Lesson 5
I Peter 2:9-16

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(Vs. 9) "Ye are a chosen generation." The Father chose us out of every nation of His own sovereign will and pleasure (not because of our faith, holiness, or works) to grace here and glory hereafter (Eph, 1:3-5; II Thess. 2:13.)

"A royal priesthood" (a kingdom of priests-'Rev. 5:9-10). We are kings to wear royal apparel (the robe of Christ's righteousness) and to reign with Christ forever. We are priests anointed by the Holy Spirit and allowed to draw nigh to God and offer up by Christ our spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise.

"A holy nation." As Israel was separated from other nations and called the people of God, so we are TRUE ISRAEL, a special and holy nation (Phil. 3:3; Rom. 2:28-29).

"A peculiar people, "or better, a special people to whom God bears a special love, favors with special blessings, and takes special care of (Deut. 7:6-8).

"That you should show the praise of Him Who called you." Two important things are implied here. (1) We are saved to the praise of His glory and forever will be trophies of His grace so that all the universe might praise God for His mercy and grace (Eph. 1:6, 12, 14; Eph. 2:4-7). (2) We are responsible to show by our lives, our words, and our deeds the praises of our merciful God (Psalm 150:6). Let others see our godliness and glorify your Father.

(Vs. 10) From eternity past we have always been the people of God, given to Christ, represented by Christ as our Surety, and in His covenant of grace. But before Christ was revealed to our hearts and we were born of His Spirit, we were not His willing people, not His servants or sons, but children of wrath, even as others (Eph. 2:1-4). We knew nothing of His mercy, but now we have obtained or received mercy!

(Vs. 11) Peter called them "dearly beloved" to express his great love for them and to show that what he is about to teach comes from a sincere affection for them and a desire for their good. He calls them "strangers and pilgrims" because they are strangers in an unfriendly world, they are different from the people about them, and they are bound for a better country.

"Abstain from fleshly lusts." Every believer is still a human living in a natural body and subject to desires of the flesh and the body. Peter did not expect us to be totally free from these motions of sin; but he tells us to abstain from them, to suppress them, and refuse to give in to them; for they are enemies to spiritual peace, comfort, and growth. These cannot destroy the soul but can cause us much discomfort and unrest. Some of these fleshly lusts are pride, anger, jealousy, covetousness, envy, gossip, murmuring, and intemperance in all things.

(Vs. 12) Conduct yourselves before your family, your fellow-workers, your neighbors, and your friends in an honest, righteous, and loving manner so that even though they speak of you as fanatics, radicals, hypocrites, etc., yet when real trial and examination is put upon you, when God visits you and them with affliction and trouble, they must admit that you are different, that you have something they do not have. Sometimes God visits us in prosperity, sometimes in disappointment, sometimes in joy, sometimes in sorrow. How you conduct yourselves under different tests will determine whether those who observe you glorify God or laugh at your profession. (II Sam. 12:14.)

(Vs. 13-14) The Christian is to obey all of the laws of the land. We are to live in our community, state, and nation as good and obedient citizens; for civil government and rulers are ordained of God for our good and for our peace. We are to submit to high authority and to inferior men of authority (Rom. 13:1-8).

(Vs. 15) By doing good works, by living honest lives, by a right attitude toward leaders and those in authority, we will take away from the enemies of God one of their chief weapons–a critical tongue! Your godly lives will silence the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish people.

(Vs. 16) We are free men and women–free from the curse and penalty of the law. We have freedom of access to God, but we are not free TO SIN; we are not free to live in contempt of laws that are binding on all men (God's laws and man's laws that are in accord with God's law). We are not free to despise government and authority. We show ourselves to be the true servants of God by a holy and honest life.

Henry Mahan is pastor of
Thirteenth Street Baptist Church
Ashland, Ky.