I Peter 2:16-20

Sunday, February 21st, 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 well-pleasing to God by 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 2:11-20 , we see some of the obligations which believers have.

We have already seen that –

    I.     BELIEVERS MUST BE ABSTAINING FROM FLESHLY LUSTS – I Peter 2:11

 

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

We have also already seen that –

  II.     BELIEVERS MUST BE HAVING THEIR BEHAVIOR HONEST – I Peter 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.

Finally, we have already seen that –

 III.     BELIEVERS MUST BE SUBMITTING THEMSELVES TO EVERY HUMAN AUTHORITY – I Peter 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.

As we move on, we see that –

 IV.     BELIEVERS MUST NOT BE USING THEIR LIBERTY AS A CLOAK OF MALICIOUSNESS – I Peter 2:16

 

I Peter 2:16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

 

Although believers are free in Christ, they are not free to do evil or free to commit sin.

 

Verse 16 continues the thought of how believers should be submitting unto the king and unto the governors.

 

They should submit as free meaning as free people. They are not slaves. This is in contrast to a slave having to be forced to submit, and it suggests that their submission to every authority God has placed over them should be voluntary.

 

And not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God qualifies their freedom. In other words, it limits their liberty. Their liberty should never be abused.

 

Liberty suggests freedom.

 

A cloke is a cover or a veil; and its purpose is to cover something, thereby concealing it.

 

Maliciousness is wickedness. In other words, although believers are free, they should not abuse their liberty by using it as a camouflage in order to do wrong or to commit sin.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness.

 

As the servants of God is as the slaves of God.

 

Although believers are free, they are not free from serving God; and they must use their freedom wisely in order that they might spend their energies as slaves of the Lord rather than inviting opposition to them from the government or other human authority God has placed over them.

Next, we see that –

   V.     BELIEVERS MUST HONOR ALL PEOPLE – I Peter 2:17

 

I Peter 2:17 Honour all men. . . .

 

Verse 17 provides four commandments which indicate how believers are to live and, particularly, how they are to exercise their freedom as God’s servants.

 

First, they are to honour all men.

 

Honour is not a suggestion; it is a command which must be obeyed. It suggests revere, esteem highly, or value highly. It indicates that they ought to have respect for all people. The tense of honour suggests that they are to begin to do something they have not been doing.

 

All men is literally all and suggests all persons. This is not a reference to adult males. Believers ought to honor all people, whether male or female, whether young or old. Oftentimes people have contempt for one group of people or another. Sometimes these attitudes of contempt are exhibited toward particular races, toward those of the opposite sex, toward children, toward teenagers, or toward older people. Believers should honor all others and never treat any of them with contempt.

Not only must they honor all people, but we also see that –

 VI.     BELIEVERS MUST BE LOVING THE BROTHERHOOD – I Peter 2:17

 

I Peter 2:17 . . . Love the brotherhood. . . .

 

Love is the same term used of God the Father Who loved the world and gave His Son to die on the cross in payment for sin, and it speaks of believers giving themselves completely on behalf of others without expecting anything in return.

 

The brotherhood refers to fellow-believers and speaks of the Christian community as brothers or sisters. This same word is translated brethren in I Peter 5:9 . In other words, believers should love other believers.

 

Not only must believers honor all people and love fellow-believers, but we also see that –

VII.     BELIEVERS MUST BE FEARING GOD – I Peter 2:17

 

I Peter 2:17 . . . Fear God. . . .

 

The third commandment expressed in this verse is fear God. Although it suggests be afraid of God, it is also used in the sense of have reverence for God, respect God, or stand in awe of God. Believers should have a reverential respect or awe for God because of Who He is and because of what He has already done for them. They should also be fearful because they know that He is very capable of chastising them whenever they need it. They should be afraid to do things that would be displeasing to God or of failing to do things that they know they should be doing.

 

Not only must believers honor all people, love their fellow-believers, and reverence God, but we also see that –

VIII.   BELIEVERS MUST BE HONORING THE KING – I Peter 2:17

 

I Peter 2:17 Honour the king.

 

Honour is the same word used previously of all men in this verse. Even though the king may be an ungodly person, he is still the king; and as such believers should honor him, i.e. respect him or revere him.

 

The king is a ruling power over the nation in which he reigns and in which believers happen to be living.

Next, we see that –

 IX.     BELIEVERS WHO ARE SLAVES MUST BE SUBJECT TO THEIR MASTERS – I Peter 2:18

 

I Peter 2:18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

 

Servants is a term generally used of household slaves, house slaves, or domestic slaves rather than the ordinary term for bondslaves. In this verse it is used of slaves generally, but it is a different term from the one translated servants in verse 18. Slaves were common in the Roman Empire, and it is not at all surprising to find that many slaves had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior from sin and its consequences.

 

Be subject to is the same term translated submit in verse 13 where believers are to submit themselves to every ordinance of man, i.e. to every human authority. It is also translated be in subjection to in I Peter 3:1 where wives are to be in subjection to their own husbands. It is used in the sense of become subject to, subject yourselves to, become subordinated to, or obey.

 

Believing slaves were to be submissive to their masters. Their masters were their owners or their lords.

 

With all fear is with all reverence or with all respect. Their fear was based upon their position as slaves and the position of their owners as their absolute masters or lords who had the very power of life or death over them. However, it was also to be done because it was Peter’s desire to win these masters to the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Another reason slaves should obey their masters with all fear was to enable them to live more readily for the Lord. Defiance or rebellion would only serve to bring harsh measures against them by their masters. There would be no benefit to the saved slaves themselves or to Christianity if their masters were not able to distinguish between the behavior of saved slaves and the behavior of unsaved slaves.

 

Not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. Peter is referring to the slave owners. Some were good and gentle. Others were froward or perverse. These represent the extremes of behavior. Believing slaves were to be subject to both kinds of masters as well as to all masters whose behavior was in between these extremes. Of course, it would be more pleasant for the slave to have a good and gentle master than to have a froward or perverse one; nevertheless, the Lord knew all about the individual circumstances of each slave; and the Lord placed a particular slave under a particular master. Each believing slave was to do his best to live a godly life in order to bring glory to the Lord, in order to have opportunity for witness to the slave owner, and in order to be left alone to live for the Lord more peaceably.

 

Good is used in the sense of benevolent; whereas, gentle means kind.

 

Some slaves owners were benevolent and kind to their slaves; whereas, others were froward, which suggests perverse, unscrupulous, dishonest, harsh, or unjust. It means that they were mean and nasty. Although it may be relatively easy for a slave to submit to a good and gentle master; it would never be easy to submit to a mean or nasty one. It would be a real test of the believing slave’s Christian character.

Finally, we see that –

   X.     BELIEVERS MUST SUFFER PATIENTLY – I Peter 2:19-20

 

I Peter 2:19-20 19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

 

In verse 19 Peter continues his thought that believing slaves should be subject to their masters with all fear as is indicated by for, which is used in the sense of now. For introduces an extension of the thought.

 

Verse 19 is a conditional statement. The condition is, If a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully; and the conclusion of this conditional statement is, This is thankworthy. In conditional statements, ordinarily the condition comes before the conclusion. However, when the speaker or writer wishes to emphasize the conclusion, he reverses the normal order of the clauses and places the conclusion first like Peter does in this verse.

 

This refers to what follows in verse 19: If a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully, this is thankworthy.

 

Thankworthy suggests that it brings someone’s favor. In this case it brings God’s favor.

 

If a man for conscience toward God endure grief suffering wrongfully is a simple condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true.

 

It may or may not happen that a particular individual endures grief and suffers wrongfully for conscience toward God. Therefore, if should be understood in the sense of assuming that. Believers may endure grief and suffer wrongfully because of their own conscience toward God. The conclusion of this condition is expressed by the words this is thankworthy.

 

A man is not the term for an adult male. It is a term which means anyone, anybody, someone, or somebody; and it matters not what sex he is or how old he is.

 

For conscience toward God is for the sake of conscience toward God and suggests for the sake of a good conscience toward God or for the sake of a clear conscience toward God.

 

Endure means to bear, bear up under, or submit to.

 

Grief is sorrow, pain (whether of mind or spirit), or affliction.

 

Suffering wrongfully suggests while suffering wrongfully, by suffering wrongfully, or because of suffering wrongfully.

 

Wrongfully means unjustly or undeservedly. If he suffers wrongfully because of a clear conscience toward God, this is something that is worthy of praise before God.

 

I Peter 2:20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

 

Verse 20 provides a statement of suffering justly as well as a further statement of the benefits of doing well and suffering wrongfully for it. This is done in order to encourage believers to do what is right regardless of the consequences. The first phrase in verse 20 provides an explanation of what Peter has said in verse 19 from a negative standpoint. By contrast the second half of verse 20 provides an explanation of verse 19 from a positive standpoint.

 

For introduces this explanation and is to be understood in the sense of because.

 

What glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? This is a conditional statement. The condition is, If, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently; and the conclusion is what glory is it? Once again, the conclusion is emphasized by its placement in the sentence. In addition, the condition is assumed, for sake of discussion, to be true. In reality, it may or may not be true for a particular individual. Therefore, if should be understood in the sense of assuming that.

 

What glory? suggests of what kind of glory (or fame)?

 

What glory is it? implies that it is of no glory or that it is of no fame.

 

When ye be buffeted for your faults is literally sinning and being buffeted.

 

For your faults suggests because you do wrong, if you do wrong, or when (or while) you do wrong.

 

Ye be buffeted is, You (plural) are struck with a fist, You are beaten, or, You are cuffed. The same term is used in reference to Christ in Matthew 26:67 where they spit in His face and buffeted Him. It was also used in Mark 14:65 where Christ’s face was covered and they buffeted Him. Whereas Christ did no wrong and was buffeted, in I Peter 2:20 the buffeting results from doing wrong. When these slaves did wrong, they could expect to be beaten.

 

Ye shall take it patiently is you shall endure. The idea is that it does not do someone any good to do things which bring about punishment and then take patiently the punishment that is deserved. When one does wrong, he can expect to receive his due. It will be of no special benefit if he accepts his punishment patiently.

 

But introduces a statement in strong contrast to the first half of verse 20. This contrast is in the form of a condition which, for sake of discussion, is assumed to be true: if when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently.

 

The condition may or may not be true for a particular individual. Therefore, inasmuch as this condition is assumed to be true, if is to be understood in the sense of assuming that.

 

When ye do well is doing good or doing what is right and may be understood in the sense of because you do well, if you do well, or when (or while) you do well.

 

And suffer for it indicates action that occurs as the result of doing well.

 

Ye take it patiently is the same word previously used in this verse and means you endure in trouble or affliction.

 

The conclusion of the condition is this is acceptable with God.

 

This refers to doing well, suffering for it, and taking it patiently.

 

Acceptable is favorable. It is the same word translated thankworthy in verse 19. A believing slave’s doing well and suffering for it brings God’s favor upon him.

 

Acceptable with God is favorable before God.

CONCLUSION:

 

Because we as believers have many privileges, we also have many obligations.

 

Let’s fulfill them all.