Our suffering, which we often can't explain, is meaningful precisely because suffering for righteousness is clearly meaningful to God's purposes.
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:11-25
- This passage opens addressing the beloved people of God as to a bride, the holy nation.
- In order to live as God’s holy nation, our hearts must embrace Jesus as Lord and we are to submit to all lawful authority.
- Love is defined in Christ paying for our sins (1 Jn. 4:10).
- Our relationship to God as His holy people now shapes and governs all our other relationships.
- We’re commanded to live obediently to ensure that glory will be given to God, both in our lives and by unbelievers.
- Giving glory is not an emotional response. God receives glory when His creatures acknowledge His Lordship, even if it is in judgment (Phil. 2:10-11).
- The day of visitation mentioned in verse 12 is that of the general coming of Christ.
- Giving honour to God is made difficult because of the opposition we inevitably face: “when they speak against you as evildoers.”
- Speaking the truth in love does not mean pleasant words.
- Love is to acquaint people with the truth and reality about God’s world, no matter how offensive the truth may be.
- Having purified our souls by the obedience to the truth (1 Pe. 1:22) we’re ready to stand firm for God’s truth.
- God will bless you when you take a stand for Him at great personal cost.
- Abstaining from the ‘passions of the flesh’ (1 Pe. 1:15; 2:11) isn’t a reference to living a disembodied existence; it is calling us to renounce all earthly desires that oppose God’s reign. ‘Flesh’ is not a bodily reference.
- Our Spiritual worship is with our bodies (Rom. 12:1).
- In those areas of our lives where we’ve been scarred in conflict, we may be specially prepared to stand for God.
- The call to follow Jesus is for the present, not the future. We’re called to die to our fleshly selves.
- We live as exiles in the world because we don’t belong to the world; we belong to heaven.
- The desires of the world are contrary to the Spirit of God (Cf. Gal.5:17).
- The Spirit of God floodlights Jesus Christ, enabling us to die to sin daily, as the battle rages on.
- For the Lord’s sake we’re to live lawfully, honouring all authorities, even those that do not honor God; but we must not obey government when they the command what God forbids or forbid what God commands.
- We’re to respect and honour our employers and masters.
- We have been freed from slavery to sin, that we may be free to serve and worship the Lord Jesus (Ro. 6:16-18).
- God has called us to the vocation of suffering for the sake of righteousness, though we often don’t know God’s reasons for it.
- The Lord’s suffering is not incidental to His work. It is what brought us back from death to life.
- Our suffering, which we often can’t explain, is meaningful precisely because suffering for righteousness is clearly meaningful to God’s purposes. The cross proves that.
- Describe the role of suffering in our vocation as Christians.
- Why do we inevitably face opposition from the world?
- What does it mean to speak the truth in love?
- Outline the Christian’s obligation to the civil government.
- Outline the Christian’s obligation to masters or employers.
- How does confidence in God’s sovereignty help us to endure suffering patiently? Give examples from history.