March 4, 2022
1 Peter 2:11-12 NIV
11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
We are thirty two days in on 1 Peter and still only in the second chapter. Let’s get our bearings. It is truly unfathomable to consider all Peter has covered so far with such an economy of words. As we are learning to read the Bible better, it is important to keep the context ever around us. I would encourage you to read the whole letter at least once a week during our journey if not every day. The more you cover it the more it will cover you.
So remember how he opened the letter? To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, (1:1). Look where he is in today’s text: Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, . . .”
Peter reminds them of their context and even more of their identity. He says in essence, “You have a home there, but there is not your home. You are a foreigner.” He would say to us, “You are a resident of America (or Russia or Ukraine or insert your country here), but you are a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
For the rest of chapter 1, Peter talks about his favorite subject: our King—Jesus Messiah, and orienting us with our identity in Him and setting the stage for the future ahead. He opens chapter 2 encouraging us to wean off of the “chips and salsa” diet and to “crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”
Then he reveals to us what we are a part of—the Church Jesus is building. He gives us the charter: 1. Chosen people. 2. Royal Priesthood. 3. Holy Nation. 4. God’s special possession. This is not a your-best-life-now spiritual self-improvement program. This is an “army terrible with banners stretched out across time and eternity” to quote Lewis, and the victory is won through the testimony of many witnesses who have received mercy and become not just new persons but a completely new kind of people together.
Now he turns to the matter of character, but he doesn’t attack it at the level of behavior management. He’s dealing at the “desire” and “soul” level, as if to say the only way to win the war “out there” is to win the battles “in here.” Peter is not looking for legalistic rule followers but souls made of gold and people who are living “such good lives” that it actually causes gladness to well up in unbelievers around them. Peter is looking for “deeds” of pure goodness, inexplainable kindness, deeds that are ordinary on one level and yet that carry something of our “home country” in them—deeds that freight the very goodness of our King and his Kingdom. Because, remember, we are “foreigners and exiles here.” Peter is looking for deeds that inspire the worship of our God—King Jesus—by the very people who have been led to despise us by the false narratives of the empire.
That’s where we go tomorrow—the Emperor. Pagans today. Emperor tomorrow.
Jesus, you are the Messiah, the Son of the Living God. I want to live “such a good life” that people are drawn to Jesus. I want to live such a life of hospitality and kindness and goodness and generosity that people come to be in awe of God. Holy Spirit would you displace the self rule in me with the rule of the King. Would you so fill me with the love of God that I have strangely forgotten myself. I want the disposition of Jesus that my affections might be anchored in you, that my desires might be for the Kingdom. Praying in Jesus’ name, Amen.
What’s your main take away from the journey so far in 1 Peter?
For the Awakening,