In this sermon, pastor Babij examines Peter’s teaching on the example of Jesus in suffering and submission. According to Peter, believers are to learn both from what Jesus did do and what Jesus did not do when suffering unjustly.
When plans have been dashed and you have no control over anything, what do you do then? How are you supposed to live? Are you supposed to revert to your old sinful ways, habits, and the ways you used to handle things? Or, in that pressure cooker, are you supposed to live for Christ?
The point is that you are to live for Christ. That becomes a test of your faith, and that test of your faith produces endurance, strength, and what we need to continue in this world. Remember, we’re aliens and strangers. This is not our home. The kingdom of God is our home, and that is where we are heading. Until then, we have a job to do and a way to live, which is to bring people to Christ not only by our sharing of the Gospel, but also by the way we live.
So far, we have seen that the definition of submit is putting oneself under the authority of another, or to take a subordinate place. The first application of this was governing authorities. The second application of this was masters and slaves, or in the modern-day context, workers and bosses.
If there is not a growing presence of submission in our hearts and in the community of believers, then usually strife fills that vacuum, which leads to disunity. People will bicker, complain, grumble, and none of those things honor God or are they justified. As believers, we don’t have any rights, and we give up our rights so that we may live for God. Unity is enhanced through submission. James 4:7:
Submit therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.
Submission to God and the word of God means that we are heeding God’s word. Submission to God through His will means we are giving over to the will of God and learning more of what the will of God is every day. Then, there is submission to God through His authority.
God is putting certain authority structures in our life that we are to submit to in a proper way. We looked at governing authorities. In the next section of Scripture, we will be looking at husbands and wives. Then, elders and pastors, and young men to elders.
Even though we don’t have slavery like they had in the Roman empire, what Peter wrote does apply to employers and employees. Employment, in free capitalism and socialism, is difficult to compare to the first century household servants as mentioned in our text. The first principle for Christians to submit as servants is that your employer is due respect. Also, employers are due respect regardless of their disposition. 1 Peter 2:18:
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable.
One of the amazing things about that text and this section of Scripture is that the passage never says to followers of Christ to organize a revolt, take up weapons, or be disloyal by taking the law into our own hands. This is not the way a Christian undermines the institution of slavery, but rather by putting these principals into practice that the Lord has put in place.
The Christian is an earthly slave, but at the same time, they are Christ’s freeman. We are to view slavery or servanthood in a different way, which is a platform for evangelism. The main emphasis here is how the Christian is to function within their existing conditions, and within the way the Christian conducts and behaves themselves within those conditions.
The only reason for submitting to unreasonable or harsh masters or employers is because it pleases the Lord. The motive for the Christian to submit as servants is to always please the Lord with the desire to have the Lord’s approval, but also with the goal to be able to share the Gospel. 1 Peter 2:19:
For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly.
It is the taking abuse and keeping God in mind while we are going through it knowing that God knows everything in your situation, and it is taking abuse to not lose God’s favor by not giving in to the flesh. In doing that, what credit is there in suffering because you sinned. 1 Peter 2:20:
For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.
Again, God knows everything going on and it finds favor with God when we live that way. It is completely difficult to do, especially if you are not depending on the Holy Spirit and you are depending on yourself. You must depend on God and His truth to be able to live that way.
The Lord knows and sees the kind of service one offers up, but the one offering up good service should also know that the Lord recognizes and rewards for good service. Ephesians 6:7:
With good will render service, as to the Lord, and not to men.
The purpose for the Christian to submit as saints is our calling found in 1 Peter 2:21:
For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps
We have been summoned to suffer. I asked you last week if you ever pondered that when you became a Christian, you didn’t realize that you were not only saved by God for the blessings that come, but also saved for the cost of being a Christian. The cost is that you are going to have some level of suffering in this world, which you will have to respond to in the right way. You are called to suffer because you are a Christian. Last time, we looked at Philippians 1:29-30:
For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me. For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
The subject of suffering will be more developed in the later chapters of Peter, but I gave you some reasons as to why we do suffer. We suffer for doing what is right. 1 Peter 3:17:
For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong.
Secondly, you suffer according to the will of God. By His will, the Lord brings suffering into our lives for a very specific purpose, which is to mature us. When things are going very good in your life, you don’t grow spiritually. It is only when the trouble comes, and that’s when our faith needs to be tested. We must know that we are truly believers. Through the testing of our faith, we remain following the Lord and get stronger during that time.
Then, suffering for our testing and being a Christian as it tells us in the word of God 1 Peter 4:14-16:
If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.
Last time, I asked a few questions: why aren’t you suffering? It could be because you are hiding in the forest and nobody knows you. Maybe you are not living a holy and godly life. The Bible says that if you live a godly life, you are going to be persecuted. Maybe you are not suffering because you are not a believer at all. Self-deception in believing you are something you are not, producing no fruit as a believer is a very serious diagnosis of your spiritual condition. We must answer these questions honestly. In all that, it says in 2 Timothy 3:12:
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.
Most of the persecution, in 1 Peter, was by way of insults – word persecution. Then, it led to physical persecution. However, notice, in 1 Peter 5:10, that suffering is short lived, has a goal, and a reward connected to it:
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.
Because of suffering, the Lord can make this promise to us since He calls us to eternal glory. We are heading to the kingdom of God, and while we are heading there, the Lord promises us that He is going to perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. He is going to do that, not you. As we do what we’re supposed to do, He takes care of all the rest of the things that we could never do, so that gives us great confidence in God.
However, brethren, we are not left without an example of suffering in which to emulate. Of course, Jesus is our example for suffering. No one suffered to the extent that He suffered. Now, we are going to look at the purpose and the pattern for the Christian to submit to and follow as saints. Our calling and suffering is to follow Jesus’ example.
In 1 Peter 2:21, Jesus’ death was vicarious and substitutionary. Galatians 1:4:
who gave Himself for our sins so that He might rescue us from this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father.
In our text, the first thing in this section is that Jesus is our great example in His life, the way He lived life, and the way He responded to the suffering that came His way, and we are to do the same. God is not asking us, in Scripture, to do something we cannot do. He is asking us to do what He did. Also, He is asking us to do what He did not do.
Christ is the model sufferer because Christ did not receive a crown of glory without a crown of thorns. He could have never saved us without the Cross. He had to go that way, and it was God’s will for Him to go that way.
The term example in our text recalls the thought of an outline or a copy. Christ leaves us a drawing that is to be placed underneath another sheet to be traced over. We are to follow His example, and walk in the steps that He walked in. To follow in the direction that He is going. If you are going to walk in the steps someone walked in, you must follow behind them, and you must put your foot in the step that He took.
As we do that, we will find that we are going to be able to do what Christ asks of us, which is to follow in the direction He is going and to patiently endure wrong treatment. So, what didn’t Jesus do? 1 Peter 2:22:
WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH
This is telling us about the character of Jesus, and how he committed no sin. If sinless, then He must have been suffering for someone else. Jesus suffered as an innocent One, and as somebody who was not guilty since there was no sin in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21:
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
When we talk about Christ being our substitute and dying in our place, we become righteous, live a righteous life, and the righteousness of Christ would be put on our account. This is what the Lord did not do. He did not sin because of who He was and His mission. He was the perfect Lamb of God, who would take away the sin of the world, so He could not have sinned at all.
In this whole section of Scripture, Peter is drawing from Isaiah 53. In Isaiah 53, notice the verses that come behind, and the same things said in the Old Testament, Peter says in this epistle. Secondly, what Jesus did not do in 1 Peter 2:22 is also found in Isaiah 53:9:
His grave was assigned with wicked men,
Yet He was with a rich man in His death,
Because He had done no violence,
Nor was there any deceit in His mouth.
In other words, for the people who don’t believe that Isaiah 53 is talking about Christ, Peter then says that it is talking about Christ. You cannot make that mistake. He is the only one who was able to do these things. Thus, the second thing Jesus did not do was use words to bring insult. There was no deceit found in His mouth whatsoever. Isaiah 53:7:
He was oppressed and He was afflicted,
Yet He did not open His mouth;
Like a lamb that is led to slaughter,
And like a sheep that is silent before its shearers,
So He did not open His mouth.
When it came to repeated abuses, Jesus did not open His mouth at all, and the abuses became worse, viler, and more cutting. Now, think for a moment about us. When it comes to repeated verbal abuse by somebody, the first thing we want to do is lash back. Of course, that little thing that flaps in your mouth, called the tongue, wants to establish itself as a greater authority than the one who is insulting you, and we find it very difficult to restrain our words. James 3:8:
But no one can tame the tongue; it is a restless evil and full of deadly poison.
“Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never harm me.” Boy, that’s the biggest lie that ever came out of hell. Words stay with you until you die. It is logged in there, especially things that were insults, things that put you down, and things that came against you that really discouraged you. You don’t forget those things.
In fact, we must be careful that we don’t dwell on that in our mind. If we do, we will not be able to carry this out. The spirit of God helps us to restrain our words and to choose words that are encouraging. If you go to Proverbs, there are so many verses that talk about words. In the power of your tongue, as said in Proverbs, you can give life or death.
Words can do that. No nuclear bombs can do what words can do. Words can kill somebody while they are still alive. Words are powerful. In scripture, we have the example to learn to watch our words before anything rolls off your tongue. Think about if you want to receive what you’re going to say to that person no matter how they are harming you or how they are coming against you.
If we are going to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, we must restrain our tongues, and only for the use of edification, building people up, and encouraging people to press-on. When we do, that is when we know the power and strength of God coming into our life. Matthew 27:12-14:
And while He was being accused by the chief priests and elders, He did not answer. 13Then Pilate said to Him, “Do You not hear how many things they testify against You?” 14And He did not answer him with regard to even a single charge, so the governor was quite amazed.
In the human being, it is not normal to not say something. Don’t people say, “why didn’t you just say something?” No, as a believer, you must decide when you say something and when you don’t say something. You must decide it before it happens.
Every day you wake up you must decide how you are going to use your tongue to that boss that is not so kind to you, that customer that always wants to give you a tongue lashing, or to that person, who has a tongue sharper than a razor. What do you do with those people? See, they can get to you and they know how to press people’s buttons, so what do you do? That’s when you need to respond correctly, especially since that person needs the Lord.
If we respond just like them, we’ll never have a chance. They will say, “you’re just like me.” We don’t want to be just like the way we used to be. As Christians, we want to be different. If we’re going to walk in the footsteps of the Lord, we must follow in His footsteps. Yes, we can restrain our tongue, and that’s the point. God gives us the strength to do that, and we are blessed when we do that.
Jesus did not bring insult with words. The Lord could have called legions of angels to fight on His behalf, but He did not do that. If He did that, we could not have been saved. The Cross would have never happened. Jesus had to fight the battles for us to save us. The next thing He did not do is in 1 Peter 2:23:
and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.
This is just a higher level of verbal abuse, but it is also not leading someone to violence. In other words, Jesus didn’t know violence. Jesus did not resort to violent threats at all. He didn’t go to blows with anybody. Jesus was called a demon-possessed man, a glutton, a winebibber, a blasphemer, delusional by His own family, a perverter of the nation, a deceiver of people, yet Jesus never strayed in word and deed, never got upset unjustly, or used anyone for a laugh.
He suffered verbally, physically, spiritually, yet never threatened retaliation on His tormentors but endured for us. He lived a level of righteousness that we could have never lived, and He did it for us. In other words, Jesus Christ, our great example, did all those things by His life, and we can exemplify that example and walk in His footsteps. Now that we saw what He did not do, what did Jesus do?
While being abused and while having these things hurled at Him, He was handing himself over to the one who judges righteously. The first thing the Lord did, under this title, is that Jesus is our great substitute in His death, and in this treatment, He did not hand Himself over to His betrayers. He handed Himself over to His Father. In other words, Jesus left judgement to God rather than to act Himself against His enemies.
He suffered calmly and patiently. He had confidence in His Father’s will. He had confidence in what His Father was doing as far as Jesus having to go to the Cross to die for sinners. He had confidence in that, so He kept patiently and calmly entrusting Himself to the Father. We could say it like this:
Father, I trust You, I don’t understand everything that is going on, I may not have all the answers to my questions, and I may never have those answers. However, Father, because of who You are, the love You have displayed and demonstrated to me, and because of the promises that are in the word of God, I am entrusting myself to You during this trial and time of suffering.
In other words, we could never take vengeance. Romans 12:19-21 gives a real situation in which we can practice what Paul was telling the romans in their suffering:
Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. 20“BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
Heaping coals on a burning head is not a bad thing, but a good thing. When someone ran out of fuel for cooking or heating their home, they would put a container on their head, run through the village, and people with extra coals would throw it on top of him.
In other words, when your enemy comes against you, don’t respond like you are going against them. Rather, treat your enemy as said in the passage. To me, when I read that passage, I say to my old days, “that will never happen.” Yet, this is what God has called us to, and I believe there is more power in this to overcoming restrain than anything else.
Remember, Jesus handed Himself over to the Father. Ironically, if you search out Scripture, Judas handed Jesus over out of greed, the priests handed Jesus over to Pilate out of envy and self-righteousness, Pilate handed Jesus over to the soldiers out of being a coward, and on the Cross, Jesus handed Himself over to God for our vindication. Leading to 1 Peter 2:24:
and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.
In that text, Jesus handed Himself over to the Father, but He also carried our sins away. In fact, in Isaiah 53:4-5, it says:
Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried;
Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten of God, and afflicted.
5But He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.
In that, it is describing the substitutionary atonement of Christ, and there are four things in substitution. In substitutionary atonement, we find forgiveness of God, the cleansing of God of those who have sinned, the adverting of God’s wrath, and ransom. Mark 10:45:
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
His life was a ransom, a price paid to effect release of one who was held in bondage. The ransom was offered to God, the Father, against whom we have sinned, and who alone has the power to afflict the penalty of sin. Then, Jesus saw us caught in the slave market of sin and had pity on our helpless situation by paying the ransom price with His own blood to redeem us out of slavery.
Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross purchased the release from bondage of those many sinners who believe in Him. In saying that, if we take all of Isaiah 53, we will see that there are two things going on: the suffering servant’s willingness to suffer for sinners. He suffered for others by submitting to the Father willingly. Also, He benefits those who suffer. In other words, His punishment, our peace. His wounds, our healing.
Also, the sufferer willingly and deliberately took on sin on Himself in His act, and it was the Lord’s intention that He did that. In Isaiah 53:10-11, we see that God himself acts to lay the people’s sin upon the servant and to punish Him as a guilty person:
Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”
Jesus’ submission to the Father’s will exemplified a unity with the Father and Son within the Trinity: The Father, Son, and Spirit. He cooperated and submitted to His father’s plan for us to have the offer of redemption preached to us. The suffering Servant is sinless, and He suffered not for His own sins, but for the sins of others, which He bore willingly. He became a guilt offering baring their sins so that they may escape punishment.
Now, I think about how Isaiah put that. He said that the Lord would become a guilt offering. For a minute, I thought about it, and I went back and looked at a few texts and wondered: what is the extent in which Christ died for our sins? If I asked you this: do you think Christ died for your unintentional sins? Do you think Christ died for the sins you didn’t even know you were sinning? Did He die for the sins you forgot?
That’s what it means when Jesus became a guilt offering. He became guilty as a sinner for us so that we wouldn’t be guilty. When I was first going through the five Levitical offerings and I came across this section of Scripture, it quite intrigued me because I never thought of it like this. Notice what it says about a guilt offering in Leviticus 5:16-19:
“He shall make restitution for that which he has sinned against the holy thing, and shall add to it a fifth part of it and give it to the priest. The priest shall then make atonement for him with the ram of the guilt offering, and it will be forgiven him. 17“Now if a person sins and does any of the things which the LORD has commanded not to be done, though he was unaware, still he is guilty and shall bear his punishment. 18“He is then to bring to the priest a ram without defect from the flock, according to your valuation, for a guilt offering. So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his error in which he sinned unintentionally and did not know it, and it will be forgiven him. 19“It is a guilt offering; he was certainly guilty before the LORD.”
If you’re unaware of a sin, you are still guilty, and you will bare the punishment. The word of God is saying that you are still guilty and will be punished for unintentional sins done in ignorance. Christ became our guilt offering. The purpose of Jesus baring our sins is not expressed so much in terms of freedom from the guilt of sin, but freedom from the control of sin resulting in the power of a transformed life. As it says in Corinthians 5:14-15:
For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; 15and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.
The point being that He bore our sins to the extent of even our unintentional sins so that we can be saved and live. Next, Jesus took the curse from them and expiated the curse. In 1 Peter 2:24, “on the Cross,” could read, “on the tree,” which is significant because we know that the Bible tells us in Galatians 3:13:
Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us—for it is written, “CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE”
He bore our sins in His body on the tree, the cursed instrument in which God pores out His wrath. Isaiah 53:12:
Therefore, I will allot Him a portion with the great,
And He will divide the booty with the strong;
Because He poured out Himself to death,
And was numbered with the transgressors;
Yet He Himself bore the sin of many,
And interceded for the transgressors.
Those are some of these passages that back-up what the Lord did by taking the curse of sin for us and paying for that curse completely and fully so that we wouldn’t have to pay for it at all. We didn’t have to hang on the tree because Christ did it for us. He was our substitute and vicariously died in our place.
In conclusion, another thing the Lord did was that He bore our sins so that we would die to sin and live to righteousness, and that’s what it has been saying the whole time in 1 Peter. If you are a believer, you will die to the authority of sin in your life by being able to say no to it, and you will now live in a right way that pleases God. Sin must be shed before righteousness can be embraced.
My friends, if it were not for Jesus coming to this earth to serve, submit willfully, and submit willingly to the Fathers will, we would all be without hope because we are sinners with nothing to offer God. Yet, the Lord responded to sinful humanity, who had nothing to offer Him by offering Himself to them as a servant and someone who submitted as a slave to the Father’s will so that we can be saved.
Leading to the last thing it says about Jesus in our text, which is that Jesus is now our watchful Shepherd in heaven. In fact, what is the results of Christ’s submission to redemptive suffering? It results in our conversion. Brethren, in the last part of 1 Peter 2:24, this is not talking about physical healing. The healers like to claim this passage of Scripture, but what it is saying is that by Christ’s stripes, the wounds sin had afflicted are gone.
In fact, the picture is appropriate because slaves were usually whipped and scourged, which left bleeding stripes and welts. By this scourging being administered to Christ’s body on that cursed tree, brings healings because Christ saves us from any further suffering and punishment by saving us from eternal death. What were we before conversion? It says in Isaiah 53:6:
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all
To fall on Him.
The first part of that passage of Scripture is before conversion. In fact, Peter says it like this in 1 Peter 2:25:
For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls.
Wondering sheep have no direction. As I have said before, sheep are the dumbest animals on earth. If somebody doesn’t lead them, they will fall off the cliff. If someone doesn’t feed them, they will starve to death. If a wolf comes into the den, they have no defense at all. However, that is us. We just have a big old target on us, and no matter where you go, you are going to get hit.
Wondering sheep have no direction, no one to look after them, and no one to protect them while they are in sin. Our past life was already captured in the first part of 1 Peter. If you forgot what it said there, it says in 1 Peter 1:14:
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance
You lived by your own sinful lusts and passions, and you did that ignorantly. Whatever way your lusts and passions guided you, that is where you went. Then, he also says in 1 Peter 1:18:
knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers
If they were sinners, not a believer, they passed that down to you, so one generation passed down their sin to the next generation. How could you escape that? Ultimately, sin separates us from God, which is the point here. We wander because we are separated from God. Jesus offered to pay our debt to God. God’s justice requires that sin be punished. Jesus paid the full debt.
In 1 Peter 2:25, most linguistics believe that it is not the term return but turn because we were never following Him in the first place. How can we return to someone we were never following in the first place? By the Gospel of Christ, we turn to the Shepherd and Guardian of our souls. The eternal part of you is now brought under the leadership of Christ, who watches out for our welfare as His children and who assumes leadership of His flock.
Jesus, who is the great Shepherd and Overseer of our eternal soul, will lead us safely home. In other words, following in the steps of Jesus, leads right into heaven. Conversion brings us to the Shepherd. John says in John 10:14:
I am the good shepherd, and I know My own and My own know Me
When we become believers, we know who our Shepherd is, and He is a good Shepherd. He is a Shepherd who will never steer us wrong, never lie to us, and will always protect us. In fact, 1 Peter 2:25 is the only place that Shepherd and Overseer is put together referring to Christ. Because of His accomplishment on the Cross, he now oversees our life. He is in charge. He is the one protecting us.
Summoning up the matter of this whole section is to say whatever existing condition we, as Christians, find ourselves as servants. We are to regulate our conduct by Christian standards and are to act in accord with Christian principles all because believers are in a different family with a new father. They live before the Lord’s eyes every moment of every day.
Children of God are to do the will of God and prove themselves to be slaves of Christ. Slaves that are bought with His blood. Slaves that are dwelt within by His spirit. Slaves that are manifesting their relationship by the way they perform their daily tasks.
Christians should always be industrious. They should always strive to be honest. They should always strive to control their tongues and actions. They should always strive to be trustworthy. They should always strive to be truthful, reliable, and always helpful. They should always be the first person to encourage to take another step, to breathe another breath of air, and to go another mile.
All of that is how we evangelize too. We don’t just evangelize by preaching the Gospel, but we evangelize by both. Your life can cancel out the message of the Gospel. You want to adorn the Gospel. You want to make the Gospel look good by the way you live your life and your behavior.
In saying all of that, there are some principles and applications. First, Jesus Christ alone has atonement for our sins. No one else has done that, and there is no one like Jesus Christ. Secondly, an individual either comes to Christ or rejects Him. There is no middle ground or second chance after this life. If you haven’t, you must come to Christ now. If you have been putting it off or thinking about it, then don’t think about it anymore, just come to Christ. You are not guaranteed tomorrow.
Next, God’s grace and gift of salvation must result in positive change in the believer’s behavior. Meaning, the believer should make progress in dealing with their anger, hatred, hypocrisy, envy, and slander. Those are the things we must work on every day. Then, unity should characterize the relationships and interactions of those who follow Christ because they are practicing submission and following the example of Jesus.
Lastly, you may have to endure unjust suffering and should do so in the spirit and example of Jesus by always being conscious of the presence of God. Those are some things that are eternal principles that we should be putting into practice and thinking about every day of our life. In looking at this passage of Scripture and all the things contained in it, I pray that we would realize that Christ has been our great example.
He is the One we are to follow in the things He did not do and the things He did do. Of course, we can’t do the things He did do since He did that for us. However, we can do the things that He did not do, which is to live our lives in a way before the world under persecution and under suffering that honors Him and pleases Him.
In doing so, God will give us opportunity to share the Gospel. The result is conversion. It was the result for Christ’s suffering, and it will be the result for our suffering, which is to lead others to Christ. Let’s pray:
Lord, Thank You for Your tremendous grace to us. Lord, Your word is clear, it is to the point, and it is practical where we can put it in place in our life on a regular basis. I pray, Lord, that we would live according to these principles, and give us the strength of Your spirit. When we come to a place that is really testing our faith, that, Lord, we would be able to stand strong and mature during that time. That You would build our endurance during that time. Help us to put these principles into practice. Lord, I pray that we walk away joyful because of the great things that You have done. I pray this, in Christ’s name, Amen.