1 Peter 3:13-22: Three Key Principles
October 21, 2019
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Jeremiah 52, Song of Solomon 5, John 6:41-59, 1 Peter 3:13-22
Peter is writing to Christians needing godly counsel as to how to act when they sensed that the culture and the world around them was inimical to their Christian faith. What were they to do? What were they to avoid? How were they to behave? Many of us today have similar questions. Peter in this passage emphasizes three key principles of Christian behavior when in exile.
First, aim to do good. Peter talks about this several times in this passage. On the whole, in most times, on most occasions, if we act in a way that is above board, doing well at work and doing good in how we work, then we will avoid most of the difficulties that come along to those who do not act in that kind of moral way. Sometimes we can blame the non-Christians around us, or the world, or a culture that is not following Christ, when the truth is that we are getting into trouble because we are not doing good. Aim to do good, then, first.
But then second, be a verbal witness. Peter wants them to always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that they have within them. In other words, when the culture around is less receptive of the Christian gospel, that is the time to especially be on the lookout for opportunities to share Christ. Do so with gentleness and respect. Don’t force your views on others. Don’t be arrogant. But neither be silent. Give an answer for the hope that you have. Speak about Christ. Be a verbal witness.
And then third, remember the power of the gospel. When suffering does come, even if we are doing what is good, and we are therefore suffering unjustly, remember the power of the gospel. Remember Christ who suffered and died and rose again. Remember that this gospel, now fulfilled in Christ, is preached in the Old Testament (that is the sense of some of these unusual expressions in the second half of this passage). Remember the gospel itself:
“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.”
And remember the power of that gospel:
“It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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