1 Peter 2:18-20 ESV
“Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.”
As followers of Jesus Christ, we should all be his servants, and he should be our Lord (owner-master). And we should be faithful in service to him in doing what he commands us to do. And as His servants, we should be faithful in all that we do in service to those who are our earthly bosses.
Although ideally we would like it if everyone were fair and just and righteous in their dealings with others, not everyone is, sad to say. So, we aren’t always going to be treated with fairness or justice. Sometimes we will be accused falsely of things we didn’t do, too.
Not many of us, at least in America, are indentured servants, under contract, in such a sense as this to where the person we work for would be considered our “master” who would have the right to mistreat us and to where we would have no rights, although some jobs come close to this.
But in any job we might have there are most likely going to be injustices. We won’t always be treated fairly or kindly. But we must respond to those injustices with the grace of God and in his wisdom. And sometimes that will mean we do speak up for ourselves, as Jesus and his apostles did, at times, when they faced unfair treatment.
But we should never subject ourselves to compromising our faith, our morals, our convictions, or the truth of the gospel. We should never obey sin or do what is sinful in order to comply with anyone in authority over us. If God has said, “Don’t do it!”, then we don’t do it, no matter who commands that we do.
1 Peter 2:21-23 ESV
“For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.”
And this is really the crux of the matter. If we do good and we suffer for it and we endure, and we don’t retaliate, and we don’t try to get even, and we don’t trade “tit for tat,” but we continue to show love to those who treat us unjustly, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.
But this is not to say that we should never seek justice or that we should never speak up for ourselves, or that we should never pursue having a wrong made right, for Jesus certainly did, and the apostles did. Paul certainly did, especially when he appealed to Caesar.
But there is a right way and a wrong way to seek justice. It should never be to exact punishment against others to pay them back for what they did to us. That is revenge, and that is wrong. We don’t return hate with hate. We return hate with love, yet love speaks the truth in love.
But sometimes we are just going to have to “take our lumps” and keep moving forward. Sometimes we will have to endure false accusations, injustice, unfair treatment, and unkind and untrue remarks against us. And we must keep on loving those who have treated us unkindly.
1 Peter 2:24-25 ESV
“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.”
And this really is the bottom line here. And many people are missing this entirely. Jesus Christ did not die on that cross just to forgive us our sins so that we could go to heaven when we die. He died so that we might die to sin and live to him and to his righteousness (Rom 6:1-23; Lu 9:23-26).
Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross to transform us, to renew us, to give us new lives in him free from our slavery to sin so that we would now be slaves (bond-servants) of God and of his righteousness. Our lives are no longer our own to be lived however we want (2 Co 5:15, 21).
When Jesus shed his blood for us on that cross it was to buy us back for God so that we would now honor God with our lives and with our bodies. For, we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them (1 Co 6:19-20; Eph 2:10).
We don’t “believe” in Jesus so that we can continue living in sin guilt-free. If that is our idea of “faith,” then we are sadly mistaken. For, the Scriptures teach that if we walk (in practice) according to the flesh (in sin) that we will die in our sins. We will not have eternal life with God no matter what we profess with our lips (Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8).
It is only as we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, and in the light as Jesus is in the light, and in obedience to our Lord that we have the hope of salvation from sin and eternal life with God (Luke 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; Eph 4:17-24).
For, again, the whole purpose of Jesus dying on that cross was to deliver us out of our slavery to sin so that we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness and so that we would walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh, and in obedience to God.
We were (past tense) straying (living in sin) like sheep, but if our faith in Jesus Christ is genuine God-ordained and God-persuaded faith, then we have turned away from those sinful practices and we have now turned (or returned) to the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls (Acts 26:18).
But the sad reality is that many people today are just looking for a “quick fix” where Jesus does it all and we do nothing – no repentance, no obedience, and no submission to Christ as Lord of our lives. But that just isn’t biblical and it is not in accord with God’s divine character and will.
God’s love for us frees us from our addiction to sin so that we can now live in freedom from such slavery to sin and so that we can now be empowered of God’s Spirit to live in accord with his divine will and purpose for our lives. And his will is that we die with him to sin and live to his righteousness.
An Original Work / March 10, 2018
Based off Psalm 36
You speak words of love to me,
But your actions deny them.
Your eyes, full of adultery,
Testify against you.
Promises made, but not kept,
Words spoken, often in jest,
Hardhearted and prideful unrest,
Put your Lord to the test.
You think that I am like you.
In your image, you make me.
You conform me to your likeness.
Your sins do not confess.
You do what you know is wrong.
You refuse to do what’s right.
So, you cheapen my grace to you,
And, from me you take flight.
Thus, you do not hate your sin.
Instead, you entertain it.
Then, you cover it up with lies,
Thinking I’ll accept that.
But, my love for you is pure.
My grace is all sufficient
For you to live in righteousness,
From sin, live in freedom!
That is why I died for you,
That you might walk in vict’ry.
For, crucified with me to sin,
You are now forgiven.
So, walk now by my Spirit.
You’ll not gratify the flesh.
You’ll know the joy and love of God.
Your soul will now find rest.