1 Peter 3:8-17 Blessing Path

1 Peter 3:8-17 Blessing Path May 3, 2014

A devoted pastor was facing serious surgery, and a friend visited him in the hospital to pray with him. “An interesting thing happened today,” the pastor told him. “One of the nurses looked at my chart and said, ‘Well, I guess you’re preparing for the worst!’ I smiled at her and said, ‘No, I’m preparing for the best. I’m a Christian, and God has promised to work all things together for good.’ Boy, did she drop that chart and leave this room in a hurry!”

Peter wrote this letter to prepare Christians for a “fiery trial” of persecution, yet his approach was optimistic and positive. “Prepare for the best!” was his message. In this section, he gave them three instructions to follow if they would experience the best blessings in the worst times.1

Share a Blessing – Love One Another

To one another

We are called to be a blessing to each other by sharing love. In these verses, we see how we can share a good blessing by loving one another. There are characteristics of this love:

CHARACTERISTICS OF LOVE FOR ONE ANOTHER

“Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble,” (1 Peter 3:8, HCSB)

  1. Like-mindedness

Like-mindedness means unity, not uniformity, it means cooperation in the midst of diversity.

All of us have witnessed the harmony of an orchestra when all the instruments are in tune and all the musicians are following the lead of the conductor. And many of us have been thrilled to watch an athletic team which is playing together with perfect unity as opposed to each player doing his or her own thing.

This should be the experience of our lives and of our churches. The oneness and the harmony which our Lord desires for the church must begin with us. The church is people—the people of God. When we are living under the lordship of Jesus Christ and are in tune with Him, we are in harmony with our brothers and sisters in Christ. When there is disharmony and disunity in the church, sin is present. The solution is spiritual not organizational. We must seek the will of the Lord together—and do it. Then there will be harmony.2

  1. Sympathy

To sympathize means to share with one another. If we are going share a good blessing with one another, we need to learn to share with one another.

  1. Compassion

Compassion means to show concern for one another. We need to make an effort to let people know that we care.

  1. Humility

To be humble means to put another’s person’s above oneself.

To our enemies

Jesus said to love our enemies. Peter states it another way. He says to return a blessing for each insult or evil.

“not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this, so that you can inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9, HCSB)

As Christians, we can live on one of three levels. We can return evil for good, which is the satanic level. We can return good for good and evil for evil, which is the human level. Or, we can return good for evil, which is the divine level. Jesus is the perfect example of this latter approach (1 Peter 2:21–23). As God’s loving children, we must do more than give “an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Matt. 5:38–48), which is the basis for justice. We must operate on the basis of mercy, for that is the way God deals with us.3

Inherit a Blessing – Love Life

“…so that you can inherit a blessing. For the one who wants to love life and to see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit,” (1 Peter 3:9–10, HCSB)

Believers are not to retaliate; not to give evil for evil, or reviling for reviling. Evil for evil refers to deeds; believers are not to retaliate by repaying evil deeds with evil deeds. Reviling for reviling has to do with words. They are not to scold, reproach, use angry words, or return curse for curse. Since believers are to inherit the blessing, they are to give a blessing. The issue here is not to bless in order to receive a blessing. Believers will inherit the blessing (the inheritance of chapter 1); therefore they should bless others. (There is a possible reference here to Esau, cf. Hebrews 12:17.) The point here is that Jewish believers have thus been called: called to render blessing for cursing. That is one reason for their salvation. 4

HOW TO INHERIT A BLESSING

You have to decide to love life if you want to inherit a blessing. What are the three ways to love life and inherit a blessing?

“For the one who wants to love life and to see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit,” (1 Peter 3:10, HCSB)

1. Control the tongue

“For the one who wants to love life and to see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit,” (1 Peter 3:10, HCSB)

It is when the hard times come that we need to watch our tongues. It’s very easy to begin complaining, “Why me? Why this? Why now?” Peter tells us that if we want to love life and see good days, we are to refrain our tongue from evil—literally to keep from complaining.5

2. Do good and hate evil

“and he must turn away from evil and do what is good. He must seek peace and pursue it,” (1 Peter 3:11, HCSB)

3. Seek peace and pursue it

“and he must turn away from evil and do what is good. He must seek peace and pursue it,” (1 Peter 3:11, HCSB)

Jesus said:

“The peacemakers are blessed, for they will be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9, HCSB)

“because the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and His ears are open to their request. But the face of the Lord is against those who do what is evil.” (1 Peter 3:12, HCSB)

Notice the three admonitions.

1. must keep his tongue from evil (v. 10)

2. must turn away from evil (v. 11)

3. must seek peace and pursue it (v. 11)

This shows the human aspect of the believer’s covenant response. The reasons for believers’ actions are given in v. 12:

1. the Lord takes personal notice toward the righteous

2. the Lord hears the righteous

3. the Lord is personally against the wicked

Throughout the Psalms “the Lord” originally referred to YHWH, the covenant God of Israel, yet in this context it refers to Jesus, the bringer of the new covenant (as do 1:25 and 2:3). This is a common technique of New Testament authors to affirm the deity of Jesus.6

“And who will harm you if you are deeply committed to what is good?” (1 Peter 3:13, HCSB)

“But even if you should suffer for righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear what they fear or be disturbed,” (1 Peter 3:14, HCSB)

To inherit the blessing by loving life, one needs to stop being in fear. As D. A. Carson notes:

Although there is considerable difference between Isaiah 8 and 1 Peter 3 with respect to the nature of the fear that the respective believers were to avoid, the heart of the quotation, both in Isaiah and in Peter where he adapts it, is the contrast between fearing humans and what they may bring and revering God.7

Live Out Your Blessing – Love Your Future

Since love is the primary and foundational quality of a Christian life, it should permeate our life. We reflect love in our relationships with brothers and sisters and with our enemies. We also inherit a blessing when we learn to love life. We seek peace and we do good. The reason we can seek peace and do good and not because of any good in ourselves, but because of the good that is in us because of the good that Jesus did on the cross.

“but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15, HCSB)

What Jesus did on the cross was give His children hope. He gave us hope for our future. Because of this hope, we can love the future. We know our future is secure in the work of Jesus Christ. He paid for our future. He has also built our future.

“In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if not, I would have told you. I am going away to prepare a place for you. If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come back and receive you to Myself, so that where I am you may be also.” (John 14:2–3, HCSB)

Jesus has prepared our way for the future. He is the Way forward. The disciples asked about this.

“You know the way to where I am going.” “Lord,” Thomas said, “we don’t know where You’re going. How can we know the way?” Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:4–6, HCSB)

Because is the Way forward to our future as Christians, we have hope. We have hope and therefore we can defend our faith.

We defend a faith that is based on a hope in a future that is certain. We can confidently share that good news with others. When they question it, doubt it, or refute it, we can share our story – our defense. The content of that story is basically the same. Jesus changed my life because of His work. My life is different and my future is secure. How we share that story is important. The attitude and the tone of our defense is important.

“However, do this with gentleness and respect, keeping your conscience clear, so that when you are accused, those who denounce your Christian life will be put to shame.” (1 Peter 3:16, HCSB)

We also need to understand it should rightly considered a defense. There are people who will be offended and offensive to us. We may suffer harm to our egos, our intelligence, our workplace, our families, our emotional health, our personal wealth. We will be attacked and we will suffer something.

“For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:17, HCSB)

We have to know that it is ok to encounter persecution. We should not be hurting the brothers and sisters because we are going to have enough people hurting us from the outside.

Why do we do this? It is God’s will to share the Gospel with others.

1 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 411.

2 Paul A. Cedar and Lloyd J. Ogilvie, James / 1 & 2 Peter / Jude, vol. 34, The Preacher’s Commentary Series (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Inc, 1984), 159.

3 Warren W. Wiersbe, The Bible Exposition Commentary, vol. 2 (Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1996), 412.

4 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Messianic Jewish Epistles: Hebrews, James, First Peter, Second Peter, Jude, 1st ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2005), 357.

5 Jon Courson, Jon Courson’s Application Commentary (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2003), 1563.

6 Robert James Dr. Utley, The Gospel According to Peter: Mark and I & II Peter, vol. Volume 2, Study Guide Commentary Series (Marshall, Texas: Bible Lessons International, 2000), 241.

7 G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids, MI;  Nottingham, UK: Baker Academic;  Apollos, 2007), 1038.

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