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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

March 27, 2013

1 Peter 3:10-16

  1. Verses 10-12. When we left off last week, the apostle encouraged the church to refrain from responding to insults with insults, but to respond with blessings. This is always a difficult thing to do especially since this would involve some suffering for doing the right thing. I think this is why the writer begins to quote some of Psalms 34:12-16. Psalm 34 is a Psalm celebrating the Lord for his ability to deliver those who trust in him. The verses that Peter quotes are the verses that David uses to describe the kind of person that the Lord delivers. These are the qualities of one who trust in God. Peter tosses these verses in this passage, I think, to remind the reader that God will always deliver the believer who trust in him. This Psalm does not say we will be able to avoid trouble and trials, but that God will deliver us from them.

  2. Verses 13-14. Verse 13 starts with a question that indicates that when we do good who would hurt us? However, we will suffer for righteousness and it is not realistic to think otherwise. Thus, we must prepare our attitude and faith for it (Pet. 4:12). This refers to when others seek to harm us, as the more we exhibit His Fruit, the less likely, in most cases, we will be harmed unless it is outright persecution. In other words when we are loving, kind, considerate and submissive most people will not seek to harm us, but if we are being harmed it has nothing to do with our character in Christ, but a lack of character from the other party. And even if we do suffer hardships we are blessed knowing that God will deliver. Peter makes it very clear that when one suffers for doing what is right, he is blessed (1 Peter 3:14). The blessings do not stop when the suffering begins. Peter insists that suffering for the sake of godliness is a blessing. This statement will receive further support and clarification in chapter 4 (see verses 1-5, 12-16).Peter quotes Isaiah 8:12 to remind the people that the only person we have to fear is God and not man. So even when we are persecuted we should remain confident that God will come to our aid. When we are in Christ, no harm will come to us that is not allowed for a purpose; so, we can trust in Him and endure. We are to fear God, not other people. Peter was seeking to pastor his people so they could make sound decisions and not be afraid of those who hate God. We can take comfort that no force can take away what Christ has given. Our security is in Him, not in how we are treated (Psalm 56:4; Luke 12:4-7; Rom. 8:31-39).

  3. Verses 15-16. The last words of verse 14 and the first few words of verse 15 are a reference to Isaiah 8. In these verses, God warns the prophet Isaiah not to buckle under to the opposition he receives in response to the message God gave him to proclaim. Peter uses these words to remind us that we too should not be frightened or intimidated by the opposition we receive from men. We are to faithfully embrace and proclaim the truths of God’s Word. When the Old Testament prophets were divinely commissioned, they were instructed to stand firm in the face of opposition and to faithfully proclaim the truth God revealed to them (see Isaiah 6:1-7; 8:1-22; Jeremiah 1:4-19; Ezekiel 2:4-7). Peter is concerned that when things get tough, we will be tempted to be silent or to water down the message. Who should understand this better than Peter who, under pressure, denied being associated with His Lord (see Matthew 26:69-75). Now he writes that times of persecution are often occasions for bearing witness to the Savior. Times of persecution are excellent opportunities to witness for Christ. Our witness for God requires that we have not compromised. Peter calls this having a clear conscience. We cannot respond to our trials with evil actions because our enemies could use that against our witness. We are to be ready with kind words and kind actions. Peter puts his finger on a very important outworking of a clear conscience. He says we are to have a clear conscience so that when we are slandered, those who have spoken evil of us for well—doing will be put to shame. Godly conduct puts sinners to shame. But when godly conduct shames sinners, it often results in persecution. The Christian is tempted to draw back, to modify his conduct to reduce or minimize the persecution he faces. Peter urges us not to violate our conscience by compromising our convictions. Daniel was also a man faithful to his conscience. When he was far from his homeland living as a captive in Babylon, Daniel nevertheless made every effort to live with a clear conscience. When he was given food to eat which would have violated his conscience, Daniel wisely petitioned the one in authority so that he would not defile himself (see Daniel 1). His conduct was such that his jealous peers knew they could only accuse him in some matter related to his personal practice of spiritual piety (see Daniel 6:1-5). We need to be ready and prepared to tell of the hope of Christ that is in us. When the world sees us suffer, but remain hopeful and true to Christ, they will be convicted of their slander against the people of faith. The trials of life are supposed to just polish us and not rub us out.

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