PRUDENTIAL RULES OF CONDUCT IN VIEW OF THE SLANDEROUS
1 Peter 2:11-17 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Therefore submit yourselves to every [a]ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for [b]vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
Peter considers the Christian church in its relation to the non-Christian world, and shows how believers must prove themselves blameless before it by right conduct in the different relations of human life. As slanders against the Christian were prevalent and persecution on the Church was rising, the church is exhorted to extreme care about their conduct, especially in regard (1) to holy living, and (2) to due subordination
Peter recalls the psalmist’s words calling believers “sojourners and pilgrims”
Psalm 39:12 “Hear my prayer, O Lord, And give ear to my cry; Do not be silent at my tears; For I am a stranger with You, A sojourner, as all my fathers were.
Psalm 119:19 I am a stranger in the earth; Do not hide Your commandments from me.
sojourners; and pilgrims — Who have no inheritance on this earth, but are travelling to the heavenly country. The first word, “sojourner” means those who are in a strange house, a house not their own: the second, pilgrims, those who are in a strange country, and among a people not their own. We sojourn in the body; we are pilgrims in this world. Peter tells us we are never going to feel at home in our flesh, neither in this world.
Hebrews 11:13-14 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off [a]were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14 For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.
A sojourner, one without the rights of citizenship, as distinguished from a citizen; Christians are not citizens of this world, but our citizenship is in heaven. We should, therefore, act as sojourners and travelers do. We do not regard the earth as our home.
We should not seek to acquire permanent possessions here, as if they were to remain here, but should act as travelers do, who merely seek a temporary lodging, without expecting permanently to reside in a place. We should not allow any such attachments to be formed that would impede our journey to our final home, as pilgrims seek only a temporary lodging, and steadily pursue our journey.
Several months ago, the Lord revealed something to me about living in an area that is hostile towards Christians. I could move to TX, but being uncomfortable helps me to remember this is not my home.
Even while engaged here in the necessary callings of life – as we have to work and have a job, we need shelter, clothing and food; our thoughts and affections should be on our heavenly home and pursuit of being with the Lord one day.
We should not encumber ourselves with much of this world’s goods. Many professed Christians get so many worldly things around them, that it is impossible for them to make a journey to heaven. They burden themselves as no traveler would, and they make no progress. A traveler takes along as few things as possible; and a staff is often all that a pilgrim has. We make the most rapid progress in our journey to our final home when we are least encumbered with the things of this world.
Philippians 3:18-19 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things.
It is a false theology that says the church exists to make the world Christ’s kingdom.
First prudential rule. Abstain from worldly lusts
Although all bad desires might be described as fleshly, the word here means that we are to abstain from the lusts or those carnal desires which lead us into sin. Remember Peter quotes OT, “Be holy for I am holy”. There was special reason for these Hebrew Christians to be more vigilant, because of that which the heathen were beginning to circulate slanderously about these Christians.
There is nothing new under the sun. Any church that is preaching repentance and new creation in Jesus, where people are actually becoming a new creation is going to circulate slanderous reports. Cornerstone has a huge outreach to youth- many getting saved, baptized, filled with the Spirit and speaking in tongues. Get labeled as a cult- sacrificing chickens in the basement. The world does not understand
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: [a]adultery, [b]fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, [c]murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
A sojourner (those not at home in the body) does not give himself up to the indulgence of sensual, fleshly appetites. These things would hinder our progress and turn us away from our original purpose and design, which is to give the Lord glory. AS Paul tells us,
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Fleshly and worldly lusts war against our soul- this does not mean merely a general antagonism between soul and body, but that the lusts of the flesh are on active service, engaged in a definitive campaign against the immortal part of the man.
There is a battle taking place in my flesh. My flesh wars against the Spirit and the Spirit is against my flesh.
“I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Galatians 5:16-17
The flesh wants to win, but I refuse to give in to my sinful nature. That old man of sin is not allowed a visit and there’s no way I am returning to my vomit. The desire for worldly things like success and the lust of the flesh are powerful tools of the enemy. Satan will seduce the mind and dangle promises to the heart. He tells me, “you can be like God, just do what you want to do” as he tickles my ears. Paul tells us that he beat his body into submission like a boxer training for the fight of his life.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may [a]obtain it. 25 And everyone who competes for the prize [b]is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. 26 Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. 27 But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.
NOTHING can have control over us. Discipline is a mandatory principle for the Christian. I heard a preacher say that the disciplined do not need to be motivated. Why do I have to motivate you to resist sin, come to church or to give or serve or to not hang out with rebellious people? Because you are undisciplined.
Paul recognized the great possibility that he may fail to get the prize if he should stop living a holy life unto the Lord, exercising self-control, discipline and enduring hardship like a good soldier of Jesus. He understood the battle warring for the soul. I told someone the other day, grace is not given to live a life of sin and claim ”forgiven”; but grace has been given so you have the power to overcome sin. Are you in the fight? Are you in the bloody battle against your flesh and the enemy of your soul? You cannot give in and you cannot quit!
The enemy does not need to come in and wreak havoc on your life to destroy you. He just has to seduce you into living life on your own terms according to your fleshly desires, and you will destroy yourself. In Christ, we will overcome. In Christ, we are more than a conqueror. In Christ, we have strength for today. He never said it was easy, but He promises to help and strengthen us for the battle. You can gripe and complain, “Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain- and most fools do.” (Ben Franklin), or you can stand fast, discipline your mind and flesh. Your soul is at stake.
Have your conduct or conversation (KJV) honorable- A favorite word with Peter, occurring seven times in this Epistle, and three in the second—as often as in all the other New Testament writings put together. It means the visible conduct of the daily walk in life. As we walk among those in the world we are to be honorable- this word in the Greek means “good, worthy and beautiful”. This is the same word used to describe Jesus in John 10:11 as “the Good Shepherd”
And implies the attractiveness of the sight, the satisfaction afforded by an approach to ideal excellence.
The “good works” are not acts of benevolence, “works” are contrasted with the “works of the flesh” and mean the conduct of the Christian in the world mentioned already. The truth taught here is, “that our conduct as Christians should be such as to bear the strictest scrutiny; that the closest examination will lead our enemies to the conviction that we are morally upright and honest.”
Second prudential rule— subordination to every office or authority which God has established. There are four governments established by God: civil government, church government, family government, and self- government. None of these governments can function properly without submission to God’s law. Peter does not say we are to submit to every law that men may pass.
Paul, writing to the Roman Church, urges submission to Claudius, because the Roman Jews were often in trouble and expelled from the city of Rome.
Romans 13:1-7 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will [a]bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
Peter, urges submission to Nero and the provincial governors because “ignorant and foolish men” were beginning to misrepresent the Christian Church as a kind of Internationalist or Socialist conspiracy. They are still doing the same today calling us “racist nationalists”
God instituted government because in a fallen world we need restraints to protect us from lawlessness. Civil government stand under the law of God. The government is to be an agent of justice, to restrain evil by punishing the wrong-doer and to protect the innocent. When it abandons its proper function, it is no longer from God nor operating according to His purpose.
Psalm 94:20 Shall the throne of iniquity, which devises evil by law, Have fellowship with You?
Of course, what is here said must be understood with the limitation everywhere implied, that what is ordained by those in authority is not contrary to the law of God. Christians were commonly accused of “turning the world upside down;” of doing “contrary to the decrees of Caesar,” as at Thessalonica (Acts 17:6, 7); of being atheists and blasphemers of the popular idolatry, as at Ephesus (Acts 19:37). Look only to the OT prophets, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and John the Baptist. Both Peter and Paul spoke that we are to obey God rather than man. Yet it is still our duty to be respectful to authority and to pray for those who rule over us.
Enter into what has transpired the last couple of years. God’s law trumps government. The seabeast which rises during the time of world turbulence at the end of ages is the final government system:
Many have misused the above Scripture. Many churches closed and are still closed. They obey this Scripture but claim we are under grace when it comes to the law of God. Peter says we are “bondservants of God” A bondservant has ben set free, but makes himself a slave to God. You are free, but the bondservant CHOOSES to obey. Some say the NT has no law- this is not true. We have more laws in the NT compared to the OT, they are commands of God. The OT has 613 laws, which make up 2.7% of the OT. By contrast the NT has 800 laws, which makes it 10% law, or commands of God. The law does not make us righteous, only Christ can do that; the law teaches us right and holy conduct, how to be a bondservant as Peter tells us our conduct should look like.
We are commanded to gather, to love the brethren, to serve the brethren, to lay hands on the sick, to sing praises and psalms, to prophesy, to preach, to disciple, to greet one another, to forgive, to obey father and mother, to obey our church leaders, to not judge without 2-3 witnesses, do not be unequally yoked with a non-believer, husbands love your wife, wives submit to your husband, humble yourself, honor those who rule over you and much more. WE are not citizens here, but as bondservant of God we are to obey the laws of God above the laws of the land. It is interesting to me that during the last two years, out of fear or a the false love gospel, people wanted to obey the government above the law of God. Yet, we are told in Scripture that the last days would be marked by lawlessness.
Matthew 24:10-12 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.
Lawlessness (meaning anti-law) is not just disobeying commands but picking and choosing which commands you want to obey and which are OK to disobey. AT the end of days, the Bible declares that this “lawlessness” will abound, inside the church. The hyper-grace message actually declares there are no laws, but the law to love. However, they define love. The first law of the Satanic bible is “DO what you will”. Is this not the cry of today’s culture and the American church? When lawlessness is prevalent, love grows cold. This references a reduction of temperature by evaporation to chill. Love becomes so cold, it becomes unfeeling. Like frostbite. Reynauds syndrome, when you can’t feel you are in greater danger of injury and infection
Matthew 7:21-23 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
Yet, did not our Lord declare. Obedience is the proof of our love.
John 14:15 “If you love Me, [a]keep My commandments.
John 15:10 If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.
1 John 2:4 He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1 John 5:2-3 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and keep His commandments. 3 For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome.
We cannot say we love God without obeying His commands. You cannot demonstrate love without the law and love honors God’s law. Then, when we learn to obey God in all things, we can have good discernment when it comes to disobeying unlawful government laws. Pay your taxes. Obey the speed limit. Render to Caesar what is Caesar’s but render to God what is God’s.
Obedience to ALL of God’s commands brings freedom and the love of God is shed abroad and we can truly “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”
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