Summary: Peter called his readers to fortify their testimonies with two crucial aspects of righteous living: 1) a personal, godly discipline that is inward and private, and a 2)personal, godly deportment that is outward and public.
The Topeka, Kan.-based Westboro Baptist Church (WBC), which is not affiliated with any national Baptist organization, announced plans to protest at Virgina Tech victims’ funerals only hours after 32 people were killed in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. They also may protest at other events on the Virginia Tech campus.
The organization, founded and led by Fred Phelps, believes the United States has condemned itself to destruction by accepting homosexuality and other "sins of the flesh. Phelps’ daughter, Shirley Phelps-Roper, said the Virginia Tech teachers and students who died on Monday brought their fate upon themselves by not being true Christians. "The evidence is they were not Christian. God does not do that to his servants, Phelps-Roper said. "You don’t need to look any further for evidence those people are in hell.
Cho Seung-Hui, the Virginia Tech student responsible for the killings who took his own life after the shootings, was sent by God to punish those he killed, and America as a whole, for moral decline, said Phelps-Roper, while adding that she believes Cho is also in hell for violating God’s commandment to not kill. "He is in hell, Phelps-Roper said. "But he was also fulfilling the word of God.
It is often the scandalous conduct of so-called Christians that provides fuel for the critics’ and skeptics’ vicious accusations, whereas the godliness of true Christians does the most to silence Christianity’s opponents. Commentator Robert Leighton wrote: "When a Christian walks irreprovably, his enemies have no where to fasten their teeth on him, but are forced to gnaw their own malignant tongues. As it secures the godly, thus to stop the lying mouths of foolish men, so it is as painful to them to be thus stopped, as muzzling is to beasts, and it punishes their malice. And this is a wise Christian’s way, instead of impatiently fretting at the mistakes or wilful miscensures of men, to keep still on his calm temper of mind, and upright course of life, and silent innocence, this, as a rock, breaks the waves into foam that roar about it. (Commentary on First Peter [reprint, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1972], 195)
The nineteenth-century Scottish preacher Alexander MacLaren commented: "The world takes its notions of God, most of all, from the people who say that they belong to God’s family. They read us a great deal more than they read the Bible. They see us, they only hear about Jesus Christ. (First and Second Peter and First John [New York: Eaton and Maines, 1910], 105).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told all who would seriously follow Him:
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)
I was at a funeral yesterday. It is the time when people reflect on a life gone and the implication for those who remain.
Illustration: The Eulogy
A brief, simple, but expressive eulogy was pronounce by Martin Luther upon a pastor at Zwickau in 1522 named Nicholas Haussmann.
"What we preach, he lived, said the great reformer.
I would not give much for your religion unless it can be seen. Lamps do not talk, but they do shine
That is the essence of what Peter in this passage exhorted his readers to do: live godly lives, which is the single most effective foundation for making the gospel attractive and believable. Peter called his readers to fortify their testimonies with two crucial aspects of righteous living: 1) a personal, godly discipline that is inward and private, and a 2) personal, godly deportment that is outward and public.
1) GODLY INNER DISCIPLINE 1 PT 2 :11
1 PT 2 :11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. (ESV)
Peter began his exhortation by addressing his readers as beloved, which implied that they, as objects of God’s immeasurable love, had a duty to obey the One who loved them. On that basis he could urge (parakaleo, "to beseech or "to encourage, as in Rom. 12:1) them to reciprocate God’s love by living for Him.
Peter further identified his audience as sojourners/aliens and exiles/strangers, which reminded them that they were not truly members of the world’s society.
Phil. 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, (ESV).
As spiritual sojourners/aliens, believers must shun the things of this world (1 John 2:15-17, cf. Mark 4:19, John 12:25, 15:19, Rom. 12:2, Col. 2:8, 20, James 1:27, 1 John 5:4). Sojourners/Aliens (paroikous) literally means "alongside the house. The word came to denote any person who lives in a country not his own and is therefore a foreigner. The term fits Christians who do not belong to this world’s system but live alongside those who do.