The First Epistle of Peter

                               

                                Rev. E. Anderson

Lecture 10                                                                                                                                      

THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL     (Cont’d).

Introduction

The Christian ministry must not only concern itself with oversight and ministry within the local churches, it must give itself to the creation and production of the right kind of disposition and spirit within every Christian believer which will be reflected in their relationships with others in their services.  It must also endeavour to achieve spiritual victory over the devil and give essential teaching and counsel in this direction.

E/       THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL AS TO THE NEED OF HUMILITY – 1 Peter 5:5-7.

Peter knew that if true harmony and unity were to prevail at every level,  then the necessary cardinal virtue of humility must be present.  The Christian Church, embracing all its administration and membership, could only meet with progress and success and divine approval as much as this chief characteristic was in commanding force. 

HUMILITY AS SEEN IN PRECEPT  – v 5.

His use of the words ‘submit, subject, be clothed with humility’  express a clear line of thought and denotes a call and demand for humility.  In this Christian ruling he:

Reveals the garment that is acceptable and approvable v 5  Amp.v. ‘Clothe (‘apren’) yourselves with humility.’  It denotes more than anything else a slave’s garb, dress or apron.  cf. John 13:4,5.  There had to be the putting on of the working man’s overall. 

K. Wuest ‘The exhortation is put on humility as a working virtue which would make all the other virtues what they should be, thus workable in the Christian scheme of things.’

Reveals the grace that is available  v 5  To those adorned, there flows a rich and continual supply of divine grace and strength.  Though the precept is directed to the manifestation of this virtue which is of a demanding nature, yet there is at hand a resource capable of meeting it.

Reveals the attitude that is abominable.  Peter makes it clear what God  thinks about pride that has its roots in sin.  The word  ‘resisteth’  in the Greek is a military term, used of an army drawn up for battle.  Pride calls out God’s armies.

HUMILITY AS SHOWN IN PRACTICE –  vv5,6.

Instruction is given to the areas in which true lowliness is to be exhibited.

To the seniority  –  ‘elders’.  Pul.Comm.  ‘It is Peter still using the last word in the official sense or is he passing to it its ordinary meaning?  It seems impossible to answer the question with certainty…  on the whole, it seems more natural to suppose that the word  ‘elder’,  when once used, led Peter on from one meaning to another, and that here he is simply speaking of the respect to age (1Tim. 5:1).’

To the community  – to each other.  Rendering an effectual, humble life and ministry to one another.

To the Deity –  to God – v6. The only real guarantee that the other two will come into being is through this vital humbling and submissiveness.  Life and work is made or broken according to our re-action to God on this.

HUMILITY AS STATED IN PROSPECT – vv6,7.

It is obvious from the teaching that it pays to be humble.  The compensations are rich.  God takes it in hand to do something that is distinctly to the advantage of the one who has been so exercised.  God has His eye to the future for the humble…’  in due time.’

There is divine exaltation –  ‘He may exalt you…’   It is within the bounds of God’s ability to bring promotion to those who live according to His Word and Spirit in this – Psalm 75:6,7.  God does not just elevate the person but the quality of life that makes and marks out the person.  (c.f. Lu. 14:11).

There is divine administration – v7.  Subjection to God means casting yourself and your care upon God.  It is an act of humility to do this.  It means turning away from self-sufficiency and dependency which is born of pride, to trust wholly in Him.  K. Wuest   ‘Anxiety is a self-contradiction to true humility.  Un belief is , in a sense, an exalting of self against God in that one is depending upon self and failing to trust God.’

F/    THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL AS TO THE EXPERIENCE OF CHRISTIAN VICTORY – 1 Peter 5:8-11.

The apostle now gives a firm line as to the kind of attitude and action to be taken with regard the devil.  Such counsel was to profit them to the point of triumph.  Though they were being cared for by the Lord  v 7,  this did not render them immune from the attacks of the devil.  They had to know how to deal with him.

THE AWARENESS THAT HAD TO BE MANIFESTED  v 8.

If there was to be any victory at all then it could only come about by a real condition of awareness:

There is an emphasis on state –  what we must be.  A double imperative.  The idea presented here is  ‘be awake and watchful.’  There are things  that the adversary uses to bring about dullness: An over-burdened and anxious condition of mind can take the edge off. A lack of spiritual commitment to those things that create alertness  –  prayer.  A failure to realise that conflict with Satan is a major issue. In not recognising that the things that were happening by way of persecution and suffering were part of Satanic philosophy and strategy.

There is emphasis on sense  –  what they must realise.  It is to be noted that the Christian must not be ignorant of the devil or his devices.  A. Stibbs  ‘Antidikos, your adversary, means an opponent in lawsuit  (Lu. 12:58;  18:3).  Diabolos, the devil  i.e. a slander or false accuser.  Both words suggest a malicious enemy.  His desire and aim is the overthrow and downfall of the believer.  Presented here is a lion.  Noted for its ravenous and rapacious desire.

THE ACTION THAT HAD TO BE EXERCISED – v 9.

There was something that could and ought to be done so as to effectively master the terror and tyranny of the Evil One.  The Christian believer was not to allow Satan to have his own way and do nothing.

The apostle puts a call our for resistance  –  ‘in the faith.’  Pul.Comm.   ‘Faith here is trustfulness rather than objective truth,’  No triumph  without faith.  It is possible to take an assured line against him because of Christ’s victory and divine resources.

THE ACHIEVEMENT THAT HAS TO BE REALISED – v 10.

Peter shows in the overall success.

What was available  –  ‘God of all grace.’

What was limitable  –  ‘ suffering for a while.’

What was endurable  –  ‘called us unto eternal glory.’  (Rom. 8:18).  NBC ‘The call to perseverance is matched by the doctrine of preservation.  Since God has called us to share His eternal glory in Christ, we can ultimately rely on Him to bring us safely through to it.’  Philippians 1:6;  Jude v 24.

What is attainable – ‘make you perfect…’   K. Wuest verbs in a future tense, reveal  prediction.   v11  God reigns  –  so do the believers through Him. 

                                                                  

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Studies in the First Epitles of Peter

                                     

                                    Rev. E. Anderson

Lecture 9                                                                               

                                                       THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL    ( Cont’d)

 

There is the continuation on the part of the apostle to give counsel and sound advice in another important area of church life and government.

D/         THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL AS TO THE WORK OF ELDERS   1 Peter 5:1-4.

He writes to a group of men up and contribute largely to the work of the Christian ministry.  The fact that the apostle lines himself up in this classification reflects the worth and dignity of this calling and work  v 1. 

In introducing this section, 

A.Stibbs  comments:  ‘The RV (rendering the preferable Greek rendering, oun)  includes  ‘therefore’ in the opening phrase.  This suggests that the exhortation takes its rise from the previous section concerning inevitable trials and judgment.  The connecting thought possible is that elders, as the most privileged and most responsible members of the house of God, are most exposed to judgment…  or possibly the idea is that the inevitability of earth’s trial and of divine judgment in the experience of God’s people makes all the more urgent need for faithfulness in pastoral care.’

It is recognisable from the teaching, tenor and tone of the apostle’s words that a solemn and sacred responsibility was upon these spiritual leaders and figureheads.  It was something that had to be faced and discharged of in a way whereby the spiritual need of the people was met by their ministry and that the day of accountability would be met by both relief and pleasure.  These verses have much to teach in relation to eldership.

THE NEED EXISTS, AT TIMES, FOR THE MINISTRY TO COUNSEL AND GIVE CHARGE TO THE MINISTRY.

Men and their ministry come under review, examination and words of apostolic instruction are communicated.  There is not only the need for the local body of Christian believers to receive assistance by way of teaching, men and their ministries must also receive help by way of instruction.  Both the leadership and membership need guidance in order that calling and work should be accomplished.  Those who lord it over God’s heritage are usually unteachable  v 3.  The counsel comes in the form of:

An exhortation:  It was by no means a reprimand, telling off or severe scolding.  Peter was not seeking to straighten them out because of failure but because there was always the ever-present danger of easing off and becoming slack.  NEB uses the word  appeal.!  There was a sense of urgency embodied within the exhortation.

A direction:  He shows that there are particular lines of activity that they should be involved in.  He reveals what should take up their time within the course of their office and administration.

An inspiration:  He identifies himself with them and reveals that he is also seeking to fulfil this divine task.  Although a chief apostle, still and elder in the body with spiritual duty to perform.

THERE IS A MULTIPLICATION OF ELDERS TO BE OBSERVED IN THE FORMATION AND FUNCTION OF A LOCAL CHURCH.

From Acts 14:23 it is obvious that Paul ordained elders in every church.  (see also Titus 1:5-9).  It is apparent that the assembly or assemblies in Ephesus had a number of elders (Acts 20:17).

It is evident that there was more than a one-man ministry and governorship of an assembly.  Paul evidently believed that the charge and ministry of a local church was too much for one man.

It is apparent that elders do have a specific work to perform.  It is not simply bearing an office in name and occupying a place on the platform.  There is involvement in a definite form of service and an expression of divine gift and ability.

It is noted that  ‘bishops,’  ‘elders,’  and  ‘pastors’  have the same type of ministry.  This means  that they are responsible for overseeing, leading and shepherding the work of God. 

A.Stibbs  ‘The title elders, presbuteroi, presbyters, describes their status, as seniors or leaders.  Bishops,  episokopoi = overseers, and pastors, poimena, shepherds, seen in the early Church  of the NT times to have been alternative names for those here called elders.  These other two names indicate the character of the elders ministry or responsibility.’

It could well be that there was a presiding or  chief elder in each assembly who assumed the lead in the eldership and assembly.  There is the need of someone to be wholly responsible to whom all can look.

THE MINISTRY OF THE ELDERS IS SPECICALLY OUTLINED.

 

Those men within the eldership must of necessity be qualified men.  It also needs to be stated that the churches are the assemblies of God’s people, therefore there is to be divine qualifications and authorities for this essential work.  They must reach both a standard of life and ministry that qualifies them for the office and work 

What is to be present.  These things to be obvious before any appointment.

A sustaining and satisfying ministry should be known  v 2  ‘Feed the flock..’ (Acts 20:28; Jn. 21:16).  He should posses the ability to teach and impart truth which is vital food and sustenance to the flock.  (1 Tim. 3:2  –  Conybeare –  skilled in teaching).

An overseeing work should be done in the form of watching over the flock, guarding, keeping, correcting and comforting.  Word oversight = overseeing.  A. Stibbs  ‘The proper discharge of pastoral care or oversight in the Church of God includes, as the phraseology suggests, provision and protection, supervision and discipline, instruction and correction.’

A self-sacrificing spirit to be manifest  v1.  If the Chief-Shepherd was ready to suffer, then the same spirit is to be manifest in the under-shepherds.  The flock is the all-important thing to the elders and everything  must be done for its safety and benefit.

An example has to be set by the elders  v 3.

What is to be absent.  Certain things that should not be in evidence:

The absence of pressurising into office or service v 2.

The absence of corrupt motivation v 2.  Personal profiteering must be missing from the sacred work.

The absence of  ‘bossiness.’  ‘the life should command and the tongue persuade.’

THERE IS AN OBJECTIVE TO LOOK FORWARD TO AND AIMED FOR WITH REGARD TO THE MINISTRY  V 4.

There is both a climax and emphasis here that is intended to aid those who are called directly and personally to eldership.  The ultimate factor is introduced which is intended to affect the present.

There is to be the revelation of the Chief-shepherd, the Archbishop, the Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent Elder who owns the whole Flock of God.  There is time coming when He will gather the whole Flock together and He will see what the eldership hath accomplished.

There is the anticipation of reward for the under-shepherds by the Chief-Shepherd.  The Archbishop will give attention to remuneration to the faithful bishops.  The reward will not be filthy lucre but the incorruptible crown.  They and their sacrificial service will stand out for all to see and commend.

                              

 

 

The First Epistle of Peter

                                

                                Rev. E. Anderson

Lecture 8                                                                                                       

E. Anderson

THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL

Peter continues his work of Christian teaching and counselling and by it shows how essential this work is in the course of the Christian ministry.  The reason for his training by Christ was in order that he might be of distinct advantage to His Church at an important period.

C/        THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL AS TO THE QUESTION OF SUFFERING   1  Peter  4:12-19.

There would have been a time when Peter would have shunned and shirked this kind of work because he was unprepared to meet the fact of suffering.  He said to Christ when He referred to His imminent death and afflictions – ‘Be it far from The Lord’.  This letter shows that there had been a fundamental shift and change in his mind and attitude.  In considering this question of suffering by the ministry one notes that:

There is something that Peter foresees for the Christian believer v 12.  Discernment of the future revealed that there would be a period of tremendous crisis for the household of faith.  It did not seem an optimistic note for the minister of Christ to sound.  Peter lived in the realm of foreknowledge regarding the matter.  He had also been out into the picture regarding his own future – 2 Pet. 1:14.

Through the ministry there is a forearming of the Christian believer.  He lays down certain truths in relation to suffering and the kind of principles and attitudes to be reflected when such is encountered.  He puts them in possession of all that had been pressed home in his own life and reveals what should be in evidence.

A  POSITIVE APPROACH TO BE ADOPTED – v 12

 

In divine wisdom he could forsee not only the trial but the kind of re-actions also that could take place in the mind and subsequent experience of the believer.

W. Barclay:  ‘In the nature of things persecution must have been a much more daunting experience for the Gentiles than it was for the Jews.  The average Gentile had little experience of it; but the Jews have always been the most persecuted people upon the earth; persecution has been part of their heritage.’

Why does a Christian expect to be treated in this way?

  • Because his standards are at variance with the world’s standards:  The general rules of life by the outside world are diametrically opposed to the Bible and to the teaching and life of Christ.
  • Because the Holy Spirit is in the believer and such is at enmity and variance with the dictating evil spirit that dominates mankind (Eph.2:2):
  • Because Satanic opposition is bent on the removing of the Christian witness:  Satan and his allies have no sense of gratification at the presence  and power of the Christian witness,  and so there is a constant effort on their part to eliminate all the associates of Christ in their testimony.
  • Because the Word of God teaches and exemplifies throughout that this is the way that the godly have to face:
  • Because if the Christian testimony is what it is and promises what it does, then it will be worth suffering and dying for:

A SPIRITUAL ATTITUDE TO BE EVIDENCE – v13

By reason and logical mind there ought to be a spirit of gloom and depression.  What are the grounds on which a believer can rejoice in the face of such an onslaught of evil and repression?  Spiritual reasons are not lacking for the manifestation of such elation.

  • The fiery trial is not lacking in divine intention. 

K. Wuest  ‘Peter speaks of these sufferings as a fiery trial.  They are the rendering of a word used also in the Greek translation of the PT Proverbs 27:21, which word in the AV is rendered  ‘furnace,’ referring to a smelting furnace where gold is refined  (c.f. Ps. 66:10).  These sufferings which the recipients of this letter were to undergo constituted the smelting furnace in which their lives were being purified.’ 

  • The fiery trial links the believer up in partnership with Christ’s sufferings:
  • The fiery trial, as it is accepted aright, gives God the opportunity to show His approbation:v 14.  

A. Stibbs:  ‘His people, who bear His reproach and suffer for His Name, are owned by His by a special anointing or manifestation of the Sprit of God.  Similarly in OT times the tabernacle or temple was marked as god’s dwelling place by the coming of the Shekinah or  ‘glory’  of the cloud, symbolically visible as a pillar of cloud or fire ( Ex. 33:9,10;  40:34,35).  It is such a special manifestation by God of His Presence with His people of which the persecuted are here assured (Jn. 14:23).’ 

  • The fiery trial is not without full anticipated end v 13:  What is happening is this matter is of a  transitory nature for things are moving forward to a grand climax.  The tables are to be completely turned – (Rom.8:17, 18).
  • The fiery trial must never manifest an attitude of shame – v16:  NEB  ‘he should feel no disgrace.’

A NECESSARY INSTRUCTION TO BE COMMUNICATED   – v15 

It is perfectly clear that there are things that ought not to be practiced by the believer.  He should never be guilty of iniquitous crimes.

He shows that the Christian testimony should not be discredited or be brought into disrepute or ill- repute by shameful deeds – eg.  Murder, thieving etc.

He reveals that the standard of Christian witness must be maintained.  The manifestation of Christ is to be seen in the exercise of Christ’s nature and principles.  Such may produce suffering but in it he glorifies Christ.

 A VITAL APPRECIATION TO BE UNDERSTOOD – vv 17,18.

Things are now stated which were intended to create a healthy fear and have a solemnising and sanctifying effect.

There is to be the dealing with the judging of the saints now in the procedure of sanctification. 

The judging here could well refer to the fiery trail v 12.

There is the revelation that all will not be well for those who have not responded to the Gospel and have been the persecutors.  The believer may think he is having a rough time of it now.  It will be much worse for the godless and persecutors.

 A PERSONAL COMMITMENT MUST BE EXERCISED – v19

 

The apostle comes to a summary of the whole situation and declares what the believer should do.  The commitment has a number of recognitions. 

  • That the fiery trial accords to God’s will; it is all part of the divine plan.
  • That at no time must they give way to evil practice but be committed to good.
  • That the faithful Creator will ultimately justify all their faith in Him.  All will turn to gain and approbation.

                                   

The First Epistle of Peter

                                      

                                        Rev. E. Anderson

Lecture 7                                                                                                                                   

THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL – Section 3 –  1 Peter 4:1-11.

The apostle is seen to be giving wise counsel and instruction on a wider front.  He had wound up the previous section by his reference to Christ in His exalted state.  What he now imparts does, however, arise out of this and is not unrelated.  There is something fresh and beneficial arising out of the triumph of Christ.  His counsel is directed in a number of areas.

A/.      THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL TO SPIRITUAL WATCHFULNESS – 1 Peter 4:1-7.

Some sense of spiritual awareness and alertness must exist in relation to many spiritual truths and a state of activeness must also prevail to what is revealed.

WATCHFULNESS AS TO ESSENTIAL CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE  v 1.

Two things are stated of note.  The first affects Christ and the second refers to the Christian.

We must know the kind of mind that Christ had towards life and suffering.  Christ was always wide awake to what was divine and spiritual and could discern that which was evil and carnal, that which was of the devil and of men.  He always had a resolution of spirit against evil and was ready to suffer willingly for righteousness sake.  It is important that we have the knowledge of Christ’s mind and attitude on this for it is intended to be an instruction, inspiration and fortification.

We must adopt the same kind of mind within our Christian experience.  The Christian Gospel presents the truth and experience that the rule of sin and self can come to and end through Him.  Identification and union with Him in life and spirit can and  ought to produce the victory over sin. 

A Stibbs:  ‘What  is here inculcated is more than imitation Christi, or the following of Christ’s example.  It is rather unio mystica, or mystical union, a sense of dying with Christ to sin and of rising in Him to a new life which is to be lived for God.’

WATCHFULNESS AS TO THE ACCOMPLISHING OF GOD’S WILL – vv 2-4.

 

The main emphasis of thought and action is directed to the securing of the will of God by those who have entered into and have embraced the new life 

Observe the contrast concerning time and behaviour –  v 3  ‘time past’ ;  v 2  ‘rest of his time.’  The past life with its living, walking and running indicates the carnal and sinful procedure.  There is an alteration due to conversion to and union with Christ. 

Note the contrast with regard to associates and associations.  There is to be a clean break with persons and things that were evil v 4.  All that is harmful and detrimental to the manifestation of the new life in its character and development is rejected.

Consider the contrast with regard to motivation and objective.  In v 3 the former life wrought the will of the Gentiles, that which is pagan and godless.

WATCHFULNESS AS TO THE FACT OF DIVINE ACCOUNTABILITY – vv5, 6.

 

Awareness was necessary regarding the day of judgement.

There was to be the realisation by the Christian that the worldling would be judged  v 5.  K. Wuest ‘The word ‘who’ is in apposition with the participle trans.  ‘speaking evil’  and refers to the people of the world.’

There was to be the  realisation by the Christian that his judgement on sin had already been attended to.

A. Stibbs:  ‘the Gospel not only offers the benefit of ceasing form sin and living different lives on earth;  it also offers them the benefit of escaping judgement and entering into fuller spiritual life after death.  The judgement due to them as sinners is fully accomplished in this world.’

WATCHFULNESS AS TO THE CONSUMMATION OF ALL THINGS  v 7.

NBC  ‘End’ is the Gk word ‘telos’  = ‘goal.’  The end of the present system is not only the climax but the purpose towards which God had been and is working.’  All things that affect the eternal welfare and destiny relative to the Christian is close and soon to be revealed.  We must be in readiness for it.

WATCHFULNESS AS TO THE BALANCE OF MIND – v7.

The emphasis is on being sober again.  W.Barclay ‘Preserve your sanity.  Sophrosune is the wisdom which characterises a man who is pre-eminently sane.’

WATCHFULNESS AS TO THE MATTER OF PRAYER  v 7.

K. Wuest:  ‘Watch is the translation of a Greek word meaning –  ‘to be calm and collected in spirit.’   ‘Prayer is such a vital ministry that it demands diligence to see it through – Mk. 14:37-40; 66-72.

B/        THE CHRISTIAN COUNSEL ON CHARITY, HOSPITALITY AND MINISTRY       1 Peter 4:8-11.

The nearness of the great divine climax was not to lead into a state of reclusiveness, where they opt out of society and their responsibilities to the Christian community, rather as a result of their sober, prayerful spirit, they give themselves to definite objectives.

CHARITY  v 8.

Reverts back to a theme he had mentioned before (1:22).  Much has been written in NT declaration on the subject to the Christian church that one deduces that there was a real call and demand for its manifestation.

The pre-eminent nature of charity  – K.Wuest: ‘the words ‘above all’  are more properly, ‘before all in order of importance.’  ‘Such is a pre-requisite to all proper exercises of Christian duty.

The fervent quality of charity –  in the sense of never failing.

The pertinent work of charity –  what loves does not do.  It makes no parade of sins or the sinner.  It positively seeks to cover transgression in the right and only way.

HOSPITALITY  v 9.

The practical outflow of charity will be noted in acts of charity.  They had to give much thought to this and give demonstration of it  (1 Tim. 3:2; Rom. 12:13;  1 Tim. 5:10;  Heb. 13:2)

Who are to receive it – ‘one to another.’

How it was to be administered  –  ‘without grudging.’  Bas.Eng.  ‘Keep open house for all with a glad heart.’

Under what realisation – v10.  Christian called to stewardship.

MINISTRY –  v 11.

Of course charity and hospitality are a divine ministry.  Two other ministries referred to: Ministry of the Word must of necessity convey revelation as and from God.  NBC – ‘Oracles’  Gk  logia, used in classical times of divine utterances and in Rom. 3:2;  Heb. 5:12 applied to scripture.’  The divine utterances were to be the result of divine inspiration, instruction and revelation.

Ministry be deed must bear the hallmark of the strength and assistance of God.  To be performed in the knowledge that God has given ability and energy to do it.

The great end of the ministration of God in revelation and service, God is glorified.  

                               

 

The First Epistle to Peter

                                        ernest-024

                                      Rev. E. Anderson

Lecture 6                  

 

THE CHRISTIAN CONDUCT   ( Cont’d)  –  1 Peter  3:13-22.

Introduction

Peter now refers to the conduct of the Christian in another important aspect of life.  One that they were familiar with, and one that appears to be the main thrust and consideration of the letter.

F/.               THE CHRISTIAN IN SUFFERING     1 Peter 3:13-18.

He had previously mentioned about the trial of faith – 1:7 realising that manifold temptations were being experienced by them.  Here he is anxious to bear the burden and provide the necessary encouragement and counsel in the different types of sorrows and grief that afflict the Christian believer.  Refers to suffering for the righteousness sake.  Instruction needed in dealing with seeming injustices and false accusations.  This was not only the lot of NT saints, it had been the experience of many in former generations – eg. Joseph.

THE PRINCIPLE TO BE ADOPTED   vv 13, 14

A question raised in v 13 and it is apparent where the Christian commitment and manner of life should be.  In v14 ‘for righteousness….’ – v16  ‘your good conduct’  v17 ‘well doing…’   Before the fact of suffering is considered it has to be utterly revealed that the life and behaviour is given over to righteousness and goodness.  The most important thing to the Christian is that he succeeds in fulfilling his life according to the divine life that has been received and according to the divine standards that have been set.  There has to be an insistence upon an ardent love for goodness.  ‘Followers’ = Gk  ‘zelotes’.  W. Barclay ‘What Peter is saying is: ‘Love goodness with that passionate intensity with which the most fanatical patriot loves his country.’

THE PROBLEM THAT MUST BE APPRECIATED

The will of God may mean that owing to the fact that such a good and godly life is being lived that suffering may ensue.  It would seem absurd that such a thing should occur.  Good being answered by evil.

Peter shows, first of all, that one is not forced to suffer for doing good – v13.  One must not get a suffering complex.  One does not have to look for it or half expect it.  v14 points out that there is the likelihood that a believer can be called upon to suffer for doing what is right.  A believer can be subjected to abuse, slander and defamation not because of wrong committed. Some have never been able to bear this kind of ordeal.  The attitude towards it should be one of spiritual calm and composure RV v 14  ‘fear not their fear.’  NBC  ‘the positive antidote to fear is to be found in giving to Christ the special place that is due right at the centre of our lives where He is to reign as Lord.  Such true fear of the Lord expressing itself both in upright behaviour and in a reasoned statement of faith, will drive out all lesser fears and eventually shame the detractors.’

THE PRIVILEGE THAT MUST BE ASCERTAINED   v 14   ‘happy are you…’

Underscores teaching of Christ – Mt. 5:10-12.  Paradox here.  The slander, harm and gross mis-representation are planned to create havoc and misery etc., but the opposite is in view. 

A. Stibbs:  ‘To be  ‘happy’  in this sense, does not mean to ‘feel delighted’  but to  ‘be highly privileged,’  the objects of special favour.   By contrast, when men have to suffer, their natural reaction is not only to feel unhappy but also to regard themselves as under-privileged, unfairly treated and object of God’s neglect or ill-treatment.’

THE PROSPECT THAT MUST BE APPROPRIATED – vv 15, 16

Suffering may well lead to opportunities of becoming an effectual witness to the fact that Jesus Christ is Lord.  By taking the suffering in the Christian spirit it may well pave the way for a great defence and affirmation of the Christian message.

THE PATTERN THAT MUST BE ACCEPTED – v 18

In this matter of suffering for righteousness sake, the Founder of the Christian Faith and Conduct is referred to.  The Christian believer is reminded that Jesus Christ had to undergo this kind of treatment.   W.Barclay: ‘The suffering Christian must always remember he has a suffering Lord.’

G/.                               THE CHRISTIAN TRIUMPH     1 Peter 3:18-22.

Peter not only reveals the truth that Jesus Christ is the pattern of suffering in the cause of righteousness, he also points out the great triumphal procession of Christ by reason of His righteousness and sufferings.  This divine movement has a plan and arrangement that is progressive cp. vv 18, 22.

HE WAS TRIUMPHANT IN ATONMENT – v18.

NBC ‘this verse is one of the most succinct and yet profound statements of the doctrine of the atonement.’  The character of sufferings are outlined.

Shown to be propitious – A. Stibbs ‘points out that the word ‘for sins’ is translated from the Gk  ‘peri harmation’.’  This phrase in the singular is commonly used to describe a sin offering – Lev.5:7;  Rom. 8:3.  Since Christ Himself was sinless, this kind of phraseology implies that His suffering was atoning and propitiatory’ – 1 Jn. 2:2; 4:10.

Shown to be vicarious  –  ‘the just for the unjust.’  Suffered in the stead of sinners  – Rom.5:8 Gk. ‘hyper’  =  ‘on behalf of.’  In order that the unjust become just and the unrighteous right, the Just and Righteous One must bear the divine judgement.

Shown to be efficacious ‘once suffered.’  The once act achieved the desired end.  He not only brings men to God, for by and through Him they are made sons of God.

HE WAS TRIUMPHANT IN ATTESTMENT – v18.

Two things stated in the resolute march of this monarch :  (a)  A finished existence  – ‘put to death…’  A. Stibbs:  ‘this is an emphatic phrase and suggests violence or execution together with the previous word suffered, indicates the reality of Christ’s physical suffering and death…’  (b)  A fresh emergence – ‘but quickened…’  He entered into a new mode of existence and experience.  A new life, freedom and ministry granted Him.  He is no longer straitened – Lu.12:50.  Moved in resurrection life and power.

HE WAS TRIUMPHANT IN ANNOUNCEMENT – vv19,20.

This is a very difficult passage to interpret.  Whatever may be deduced, there was some announcing to the spirit-world.  ‘preached’  = to  ‘herald or proclaim.’  Three possible meanings: (a) That Christ went and preached the fulfilment of His work on the Cross to the just men of past generations that had gone to Hades.  (b)  That Christ proclaimed the message of redemption to all departed spirits – 1Peter 4:6.  (c)  That Christ went especially to and proclaimed to evil spirits His triumphant work thus stating and sealing their doom.  A. Stibbs:  ‘the word ‘pneumata’,  spirits, alone and without qualification, is not used anywhere else in the Bible to describe human spirits.’

HE WAS TRIUMPHANT IN ACCOMPLISHMENT – v21.

Movement from the spirit world to believers – ‘save us’  NBC  ‘the picture strikes a parallel to baptism, for here the water symbolises God’s judgement on sin, and deliverance into a new life.’

HE WAS TRIUMPHANT IN ADVANCEMENT – v 22.

Same verb v19 ‘went.’  (a)  Seen in the place to which He has gone.  (b)  Seen in the position which He occupies – Phil.2.  (c)  Seen in the power which He exercises and controls.

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The First Epistle of Peter

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                                       Rev. E. Anderson

Lecture 5                                                                                                                                     E. Anderson

 

THE CHRISTIAN CONDUCT   (Cont’d)    1 Peter 3:1-12.

Introduction

The spirit, nature and teaching of the Christian Gospel is such that it is seen to make for betterment and improvement in every sphere of life, relationship and activity.  Christianity influences life at every level.

D/          THE CHRISTIAN MARRIAGE      1 Peter  3: 1-7

 

Note that Peter recognises:  (1) a natural and physical state.  This can be seen in the designation,  ‘Wives’, v1, and  ‘husbands’  v7.  He addresses them in the context of the marriage union, seeing them not as independent, but as a unit.  (2) a spiritual and mutual relationship  – ‘heirs together’.’  They are not only partners in a physical and temporal sense, but partners in a spiritual and eternal sense.  (3)  the scriptural and moral factors that should govern the Christian marriage.  There are certain principles and procedures that make for the natural and spiritual success of the union 

WIVES   3:1-6

‘The space which is here given to wives esp. in comparison with what is given to husbands points to the great influence of women in the early Christian Church.’  Whatever  the argument, what is said is good  and is in no way detrimental to the woman.

There is a principle propounded – ‘be in subjection’.

What is being enforced here is subjection of the wife to the headship of the union and family.  Whilst there is companionship and vital friendship discovered in this important relationship, headship is also to be known and regarded.  In the interest of order, authority, providence and blessing in the home and family circle, rule must be invested in someone.  Living Letters: ‘Fit in with your husbands plans.’  This will mean she will have to be adaptable and ready to be directed in her procedure of life – e.g.  vv 5,6.

There is a prospect proclaimed – v 1.  Applied in a two-fold way:

(i)  Non-Christian husband – Unsaved husbands constitute possible problems.

W. Barclay ‘If a husband became a Christian, he would automatically bring his wife with him in Church, and there would be no problem.  But if a wife became a Christian, while her husband did not, he had taken a step which in the ancient world was unprecedented, and which produced cutest problems.’  Such husbands could be won by ‘the silent preaching of a lovely life.’

(ii) Christian husbands –  wives should still live under this principle.  There must be no trading upon the Christian husbands.

There is a practice to be pursuedvv 3, 4. The general tendency then was for the women-folk to give excessive attention to the outward appearance.  No change in procedure – Isa. 3:18-24.  External beauty is no guarantee for inward grace.  Living Letters: ‘Be beautiful inside your hearts, with the lasting charm of a gentle and quiet spirit which is so precious to God’.

HUSBANDS       – v3: 7

It is only one verse, but highly concentrated and containing much divine directive. 

W. Barclay:  ‘It has in it much of the very essence of the Christian ethic.  It is what may be called a reciprocal ethic.  It is an ethic which never places all the responsibility on one side.  It is the mark of the Christian ethic that it never grants a privilege without a corresponding obligation – ‘Likewise’.

(a)  Consideration – TCNT – ‘Those of you who are married men should live considerately with your wives.’  He should know things about his wife that will aid in achieving a good marriage.

(b) Approbation ‘giving honour…’   Someone has said:  ‘The weaker the vessel the more tenderly it should be treated.’  Many mentally torture their wives by failing to give them the admiration which belongs to them.  The honour, in some cases, is often given too late.

(c) Recognition  ‘as being heirs together.’  The spiritual position is acknowledged.  The woman has equal rights in her relationship with God.  Whatever may be her natural rights as wife, of this he is certain, she has a spiritual heritage that is recognised by God, so he must treat her with this discernment?  The husband must not frustrate this essential side.

(d) Supplication ‘so that your prayers….’  If there is a bad situation existent between partners, God takes note and it does affect the matter of prayers.  Biggs:  ‘The sighs of the injured wife come between the husbands’ prayers and God’s hearing.’

E/        THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH    1 PETER  3:8-12

Peter is now concerned about the disposition of mind and heart of all Christendom and not just one specified group.  Two things expressed:  (1) What they must be (v 8).  This aims at attitude.  If the attitude is basically wrong then the life lived will be out of accord and lived to no avail.  It is by and through Christ, in recognition of Him that right spiritual attitudes are created and formed – v 15 – NEB ‘hold The Lord in reverence in your hearts.’   (2)  What they must do.  Emerging from right attitude will be action of the best kind and highest order.

THE RIGHT DISPOSITION TO OTHERS – v8

It breaks forth and demonstrates its worth in its relationship with other people.  It is noticeable that it is an outflow and overflow and not an inflow. 

Leighton:  ‘This one verse hath a cluster of five Christian graces or virtues.  That which is middle, as the stalk or root of the rest, love; and the others grow our of it, two on each side – unanimity and sympathy, on the one, pity and courtesy on the other.’

Christian unanimity‘be ye   same mind…’  K. Wuest:  ‘This cannot be pressed to refer to minute details but refers to a unity on the major and important points of Christian doctrine and practice that should be maintained among members of the Body of Christ.’

Christian sympathy ‘having compassion…’  Gk sumpatheis  –  fellow feeling and genuine concern -1 Corinthians 12-26.

Christian love margin  ‘loving to the brethren.’ – 1 Peter 2:17.

Christian pity    trans.   ‘full of pity.’  Gk ‘tender-hearted.’  It speaks of the heat that is easily moved and tenderly affected by what the eye sees and the ear hears.

Christian courtesy   – ‘be courteous.’  Word occurs only once in NT – ‘humble-minded.’  Spiritual refinement must beautify and make more attractive than superficial polish which only comes of education and habit.

THE RIGHT DISPOSITION TOWARDS EVIL   – vv9-12.

Having expressed right attitudes towards others, which are of a softening and mellowing nature, the right balance is now struck with regard to evil.

The Christian attitude  – vv9-11 

(i)                  He has to overcome the evil of others.  There has to be the overcoming of both the offence and the offender.  

(ii)                (ii)  He has to overcome the evil in himself – v11.

God’s attitude  – v 12.  The righteous and godly have nothing to worry about as they adhere to that which is good (v 13), not so the wicked.  God takes a stand against wickedness and the wicked  – ‘to oppose, frustrate and defeat.’ – cf. Ps. 34.

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Studies in 1 Peter

                                             ernest-024

                                        Rev. E. Anderson

Lecture 4      

Rev. E. Anderson                                                                                                                        

THE CHRISTIAN CONDUCT    – 1 Peter 2:11-25

A/   THE CHRISTIAN LIFE – vv11, 12.

At this point in the letter Peter turns mainly to the practical subject of Christian conduct.  For him, Christianity is the wielding of divine influence in the believer’s own life in the community in which he lives and serves.  Note the term Christian affection  –  ‘Dearly beloved’.  These people were more than just a name and number to the apostle.  Note the term of Christian exhortation – ‘I beseech’.   It is the great God of the universe saying:  ‘I beg of you please’.

Stibbs: ‘There is here a two-fold demand for disciplined and distinctive personal conduct as a Christian.  One half of the demand is negative and private, a demand for abstinence in personal living.  The other half of the demand is positive and public, a demand for behaviour that is openly and recognizably virtuous in the eyes of men’.

1. THE INWARD AND PRIVATE LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN – v 11

The image that is born to the world can only be good and effectual inasmuch as the image borne to oneself within is good, effectual and true.  In both verses there are justifiable motives and notions for supreme living.

We must pay attention with regard to the condition of our private lives.  The Christian must not forget who and what he is – ‘strangers and pilgrims’.

‘We are more than others (we are born again); we have more than others – (the all-sufficient grace of the Spirit); we owe more than others  (redeemed by the precious blood of Christ); then we ought to be more than others’.

We must pay attention to the passion of our private lives. ‘Abstain from…’ this is not simply a reference to sexual sins.  The word in the NT stands for more than natural and carnal cravings focussed in sex;   it indicates the corrupt and destructive principle of evil within men – Gal.5:19-21.  Weymouth – ‘to restrain the cravings of your lower nature’.

We must pay attention with regard to the contention that takes place in our private lives.  The inward and internal conflict is at a personal and secret level.  The objective of these militant desires is to degenerate and downgrade the soul and bring it to ruin.  Evil strategy about these lusts – Gk  ‘stratenomai’  = to perform military duty  – 1 Tim. 2:4 serve as a soldier.

2. THE OUTWARD AND PUBLIC LIFE OF THE CHRISTIAN  v 12

No man liveth to himself and this is definitely so within the context of the Christian life.  Here Peter reveals a number of things.

Outward life was being scrutinised – implied.  They were being watched whether they realised it or not.  Moffat – ‘bear yourselves uprightly before pagans’.  They care nothing for creed, nor for habits of devotion, nor for our statements as to religious experience, but demand a certain life from the people of  God, and watch for it with an eagle’s glance.

Outward life was being scandalised – opinion.  Christians were evil-doers.  Charges of a slanderous nature levelled – 1Pet.3:16.

Outward life was to be organised – the answer to the false charges was to be demonstrated in the manifestation of a good, commendable life.

‘The strongest missionary force in the world is a Christian life’.

B/    THE CHRISTIAN CITIZEN – vv13-17.

There was evident concern in the apostle’s mind with regard to the Christian believer’s role in this present life concerning outside affairs and duties.  In the matter of citizenship there are

(i)                  The realities to be appreciated.  Christianity is involved in making good, sound Christians on this planet. 

(ii)                The responsibilities to be accepted.  Though the Christian has been made free – v16, that liberty has to be rightly applied. ‘Probable that their there was special emphasis on this:  he is writing to Jews, who had rather lax ideas of their obligations to human institutions in the Gentile world. And were charged by the empire with being ‘bad subjects’.

1/. THE DIVINE DIRECTIVES THAT MUST GUIDE

GOD’S Word in one of its particular functions, is to guide His people in their relationships, attitudes and standards.

The attitude towards all human authority – vv13, 14 TCNT ‘Submit to all human institutions’ -Rom.13:1-7.

The attitude towards all humanity – v17.  Dignity placed upon all humanity irrespective of race, colour, creed, situation or status.

The attitude towards the Christian community – v17.  Companion Bible ‘agapo’  =  ‘to regard with favour, make much of a thing or person in principle’.  In the church we meet as God’s children; we recognise in ourselves something higher than animal and worldly life.

The attitude towards  the Deity – v17.  Awesome reverence!  This is seen in obedience to the directives.

The attitude towards the monarchy – v17.

2/. THE DIVINE MOTIVES THAT MUST GOVERN

If it is true that right principles and attitudes must guide, it is equally true that the best motives must lie at the foundation of all Christian citizenship.

The purpose to please the Lord – v13.  The Christian is the Lord’s man and he writes upon everything –  ‘for  the Lord’s sake’.

The purpose  to do His Will – v15.

The purpose to influence the world aright – v15.

The purpose of showing true servitude – v16.

C/        THE CHRISTIAN SERVANT    vv 18-25

 

An important group of people in early Church – ‘household servants’. 

1/.  THE CHRISTIAN SERVANT MUST RENDER A PERFECT SERVICE

The objective to be secured: to be the ideal servant.  (a) Service respective of attitudes – v18 characterised by (i) Obedience – (ii) reverence  –   (b) Service irrespective of masters – v18. Christian doctrine and principles operate under all persons and conditions.

2/.  THE CHRISTIAN SERVANT MUST RENDER A PERFECT SERVICE THOUGH IT ENTAIL SUFFERING.

He may well be maltreated in spite of his good life of service.  How is he to re-act?  He must be prepared to suffer personally – v19; patiently – v 20; providentially – v 21.

3/.  THE CHRISTIAN SERVANT MUST RENDER A PERFECT SERVICE KEEPING HIS EYES ON THE PERFECT SERVANT.

See his suffering in the light of Christ’s suffering – v 21, they were not deserved – v 22 did not provoke any bitter spirit – v 23, left in God’s hands – v 23, were remedial – v 24,25.  Christ did not fail to reveal how a servant should live and serve.

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First Epistle of Peter

                                        ernest-024

                                       Rev. E. Anderson

Lecture 3                                                                                                                             

Rev. E. Anderson

THE CHRISTIAN CALLING   (cont’d)   1 Peter 1:22 – 2:10

 

Introduction 

The idea and thought of the calling continues to prevail in these verses but viewed in the other connections.  As can be noted, both bear truth of fundamental worth.  In fact, the Christian calling cannot be continues minus their presence and operation.

5/.  THE CHRISTIAN CALLING AS DIRECTED BY THE WORD OF GOD    1:22 – 2:3.

Peter now reveals the function and activity of the Word of God within the compass of the Christian calling.  It has its work to perform and its objectives to be realised.  It is apparent that the apostle has a great appreciation of God’s word.  He makes his readers aware  (1) of its spiritual nature  v 23.  In making a comparison between that which is corruptible and incorruptible seed there is indication of the true content of God’s word.  (2)  of its eternal character  vv22-25.  It remains though men pass away, though circumstances change, though history alters.  A. Stibbs  ‘In a created order which is bound to pass away, it is God’s Word which offers a confidence whish is more secure and participation in life which is more abiding.’  (3) Of its propagating quality  v 25.  It exists to be made known, preached and disseminated.  As it is scattered and sown it brings forth results.  – cf. Mt.13: Mk.4:14. 

Its ministry unveiled in varied ways.

The Word of God in regeneration – vv23,25.

Christian life begins by the way of rebirth – John 3. Contrast between two seeds – 1:23.  The natural has not the power to effect divine, spiritual birth and life.

(i)                  The Word of God is imperative in the work and experience of the new birth. It  is the medium by which a spiritual life and creation is brought into being – cf. v 12; James 1:18; Jn. 1:13.  The NT preachers saw to it that it was preached and it did its work – Acts 4:31; 5:42; 6:10 etc. 

(ii)                 (ii)  The Word of God is full of potential –  it makes souls live.  The power of the inspired Word can bring forth a Living People with a living faith and hope out of a completely dead state.

(iii)                 (iii)  The Word of God has as its objective, the impartation of immortal life. By the Word puts immortal life into the soul and leads on to immortal living.   It brings into being an offspring that is in character and conformity with itself, of life, immortality and propagation.

 The Word of God in purification v 22.

A further function is that it is a cleansing agent.  The verb ‘agnizio’ is used of ceremonial cleansing  – Jn.11:55; Acts 21:24,26; James and John in their epistles give it the spiritual sense in which Peter uses it here  –  James 4:8;  1 Jn. 3:3.  In this sense it implies consecration to God’s service and an inward cleansing of heart from all that defiles.  How does this purification occur?  (i)  Real purification comes from obedience to the Word.  (ii)  This purification achieves a true demonstration of Christian love.  (iii)  The result is a release from all wickedness (2:1).

The Word of God in production and construction – (2:2)

One does not automatically grow into a new birth but one can grow from it.  As it is important to have the Word producing the birth, so it is essential to have it constructing its growth in character and conduct.  (i)  The ministry of the milk (2:2).  The basic requirement for babes in Christ is to be fed on the two breasts of God’s Word, the Old and the New Testaments.  (ii)  Ministry of the meat.  Provision is made for such greater and stronger growth.  There is to be full maturity.  See those still on milk – 1 Cor. 3:1-3  when they ought to be more fully developed – cf. Heb. 5-12-14.

The word of God in satisfaction  – 2:3.

As it is partaken of it gives taste and enjoyment to the Christian life.  Called to be sustained and satisfied with the graciousness of the Lord – Ps. 119:103.  (ii)  Through the Word we taste the lord Himself.  To feed on the Word is to feed on Him – Ps. 34:8 (iii) Through the Word we taste the strength of its power.  It is the Bread and Staff of life and gives stamina for conquest (Jn.6:49-51; Mt. 4:1-10).

6/.  THE CHRISTIAN CALLING AS REGOGNISED IN THE DIVINE RELATIONSHIP –  2:4-10.

Peter now voices the choice relationship that exists between Christ and the Church.  He refers to Christ as the Living Stone and each believer as a lively stone that is linked with Him in fellowship and purpose. 

K. Wuest ‘The words ‘to whom coming’ in the Greek text do not refer to the initial act of the sinner coming to the Lord Jesus for salvation, but indicate a close and habitual approach and an intimate association made by faith when the believer realizes the presence of and seeks communion and fellowship with His Lord’.

Peter shows the nature and function of Christ and the church and the Christian Calling can only be understood and exploited in the recognition of both.

The nature and function of Christ:  It is only when Christ in noted in His proper role and context that it is possible for the Christian Church to get a perfect understanding of its call and work. 

(i) The character and calling of Christ v 4.  The name and title ascribed indicates the necessity, worth and work of Christ.  Mentioned as a stone in a number of ways:  v 4 ‘Living’;  v 6 ‘Chief Corner-stone’;  v 7 ‘disallowed’;  v 8  ‘stumbling-stone   –   rock of offence’.  Christ characterised by stone – rock  – Mt. 16:13-18.  This statement reveals that He is the Rock on which the true Church is to be entirely founded and formed. 

A.Stibbs  ‘ v 4 is clearly a reference to Christ in language derived, as Peter explicitly indicates in vv6-8, from the OT Scriptures.  It is equally a reference to the central facts of the Gospel, the crucifixion, resurrection and heavenly exaltation of Christ.  This stone is living, not only because He is a Person, but also because He has been ‘raised from the dead’ and ‘dieth no more’, – Rom.6:9, and is Himself ‘a life-giving spirit’ – 1 Cor. 15:45.’

v7 – The chief corner-stone was the stone by which buildings were aligned, by giving symmetry, conformity, unity and stability to the whole structure – Eph.2:20-22.

(ii)  The challenge of that calling by men –  vv 4,7.  Kirkpatrick – description of Israel. 

‘Israel is ‘the head-corner-stone’.  The powers of the world flung it aside as useless, but God destined it for the most honourable and important place in the building of His Kingdom in the world.  The words express Israel’s consciousness of its mission and destiny in the purpose of God’.  W. Barclay

‘Jesus took these words and applied them to Himself’ – cf. Mt 21:42; Mk. 12-10; Lu 20:17; Ps.  118: 22. 

(i)         The choice and selection of God – vv4,6.  God rests His hope and confidence in Christ – Isaiah 28:16.

The nature and function of the Church:  The Church is described in a number of ways and through such it is possible to discern its nature, calling and ministry

(i) It is a spiritual house v 5.

A. Stibbs: ‘Note that the phrase ‘ye are built up’ implies that men enter the Church be coming to Christ, not that they become joined to Christ by entering the Church’. 

(ii)  A spiritual, elect, Race – v10  One nation, though living in different lands, under different forms of government;  but all citizens of the one heavenly country all subjects of the One Almighty King’. 

(ii)          A spiritual Priesthood vv 5, 9. 

(iii)      A spiritual possession v 9.  The function of the Church if three-fold:  1. It is to have an appreciation of Christ v 7.  2.  It is to offer up spiritual sacrifices v 5.  3.  It is to show forth Christian virtues v 9.

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Lectures in 1 Peter

                                               ernest-024

                                            Rev. E. Anderson

Lecture 2                                                                                                                                          E. Anderson

THE CHRISTIAN CALLING   ( cont’d)         1 Peter 1:10-21                         

The theme still continues in relation to the Christian calling and the believers are called to note other factors that have a bearing upon their present faith, life and experience.

3/.  THE CHRISTIAN CALLING AS CONVEYED IN THE DIVINE REVELATION – vv 10-13).

The apostle felt it necessary to dwell upon the subject of salvation as given in the divine revelation.  He shows how important the truth and work of salvation is and reveals it was not his theme and thought alone.  Personalities and agencies of a noble order are taken up with this which God has set forth in revelation and motion.  The subject of salvation calls for the attention of the highest intelligentsia.  Three things to be noted:

Salvation is the subject of prophetic investigation and prediction v10.

The prophet was a man raised by God, called by God and empowered by God (Heb 1:1) to become the conveyor of His mind in relation to this vital matter of salvation. In this note the two-fold aspect of the prophet’s work:

(i)  The private application of the prophets.  They not only prophesied to others of their generation and for the benefit of later generations, they applied themselves to the utterances that were made.

W. Barclay  ‘ This passage tells us the great truth that God’s truth comes only to the man who searches  for it. That inspiration comes when the revelation of the Spirit of God meets the searching of the mind of man’.

(ii)  the public annunciation of the prophets  v11.  The revelation was not only in their minds, it was upon their lips.  Men used of God to put the ground and spade-work in those who would see its unveiling and be brought to faith and experience. (in v11, ‘glory’ should be plural). 

K. Wuest   ‘Peter speaks of this grace which they wrote about as the particular grace destined for you – inferring that believers have something unique and for them alone’.

Salvation is the subject of apostolic realisation and proclamation v 12.

In considering v 12 ‘which are now reported….’ It reveals the fact of the apostles in their calling and work and experience.  They are in a privileged position of seeing the major part of the plan being outworked.

(i) The comprehension of salvation by the apostles.  It was with great difficulty and over a long period of time that the truth dawned upon their intelligence.  Certain fixations is their minds had to be dealt with – Lu.24:45-47; Acts 1:6; Eph. 3:5

(ii)  The communication of salvation by the apostles ‘that have preached…..’  Having witnessed Christ’s sufferings and having understood their meaning through the prophets words and the agency of the Holy Spirit, they went forth commissioned to declare the message of divine salvation.

 Salvation is the subject of angelic observation and meditation – v 12.

Angels have been deputed by God to be involved in the great scheme of man’s salvation (Heb 1:14).  These words show:  

(i)                  what is indicative of the angels’ attitude.  Although salvation does not apparently affect them as to their nature, life and experience, yet they do not appear aloof or indifferent towards it.

(ii)                 Instructive of the angels aptitude.  Students in the mystery, plan and accomplishment of God’s salvation.  Because of all this, it is to be fully appreciated be the Church – need for a full inquiry.  The word ‘wherefore’ v13 connects with what has been said.  The former becomes the ground of action which is threefold:  1. There has to be a bracing up.  2. There has to be a sobering up.  3. There has to be a looking up.  NEB ‘Fix your hopes on the grace which is to be yours.’

 4/. THE CHRISTIAN CALLING AS EMPHASIZED IN THE DEMAND FOR HOLINESS  ( vv14-21 )

The result of the revelation of the grace of God appearing towards the believer is to be known and realised, in the present, in a life and character that expresses holiness.  It is not simply related to some distant goal and prospect.  Salvation through grace deals with the transformation of life and current behaviour.  This calling comes in the form of (i) and exhortation.  This is a simple appeal on the basis of the truth that had been received and imparted.  (ii) and observation.  From 5the remarks made be the apostle, holiness is the theme of both Testaments.  (iii) an exposition.  The apostle gives reasons why holiness should  characterise the believer’s life.  Note:  ‘forasmuch,’  ‘because’.

The call to holiness – vv 14, 15:

It is more than a human call as the context shows.  In the call both aspects are dealt with: 

(i)  the negative  v14   ‘not fashioning…..’ Shown what is not the standard or procedure of Christian conduct.  Life has to be founded and formed on different lines.  Former has to go  – Eph.2:1-3. 

Stibbs –  ‘Children of obedience (R.V.) more exactly represents the Greek and the expression is best understood as a Hebraism, describing not the children of god who are obedient but those whose  ‘mother’ is obedience  – i.e. those whose prevailing spirit is obedience, and who are given up to its habitual practise.’

(ii) the positive v 15, this is a direct command and is linked to the fact that tere must be holiness on the part of God’s children.  It has to be inwrought and outworked into every area of the Christian’s walk and work.

The motives to holiness – vv16, 17:

Incentives are put before the children of God in order to inspire and excite to noble things and to a greater, holier life.

(i)                  There is the inspiration of divine example v 16.  He counsels in the light of His own condition.  To be holy is to attain godliness and godlikeness. 

(ii)                The recognition of divine relationship.  The close union that has been established with God must equally create desire in this direction. V 14 speaks of ‘children,’ and v 17 ‘Father’.

Stibbs:   ‘It is our personal relation to Him in consequence of His call that precedes and provides that ground for this new moral demand’.

(iii) The presence of divine respect – v 17 ‘fear’.  This is a healthy and heavenly quality.  It is a pure motive in Christian living that aids in sanctification.  (iv)  The evidence of divine prospect v 17.  The kind of life to be lived in the light of the Lord’s return (2 Pet.3:11,14).

The ground of holiness – vv 18-21:

(i)                  the fact that redemption was redemption from vain living v 18.

(ii)                 In the nature and character of the Redeemer v 19.  See what redemption cost.  It puts those redeemed under obligation. 

(iii)               In the eternity of redemption v 20. 

(iv)              In the means by which this is obtained v 21.

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The First Epistle of Peter

                                       ernes1

                                    Rev. E. Anderson

First Epistle of Peter                                                                                                                            E. Anderson

Lecture 1                           

THE CHRISTIAN CALLING    – 1 Peter 1: 1-9  

Introduction

Three things to briefly note:    

Who wrote the letter?   v1  Internal evidence.  This questioned.  Reason – said to be written in best style and considered to be some of the best Greek N.T. Greek.  It is thought that Silvanus was the instrument used in the writing (1Peter5:12).  W. Barclay ‘The thought is the thought of Peter; but the style is the style of Silvanus.’

To whom was it written?  v1 To a number of provinces not to an individual assembly as in Pauline letters. ‘strangers’ – may interpret, the Jewish Christians who had been dispersed by reason of persecution.  ‘Diaspora’ – technical name for the Jews scattered in exile.  Though strangers, ‘elect of God’.

Why was the letter written?  Re-current word provides the answer – ‘suffering’.  It is mentioned 15 times.  In indicates the situation that was arising and getting worse.  Letter written around A.D. 64-67, about the time that Nero was to unleash his venom against the Christians in Rome and the provinces – c.f.vv6, 7.

From the outset in v 2, Peter deals with the action of God in choosing them and shows the process and means of sanctification and reveals what blessing rests upon this calling and state. A. Stibbs ‘Three successive phrases follow which significantly mention the names of the Three Persons of the Trinity, and indicate that they all co-operate to bring about men’s participation in a heavenly destiny.’ (1) There is the basis of election – ‘according to the foreknowledge…’  Does not His eternal will work in relation to His foreknowledge?  – Rom.8:29.  It is on the basis of divine grace – Eph.2:8.

Rom. 11:50, and it is election into an Elect Family – Eph.1:4,5. (2) Process of election –  ‘thro’ sanctification…’  The Holy Spirit is the active agent effecting both regeneration and sanctification.  W. Barclay ‘The beginning, the middle and the end of the Christian life are all the work of the Holy Spirit’.  (3) Purpose of election – ‘unto obedience….’  The structure of the epistle: use of imperatives, a chain of commands, no less than 34.  (4)  Benefits of election – ‘Grace and peace….’   They needed this benediction in their present condition.

1/. THE CHRISTIAN CALLING AS CENTRED IN THE LIVING HOPE – vv3-5.

Because of divine election there is a divine and living hope imparted and given to those duly elected.  Because the believers were in a state of trial and test, what better thing could he do but remind them of this.  There was a time when they were without hope – Eph. 2:12.  As a Jew, Peter had had his hopes re-Israel, but a greater one was to be found in Christ

“The Christian hope is in contrast to lying and dying hopes about things in the world – hopes that die before us or die when we die” – Archbishop Leighton 

It is rooted in the Person and character of God v3.  The Blessed Father gives His elect sons the blessings of a living hole and this proceeds from His mercy – ‘Impelled by His abundant mercy.’ 

“The hope  here is not only an objective thing, but a subjective hope on the part of the believer.  It is a lively hope, that is, not on living, but actively alive, an energising principle of divine life in the believer.’  It also contains the thought and fact of bringing His sons into a special possession.” –  K. Wuest

It is produced in the experience of the new birth – ‘begotten…’  The new birth creates a new creature with a new behaviour and a new destiny and hope – Jn.3:7;  2 Cor.5:17. In the process of regeneration one is made a child of god with something associated –‘if a child than an heir.’  -Rom.8:17.

It is centred upon a choice inheritance v4.  Inheritance a great Bible word, with a notable history, esp. for the Jews.  One of the promises ever made to Abraham was a covenant to give him the promised land.  He entertained it in his heart as a living hope, Heb.11:8-10;  13-16;  Gen. 11  12.  Had high hopes.  Three synonymous word – each a negative (i) without decomposition – word means imperishable, cannot be disintegrated, dissolved no corrosive or corrupted forces can work on it.  V. Barclay – meaning – unravaged by any invading army.  (ii) without desecration – adj.- comes from verb – to defile, pollute with impious impurity.  Canaan’s land had been defiled and desecrated by false deities and evil practices.  Jeremiah 2:7, 23; Ezek. 20:43, but the heavenly will not be subject to such.  (iii) without discoloration – that fadeth not away.  That which loses its original colour, hence losing its freshness and beauty.

It is ensured be the ability of God, v.5 having dealt with the inheritance, v.4 the subjects of it are referred to.  Note what they are kept by, what they are kept through and what they are kept for.

2/. THE CHRISTIAN CALLING AS TESTED IN THE TRIAL OF FAITH   vv6-9

No one could be more suited to deal with such a subject as this for Peter knew what it was to be severely tested.  Put through the mill of trying circumstances.  V.6 appears to contain a spiritual paradox.  He writes about  ‘greatly rejoicing’ and then about being in ‘heaviness through manifold temptations’.  W. Barclay three reasons why they can stand anything that may come upon them. 

(i)                  because of what they were able to look forward to.

(ii)                 (ii) if they remember that every trial is, in fact, a test. 

(iii)               (iii)  because at the end of it when Jesus Christ appears, they will receive from Him ‘praise, glory and honour’.

Faith will have its confrontation.   Faith desires to be channelled thoroughly.  It does not shun the matter of the ordeal knowing that it is presented with the opportunity of proving its metal.

(i)    It realises the brevity of the trials.  Moffat –  ‘though for a passing moment’.

(ii)   It realises the variety of the trials.  ‘Peirasmos’ here means, not in a wrestling with evil inclination, but undeserved suffering from without.  Faith lays hold of their variety and utilises the same by gaining vital truths and experiences from

(iii)  It realises the intensity of the trial – ‘by fire’.

Faith will have its commendation – it will have its moment of coronation.  It will merit commendation.  (i) As to the proving of its genuineness – quality will be exposed.  (ii)  As to the producing of its characters.  Faith has to do with people and with the making of people who are exercised by its presence and work.  It places the crown upon the heads of those who have allowed its full operation, Job 23:10.  (iii)  As to the promoting of it: A.Stibbs, ‘The praise and honour and glory which such genuine faith will secure in the day of disclosure will from one standpoint, be given to the true believers by the approving Lord!  From another stand point they will be given to the Lord Himself, who is thus openly shown to have been worthy of trust by both the devotion and the experience of those who trusted Him’. 

Faith will have its combinationv8 linked not only with hope but with love and joy.  They are inseparables.  Faith has the ability to comprehend and apprehend in the face of an absent physical Christ.  Even in the test love and joy remains.

Faith will have its consummation – v.9.  Faith not only sustained by the living hope but also by another memorable factor – ‘the salvation of your souls’.  Three aspects of salvation;  (i) we have been saved  (ii) we are being saved (iii) we shall be saved.  In the conclusion, the elect of God have a living hope that produces a living faith that conquers throughout life admist trials.

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