Bible Reading: 1 Peter 2:11-3:22

"Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. 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. 

Now, what is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good?" (1 Peter 3:10-13)

Peter acknowledges that the Christian life is a life of a sojourner and exile. God has gloriously chosen us to be His royal priesthood and a holy nation to proclaim the excellencies of God. We are God's, and so, we no longer belong to the world. 

The world we once lived in is one of sin. It is one of disobedience and ignorance, fulfilling all the desires of our flesh. Ephesians 2:1-3 describes it well, "And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience - among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind". 

This was our hostile identity. Yet, by God's grace, we have been saved and called to live for God's glory. Because of that, we are aliens in this world. We do not belong, and the world will hate us. They will long to destroy us and pull us down. However, Peter tells us to take heart and act in ways that glorify God and testify His glory. 

Peter reminds us of Psalm 34, a timeless psalm of David. Though we may be scorned and reviled by the world, we are not to repay evil for evil; instead, we are to bless others. God promises that His eyes are on the righteous and his ears hear the prayer of the saints. Though people may revile and scorn us, we should not fear. Do not worry about what wrongdoings others commit against you because that is between them and God. As for us, we must seek to honour God as holy. 

The basis and strength of Christian living in such a way come from one thing; knowing that "Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God" (1 Peter 3:18). What grace have we received from Christ who would die for us? We scorned and rejected Him. Yet the Holy Son of God was willing to condescend and bear our dirty sins. This is the most wondrous grace we have received. We have no right to retaliate against others' wrongdoing. We wronged God, yet He forgave us. 

In a practical sense, Peter exhorts us to honour those in authority above us. Though we might be persecuted, honour them and do good. Show the love of Christ, and it will silence the ignorance of the foolish. Further, Peter calls slaves to submit to their masters even though they have to suffer unjustly. Though we might not be slaves, on many accounts, we suffer unjustly for our faith. Do not heat up in anger or malice. If we do good and suffer, it is a gracious thing in the sight of God (1 Peter 3:20). Also, we have been called to suffer just like Christ suffered (1 Peter 3:21). Lastly, Peter encourages wives to submit to their husbands for there is "imperishable beauty in gentleness and a quiet spirit" (1 Peter 3:4), and Peter encourages husbands to honour their wives since they are "heirs with you of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7).

In the end, our hearts as pilgrims and exiles in this world should be ones filled with compassion and grace. We have received the greatest grace. If we look upon this grace, our hearts have no right to demand otherwise from others because the grace we have received is abundant, far beyond what we deserve. As we face people of all kinds, Peter says, "Finally, all of you, have a unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 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" (1 Peter 3:8-9). 

May we learn to live this way. 

Lord, thank You for Your grace which I do not deserve. You called me out of this world by Your grace. Thank You for Your sacrifice on the cross. Your grace and love, I will never fully comprehend, yet, help me grow in it day by day. As I walk the pilgrim path in this world, please help me to be a witness to Your grace. Change my heart and my actions so that my life can radiate Your glory and Your love day by day. Teach me to become more like Christ, O Lord. In Jesus' name, amen.