Keith Hunt - Bible Story, NT - Chapter One-hundred- sixteen: First Epistle from Peter #2   Restitution of All Things
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New Testament Bible
Story

Chapter One-hundred-sixteen:

First Epistle from Peter #2

THE NEW TESTAMENT

                                BIBLE STORY

                        Chapter One-hundred-sixteen

                        First Epistle from Peter #2

                                                                            Chapters Two 


CHAPTER TWO

     Because we have been begotten again by the Word of God
(chapter 1:23) which is the Gospel, or good news, of how we can
enter the Family of God, Peter starts in verse one of chapter
two, to say we should then put aside all ILLWILL (malice) and all
DECEIT (guile) and PRETENCE (hypocrisy) ENVY and EVIL SPEAKING or
back stabbing with malice. Certainly a Christian needs to put
away such ways of living that many in the world follow as part of
their lives. But we have to guard ourselves, watch ourselves, for
if not careful we find we do have illwill against someone, or
envy, or malice, or play act, put on an outward show of
"religion" when in the presence of certain people, out of their
view we speak and act like many unconverted people of the society
we live in.

     Verse 2 give emphasis to the milk that a new born baby
desires, and we all should know how babies desire nourishing
milk. So we should desire God's word, love it, want it, drink in
of it, desire to grow in grace and knowledge through having it as
part of our diet of living. We should indeed know that the Lord
is good and gracious, and He was the LIVING STONE, not desired by
the many in this world, but He was the CHOSEN ONE, and PRECIOUS
in God's sight, and should be in our sight (verses 3 and 4).
     We, the children of God, are also living stones, built up as
a spiritual house. We are a holy priesthood to God, to offer up
spiritual sacrifices, and we are through Jesus Christ very
acceptable to the Father.
     THE CHIEF PRECIOUS STONE, was foretold in the Scriptures:
"Behold, I lay in Zion, a CHIEF CORNER stone, ELECT, PRECIOUS,
and he that believes on him shall not be condemned" (Isaiah
28:16).
     In verses 7 and 8, Peter draws is specific difference
between those that believe on the precious stone and those who
have stumbled over that stone (Christ). The difference is
"DISOBEDIENCE" - yes, those who have stumbled over the stone
which the builders rejected, have showed their folly by being
DISOBEDIENT to the WORD of God. Those who have accepted the
precious stone, to them that stone Christ is the HEAD of the
corner. He is the head of the church building. There is OBEDIENCE
or DISOBEDIENCE in the accepting or rejecting of God, His Word,
and Christ. Most Christians realize, when push comes to pull, or
when common human logic is used, that to live as a child of God
you must OBEY that God, and His Word tells us HOW to obey Him,
how we should live our day to day lives. The main reason people
get into the posture of teaching the crazy argument that you do
not have to obey the Most High one, is when they are told the
Almighty has a law of a Sabbath days rest, they just do not want
to stop working or doing their own thing on the Sabbath day. But
as Peter here points out, those who will not accept THE precious
stone (Christ) and God the Father, reject them because they want
to be DISobedient to them, they want to live, speak, and think,
their way, and do not want a God telling them HOW they should
live and think.

     But Peter says, to the Christians he is writing to (and to
Christians since his time), they are a CHOSEN GENERATION, a ROYAL
PRIESTHOOD, an HOLY NATION (people), a PURCHASED people (margin
of KJV), and that they should show forth the VIRTUES (margin KJV)
of Him who has called them out of DARKNESS into His MARVELLOUS
LIGHT. We were once not the people of God, but NOW WE ARE. We had
NOT obtained mercy, but NOW HAVE obtain MERCY (verses 9-10).

     What POWERFUL verses, what a HIGH STANDARD they hold up for
the people of God. How anyone can think, after reading these
verses that being a child of the Father means you can live any
old way you like, is to me incredulous to contemplate. Paul said,
"Let this mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus" (Philippians
2:5). To have the MIND of Christ will mean you will want to obey
and do the will of the Father, that you will think and act as He
wants you to think and act, which will be based upon His Word
contained in the Holy Bible.
     We are PURCHASED with the very blood of Christ to be a Holy
people, a Royal Priesthood, of the very highest order imaginable,
to the very height of God the Father.
     
     As the apostle Paul admonished in his epistles, so does
Peter in verse 11. He beseeches his readers, whom he calls
strangers and pilgrims (and we are in this world, strangers to
the ways of the world, and as pilgrims we look towards the age to
come and the Kingdom of God on earth), to ABSTAIN from fleshly
LUSTS, which are ever warring against our lives. The attraction
to follow the world, to do what they do, to speak as they speak,
to lust as they lust, is all around us, even more so in today's
society. Sexual immorality is everywhere, especially on TV and on
the big screen movie theatres. Fornication (sexual intercourse)
before marriage is common-place, if you have not had sexual
intercourse before marrying, you are looked upon not only as some
freak, but as crazy for not indulging in such pleasures of the
flesh. Living together with your boyfriend or girlfriend (once in
a purer world, known as "shacking up") is so common today it is
probably thought of by the younger generation as a part of a
natural growing up. 
     There also many other forms of fleshly lusts, more and more
money, bigger and more expensive homes, cars, boats, holidays,
bigger TVs and expensive sound equipment. There is nothing sinful
per se in any of those things, but today far too many people lust
after such things, they just do not seem to be able to live
without them, or be content with ones that are not the big
expensive ones. And people have a harder time to draw the line
and say enough is enough. Far too many children in the Western
world at least, are spoiled rotten, the "things" they have as
birthdays and Christmas' go along is truly astonishing. The
material world is constantly pushing pushing and still more
pushing at us from every corner, from fliers that are ever coming
into our mail box, to TV ads, to glitzy store signs and street
and highway signs. 
     Today there are more lusts of the flesh all around us, than
ever before in human history. If it was true in Peter's day (and
it ever has been for lusts are part of human nature) it surely is
more so today in our 21st space age technology and immorality
age.

     We Christians are to live among the nations of the world in
such a way, that even when they may speak evil against us, to the
point of calling us evil (the abortionists would call us evil for
not agreeing with them that every woman has the right to
abortion, and paid for by the state or taxpayers), they will
openly see our good works, and when God comes in the day of
visitation and judgment on this earth (and/or in the day when
they are called to the truth and salvation) they will GLORIFY
God, knowing they witnessed true godliness in the lives of
Christians they once thought of as evil (verse 12).

     Verses 13-17 have at times been misunderstood. Paul said
much of the same thing in one of his epistles. We covered that,
but it is again important that I once more clarify such verses.
Some have thought from these verses that a Christian is to be a
foot mat, a door mat, for all governments and those in state or
county authority, to trample all over. Some have thought a
Christian is to be a nice wet dish-cloth to be used any-old-way
by those in authority. If we read the Bible from cover to cover,
we shall soon see that nothing could be further from the truth.
One main key for Christians of all nations and ages is found in
Acts 5:29. God's way of life and His commands come BEFORE any
body of men, be it local or national. Then we have Paul, a Roman
citizen appealing to the highest court of the Roman Empire, when
he felt he needed to. That is all covered in the last chapters of
the book of Acts.
     When national governments are based upon good decent laws,
when they uphold laws that are mainly in line with many of the
laws of God (read again Romans 2:14-15 to get the picture of what
I'm saying), then indeed respect should be shown towards them,
and they are then also acting as stewards of God in the sense
that they do punish evil-doers, who are breaking laws that God
would agree are good laws to have in any society. God would fully
agree that going out and murdering the fellow down the street for
the money he has in his wallet, is an evil act that needs to be
punished. Having a speed limit for cars etc. on the streets and
highways, to protect people from getting seriously injured and
even killed, is a good law, that God would agree with. 
     What Peter (and Paul) is teaching is that a Christian needs
to be a respectable citizen when living in a respectable nation.
Many do not realize that in the first century A.D. ROME .... the
ROMAN EMPIRE, was a pretty respectable place overall. They
allowed the Jews to FULLY practice their religion, to have their
Temple, their Temple priesthood, their sacrificial system, their
national Festivals, their weekly Sabbath, and local synagogues,
and FREEDOM to travel (remember Pentecost of Acts 2 - read it
again, notice the freedom of travel). All the Roman Empire asked
was that the Jews be RESPECTABLE people, good citizens of Rome,
and if they were, they had all the religious freedom they could
wish for, and they could use the courts of Rome if they needed
to, as the apostle Paul did, as covered in the last chapters of
Acts.

     So people who in the main, should be respected and honored,
then respect and honor should go to them. A Christian is not to
use his freedom in Christ and freedom under the nation he lives
in, to use that freedom as a liberty for a cloak of maliciousness
and evil doing. We are not of this world, our world is above in
heaven, we are not to be trying to topple governments of this
world by the use of evil and sinful ways, to bring about what we
may claim is "God's government." God will bring His government to
this world in due time, in His time, and in His way (and the
prophets of old and the book of Revelation tell us HOW He will do
that).

     It is like this, there is NO WAY this passage of Scripture
can apply to that government brought in by ADOLF HITLER in the
1930s and the terrible EVIL done on the world by Hitler and his
Nazi government. No Christian can respect that type of a leader,
king, ruler, or whatever title you want to give Hitler. It is
beyond all sensible logic to ever think this passage of God's
word applies to people like Hitler and his government (and to
some others that have come and gone since the time of Hitler). 
     What can a Christian do if they find themselves living under
such evil men as Hitler? They can either stand up for the right,
shout it loud and clear, realizing that it may cost them their
lives, or they can FLEE!! Get the heck out of that country or
Empire. Many people did EXACTLY those two things when Hitler came
to power and started his evil upon the Jews and the rest of the
world. I suppose there is a third way that Christians can act
under such as a Hitler, they can secretly and STRONGLY disagree
but choose to stay and try to secretly save the lives of those
coming under evil persecution (knowing in so doing they may be
found and have to die for what they did). Many during Hitler's
rule and the Second World War, did just that, they secretly
worked at saving the lives of many Jews. One of the great movies
made on the sacrificial life of such people is called
"Schindler's List" - if you have never seen it, make sure you
rent or borrow it (from someone who has it) and watch it. 

     No such person as a Hitler, or any such government under
such a king or ruler, needs to be respected. Respect and honor
must be earned. Peter is teaching that Christians by and large
are to be good respectful citizens within a nation or Empire that
deserved to be respected. At that time in history, the Roman
Empire granted full religious freedom to those under its rule,
and that alone should deserve some respect and honor.

     Servants, people working for others are to be respectful and
subject (again remember Acts 5:29) to their employer, even if
some hard nosed fellows to work for. If you suffer wrongfully
because you obey God, be thankful that you are suffering for that
which is godliness. If you are doing your work wrongly and you
patiently endure grief because of it, that is no real blessing or
big deal, there's no feather in your cap for that, but if you DO
WELL and you suffer for it, then in God's eyes that is very
acceptable and well pleasing to Him.
     Again, this does not teach that a Christian MUST continue
working for such hard-boiled-eggs of employers. A Christian can
decide to find another job, move along, catch the wagon train and
head out somewhere else. But in the meantime, they need to be
willing to suffer the wrong while doing the right.
     Peter goes on to say, that such suffering for wrong while
doing the right, is part of our calling. Christ also suffered
wrong, while doing the right. He set us then the example, and we
as His followers must follow His example. He did not sin, evil
speaking did not come from His mouth. When He was reviled He did
not revile back. When He suffered He did not shout threats of
revenge and "I'll get even with you someday - you can be assured
of that" type of mouthings off. He simply put it all in God's
hands knowing God would take care of such people in His time and
His way. Jesus bore our sins on the tree, and as we can have our
sins forgiven, be dead to sin so to speak, we should then live
unto righteousness. And it is by the stripes Jesus took on His
body that we can also be healed. We were as sheep going astray,
lost, but now we have been found. God the Father has found us,
called us, and returned us to THE Shepherd and Bishop (overseer)
of our lives (verses 18-25).

     God has certainly healed us spiritually through Christ
Jesus, we have our sins forgiven through His life and death. Even
many times we are healed from our physical sickness through the
body of Christ. We have been restored to a oneness with the
Father through Christ. We are to be willing to suffer and take
some abuse from people at times. There are times we just need to
continue doing what is right, not seeking revenge, while people
are doing evil towards us. This is the example Jesus left us, as
He also suffered wrongly at times for doing what was right. 

     God will take care of it, WHEN and HOW he sees fit. Twice in
my life I came to know how God judges righteously, and both
times, I can tell you it can make the hair on your head stand up.
The first time was a man who became the head manager of the place
I worked for. I knew him for years before, in a casual way (as I
was not in his department directly). After he became head of all
the departments, he made it known he did not like me and was
going to gun me down as they say. He disliked my religion. I
finally left that company and moved on. It was years later that I
heard he had to have both legs amputated because of whatever
problems led to that, and he died from it all. 
     The second example is even more dramatic. I still have
goose-bumps thinking about it. I was done much evil by a man in
one of the church congregations I was attending for about 6
months while living in Florida. He and his wife were doing much
evil to the whole congregation - it was quite the mess. The whole
church was in an emotional mess.  I tried to go brother to
brother as Jesus said we should. I even wrote a letter to him and
his wife to try and mend the situation. It was all to no avail. I
finally had no choice but to say to the Lord, "I've done what I
can Lord, I must now leave it all in your hands. You know this is
evil I am suffering for doing and living the right."
     I left Florida and returned to Canada for about 9 months.
Then returned for a few weeks to holiday and visit the same
church. What a difference as soon as I walked across the parking
lot and entered the building. There was PEACE, FRIENDLINESS, and
I received a loving and warm welcome. One of the now leading men
said to me, "Have you not heard Keith?" "Heard what?" I replied,
"I've heard nothing from the day I left 9 months ago," I
continued. "Well, ....(I've left his name out) shortly after you
left, he came down with cancer from head to toe, died a terrible
death, within a few months. His wife, you'd never know her now,
she is humble and quiet as a mouse in the congregation." And it
was so, the man's wife was there, but you'd never have know it.
The transformation in her attitude was like night is from day.
     I still get chills up my spine just relating this to you.
I've never asked the Lord, since that day, to take care of a
situation where someone was doing evil to me for living the
right. I'm to afraid as to how the Lord may judge righteously -
He can be a fearsome God at times, the Old Testament is full of
examples to show us that.

     On the other hand He is our loving, seeking Father, who goes
after us, finds the lost, and brings us to His dear Son who is
the Shepherd and overseer of our souls. Praise and honor and
glory be to Him.

                   .......................

Written May 2007


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