By: Daniel Goepfrich
Being Godly in an Ungodly World
Chapter two best starts in 1 Peter 2:4. (The first three verses connect to chapter one.) Here Peter laid out the reason to live properly in this world and gave some practical examples of what that should look like. His reason is very simple: our relation to Jesus. Peter portrayed Jesus as a stone lying on the ground. For unbelievers, he is “A STUMBLING-STONE AND A ROCK TO TRIP OVER” (1 Peter 2:8). For believers, however, he is a foundation on which we “AS LIVING STONES, ARE BUILT UP AS A SPIRITUAL HOUSE” (1 Peter 2: 5). Because we are “NOW…GOD’S PEOPLE” who “HAVE RECEIVED MERCY” (1 Peter 2:10), we should “MAINTAIN GOOD CONDUCT AMONG NON-CHRISTIANS, SO THAT…THEY MAY SEE [OUR] GOOD DEEDS AND GLORIFY GOD WHEN HE APPEARS” (1 Peter 2:12).
Practically speaking, this means that, even though we are in this godless world, Christians are to obey governing authorities (1 Peter 2:13-17), using any freedoms we have to serve God and each other. In those situations when we do not have freedom, we must live under subjection of the human government but in the fear of God, obeying them even if they persecute us for our faith (1 Peter 2:18-20). Peter considered that kind of persecution to be an honor because it would imitate Jesus, who suffered though he lived perfectly (1 Peter 2:21-25).
Chapter three continues Peter’s examples of living out Christlikeness, beginning in our marriages. Believing wives should let their Christian nature be their defining feature, especially in how they treat their husbands. This testimony is so powerful that it could turn unbelieving husbands to the gospel. Husbands, on the other hand, are to be worthy of their wives’ respect and treat them respectfully as full partners in this life. Peter warned that mistreating one’s wife is actually a hindrance in a man’s relationship with God.
Suffering for Righteousness
Peter wrapped up his exhortation toward godly practice with general statements like Paul’s in Romans 12. As his basis Peter quoted from Psalm 34, emphasizing again that our prayers to God are affected by the way we choose to live. Christians who are not in line with God find him standing against them. Rather than God standing against us for living wickedly, it is better to have unbelievers stand against us for living righteously. Because not every unbeliever will persecute a believer, a godly lifestyle can be a catalyst to sharing the gospel with those who are open, so we should share our “HOPE… WITH COURTESY AND RESPECT.” Finally, Peter reminded his readers that even Jesus himself suffered for doing what was right, and he still fulfilled everything God called him to do, including our present and future salvation.
Each Thursday, DPH runs a Chapter-by-Chapter blog by Daniel Goepfrich, progressing readers chapter-by-chapter through the New Testament. This series is taken from New Testament Chapter-by-Chapter, published by Trust House Publishers, a division of DPH. Daniel serves as Pastor of Oak Tree Community Church in South Bend, Indiana, and blogs at www.TheologyIsForEveryone.com
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