33. 1st & 2nd PETER

Lesson 343: 1 Peter 1:24-25…

1 Peter 1:24-25 All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever. 

Peter quoted the prophet Isaiah to emphasize the enduring nature of God’s word, compared to the glory of human beings. The best and brightest come and go, but the word of the Lord endures forever.

There is no lack of intelligent people who disregard God’s word, and persuade others it is not true. Many have died, however, and the rest will surely follow. But the word of God which they despise continues to be the most influential book ever written. 

In fact, no education is complete without a working knowledge of the Bible because of its massive historical influence alone. More important, of course, is that it is the word of God. It is the only book that equips us for life, and prepares us for death.

1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation. 

One of the best indicators of spiritual vitality is a craving for God’s word. Peter’s readers were born again through God’s word (1 Peter 1:23), and he wanted them to grow up through God’s word. Feeding on God’s word is essential for spiritual growth.

A high school student was the coolest kid in his class, by far. He was smart, funny, wealthy and from a prominent family. He could have done almost anything, but he did not want to go to college, learn a trade, or even get a job. He just wanted to play with his friends and live at home with his mom and dad. On his thirty-fifth birthday, his parents put all his possessions by the road, and changed the locks on their doors, in a desperate attempt to help him grow up. 

Likewise, many who believe in Jesus Christ refuse to grow up in their salvation. But this is not pleasing to our heavenly Father. To make our Father proud, we must feast on God’s word and do what it says. The moment we believe in Jesus Christ, it is time to grow up in him.

1 Peter 2:5 [Y]ou also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house

The temple was the dwelling place of God in the Old Testament, but the church is the dwelling place of God in the New Testament (1 Corinthians 3:16). Whenever someone comes to faith in Jesus Christ, they become a living stone—connected to all God’s people throughout history. 

Like the temple of God in the Old Testament, the living stones are being prepared off site. In building the temple, only blocks dressed at the quarry were used, and no hammer, chisel or any other iron tool was heard at the temple site while it was being built (1 Kings 6:7). Christians are prepared down here, to be assembled up there. The chisel, hammer and saw are not always pleasant, but God is using our pain to fit us for heaven. 

1 Peter 2:17 Show proper respect to everyone

Christians are often despised for their faith, but are never allowed to despise others. Peter insisted that we show proper respect to everyone. Christians ought to be the most respectful people in the world, since we believe everyone in the world is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:27). To disrespect those who are made in God’s image is to disrespect God himself.

One lady died in a convenience store, and the last thing she saw was people stepping over her to finish their shopping. Three times she tried to get up, but no one cared, or showed concern. Some even took pictures, but no one bothered to call for help. In a culture of disrespect, Christians ought to shine by showing proper respect to everyone

1 Peter 2:24 He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross

What would it be like to carry the weight of your sins, plus the weight of your family’s sins, plus the weight of your friends’ sins? Our offenses and sins weigh us down (Ezekiel 33:10), wrote Ezekiel. And the greater our sins, the more they seem to weigh.

As Jesus hung on the cross, he bore the sins of the world, so that whoever believes in him would be saved (John 3:16). By taking our sins on himself, Jesus took them off our backs, so we could be free of their burden. If your sins are weighing you down, you can lighten your load by giving them to Christ. He himself bore our sins in his body on the cross

1 Peter 3:1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives

Some of the women were concerned for their unbelieving husbands. Instead of preaching to them, or making them feel guilty, Peter told them to win their husbands to Christ through humble submission and godly behavior.

Submission is out of style today, but most men will be less opposed to their wife’s religion, if it improves their marriage. A submissive and godly wife will not always convert her husband, but at least she will improve their relationship. In fact, many husbands have been converted through the godly submission of their wives.

1 Peter 3:3-4 Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.

Peter is drawing on a more extensive passage from the prophet Isaiah. The women of Zion are haughty, walking along with outstretched necks, flirting with their eyes, strutting along with swaying hips, with ornaments jingling on their ankles. Therefore the Lord will bring sores on the heads of the women of Zion; the Lord will make their scalps bald. In that day the Lord will snatch away their finery: the bangles and headbands and crescent necklaces, the earrings and bracelets and veils, the headdresses and anklets and sashes, the perfume bottles and charms, the signet rings and nose rings, the fine robes and the capes and cloaks, the purses and mirrors, and the linen garments and tiaras and shawls (Isaiah 3:16-23), he wrote.

Fashion has been around for centuries, and many women focus on outward beauty rather than inward beauty. Outward beauty is praised by the world, but is not important to God. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7), said Samuel. Too much fashion can even corrupt a church.

When I was growing up, the Lord’s Supper was served at the front of the church, and people got in line to receive it. Since everyone watched everyone else pass by, many of the ladies got dressed up. I was so impressed by the hair, shoes, jewelry and makeup that, by adolescence, this was my favorite part of the service. Peter may have noticed this pattern, and wanted it to stop. Women should not neglect their appearance, but neither should they flaunt it. 

1 Peter 3:7 Husbands, in the same way be considerate as you live with your wives, and treat them with respect as the weaker partner

Peter wanted Christian men to treat their wives respectfully; but then he referred to them as the weaker partner. My wife does not like being called the weaker partner because, in some ways, she is stronger than I am. She needs less sleep, has more energy, and is able to work longer hours. But she is not as strong physically, or emotionally, so I need to be considerate in those areas. 

The difference between husbands and wives can be compared to coffee cups. Men are like mugs; women are like fine china. Fine china is precious, and if you treat it like a mug it will break. A wise husband will treat his wife like the treasure she is, and will be happier for it. 

Reflection and Review
Why do some believers refuse to grow up in their salvation?
Why should wives submit to their husbands?
How can husbands respect their wives?