Summary: To accomplish God’s good purpose, we are to respect all people, love other believers, fear God, and honor those who rule over us - even when something doesn’t seem good to us. These kinds of actions may fan a spark of belief in those who observe our respo
Opening illustration: Sometimes when I want to start a fire, the wind puts it out. But when I try to keep a fire burning, wind keeps it going. So, in the first situation, I label wind “bad” because it thwarts my plans; in the other, I label it “good” because it helps me accomplish what I want to get done.
This paradox illustrates how we judge things by the way they affect us. We declare circumstances or people “bad” if they thwart our plans or cause us inconvenience. We judge circumstances or people “good” if we agree with them and they support our cause.
But God is the One who determines what is good or bad, and He does so not by how it affects our plans but by whether or not it accomplishes His. His plan is that we would be “a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people.” And His purpose for us is to “proclaim the praises of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9).
To accomplish God’s good purpose, we are to respect all people, love other believers, fear God, and honor those who rule over us - even when something doesn’t seem good to us (v.17). These kinds of actions may fan a spark of belief in those who observe our responses to “bad” circumstances and most of all bring praise to God.
Let us turn to 1 Peter 2 and catch up with what apostle Peter is laying out before us about God’s purpose.
Introduction: What practical difference does it really make in your life that you are a Christian? That’s the issue that Peter is dealing with here in I Peter 2. What does it really mean for you to be a Christian? What difference does it make? How is your life any different because you profess the name of Jesus Christ than if you didn’t? It’s in answer to this question that Peter turns as he continues now to deliver this epistle to us. He’s already, as we’ve seen in chapter 1, given to us a list of some of the enormous privileges of being a Christian. He’s told us about the calling that we have as Christians in this world. He’s told us especially about the new identity which is ours in Jesus Christ.
How to fulfill God’s purpose?
1. Be Separated for Him (vs. 9-10)
Now remember in this letter written by Peter, he is addressing his thoughts to scattered Christians. They are under difficult circumstance and are counting the cost and paying the price to live out their Christian experience in a hostile world. There's a sense in which Peter uses a sort of spiritual kaleidoscope. You remember when you were a child and you had a little kaleidoscope and you turned the end of it and the little colored stones made all different beautiful images. Well Peter takes basically the simple truths of salvation and keeps rotating the end of the kaleidoscope and rearranging those magnificent truths into patterns that are just beautiful beyond description. And every time he rotates the kaleidoscope we see another arrangement of the marvelous beauty of what is ours because we are Christ's. The basic jewels of salvation held up to the light of God's grace and rotated reveal majestic patterns of spiritual privilege. What is ours because we are Christ's, there is nothing about duty or responsibility here. It's all about privilege.
In a higher sense than ever the Jews were. A chosen or elect race, a royal priesthood - "Kings and priests unto God," Revelation 1:6. As princes, ye have power with God, and victory over sin, the world, and the devil: as priests, ye are consecrated to God, for offering spiritual sacrifices. Christians are as one holy nation, under Christ your King. A purchased people - Who are his peculiar property. That we may show forth - By your whole behavior, to all mankind. The virtues - The excellent glory, the mercy, wisdom, and power of him, Christ, who hath called you out of the darkness of ignorance, error, sin, and misery. Who in time past were not a people - Much less the people of God; but scattered individuals of many nations. The former part of the verse particularly respects the gentiles; the latter, the Jews. We are not called to be an ODD people but the appropriated ones.
Illustration: There is no religion that says that each person of that faith has to be in the likeness of the one who initiated that faith. Only Christians are asked to be separated and be in the likeness of Christ in every way.
2. Abstain from the lust of the flesh (vs. 11-12)
The Christian’s first and greatest difficulty is with himself. His bodily passions are soaring and men around you have no control and are easily yielding to them whereas Christ’s purpose is fulfilled in us when we hold this vessel to sanctification and honor by separating and abstaining from sensual desires of pagans. The believer is "to abstain from fleshly lusts." The Greek term translated "abstain" literally means "to hold away from." The phrase "fleshly lusts" refers to the strong cravings of our sinful nature. Although we have a transformed life in Christ, we still remain in a spiritual battle, fighting against desires that would lead to sin. In contrast to the fleshly lusts, we are to long for God's Word and offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Peter 2:2, 5). Because there is a constant spiritual battle between contrasting desires, we as believers eagerly wait for the redemption of our bodies (Romans 8:23). Only then will we enjoy perfect righteousness.