Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Living in the Power of the Resurrection: Submission 5/15/2011

As we leave the first chapter of Peter, we see that he is emphasizing the Word and what it has brought to us as believers. We have been born again through the Word and by the same Word we grow. For review's sake, let us begin with the latter part of 1 Peter 1, verses 22-25, and then move to chapter 2: verses 1-3.

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: (fervently: eagerly, earnestly, intensely)
23 Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
24 For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:
25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

KJV 1 Peter 2:1 Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, 2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere (unmixed, unadulterated, pure) milk of the word, (reasonable, logical) that ye may grow thereby:
3 If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

After pointing out the reality that we have been born of the Word by obeying the truth through the Spirit (believing the Gospel) and that we have been made pure in heart through the Word which was spoken unto us, he calls upon us as believers to love one another with an unfeigned love (genuine, sincere) and to do it fervently with a pure heart. This has been made possible since we were born of the living Seed of Christ and not because we were born into a family by natural and corruptible seed. Then he goes on to say that have born again (given new life) through the Word of the Gospel and then writes that we are nurtured and grown through the same Word. He begins the second chapter by pointing out five fruits of the flesh that cannot coexist with a heart that is pure, and a heart that he has called us to love others with. Here are the five things that he points out with further definitions provided for us for further clarication as to their meanings:

Malice: Desire to injure
Guile: Deceit
Hypocrisy: Insincereity, pretense
Envy: Jealous over the success of another
Evil Speaking: Slander, Backbiting

One does not love with these attitudes and actions. For these vices are contrary to the nature of love and will hinder an appetite for the Word and the growth that the desire for the milk of the Word produces. We cannot harbor malice and practice guile, hypocrisy, envy, and slander and still maintain a healthy desire for the Word, and therefore we are instructed to put them off. To be full of these evils will cause our appetite for the milk of God’s Word to diminish. This natural desire for the Word only occurs as a result of the Word having made us alive, so that we are as a newborn who has a natural appetite for milk. A healthy newborn baby does not have to be taught to want their mother's milk. A healthy appetite of hunger and thirst after the Word of the Lord will produce maturity in the things of God.

Peter points out that growth comes from the desire for the sincere milk of the Word. That is significant to notice, as since this metaphor is used in other places in the Scripture in a different way, one can get confused with the seemingly opposing metaphorical uses. I remember discussing this with a minister many years ago and he told me that for growth purposes, one should never desire to eat meat, but to always desire the sincere milk of the Word in order to grow in the grace and knowledge of Christ. I have struggled with that statement over the years, but have come to see that context means everything when one is seeking to understand the use of metaphorical language in the Scriptures.

There could be a number of lessons, here but let us take these from this portion. Being born of the Spirit through the Word creates an appetite for the Word which is compared to a new born baby going after its mother's milk. The desire for the logical, plain and reasonable teachings of the Word is what brings growth and not a desire to "know more of the deep things of the Lord." One of my mentors has shared with me many times that in order to understand the ways of God, one simply needs to read what is written in the Word, seek to understand its meaning through careful study and believe what it says. The Word reveals Jesus Christ in His death and resurrection.

In the third verse, " If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious," Peter could be quoting from Psalm 34:8, in fact, some believe that Psalm 34 formed a lot of Peter's thought toward his writing of this letter that we are studying. Here is the quote from the psalm
KJV Psalm 34:8 O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.
This is not a question in Peter's mind, but it is more like "since ye have tasted." It would be similar to "since we have tasted good food before, we desire to eat more that food again."

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Peter quotes from Psalm 118, and from Isaiah 8 and 28 as he continues with his writing. Let us remember two important instances in his life also. The first one records the first meeting between Jesus and Peter, while the second one is concerning who Peter thought Jesus to be. Here are the references:

KJV John 1:42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

Matthew 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

In verses 4-8, is Peter giving his understanding and interpretation of the conversation he had with Jesus in Matthew 16:15-19? Maybe so, but regardless if it is, Peter makes no mention of himself, but only speaks of Christ and the church Let us look at it. Here are the Scriptures that he quotes from the Old Testament.

Psalm 118:22 The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

Isaiah 8:14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

In order to keep this passage in context of the entire Epistle, we remind ourselves that Peter began by assuring us of our hope, our confidence in those blessings which will be ours at the second coming of our Lord. At verse 14 Peter begins to speak of our present conduct based upon our future hope (see verse 13). Our life should be characterized by obedience (1:14, 22), holiness (1:14-16), godly fear (1:17-21), and love for the brethren (1:222:3).

In 1:22-25, Peter introduced the concept of our new birth through the seed of the Word. In 2:1-3, Peter has moved on to the concept of growth, once again brought about by the Word. Now in 2:4-10 Peter moves from the individual dimensions to the corporate dimensions of our spiritual walk. He takes up the subject of growth, but now we are growing up together, as a building. With this he spells out our calling, our purpose. Our relationship to God, to the “Rock,” and to others is determined by our response to the Word (2:8). The stone or rock has many many references to God in the Old Testament and it would have been very apparent as to whom Peter was referring to here in this place.

It is interesting to note that Jesus here is referred to as a stone, and a living one at that. Is this done to contrast the living stone with the dead stones of the idols that were worshipped in the Old Testament time, and yet today are bring worshipped?

4 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
6 Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
7 Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Using the various Old Testament references, Peter writes that Jesus is the living stone to whom they have come unto, He who is disallowed of men, but chosen of God and precious. As a result of their being born again, they have come unto Him and are referred to as living stones, no longer as individual parts. Now they are coming together in a corporate sense, and are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wow!!! The Rock, Jesus Christ is chosen and precious of God; to those who come to Him, He is precious. For those who have come to Him, His blood is precious. (1:19) But to those who refuse to come to Him, He is despised and rejected. And not coming to Him will one day in eternity result on one's rejection by God forever.

9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Following are the verses from the Old Testament that have been linked to the above verses from 1 Peter 1:9-10

KJV Exodus 19:6 And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.

KJV Isaiah 43:20 The beast of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls: because I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen.
KJV Isaiah 43:21 This people have I formed for myself; they shall shew forth my praise.

KJV Hosea 2:23 And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation/life style honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.

He calls them dearly beloved, appealing to them as both strangers (illegal aliens) and pilgrims (visitor in a foreign land) By doing this he is reminding them that their citizenship is not here on earth, but is in heaven. This reality he had clearly written to them in the first chapter, as he spoke of the inheritance that was laid up in heaven for them. He counsels abstain from fleshly lusts which war/strategize against the soul. They are to live as citizens of the Kingdom of God and not of the kingdom of Caesar. He points out to them that through their honest life style and practices even those who spoke against them would be won to salvation through the good works of the Christians' life.

13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
16 As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

The evil ruler Nero was in power at this time of this writing. They were to be in submission to the God ordained governmental system, putting to silence those who through ignorance were considered to be foolish. They were to render them speechless through their humble submission to authority. Many accusations undoubtedly came against the Christians since their loyalty to Christ for it was deemed as disloyalty to Caesar and to Nero. Freedom is not license to live as we please, but it shows itself through submission to legitimate authority. Even in that evil day, the counsel was to honour all people, as they are created in the image of God, howbeit marred by the fall into sin; love the Christian community (brotherhood), fear God, and honour (value) the king.

18 Servants,(house servants) be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.(wicked)
19 For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. (This is a gracious thing in the sight of God, or it is pleasing to Him)

Servants here are referred to as house servants and they are encouraged to obey their masters. Being a servant to another is to be done in the spirit of obedience, with the hope that the gospel of grace will be the regulatory principle by which masters would treat their servants kindly and fairly. But here even the instruction is for those under authority of masters to bear patiently even in times of being under wicked masters.. Perhaps Peter remembered back to the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus taught that it is nothing to love those that love you, but to love those and bear with whose treatment is unkind and unjust towards us is a characteristic of resident of the Kingdom of God. Matthew 5:43-48

21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:
22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:
23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: (Isaiah 53:7)
24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. (Isaiah 53:9, 12, 5)
25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls. (Isaiah 53:6)

As this chapter comes to a close, application is given by the Apostle Peter, who writes that as servants/we have been called to follow Christ's example, (example: a writing copy, including all the letters of the alphabet, given to beginners as an aid in learning to draw them). Then he points out that of all people who suffered wrongfully, Christ is the supreme example. For He did not sin, there was no pretense or deceit found in His mouth, when he was reviled (reproached, railed at), He reviled not back, when He suffered, He did not threaten, but He committed Himself to the Righteous Judge. He apparently quotes much from the 53rd chapter of Isaiah in this last portion. He closes the chapter by reminding them that they were like sheep going astray, but now they are returned unto the Shepherd (Keeper) and Bishop (Overseer) of their souls.

What have we received so far from this beautiful letter of hope and assurance? We have been reminded that we have been raised to a lively hope of eternal life by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled and will never fade away. This inheritance is kept in heaven and the faith that we possess is guarded and protected by God. Therefore, since we have this assurance, we view and receive all hardship, suffering, trials and so on through the lens of the victory that we have in Christ Jesus. Walking in this victory which we have received on an individual basis, and that we have received through the Word of the Gospel of Christ, we hunger and thirst after righteousness as a result of this change in our heart. Consequently we are drawn toward the Living Stone, Jesus Christ, who has united ourselves together with Him in His death and resurrection, so that we as individuals are living stones. But it does not stop there, for we are being built up for a habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph 2:19-22) so that we may proclaim the praises of Him who has called us out of the darkness into His marvelous light.

The kingdom is growing from the quickened and sprouting seeds, of which we heard an illustration of a couple of years ago when our visitors from Finland and Sweden were here. He had as a text these verses:
Matthew 13:31 Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field:
32 Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof.
As he spoke at our church, he shared about the growth of the kingdom and used a happening with his son to illustrate this reality of growth. He said that as they were walking his young son was carrying a number of seedlings which had already been planted, had sprouted and were now young trees, but in their infant stage. He told his son, "You are carrying a ton in your hands" His son looked at him questionly and asked, "How so?" His father then told him, "These trees will grow up into big trees one day." The father saw the potential in the small trees even as Jesus does in those He gives life to.

Up through verse 10 of chapter two, Peter has primarily been teaching concerning life within the kingdom of God, or within the Universal Church, but for the rest of chapter two, he writes of our behaviour in and amongst the world. Whether in the church or in the world, he writes that we are to lay down our lives in subjection to the appropriate authorities, to not use our Christian liberty to live for self, and to suffer wrongfully if need be. He points us to the example of Christ as our pattern to follow concerning the living of life in the kingdom of God.

In closing, let us not forget that our understanding and receiving of these teachings and instructions must always be interpreted in the light of the first 12 verses of chapter 1. We have a home reserved in heaven because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and we live to proclaim this reality to all others, both in deed and word. We must always remember that our inheritance is already prepared and it is only a matter of changing addresses, so to speak, that will bring us into that reality. Do we understand this? Do we always remember this? No, we do not, for we forget. But when we remember it, our hope remains strong of that which is ours. By faith today, but by sight tomorrow.

As I have thought of the importance of not forgetting to interpret the rest of 1 Peter in relation to the first 12 verses, I recall an incident in my life which has helped me see the significance of keeping the first 12 verses in mind as we read the entire letter. Forty years ago, when letter writing was the main way of communicating, I remember receiving a letter from my wife to be in which she agreed that we would publicly declare our intent to get married when she traveled to the West coast in a few months. At that time I was working in the woods on a swing shift, from 4 to 1 in the morning, and the memory of that night still brings me joy and wonder. I remember the cold night as I was standing by a light plant, a generator which provided power for the lights, and reading that letter over and over again. I remember the excitement that I had as I kept going back to the beginning of the letter to read over and over again of what she had written concerning that she was going to wear my ring. I will never forget it. I do not remember anything else, and there was a lot of details, but what was important to me was that she and I were going to be one.

May it be with us as we continue our study in Peter's first Epistle. May our hearts resound with joy, wonder and praise as we thank the Lord for joining Himself to us in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. May we rejoice as we read the letter that he wrote to us, often going back to the beginning of it to reground ourselves with the knowledge that we are One in Him. And dear friends, nothing can change that truth......We are one with Him, with Christ and with one another!!

May He be glorified today and always for the indescribable gift He has given us in His Son!

In His grace,

Pastor Orval Wirkkala

Posted on 15 May 2011 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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The Cross of Christ 2.25.2018
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*Wendy and Dan Salo: Strength & courage to trust Him w/her health concerns