This book and this passage are such wonderful guidance and motivation and love God has given us. If we take the time to know it and meditate on it we will see our lives transformed for God’s glory.
Last Week: V.9 Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and He will grant you His blessing.
I found this the most challenging part of last week’s passage… I do the not retaliate part but the response of a blessing… I believe he has called us to this so He will enable us to do this. It is about God making US more like Jesus, less like US! Peter the Shepherd is drawing our attention to our relational health / spiritual health. This letter is a blueprint for how we are to grow as disciples. The foundation of our discipleship is what we believe about Jesus Christ, specifically our belief He is the Lord of our lives. This letter is written to ‘The Saints’ AKA the Biblically saved members of Christ’s body.
This part of the letter really hits at two big ideas:
We are to live lives that honor God (‘Do Good’) without fear of living dependent on Christ, or explaining the motivation behind your lifestyle.
We are saved by Christ’s death and Resurrection. Our response as Christ’s Body, to The Biblical Gospel, is absolute sincerity regarding Christ’s Lordship of our lives! Baptism is such a response.
13 Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.
- Rhetorical question: Answer is the enemies of God, led by Satan
- Lesson from Job: God allows Satan to do things to HIS people for HIS reasons
- Reasons beyond our comprehension… ‘Where were you…??’
- You may suffer while doing right…Job did!
- The endgame is where we are to focus, that is the reward: eternity with God!
- Satan can only threaten your eternal standing, he cannot change it!
There is One you should fear… “Dear friends, don’t be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot do any more to you after that. But I’ll tell you whom to fear. Fear God, who has the power to kill you and then throw you into hell.Yes, he’s the one to fear.” Jesus @ Luke 12:4&5
Christ commands us to ‘fear God’… what specifically does that mean?
15 Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. 16 But do this in a gentle and respectful way.
- Biblical Christian Life = Worship Christ as Lord of your life!
- When you worship Christ as Lord of your life it re-aligns your priorities
- You do things that confuse those who do not follow Christ [‘give up your life’]
- You do stuff that makes someone ask you about your hope as a Christian
- If no one has ever asked you this question it should trouble you
- What is your conversion story? How do you tell it? Who is the star of the story?
- Is humility featured in the story? (playing a support role to Christ)
- Is there respect for others perspective? Christ was never a bully…
- This is a command, not an option: Worship Christ as Lord / Be ready to share it
- If we love Christ, we share what we have, somehow, someway
Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. 17 Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong!
- A clear conscience flows from a repentant heart / sincere ‘Lordship Salvation’
- There is a wise recognition of conflict / spiritual warfare
- ‘Belong to Christ’
- When you are His you have an intimate relationship W/ God that blesses others
- Do you belong to Christ and live like it? What is this life based on?
- What drives your behavior more: comfort or Christ?
- Can’t I have comfort while I follow Christ? Not according to the Bible
The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers from them all… ~ Psalm 34:19
Doing Good is being a righteous person, only way to be righteous is to belong to Christ and live humbly under HIS Lordship.
18 Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but He died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but He was raised to life in the Spirit.
- To Suffer: To be affected by a thing, whether good or bad (bigger picture)
- Christ didn’t suffer for wrong He did
- Christ died to save sinners = bring them to eternal safety
- The physical body died and was reanimated by the activity of the Holy Spirit
- Life in The Spirit = Resurrection Life
19 He went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 those who disobeyed God long ago when God waited patiently while Noah was building his boat. Only eight people were saved from drowning in that terrible flood. [saved through the water]
- Variant reading: Christ traveled & proclaimed Truth, in the Spirit, to prisoners
- Another translation: …in the Spirit He went and preached… time doesn’t need to be sequential
- God’s spiritual activity as ‘Triunity’: separate roles / persons, but ONE essence
- God’s Spirt preached for 50-60 years through Noah as he built the Ark
- Noah: the most unsuccessful preacher of all time! Only 8 converts in 60 yrs??
- God in HIS unique wisdom and sovereignty chose to save just EIGHT people
So what is Peter saying? He is perhaps declaring that Christ’s sacrificial death was in essence ‘Spiritual Preaching’ to all humanity (each of us) who are born separated from their Creator. He is connecting this to Noah’s story. In Noah’s day, out of everyone who was preached to by God’s spiritual activity (Noah building the ark & preaching) only EIGHT were saved… from what destroyed the rest of humanity.
21 And that water is a picture of baptism, which now saves you, not by removing dirt from your body, but as a response to God from a clean conscience.
- Being saved through water is what baptism is compared to
- A Representation / A Corresponding Form / A Prefigure
- Which now ‘signifies’ the salvation of YOU (members of Christ’s Body)
- It is a response to your salvation, not the origination of your salvation
- God initiates, we respond (HE loved us first)
- The word translated ‘response’ can also be rendered pledge or profession
- Baptism is the profession / confession of The Lordship of Christ in YOUR life!
- Understanding what Christ has done, we respond in obedience
It is effective because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. 22 Now Christ has gone to heaven. He is seated in the place of honor next to God, and all the angels and authorities and powers accept his authority.
- Christ’s Resurrection gives the ‘Representation’ that is baptism authenticity
- Christ’s resurrection (Spiritual Activity) is what does the saving!
- Christ rose from the dead & we mimic Him by rising from the waters of baptism
- The Biblical Ordinance of Baptism (There from day 1 in Christ’s Church)
- It is our personal declaration that Christ has raised us to eternal life!
- He conquers sin and death to take the place of power and authority due him
- In Biblical Baptism I declared Christ the ‘Eternal Lord of my Life’ (Lord of All)
- All angels and authorities accept Christ’s authority… only humans do not
What specifics of your faith in Christ get you through hard situations and seasons?
What are the lifestyle choices you make to ‘worship Christ as Lord of your life’?
Are you ready to answer why you live for Christ in a winsome, accessible way?
Why is Baptism connected with being ready to give a reason for the hope you have in Christ?
Do you connect the exclusive privilege you have, known as salvation, to how only EIGHT people were saved from the flood?