I Peter 2:11-2:15

Sunday, February 14th, 2016

OBLIGATIONS FOR BELIEVERS

INTRODUCTION:

 

In I Peter 2:4-10 we have seen a number of privileges which we as believers have: we are living stones just as Christ was a living stone (vv. 4-5); we are a spiritual house (v. 5); we are a holy priesthood (v. 5); we offer up spiritual sacrifices which are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (v. 5); we will not be put to shame (v. 6); we find Christ precious (v. 7); we are a chosen generation (v. 9); we are a royal priesthood (v. 9); we are a holy nation (v. 9); we are a peculiar people (v. 9); we have the privilege of showing the praises of Him Who has called us out of spiritual darkness into His marvelous light (v. 9); and finally, we are the people of God (v. 10). Because of these many privileges, we as believers should determine to live our lives one hundred percent for the Lord.

 

As always, privileges bring responsibilities.

 

In I Peter 2:11-15 , we see some of the obligations which believers have as a result of their privileges.

We see that believers must –

    I.     ABSTAIN FROM FLESHLY LUSTS – 2:11

 

I Peter 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

 

Whereas Peter has told these believers in verses 9 and 10 that they are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, and a peculiar people, and are now the people of God who have obtained mercy, in verses 11 and 12 Peter begins to tell them that they ought to live like this sort of people.

 

He addresses his readers as dearly beloved. It is simply dear ones, loved ones, or dear friends.

 

I beseech you is I am beseeching you, I am requesting you, I am appealing to you, or I am imploring you.

 

As strangers and pilgrims describes Peter’s readers. They are strangers and pilgrims as far as this world is concerned. They are not at home in this world.

 

Strangers is aliens.

 

Pilgrims means about the same thing as strangers and is used of strangers, aliens, or sojourners. Once again, the implication is that they are not permanent residents of this earth but are just passing through or are only here temporarily. It pictures believers as citizens of another country, i.e. of heaven; and it pictures them as not being at home in this world. Of course, the way in which the world lives, the believers should not be at home in it.

 

Therefore, Peter urges them to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

 

Abstain suggests distance yourselves from or keep away from. Its tense implies that they were already abstaining and were being urged to continue abstaining, to keep on distancing yourselves or to continue keeping away from.

 

What they are to continue to keep away from are fleshly lusts.

 

Fleshly suggests that they belong to the old sin nature, and lusts is desires with an evil connotation or an evil suggestion. Fleshly lusts suggests those carnal desires which are characteristic of unsaved people and which spring from the old sin nature and are not pleasing to the Lord.

 

Which war against the soul refers to these lusts.

 

Which introduces a statement which emphasizes the reason believers should abstain from fleshly lusts and is used in the sense of which by their very nature, which to be sure, or those which.

 

War against is are warring against and pictures these lusts as continually carrying on a military campaign against the soul. Although it is the very nature of fleshly lusts to be always warring against the soul, the believer must abstain from them rather than to succumb to them or be defeated by them.

Next, we see that believers must –

  II.     HAVE THEIR BEHAVIOR HONEST – 2:12

 

I Peter 2:12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

 

Whereas verse 11 teaches what a believer should not be like, verse 12 teaches what he should be like.

 

Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles suggests how believers should be living.

 

Having is understood in the sense of while at the same time having.

 

Conversation is a word which no longer refers to the same thing it did in 1611. To the reader of English in the Twenty-first century your conversation refers to your talk. When the King James Bible was translated, however, it referred to your walk. It means your way of life, your conduct, or your behavior.

 

Honest means morally good, noble, or praiseworthy. Your behavior should be unobjectionable, blameless, or excellent.

 

Among the Gentiles means among the heathen or among the pagans. It is used in the sense of before the unbelieving crowd out of which you have been saved.

 

That suggests in order that or for the purpose that.

 

Whereas they speak against you as evildoers indicates that these heathen or pagans were habitually speaking against the believers and saying that the believers were evildoers. Of course, they were not evildoers. Peter’s point is that believers should give no legitimate reason to these pagans for saying that the believers are evildoers.

 

Whereas may be understood in the sense of in which, while, or because. All three possibilities make good sense in this context.

 

They speak against you means they are speaking evil of you, they are defaming you, or they are slandering you.

 

As evil doers suggests that these pagans were already slandering the believers as if the believers were criminals, blaming them for things which may have been happening, but which the believers were not doing. As an example, when Rome burned, Nero blamed the Christians.

 

Although they were definitely slandering the believers, Peter hopes that eventually they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

 

They refers to these unbelievers who were slandering the believers, and may suggests a possibility that things will change.

 

By your good works suggests because of your good works.

 

Which they shall behold means which they observe or which they see. It reminds us that unbelievers are always watching believers.

 

That they may glorify God in the day of visitation is the purpose that Peter wants fulfilled, and it will hopefully come to pass as a result of believers living the way they should.

 

Glorify God suggests extol God, praise God, or say things about God which ascribe glory to Him.

 

In the day of visitation suggests at the time when the Lord returns, and it pictures these unbelievers, who are currently cursing God, as getting saved because of the way the believers are living and praising God and being thrilled because He has returned for them at the rapture.

 

The point of the verse is that believers, as a testimony of what has happened in their lives, ought to live differently from the way they used to live before they were saved. This was to be done in order that the pagans might see these things and that they also might trust the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior when they see that this gospel message has brought about a good work in the lives of these believers. Then, as saved people they will glorify God at the rapture rather than curse Him.

We also see that believers must –

 III.     SUBMIT THEMSELVES TO EVERY HUMAN AUTHORITY – 2:13-15

 

I Peter 2:13-15 13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. 15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

 

In verses 13-17 Peter suggests ways that believers should be living which are consistent with having their behavior honest among the Gentiles. In this message, however, we’ll only be able to go through verse 15. We’ll consider the other two verses next time.

 

Believers are commanded, Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake. This is not a mere suggestion; it is an imperative, a command. It is something believers must do, something about which they have no choice or option.

 

Submit yourselves to means subject yourselves to, be subjected to, be subordinated to, or obey.

 

What they are to submit themselves to or obey is every ordinance of man.

 

An ordinance is an authority or an institution and refers to some authoritative power which has been established.

 

Of man is simply human. Consequently, believers are to obey every human authority. It is not appropriate for a believer to be defiant and rebellious toward authority. In order that it might be clear whom Peter is referring to, he specifies it as being the king or as governors sent by the king. This is referring to governmental authority.

 

Peter will also discuss the institution of slavery, especially domestic slavery, and in particular the submission of believing slaves to their masters (I Peter 2:18-20 ) as well as the institution of marriage and in particular the submission of believing wives to their husbands (I Peter 3:1-6 ). He will also discuss the Christian husband’s duty toward his wife (I Peter 3:7 ).

 

The reason believers should submit themselves to every human authority is for the Lord’s sake, i.e. because of the Lord or for the sake of the Lord. The Lord is a normal way of speaking in the New Testament of Christ.

 

Whether it be to the king as supreme indicates that the king is one of those to whom believers are to be submissive.

 

It is interesting that at this time when believers were being urged to submit to the king, Nero, a terrible persecutor of Christians, was the Roman emperor. Others who were ungodly have also been kings throughout the centuries. It would be a whole lot easier for the spread of Christianity if believers were viewed as law-abiding citizens and supportive of their government, rather than being viewed as revolutionaries or troublemakers. This sort of behavior would invite governmental opposition and might hinder the spread of the gospel. It is far better to be submissive to the government rather than to do something which might cause some hindrance to the gospel.

 

As supreme describes the position of the king and suggests as having power over or as being an authority over. Certainly, in the government in Peter’s era, the king was the supreme ruler in his entire realm.

 

May a believer ever disobey his government?

 

Under normal circumstances, the answer is, NO, because God has ordained government.

 

Romans 13:1-71 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers [i.e. the governing authorities]. For there is no power [i.e. authority] but of God: the powers that be [i.e. the authorities that exist] are ordained of God [or appointed by God]. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation [i.e. judgment]. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power [i.e. of the authority]? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same [i.e. from the ruler]: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For for this cause pay ye tribute [i.e. taxes] also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due [i.e. tax to whom tax is due]; custom to whom custom [i.e. revenue to whom revenue is due (or indirect taxes to whom indirect taxes are due]; fear to whom fear [i.e. respect to whom respect is due]; honour to whom honour.

 

However, if obedience to the governmental authority brings about disobedience to God, the answer is, YES. He not only may, but He must disobey his government.

 

Acts 4:18-20 18 And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.

 

Acts 5:27-29 27 And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straitly [i.e. strictly] command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

 

Back to I Peter 2:14

I Peter 2:14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

 

Not only must believers be submissive to the king as an ordinance of man (i.e. as a human authority), they also must be submissive to those who are appointed by him as unto governors indicates.

 

Whereas the king ruled over the entire empire, governors are those appointed by the king to rule over smaller territories.

 

Governors are described by the phrase as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. The fact that governors are being sent by the king indicates that the governors are the king’s governors, representing his authority.

 

For the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of them that do well indicates the purpose for which governors are sent by the king.

 

Punishment is vengeance.

 

Evildoers suggests criminals. Society cannot tolerate criminal behavior; consequently, the government normally does its best to put a stop to it.

 

At the same time, government will normally praise them that do well.

 

The praise is the approval or the recognition and suggests a public approval or a public recognition.

 

Of them that do well is literally of good-doers, and it is used in contrast to evildoers.

 

I Peter 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

 

Verse 15 provides the reason believers must submit themselves to every ordinance of man as is indicated by for. It is the word ordinarily translated because and is to be understood in this sense in this verse.

 

So suggests in this way or as follows and refers to what follows.

 

So is the will of God means the will of God is as follows.

 

The will of God is something that God wants believers to do. God has a will for every believer, and believers need to seek to live in accordance with it. Some things in God’s will are individual and only true for a particular believer. This aspect of God’s will usually refers to his Christian service or to his position in life. Most things, however, relating to the will of God are the same for all believers; and they are taught in the Word of God. The believer needs to bring his life into conformity to these.

 

The will of God for all believers is that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

 

With well doing suggests by means of well doing or by doing what is right.

 

Ye may put to silence suggests a purpose for which believers should do good things. It is a term which literally means to tie shut and specifically to muzzle. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means to put to silence or to silence.

 

What believers are to silence is the ignorance of foolish men. The implication is that foolish men make statements because of their ignorance, which suggests a lack of spiritual discernment.

 

Although believers may not always be successful in silencing the ignorance of foolish men, they certainly will not be successful if they are evildoers rather than doers of good. At least they ought to be making the evildoers lie about them rather than giving them legitimate things which can be used to slander them.

 

Foolish men is ignorant men where men is the generic term for human beings and includes females as well as males.

 

Unsaved people do not always put their thoughts about believers into words; but when they do, their words may be slanderous of Christianity, especially if the believers have not been living as they should be living. Not giving them anything legitimate to talk about may go a long way toward silencing them. The best way to silence slanderers is by good behavior.

CONCLUSION:

 

Because believers have many privileges, they also have many obligations.

 

Let’s fulfill them all.