BOOK BY BOOK BIBLE STUDY
BIBLE STUDY LESSON
For the week beginning Sunday December 23, 2012
LIVING AS STRANGERS
(The standards that Christians should live by)
1 Peter 2:11-17
The standards of GOD that are revealed throughout the Holy Scriptures will always be something worth repeating to ourselves, and, to others. To “preach” means “to repeat over and over again”. It is a teaching and training technique used for the purpose of getting us to remember those things that, over time, we suppress, or totally forget. Perhaps, more often than we care to admit, those things can be things that are very important to our survival and well-being, especially things that relate to how GOD wants us to live.
The reason why GOD insists that the Gospel be preached is because mankind continues to suppress the truth about HIM. I’ve often stated that, when we choose the Christian Walk, we automatically become strangers (aliens, foreigners) to worldly behavior. We are no longer permanent residents of this earth, but rather, we become citizens of Heaven, and therefore, the laws of GOD should become paramount to us. This is not a novel concept that was thought up by me, but rather, it is a concept that comes from the mind of GOD.
In 1 Peter 2, verses 11-12, we are reminded of that very same concept by the apostle Peter, another chosen servant of GOD. Here Peter teaches about how we must be a “witness for CHRIST through our GODly conduct”. In the biblical Greek, the word Peter uses for “strangers” in verse 11 is “paroikos” (par-oy-kos), and it describes one who lives in a place that is not their permanent home”. Here the word is used figuratively to describe the life of a committed Christian living here on earth, whose permanent resident is in Heaven because they chose CHRIST over the world. And just as Christian morals and values have always been, and continue to be, rejected by the world, so too must the Christian reject the gravitational pull of the world, and live a distinct and separated existence from the immoral, luciferic system of operation that surrounds us day after day.
The only way for man to resemble GOD is through his or her behavior, because GOD doesn’t have a physical image for us to copy. GOD is spirit (John 4:24), and so, when we become “born again” we began to resemble our new FATHER, WHO is in Heaven by exhibiting a different behavior than that of a person who does not yet know the ways of GOD. We then re-claim the “nature” that GOD originally gave us, and begin to forsake the substitute “sin nature” that satan gave us. We want the world to see our honorable behavior, and maybe come to desire or prefer, that which is holy, over that which is unholy or, profane. Our objective should be that, we can show the world, through our behavior, that Christianity really does produce the best men and women.
In verses 13-17 Peter moves on to talk a bit about “Christian conduct as a citizen of Heaven now living in a strange land”, who must abide in the world according to man-made laws and government, that, more and more, are becoming contrary to the laws of GOD. According to the word of GOD (Romans 13:1-7, Titus 3:1), Christians are responsible to obey the laws of the land in which they live in, or, are visiting temporarily. We are to submit to earthly authorities because they have been put in place by GOD, weather we agree with them or not, and if we have to suffer because those governments are operating in a manner that is contrary to the laws of GOD, we will be rewarded because we are suffering for CHRIST’s sake, and GOD, in HIS own time, will remedy any injustice that man perpetrates on HIS people who are seeking to obey HIM over man.
This does not include, however, being punished for breaking the laws of government that do not prohibit a person from obeying the laws of GOD, such as paying a traffic fine, or taxes, for examples. It also doesn’t include things like getting our electricity cut off because we didn’t pay the bill, or getting our vehicle re-possessed because we weren’t being financially responsible, getting fired because you weren’t doing your job as it is defined by your employer, etc. Those things would be suffering because of our foolishness, and GOD will not reward us for that kind of behavior.
Here Peter is attempting to deal with “situational submission”, which is submission that is mandated by the society in which one lives. It is right to obey the laws of government, and it is GOD’s job to move to change those things that are not right according to HIM. GOD often manipulates governments for the purpose of moving an unwilling people back into HIS will. And so we must be careful that we don’t try to do GOD’s job, or interfere with GOD’s work and plan for us, but rather, that we adhere to task of being obedient to GOD’s Word. GOD will see to it (and HE always has) that justice will prevail for those who believe in HIM. And if you haven’t received the justice that you feel is due, maybe it is because you are still living your life, outside of the Will of GOD.
A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander
LARRY D. ALEXANDER- Official Website