Sunday, April 15, 2012
Scripture Sunday: 1st Peter
The apostle Peter is writing to a large group of believers scattered throughout various provinces. Peter encourages the believers to stay strong and pure in their faith: "But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1:15-16).
Chapter 2 talks a bit about desiring to read God's word: "As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby" (2:2). It's like the Bible is milk, and reading it provides us with some very necessary nutrition. Most Christians seem to have at least some difficulty with reading a good portion of the Bible daily, because there's a spiritual struggle going on. Finding time to read and ponder the Bible is always 100 times harder than finding time to read the newspaper or pick up a good book. But it's incredibly important to get in our daily scripture reading, or else we'll be running through our day without the necessary sustenance.
Peter also discusses obeying those in authority over us: "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme" (2:13). It is a Christian's duty to obey the laws of whatever land they live in, and to pay taxes and to show respect to their government's leaders. Following Christ does not exempt us from following the rules of earthly society; instead it should make us even more intent on doing no evil in any person's eyes. Rulers of countries are there to punish wrongdoers, and we don't want to bring down the name of Christ by disobeying our local laws.
Chapter 3 contains advice for husbands and wives about how they ought to treat each other, and it also gives some more wise counsel for how to treat others: "Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile" (3:9-10). God is serious about us not paying back people who harm us. It's so easy to fire back an angry comment when someone says something ugly to us, but holding ourselves back from speaking cruel words is always the right choice.
Chapter 4 mentions that people will think you're weird for not joining in with their excesses. "Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you" (4:4). Few people are going to understand why you try to live in a holy way and avoid sinful acts that other people see as being just a part of daily life. But what does that really matter? We're living for the hope we find in Christ, not living to impress everyone around us.