Friday, July 31, 2009

Living The New Life - Giving An Answer

1 Peter 3:8-15

In this section of scripture Peter is setting up the believer to be able to give an answer to everyone who might ask the reason of the hope that lies within us. How do we prepare to give this answer? These verses will give some insight.

First, we are to be of one mind, not disagreeing with our fellow believers on the foundation of truth that is revealed by God through prophets and apostles. We must all agree with truth; if not, we will not give a right answer.

Second, we are to show compassion toward one another. This shows that we are in agreement with the truth and that there is a love between believers in Christ that transcends the love of the world. Peter details this love further when he mentions being pitiful and courteous toward people in general. We are not to seek revenge but show a blessing to all people with our love and pity, because we are called unto this, verse 9.

Third, we are to be very careful about what we say and how we say it, not speaking any evil or guile (deceit). People actually listen, not only to what we say, but how we say it; and this speaks volumes as to our witness of the truth, verse 10.

Fourth, we are to turn away from(eschew) evil and do good. These two things go hand in hand. We cannot do one without doing the other. We are to seek peace and follow after(ensue) it. In other words, we are not to be confrontational. This we do, because God is always watching us, and his ears are listening to our prayers, but the face of the Lord is against (turned away from) them that do evil, verses 11-12.

Fifth, we need to understand that no one wants to harm a person who identifies with the aforementioned qualities. It should be very hard, according to this, to pick a fight with a believer who is giving an answer to the hope that is in him. However, there are some who desire to harm all believers, and nothing will stop them; but we need to realize that we are appointed to this (See Phil. 1:29). We are not to be afraid of their terror or to be troubled by them (See Gal. 2:6), verses 13-14.

Sixth, we are to sanctify the Lord God in our hearts: be aware that God is with you wherever you go (Psalm 23:4). Be in constant awareness of God's presence, because he said "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee" (Heb. 13:5), verse 15.

Then, when all of these qualities have been obtained in our new life, we shall be in a position to give an answer to everyone who asks about the hope that is in us, and we can do it with meekness and fear: meekness, because these qualities give us self-confidence and bring us to our knees in the presence of our God; and fear, because we know that, when we answer the truth, we are answering the very words of God from his word. What an awesome challenge for every believer!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Living The New Life - Wives and Husbands

1 Peter 3:1-7

The word likewise in verse one refers back to 2:13, which instructs those living the new life to submit to every ordinance of man, etc. Peter here deals with the wives and then the husbands.

He speaks, first, of women in general, telling them that they should be in subjection to their own husbands. This should be a thing that is simply assumed, but evidently it is not, since God reminds us here through Peter about it. Ladies, set it in your mind to do what these verses instruct you to do. Both women and men have a responsibility to God to keep his commandments.

One of the reasons that God wants women to be in subjection to their husbands is so that, if the husband (a saved man) disobeys God's word, he can be won back to a good walk in the Lord by simply seeing the obedience of his wife. This obedience, then, is an object lesson to a woman's husband, and this passage does not say how long this will take. The husband will see the wife's conversation (way of life) along with the object of that life, which is the fear of God, verse 2.

As the husband beholds the wife, she should be adorned, not with the lustful dress of the world, but with the hidden "man" of the heart, which is a meek and quiet spirit, not a spirit of disdain and constant nagging, verses 3-4.

Peter then gives an example of "the old time," using Sarah, the wife of Abraham, as an example of this meek and quiet spirit. These women in "the old time" trusted in God and were not afraid to obey God, verse 6. Sarah called Abraham "lord." This was out of respect to him as her head. This is God's way (1 Cor. 11:3).

In verse 7 Peter turns to talk to husbands concerning their wives. He says to "dwell with them." This means that the husband should not quickly leave a woman but understand his position as husband and father. He is to give honor to his wife. This Greek word for "honor" is the basic word for "precious." So, the husband should consider his wife to be precious to him. He is to consider her the "weaker vessel," refusing to use his bodily strength against her but to consider her precious, not precocious.

The husband is to consider his wife "heirs together of the grace of life" so that their prayers not be hindered. Too many times either husband or wife will think himself better than the other in one way or another; but God says they are equal spiritually in regard to the grace of life. The Bible is very clear in teaching the place of both man and woman in service of the local church, but in regard to grace, they are equal in the presence of God.