Summary: 1) the right attitude (1 Peter 3:8), 2) The right response (1 Peter 3:9), 3) The right standard (1 Peter 3:10-11), and 4) the right incentive (1 Peter 3:12).
1 Peter 3:8-12 8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For “Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; 11 let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.” (ESV)
With the onset of warmer weather in Canada, people are anxious to get outside. As we are generally restricted from travel, with all indoor facilities still closed, people are looking to find something to get their minds off of the extended period of lockdown. It is obvious from many of the mass protests, that tens of thousands are no longer adhering to restrictions on gatherings.
For us as a congregation, we are looking forward to the new allowance on outdoor worship, for we know how personally, spiritually and corporately devastating this lockdown has been. We are created for corporate worship. With God’s clear mandate to gather for worship, He knows how important it is for our spiritual health. We really can’t fulfill any of the “one-anothers” from scripture on our own. We have a clear biblical mandate to care for one another and look to the welfare of one another. Corporate worship and the ministry that God has equipped us for is The Good Life. It is a purposeful, pleasant and perpetual life of ministry that God has set out for us, as the penultimate experience of eternal life to which we are to point others toward.
In 1 Peter 3:8-12, the Apostle Peter outlines four basic admonitions for living and loving The Good Life, even in the midst of present and menacing trouble. In order to do this, we need to: 1) have the right attitude (1 Peter 3:8), 2) The right response (1 Peter 3:9), 3) The right standard (1 Peter 3:10-11), and finally 4) have the right incentive (1 Peter 3:12).
Believers in Christ can enjoy “The Good Life” by:
1) Having the Right Attitude (1 Peter 3:8)
1 Peter 3:8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind (ESV)
Finally, indicated that this exhortation is a summary of what Peter has previously stated in terms of submission first introduced in 1 Pt. 2:13. Now Peter is applying the concept for all of you, in regards to your behaviour. This section specifies a call to freely submit to one another in love. Everything begins with the right attitude. These Five spiritual virtues constitute this God-honoring perspective. This list of virtues is intended to reinforce the Christian’s cohesion not with society at large but with the countercultural society of the Christian community. (Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter (p. 215). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.)
First, believers are to have unity of mind /be harmonious. The compound word for unity of mind /be harmonious (homophrones) literally means “same think.” This does not mean that we must all think the exact same way about everything. The concept of their being harmony, indicated that there are differences. But in a harmony, the differences in gifts/talents work together in a common unity of purpose. Believers are to live in harmony together, maintaining a common commitment to the truth that produces an inward unity of heart with one another (Rom. 12:5, 16; 1 Cor. 10:17; 12:12; Gal. 3:28; Phil. 2:1–5). Unless there is unity in belief there can be no external unity of action or purpose. Like-mindedness is perhaps the foundational value of the Christian community that unifies people from various races and religions joined together in belief in Christ. These are qualities that presume a high commitment to the stability and well-being of the community. Modern Western concepts of individualism tend to trump commitment to community. Where commitment is found, it is often evaluated in terms of individual needs. An individual whose needs are no longer met by a community terminates the (so called previous) “commitment” and seeks a new and more obliging group. Such thinking runs counter to the qualities of 1 Peter 3:8. Like-mindedness implies a willingness to conform one’s goals, needs, and expectations to the purposes of the larger community. (Jobes, K. H. (2005). 1 Peter (p. 215). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic.)
“Sympathy”, the second factor in experiencing the fullness of Christian life, is virtually a transliteration of sumpatheis, which means “sharing the same feeling.” Christians are to be united on the truth, but also ready to sympathize with the pain of others, even of those they do not know (cf. Matt. 25:34–40; Heb. 13:3; James 1:27). Believers must not be insensitive, indifferent, and censorious, even toward the lost in their pain of struggling anxiously with the issues of life (cf. Matt. 9:36; Luke 13:34–35; 19:41). Saints must come alongside them with empathy to declare God’s saving truth (cf. Acts 8:26–37). Christians should demonstrate their concern for and interest in their neighbor, especially in times of joy or sorrow. They are to “rejoice with those who rejoice; [and] mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:15; also see 1 Cor. 12:26) (Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953–2001). Exposition of the Epistles of Peter and the Epistle of Jude (Vol. 16, p. 127). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.).