Lesson 15 - I Peter 3: 7-12

Lesson 15 - I Peter 3: 7-12

Lesson for April 28, 2013

The Book of I Peter

Chapter 3:7-12

Verse 7

You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel since she is a woman  uses the Greek word “asthenes” for weaker, which Peter uses in reference to the woman’s role in marriage.  A woman in marriage is dependent on her husband for many things including security and stability.  If a woman has married the right man, she can relax in her role as his helpmate and partner in life knowing that she is “weaker” only in the sense of her function within the family unit (the husband being the leader).

And grant her honor as a fellow-heir of the grace of life is talking about two believers “as being heirs together.”  They are joint-heirs with Christ and therefore this emphasizes the fact that a believer’s “right man” or “right woman” will also have to be a believer if they are going to individually and collectively enjoy the fruits of living the spiritual life and the blessings that result both now and in eternity.  Together, as advancing believers, they become a corporate testimony for the Lord Jesus Christ by living in a harmonious relationship that is honoring to God.

So that your prayers may not be hindered refers to a result of lack of harmony in a Christian marriage.  The reason prayer is hindered is being out of fellowship as a result of mental attitude sinning such as bitterness, jealousy, revenge, vindictiveness, etc.  Peter directs this to husbands, but it applies equally to wives.

Verse 8

To sum up, let all be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kind-hearted, and humble in spirit

The Greek word for harmonious is “homophron” meaning like-minded.  It means to have the same mental attitude that Jesus Christ had according to Philippians 2:5. Harmony in marriage depends on proper thinking (the proper mental attitude).  In the case of believers, God designed the marriage relationship to depend on a divine viewpoint of life based on Bible doctrine.  Christian marriage is designed to bring two believers together as a testimony for the world to observe.  If both believers in a marriage are advancing to spiritual maturity then the testimony will be a strong one.

The Greek word for sympathetic is “sumpathes” (an adjective), which means to be compassionate.  It literally meant to suffer with another or to be affected similarly.  The idea in marriage is that the two have become one and when one suffers they both suffer.  True sympathy is placing yourself in the position of the other person.  In this case it is your marriage partner.

Brotherly is a reference to the marriage partner’s common relationship with Jesus Christ.  They are both Royal Family of God and are to exhibit the same love toward one another as they do to others in the body of Christ based on the doctrine they have in their souls.  As husband and wife believers are also to love one another personally.

Kind-hearted is the Greek word “eusplanchnos,” which means tenderhearted.  It is a word related to sympathy or compassion.  Kindness is a mental attitude.  A true sign of personal love for someone is how you treat them.  If you do not show kindness toward them, it is questionable as to whether you love that person.

Humble in spirit is the Greek word “tapeinophron” meaning orientation to God’s grace.  Humility means you are teachable, and within the marriage relationship you each learn from your consistent study of Bible doctrine and from each other.  Arrogance will destroy any relationship.  No one knows all there is to know and no one should ever stop learning and growing in their relationship with God and with one another.

Verse 9

Not returning evil for evil is one Greek word “apodidimi” which means to pay back or to give back.  It really means to retaliate.  “Not retaliating” is a good translation.  You should not seek to retaliate when someone does something to you that is wrong, says something unkind about you or takes a wrong attitude toward you.  You put the problem in the Lord’s hands and you move right on.  Retaliation always hurts you more than the person you seek to hurt.

But giving blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing means to speak well of.    When people have it in for you, face them with good doctrine by speaking well of them.  By doing this the Scripture says that you will “heap coals of fire upon their heads.”  Then leave it in the sumpreme court of Heaven and let God deal with them. (1 Peter 5:7; Psalm 55:22; Deuteronomy 32:35; Romans 12:19)  You can have a relaxed mental attitude toward others if you are not running around trying to retaliate.  As a believer you have been “called” to live under this principle of non-retaliation.  Inheriting a blessing means you have remained in fellowship and used the problem-solving devices not to retaliate thereby producing divine good which is rewardable in eternity.

Verse 10

These verses are from Psalm 34:12-16.  People often ask if Old Testament passages apply to us in the dispensation of the Church.  And the answer is, yes they do.  If they do not apply, it clearly indicates they do not apply.  One of the two strongest prohibitions in the Old Testament has to do with the sins of the tongue.  So we begin the whole subject of the sins of the tongue with the fact that God desires you to have a wonderful life.

Let him who means to love life and see good days refrain his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile is a phrase for capacity of life.  In this case a person desires a certain pattern of life.  This is addressed to believers and refers to that portion of life from the time of salvation to the time that you depart from this life.  It is the capacity for life that is based on accurate Bible doctrine.

And see good days means a panoramic view of life.  It means to be able to look over your entire life and say it was great.  It doesn’t mean that everything in it was great or everything in it was pleasant but to be able to look back and say that you have had a great life.  This is what Bible doctrine does for the believer. Loving life is the believer with doctrine who has great capacity for life.  Capacity for life is a by-product of Bible doctrine resident and circulating in your soul.

There is no way that you can have capacity for life and be guilty of habitual sins of the tongue.  All sins of the tongue are motivated by some mental attitude sin, like jealousy, bitterness, implacability, etc.   Guile means deceit or fraud. Maligning or gossip or sins of lying are all related to mental attitude sins. In other words, mental attitude sins express themselves in the sins of the tongue and the more you are inclined to mental attitude sins and the more you are inclined to sins of the tongue, the more miserable your life will become.     

Verse 11

And let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it is still referring to capacity for life as a believer.  Peter is using evil as a synonym for the sin nature.  What does it mean to turn away from the sin nature?  It is a reference to the Rebound Technique.  There are many verses which tell us not to sin, tell us what sin is, tell us to avoid sin, but here we are dealing with the principle of controlling our sin nature. We occasionally find ourselves, through our own volition, either in ignorance or deliberately under the control of our sin nature.  So actually this verse gives us a command when we find ourselves under the control of the sin nature.  We must break away from the control of our sin nature if we are ever going to break away from the habitual practice of certain sins.  Since the sin nature is never eradicated and since the principle of sin lives with us as long as we are in this “body of corruption,” it becomes important then to break from the ultimate source of personal sin (the sin nature).  While the Rebound Technique is the beginning of controlling our sin nature, breaking from the ultimate source of sin demands the daily intake of Bible doctrine which will eventually offset many of the sin patterns of life which we have developed.

The sin nature is called the flesh in Galatians 5:16 and it is called the old man in Ephesians 4:22.  The word “carnal” is an adjective used for the sin nature in Romans 7:14 and 1 Corinthians 3:1-3.  The word “heart” is used for the sin nature (although it is used for other things as well) in Jeremiah 17:9.  Notice in the next phrase that once you have turned away from the principle of control of the sin nature that you are to begin building up Bible doctrine in your soul, you are to learn to rebound, you are to learn the grace way of being filled with the Spirit, and you are to choose to take in Bible doctrine on a frequent basis of consistency, then you will be in a position to produce divine good, both in the soul and overtly.  Seeking peace is the peace that comes as a result of “turning away from evil” and producing divine good.  This peace is the peace of or from God and is not a reference to reconciliation which is peace with God.  (Philippians 4:5-7)

Verse 12

For the eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous and His ears attend to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil is an anthropomorphism to show us the Lord’s awareness of all that is transpiring in the life of the believer.  His ears aren’t open to our prayers because we are “nice” people.  We have within us the principle of evil but God found a way to listen to our prayers and to answer our prayers on the basis of what He has accomplished through Christ, on the basis of His character, on the basis of Who and what He is. So really these are verses of comfort because grace is always comforting.  Grace sees us as we are; grace sees God as He is.  And, in grace, God is doing something for those who are totally undeserving, and that includes all of us.  None of us are deserving, regardless of how far we have advanced in the Christian life.

But the face of the Lord is against is used here as an expression of disapproval.  We are talking about a believer who is controlled by the sin nature.  God is still our Father when we commit personal sin and even though we have an anthropomorphism of disapproval which means discipline it does not change our eternal relationship with Him.  We are still believers, still have the forty spiritual assets and we are still  children of God.  It does however change our temporal relationship with Him and therefore we need to use the Rebound Technique to restore our fellowship.

God, in His magnificent grace, has provided everything that we need as Christians to be successful and happy.  Even when we fail, God has designed a recovery system to get us back on the track to success and happiness.  We have no excuse for not becoming winners and fulfilling our spiritual destiny.  But we must chose to become winners, which glorifies God and gives our lives purpose and meaning.

”You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless (a believer controlled by the sin nature) how will it be made salty again?  It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.  You are the light of the world.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven”. (Matthew 5:13-14, 16)