Summary: Christ is our hope
January 8, 2011
God has chosen us to be a spiritual house and a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices. We walk in a manner worthy of our calling and not as the rest of the world walks. Wives submit to their husbands, husbands give deference to their wives, and we all genuinely love each other as brothers.
We follow the example that was set for us by Christ by stooping for each other and putting each other first. “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1:15). We keep our tongues from evil and we pursue peace.
That wouldn’t have been easy for the pilgrims in Peter’s day. They were harassed, excluded, persecuted, and even murdered. But we have a hope far greater than those who are without God:
God sees and hears us in our sufferings (:12-14)
12For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous,
“Seek peace and ensue it for the eyes of the Lord are (upon) the righteous.” I don’t have to seek vengeance or feel like there’ll be no justice for me. I don’t need anyone to understand or agree since God’s eyes are upon me.
He’s aware of my situation and my life. He notices when a little sparrow falls to the ground, and He’s promised that I’m worth more than many sparrows (Matthew 10:31), so I walk in a way that demonstrates the new life created by Him.
Now, it’s interesting that he says the Lord’s eyes are over “the righteous.” I want you to keep that in mind when we get to the next point because we’re going to see that Christ is our righteousness. God’s eyes and ears aren’t upon us because we’re good people: it’s all because of His own righteousness.
Remember, what does our church need? [A higher view of God]. Right. And we have to understand that God’s care and love for us is because of who we are in Him. Apart from Him we’re incurably evil, but in Him we’re perfectly righteous. Therefore, God’s eyes are upon us,
and his ears are open unto their prayers:
Another way to phrase this would be, “His ears are towards their prayers.” I immediately think of Peter crying out, “Lord, save me!” (Matthew 14:30). Jesus hears his prayer and does what he asks.
Now think about this in relation to John 9:31—Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth.
What a privilege for us in Christ that He hears our prayers. The LORD is far from the wicked: but he heareth the prayer of the righteous (Proverbs 15:29).
The Bible teaches that God doesn’t come near the wicked, yet He is near us and hears our prayers!
but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
The Scriptures teach that He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination (Proverbs 28:9).
That’s a strong word, “abomination.” It means something that’s disgusting. It’s the same Hebrew word used when he says that if a man lies with another man it’s an abomination (Lev. 18:22).
There’s harshness in the way God deals with the wicked, but as angry and vengeful as He is towards them, He is much more protective of us:
13And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?
The word for “followers” means to imitate. “As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1:15). He’s called us, and that’s made evident by His fruit in us, so whom shall we fear? The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? (Psalm 27:1).
14But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;
Peter saw the big picture. He never taught that there would be no trouble—the Bible promises suffering for godly living—but he understood and taught that these bodies are wasting away and they will die. We’re a new creation in Christ, and our souls cannot be touched. As long as God is pleased with us in Christ, there’s nothing in all creation that can bring us any harm since He has promised all things to be for our good!
So, if you suffer because of righteousness, be happy. The Greek word is the same as the one used in the beatitudes when Jesus says, Blessed are the poor, blessed are they that mourn, blessed are the meek, etc. (Matthew 5:3). There’s no reason to be discouraged or afraid—the righteous will suffer, but “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps” (2:21).