What’s Your Purpose?

1 Peter 2:21-25 NASB

For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.

For This Purpose

The purpose, for which we who believe in Jesus Christ have been called of God, is to die to sin and to live to righteousness. Therefore, we are to put off all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander, etc. Like newborn babies, we are to crave the pure milk of the word, in application and in truth to our daily lives. In this way, we are able to grow in maturity, in respect to salvation, if we have truly believed in Jesus Christ (See: 1 Pet. 2:1-3, 24).

Basically, we are to follow the example of Jesus. Although we are sinners by nature, Jesus Christ came to set us free from our slavery to sin, so that sin no longer has mastery over our lives. We should, as followers of Christ, no longer walk in sin. We should no longer give our lives over to our sinful passions and desires, to obey them, but now we should live our lives to our Lord, to walk in obedience to him and to his commands.

We should not be those who make a practice of sin. Lies and deceit should not be what define us, but we should now be those who have a reputation as truth tellers and those who lift up Christ and his gospel by our words and by our lives. But, the truth must be spoken in love, not in meanness or in cutting remarks intended to harm others. And, the truth spoken must be for the benefit of the listener, not to get in a jab or to get even.

When we suffer wrong for the sake of following Jesus Christ, we are not to trade tit for tat. This is not to say that we can’t speak in our own defense, at times, for Jesus did, and his NT apostles did, but that we should respond to unjust suffering with love, kindness, and forgiveness towards those who have done us wrong. We should be willing to suffer unjust treatment for the sake of the gospel, without feeling as though we have to pay back evil with evil. Rather, we should pay back evil with good.

1 Peter 3:8-9 NASB (cf. vv. 13-17)

To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

To Sum Up
(See 1 Peter 3:1-7)

Verse one of this chapter begins with “In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands…” So, we have to ask ourselves “In what way?” And, that takes us back to the previous section of verses found in chapter 2, which were discussed here in this first section, so that we have this as our foundation for what follows. And, this has to do with us, as Jesus’ followers, following the example of Jesus Christ with our lives.

He committed no sin. Sin was not his practice. Holiness was his practice. Lies, deception, manipulation and trickery were not found in his mouth. When insulted, abused and despised, he did not return tit for tat. Even though he suffered unjustly, he uttered no threats. Instead, he committed his life into the hands of God.

So, in this same way wives are to be submissive to their husbands. So, what this is saying is that wives are not to submit to anything sinful. I know that Sarah obeyed Abraham when he told her to lie about who she was, and I don’t have an answer for that. All I can tell you is that we are to follow Jesus’ example by not sinning and by not lying. So, if our husbands should ask us to do something sinful, we can decline. We should decline. We are not to participate with them in what is evil in God’s sight, no matter what!

In the same respect, it says that “in the same way,” if our husbands are not walking in obedience to the Lord, indicating they are not believers, because they are walking by the flesh, then by our submission to our husbands, we may win them to Christ “without a word.” And, here I must go to the context. For, this is in relation to following the example of Jesus who did not sin, who did not lie, who did not retaliate when treated unjustly, and who uttered no threats to those who caused him unjust suffering.

I don’t believe this is saying that women should say nothing to their husbands if their husbands are sinning against them, especially if their husbands make claims to faith in Jesus Christ, but are walking in disobedience to the Word. For, the context suggests that we follow the example of Jesus, and the examples noted had to do with us not lying, not insulting or abusing our abusers, and us not threatening retaliation. Thus, our submission to our husbands is the behavior that will win them over, if they are to be won over. For, if we resist them, by our words, or if we trade tit for tat, then our actions do not support our testimonies for Jesus Christ.

And, then if we look at this summary, with regard to these preceding instructions to both wives and husbands, it concurs with what was just stated. For, living harmoniously with others should never mean compromise of truth or morality. We should be kindhearted, but kindhearted also means speaking the truth in love when necessary. It is never kind to lie. It is never kind to accept lies from others, either, by our silence.

The whole point of this is not to silence women and to make them into doormats for men to walk all over or to keep them from speaking out when they need to speak. But, it is to teach us that we must be humble, submissive, loving, kindhearted, and gentle, and that we should not return evil with evil, but with blessing, instead. We should forgive every offense against us, but not in a way that gives permission for continued sin. And, we should give love even when we are treated hatefully or abusively.

And, what is a blessing? It is something that is for our benefit; for our good. So, if anyone, especially anyone in authority over us, treats us despitefully, uses and abuses us, lies to us, or cheats us, etc., we do not then act in like kind and do to them what they did to us. We love them, pray for them and do good to them and for them, which may mean speaking the truth in love to them, for that is the ultimate in kindness, to tell them what follows here:

1 Peter 3:10-12 NASB

For,

“The one who desires life, to love and see good days,
Must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit.
“He must turn away from evil and do good;
He must seek peace and pursue it.
“For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous,
And His ears attend to their prayer,
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

We Must Turn

This is for all of us, whether we are wives or husbands or servants or citizens of nations or rulers or whatever our position in life may be. If we desire life and love and good days, then we need to be truth tellers, but not in hate, not in revenge, not in trading tit for tat, but in love.

And, this kind of love is not the mushy-gushy kind, either. It is self-sacrificial, considering the benefit of others above self, and prefers what God prefers, which is what is holy, righteous, just, pure, honest, moral and upright. So, it will do no harm to others, which includes not submitting to sin, not ignoring sinful behaviors, and not accepting lies by our silence.

If the face of the Lord is against all who do evil, and we are to follow his example, then our faces should be against those who do evil, too. But, we must follow Jesus’ example in what that looked like, too. Jesus never compromised with evil. He never submitted to evil. He didn’t ignore it or pacify it. And, he didn’t let lies stand as truth without saying anything.

Yes, during part of his trial he was silent, but not the whole time. He said what needed to be said when it needed to be said. He stood in his own defense. He was truthful about who he is. There was no doubt but that an innocent man was being condemned to death, if anyone was truly listening and was paying attention and cared to know the truth.

Jesus’ greatest persecutors, and those who were the ones who had him put to death, were the religious leaders in the temple of God. So, don’t be surprised if some of your greatest opposition comes from within the church and from within the leadership, too. For, there were hypocrites then, and there are hypocrites now whose testimonies do not match their actions, and vice versa.

So, if you claim to be a follower of Jesus Christ, then you should live like you are truly following Jesus Christ with your life. For, the Lord is not on your side if you don’t live what you profess, but you live the opposite of what you profess. This is not saying we will never sin. This is talking about our lifestyles, the things we make a practice of day in and day out. If evil is what you practice, the Lord is against you, not for you, and you will not receive a blessing from him.

Broken Cord
An Original Work / August 29, 2018

Your bond is broken
With your Lord and Savior
And, your testimony is
Separate from Him.

Your words not matching
Your actions today.
Repent of your sin and
Bow down and pray.

Live what you testify
In truth always.

Purity’s lacking in
Your life and witness,
For you profess one thing,
But other you do.

Not moral, spiritual.
Still of the flesh.
Not living in truth to
What you confess.

Lying about it
Puts you in a mess.

Living a lie is your practice,
‘tis true of you.
Masquerade righteousness –
None of it true.

Your heart is not given
To your Lord God.
Because of how you live,
You are a fraud.

Turn from your sin and
Give your life to God.

Thursday, September 13, 2018 – Thank You, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word. May you bring it home to our hearts. Amen!

 

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