Laying Aside These Evils
First in a series of studies of 1 Peter 2:1-5
“Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking” (1 Peter 2:1).
Having just described for these Jewish converts what they have done in coming to Christ, Peter here begins an explanation of some particulars about which they are to be careful as they continue on this new spiritual journey. They have “purified their souls” in obeying the gospel; so, their behavior must give evidence of change in their lives.
They are to “lay aside” all “malice” from their lives, meaning eliminate it completely. Malice is wickedness and evil that is intended to injure another person. As well, they are to remove “all deceit,” thus removing sly and underhanded dealings with others.
These new Christians are never to be guilty of the evil practice of “hypocrisy”; that is, they cannot pretend to live a certain lifestyle when they do not nor can they pretend to have certain beliefs when, in reality, they neither believe nor practice them.
“Envy” causes people to be displeased when hearing about the good fortune of others and wishing it had happened to them instead. “Evil speaking” includes making slanderous statements about others, looking down on others, and backbiting in order to cause bad feelings toward others.
This great apostle teaches that, as one begins the Christian journey, he or she must root out these evils and replace them with the good qualities he is about to describe.
Our Father in Heaven
“Jesus said to her, ‘Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, “I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God” ’ ” (John 20:17).
When Jesus is about to ascend to His Father, following His resurrection, He meets Mary Magdalene and gives her a message to take to His disciples: she is to tell them about His ascension. In doing so, He identifies God as, not only His Father, but also as the Father of all mankind.
God is our heavenly Father; and, as such, He Protects, Provides, Loves, and Disciplines. In His protection and provision, He has given us an escape from an eternity of painful punishment by sending Jesus to die on the cross for our sins.
In His great love for us, He has exercised the greatest degree of patience possible so that we can take advantage of His undying mercy and grace. And, lest we become puffed up with pride because of our relationship with Him, He has allowed life’s experiences to discipline us. He does not make bad things happen to us, but He allows them so that we can learn and grow.
Good fathers today can learn much about their roles by taking note of this wonderful example that our Father has provided for us: Protect, Provide, Love, and Discipline.
The Joy of Having an Advocate
“My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1).
The Apostle John writes a message of joy as he pens this epistle to those fellow disciples toward whom he feels a loving, familial relationship. He has just completed his description of human nature, saying sin will happen, even with the most careful.
Those who receive this epistle hear John firmly teach that they are not to sin: but he immediately provides the remedy when they do commit a sin: that remedy is Jesus Christ, the One who champions our cause before the Father. That is the “joy” of this message.
This passage presents no dilemma for Christians of any age. John is saying that those who are sincere in their obedience of the gospel have given up sin as a way of life and they have no desire to return to it. Temptations do come, however; and since we are human, we sometimes fall short of our commitment.
When we do, Jesus, by His sacrifice on the cross, has made possible our return to a faithful position with the Father. According to other passages, that reuniting can happen as soon as we repent, confess our sins, and ask for forgiveness.
“He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels (Revelation 3:5).
Sardis is one of two churches that receives no praise in the Lord’s assessment of the seven churches of Asia; yet the Lord does say there are a few faithful followers in that church who have “overcome,” meaning having overcome the world or the devil; and these, along with any others who successfully keep their allegiance to the Lord, can expect to receive three promises.
They shall be clothed in “white garments,” referring metaphorically to the majestic position those faithful to Christ will have in heaven. The second promise is stated in the negative: “I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life,” referring to the judgment when the faithful will be rewarded and the unfaithful condemned.
The third promise is really thrilling and reassuring: Jesus will confess the names of the faithful to the Father with the angels as witnesses.
To receive such promises from the One who never fails to keep His Word should motivate all who belong to the Lord to be the best they can be and to give Him the best service they have to offer.
Our Eternal Inheritance
NOTE: 1 Peter 1.3 is printed to provide an introduction to the thought in verse 4.
“Bless be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
“to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3-4).
It is because of Jesus that Christians have a “living hope” concerning eternity—this hope is possible because of the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
The elements that make up our eternal inheritance are so grand that even Peter finds it difficult to describe them. In fact, he uses three negative ideas as he attempts to communicate the picture: incorruptible, undefiled, and it does not fade away.
“Incorruptible” means that it is so perfect it cannot be destroyed. It is imperishable, and nothing that will decay is allowed there.
“Undefiled” means it is unsoiled, unblemished; thus, it is perfect as only God can make it.
It “does not fade away” means it goes on forever—it does not stop.
Peter wants these Christians, who are beset with many difficulties here on the earth, to realize there is a better place ahead if they will only remain faithful to Jesus. That same assurance holds for Christians of every age—including our own. Heaven is so wonderful it will be worth whatever sacrifices we must make to navigate the turbulent waters of life in a way that is pleasing to God.
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