God for doing wrong and suffering, but they would be commended for doing right and suffering. Peter reminded the people that they would be commended by God for bearing up under unjust suffering. The point is not that someone should just allow themselves to suffer, but the issue is suffering when one was doing right as opposed to suffering for doing evil. If a slave was doing the right thing, he could know that God would judge his master for being cruel to him, but if the slave was doing evil his suffering was deserved. The idea is that if we suffer; let it be because of evil people not because we were doing evil. God will judge evil people.

  4. Verses 21-25. Peter uses Jesus as the example of suffering for doing right and allowing God to judge. Jesus was innocent, but they treated him like a criminal. He never stooped to their level, but remained faithful and no evil was found in his behavior. Our job is to live like Christ. This means that will have to endure some hardship and some cruel treatment all with the idea that we might demonstrate the power of God through trial and tribulation. Our goal is not to be like evil people, but to show evil people the Christ in us. When evil people see the Christ in us they will be convicted of their sins and be forced to choose God or reject God.

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