The Book of I PETER
James J. Barker
WHILE WE WALK THE PILGRIM PATHWAY
- The words "strangers and pilgrims" are found twice in the
Bible. Here in I Peter 2:11, and in
- These all died
in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and
were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were
strangers and pilgrims on the earth."
- Some one has
A fugitive is one who is running from
A vagabond is one who has no
A stranger is one away from
And a pilgrim is on his way
according to our text, we are strangers away from home, and pilgrims on our way
- The greatest
book ever written, after the Bible, is Pilgrim's Progress written by John
Bunyan in the 1670's while he was in jail for preaching without a license from
the Church of England.
- The book is a
great allegory. The pilgrim is named "Christian," who takes a fascinating
journey from his hometown, the "City of Destruction" (representing this world),
to the "Celestial City" atop Mt. Zion (representing heaven).
- Christian is
weighed down by a great burden, the knowledge of his sin, which came from his
reading the Bible.
- This burden,
which would cause him to sink into hell, is so unbearable that Christian must
seek deliverance. And thank God he
does find deliverance.
arrived safely in the Celestial City, along with his friend "Hopeful." Their fellow traveler, "Ignorance"
turned aside and was cast into hell.
- Then Mr. Bunyan awoke from his
THE PILGRIM'S CONVERSATION (2:11,
- In Scripture,
"conversation" means "behaviour" or "conduct" (cf. 3:1, 2, 16; II Peter 2:7;
- Ephesians 2:3
says, "Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of
our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by
nature the children of wrath, even as others."
- Ephesians 4:22
says, "That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt
according to the deceitful lusts."
- The Bible draws
a contrast between our former conversation and our present conversation. As strangers and pilgrims we are
not conducting ourselves the way worldly people conduct themselves (I Peter
Scriptures remind us that we are to be separated from the world (cf.
- First John
2:15-17 says, "Love not
the world, neither the things that are in the
world. If any man love
the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust
of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the
Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof:
but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
- James 4:4 says,
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever
therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of
- First Peter
2:11 says, "Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain
from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul."
- This has wider
reference than just sexual sins, though "fleshly lusts" would certainly include
fornication, adultery, impure thoughts, pornography, etc.
- But "fleshly lusts" would also include overindulgence in
eating, materialism ("lusts" means "desires"), worldly pleasures and pursuits,
- All these worldly cravings and
desires hinder our pilgrim walk.
They hinder our spiritual growth (I Peter 2:2).
- Sometimes I peruse websites
for pastors. Some are helpful. I saw an article entitled,
"What’s the Big Deal about being a
- The article mentioned that at the 2010 annual
meeting for the Southern Baptist
Convention, free health screenings were administered. Of those screened 73% were
found to be overweight or obese. That is a higher percentage than those who do
not attend church.
- I am sure the percentage for independent Baptist pastors
would not be much better. The
author gave several good reasons why it is not good for a pastor to be
- What I found very interesting (but not surprising) were
the comments made by readers in response to the article. Or should I say excuses and complaints
made by chubby preachers upset about the article?
- Our pilgrim conversation should be "honest" (I Peter
- We are not saved by our good works. Ephesians 2:8, 9 says, "For by
grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of
God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."
- Then the next verse says, "For we are his workmanship,
created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained
that we should walk in them" (Eph. 2:10).
- James 2:18 says, "I will shew thee my faith by my works."
- Our Lord said, "Let your light so shine before men,
that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which
is in heaven" (Matthew
- And Peter says, " Having your conversation honest among
the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they
may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in
the day of visitation" (I Peter 2:12).
- The word "visitation" here is not a reference to
judgment, but blessing. When these
unbelievers see the good works performed by Christians, God will convict them
and they will repent and be gloriously saved.
- James uses the word this way in Acts 15:14, where he
says, "Simeon (Peter) hath declared how God at the first did visit the
Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name."
THE PILGRIM'S SUBMISSION
- James 4:7 says,
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the
devil, and he will flee from you."
- If we are truly
submissive to God, it will not be difficult to submit to those God has placed
over us (2:13-18).
- Government was
instituted by God. God established
government after the flood.
- God instituted
the family, the government, and the church. All three are under attack by the
- Way back in
Genesis 9:6, we read, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be
shed: for in the image of God made he man."
- Therefore, God
government was instituted by God for our protection. Many government programs today are
unscriptural and unconstitutional.
- Much of the
anti-government rhetoric today is contrary to Scripture. I heard Glenn Beck (a Mormon) attack the
government as evil, etc.
- But Romans 13:1
says, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power
but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God" (cf. Rom.
- When the
apostle Paul wrote these words, Nero was the Roman emperor. By all accounts he was a
- One encyclopedia (Wikipedia) says, "Nero's rule is often
associated with tyranny and extravagance. He is known for a number of
executions, including those of his mother and stepbrother. He is also infamously
known as the emperor who 'fiddled while Rome burned,' and as an early persecutor
- Bad leaders are better than no leaders. Bad government is better than no
government. Order is better than
chaos. No society can function
under lawlessness and anarchy.
- According to Scripture, even ungodly rulers are God's
servants. Romans 13:4 says, "For he
is the minister of God to thee for good."
- "Honor the king" (I Peter 2:17b). This needs no
- Christians are to obey "every ordinance of man for the
Lord's sake" (I Peter 2:13). The
only exception is when the government's laws are contrary to God's
- That is why Peter and the other apostles said to the
high priest, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts
- Proverbs 24:21 says, "My son, fear thou the LORD and the
king." The LORD must always come
- God's will is for us to live honestly and righteously
and in such a way that the unsaved will have no legitimate basis for
accusation. By maintaining a good
testimony Christians "may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (I Peter
- It is inevitable that we will be false accused by the
ungodly. The best defense is a holy
- The Lord Jesus Christ said, "If the Son therefore shall
make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36). But our liberty in Christ must not
be used "for a cloke of maliciousness" (I Peter 2:16).
- Antinomianism (“against the law”) is the belief that
there are no moral laws God expects Christians to obey. This view is contrary to
- Romans 6:1, 2 says, "What shall we say then? Shall we
continue in sin, that grace may abound?
God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer
- First John 2:1 says, "My little children, these things
write I unto you, that ye sin not."
- After our Lord healed the impotent man, He said to him,
"Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto
thee" (John 5:14).
- Our Lord said to the adulterous woman, "Neither do I
condemn thee: go, and sin no more" (John 8:11).
- Antinomianism has been around for a long time and
unfortunately is still a problem today.
Many professing Christians disregard their wedding vows, their
obligations to pay their bills, and other responsibilities, etc.
- Getting back to I Peter 2:16, the idea here is that
their liberty in Christ did not mean they were free to disobey those who God had
placed over them.
- First Peter 2:18 reminds us that most people are "middle
class." Most Christians are
working people. There are some
saints in Caesar's household, but most are working in shops and offices and
hospitals and schools, etc.
- Agur said,
"Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither
poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me: Lest I be full, and
deny thee, and say, Who is the LORD? or lest I be poor, and steal, and take the
name of my God in vain" (Pro. 30:8, 9).
- We can substitute "employees" for "servants" (I Peter
- It is wise and it is good for employees to submit to
- They will be more likely to hold onto their job. Many workers get let go when they could
have kept their job if they applied Biblical
- Their testimony is at stake. People are watching
- The Word of God commands it
THE PILGRIM'S PATIENCE (2:19,
- If we
Christians suffer wrongfully -- "this is thankworthy"
- If we
Christians suffer wrongfully -- "this is acceptable with God"
- Twice we are
instructed to take this "patiently" (2:20).
- Peter could
speak from experience. In Acts 12,
we read that Peter and James the brother of John were put in jail by Herod. Furthermore, Herod killed James. He was about to kill Peter too but the
Lord miraculously rescued him.
- Many years
later, Peter was killed, just as our Lord had
- We can expect
persecution (cf. I Peter 2:19-23).
Judson, the great Baptist missionary to Burma, endured untold hardships trying
to win the people of Burma to Christ.
- For seventeen
months he was in prison, where he was subject to horrible mistreatment. As a result, for the rest of his
life he carried the ugly marks made by his chains and iron shackles.
- Undaunted, upon
his release he asked for permission to enter another province where he might
resume preaching the Gospel.
- The wicked
ruler indignantly denied his request, saying, "My people are not fools enough to
listen to anything a missionary might say, but I fear they might be impressed by
your scars and convert to Christianity."