1 Peter 2:11-25, How to Behave in Society/Families

Two main questions of 1 Peter – Why are we suffering (why is God letting us suffer) and how are we supposed to live in this world?

  • Last week we got answers- they’re suffering as a way of testing/strengthening their faith and they should live as a holy people, a people set apart
    • Rest of the letter – he’s going to expand and explain those ideas – this week, little bit of suffering and a lot of explanation on this idea of living as a holy people

2: 11-12 – live in a way now that Christ will be recognized later

  • People are going to recognize how your life differs from theirs
    • They’re going to see that you react to suffering in a different way
    • They’re going to see that you interact with others in a different way
    • They’re going to see that your family life is different, and all those things have the opportunity to point them to what has made you different – Christ
      • These are all converts, they’ve chosen this over the alternative
        • A lot of us (me included) grew up in a situation where there was no alternative – that’s changing, and one of the challenges we face is that we don’t know how to deal with that
          • We don’t know how to present a better option than the alternative
          • Big idea of this whole section – your life is the best argument you can make. The way you live is what should draw folks to Christ

Back to 2:9-10 – you are special

  • Problem with that – no one likes the kid on the playground who knows they’re special
    • Brings us to verse 13 – household codes

Household Codes – not uniquely Christian

  • First one we have record of – Aristotle
    • His philosophy – for the city to run smoothly the family unit to needs to function properly – not an ancient mindset
  • Household codes cause us as much problems as almost any part of scripture
    • Few things force us to recognize the tension between this being a letter written to a specific people at a specific time for a specific purpose but also something we see as eternal
      • We’re about to read a part addressed directly to slaves that tells them to accept their slavery – used by slave owners before Civil War
        • The household codes make us wrestle with what is timeless and what is temporal – we dismiss the slavery stuff but keep the stuff about women submitting to husbands or teaching
  • Thing to remember about Household codes:
    • They never pictured a world where Christians controlled the socio-political realm and we can’t picture a world where we don’t
      • There has never been a US president who didn’t profess to being a Christian
        • For pretty much all of US history the Christian world view has controlled the American political world view and dictated specific policies – example: prohibition only happened because of Christians
          • That would have been incredibly foreign to Peter and Paul and all our writers – they’re explaining how to deal with the world as they knew it, not prescribing a world as it should be
            • Paul – in Christ – no Slave/Free, male/female, no Jew/Greek
              • In the world there are all of those divisions and to be able to function in society you’ve got deal with them

2: 13-17

  • How we know that the persecution isn’t state sponsored at this point
  • The message here – broad in both audience and direction
    • To the whole group – do what’s right, live within the existing structure – you aren’t going to change it anyway
      • Good chance this is written after the destruction of the temple 70 ad
        • They tried to change the system, how’d that work out
          • Verse 15 – don’t give them a reason to be against you – they’re going to throw all kinds of accusations at you – don’t give them any merit
            • Accusations against early Christians – atheists, cannibals, try to drown babies – make the reality so different that the lie can’t be taken seriously
            • Fast forward to today – Barna group research
              • Christians are hypocrites, hateful, judgmental
                • Peter’s response – live your life in such a way that that is obviously false
  • Submit – same root as sub-ordinate, speaks to finding your place in society
    • Not telling anyone to let someone over them that wouldn’t already be – don’t disrupt the order, use the opportunities that come in your place in the order – good segue into…

2: 18-21 – addressed to slaves

  • If you try to start a slave revolt and it gets put down no one is going to be impressed/impacted
  • People are going to notice how you respond to your rough circumstances
  • Another reason/statement for suffering – people will see how you respond
    • Fast forward – its easy to thank God for a Grammy
      • It is our response to God in the tough times that makes an impact on people

2: 21-25 – Christ shows how to live in a state of suffering – endure it

  • Continues that idea – your reward isn’t going to come here
    • Fast Forward – that is so opposite of what we usually expect
      • The reward isn’t in the immediate, its in what comes as a result of your endurance

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