NEW LIFE, NEW LIFESTYLE
Lord, I do love life and want to see good days.
Read 1 PETER 3:8–22
Suffering for Doing Good
8 Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. 9 Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For,
“Whoever would love life
and see good days
must keep their tongue from evil
and their lips from deceitful speech.
11 They must turn from evil and do good;
they must seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”[a]
13 Who is going to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear their threats[b]; do not be frightened.”[c] 15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, 16 keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. 19 After being made alive,[d] he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits— 20 to those who were disobedient long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, 21 and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God.[e] It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand—with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.
a 1 Peter 3:12 Psalm 34:12-16
b 1 Peter 3:14 Or fear what they fear
c 1 Peter 3:14 Isaiah 8:12
d 1 Peter 3:19 Or but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which also
e 1 Peter 3:21 Or but an appeal to God for a clear conscience
New International Version (NIV)
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“Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn” (Rom. 12:14,15).
Moving on from marriage, Peter tells us exiles how we are to relate to others in general. How we behave and speak does matter—for our own happiness and for our public witness. The ﬁve qualities we are to live out—to be like-minded, sympathetic, loving, compassionate and humble—are like ﬁve ﬁngers connected to each other and radiated out from the palm of God’s grace, given freely to us (Edmund P. Clowney, The Message of 1 Peter, 137). The ﬁrst, “like-minded,” is variously also translated “live in harmony with each other” and “be agreeable”; it seems particularly addressed to our relationships as brothers and sisters in the church. The others could also apply at work or home or in the general community. They illustrate the nature of the God who is remaking us into his image.
This is the force of Peter’s quote (1 Pet. 3:10–12) from Psalm 34 (12– 16), written by David under duress yet expressing his conﬁdence that God rewards his people. The psalms are useful reminders that, even when we enjoy God’s favor, life will not always work out comfortably for us. Jesus is the model, and we are reminded that, although doing things the way the Creator planned works for our good, it may also include suffering (14). Our baptism is a reminder that we identify with the risen Lord and receive his continued attention and support.
What does it mean that Jesus preached to imprisoned spirits (19)? There is no clear consensus about this, but the reference to Noah suggests that even when people are unrepentant, Christ’s word goes out through his Spirit. It is judgment to those who ignore it, salvation to those who respond.
Blessing others should be a way of life for Christians. As you see someone approach you today or you get a message from them, silently pray God’s blessing on them.
Lord, Your people are gratiﬁed to be reminded that Your eyes are upon us and Your ears are open to our prayers.