Lesson 17 - I Peter 3: 15 -19

Lesson 17 - I Peter 3: 15 -19

Lesson for May 10, 2013

The Book of I Peter

Chapter 3:15-19

Verse 15 

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts means to be occupied with Christ.  You become occupied with Christ when you obey the same mandates that He obeyed, concentrate on what He concentrated on (Divine Viewpoint Thinking), make good decisions from a position of strength as He did and use the Problem-Solving Devices constantly, as He did.  Christ was our example for the execution of the Christian Way of Life: OUR PERFECT ROLE MODEL.  Therefore, it is our responsibility to learn all that we can about the life of Christ.  We do this through the study of what is called in theology, Christology.  Christology is the study of Christ our Savior, the God-Man.  Christology is one of the most essential doctrines that we study because it reveals to us the Person and the work of Jesus Christ on behalf of us all.  We know that the Bible is a progressive revelation of Jesus Christ and it is God’s desire that we all come to know Him.  (Hebrews 12:2; I John 4:2; II Timothy 2:15)

Always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence means that through occupation with Christ you will be ready to give a reason for the hope that others see in you during periods of suffering.  Peter is still dealing with believers’ testimony before the world.  Our reason or defense for our hope in Christ is to be done with a gentle and reverent spirit not with arrogance or boastfulness.  This means exhibiting impersonal love for others based on the divine integrity in your soul.  It should be the desire of every believer to see others come to know Jesus Christ as Savior.

Verse 16

And keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame means to have a conscience where the norms and standards are based on Bible doctrine and divine viewpoint.  It has nothing to do with whether you feel you’ve done right or wrong.  A good conscience is doctrine in the conscience as norms and standards.  If you have developed your spiritual life through study and application of Bible doctrine then your norms and standards will line up with God’s and you will fulfill your role as a Royal Ambassador.  Fulfilling this role means you have a good testimony before others and the slander they direct toward you will not be returned in kind.  Instead, those who malign you will be put to shame because your testimony backs up the words you say regarding the hope within you and you treat them as Christ would treat them. 

Verse 17

For it is better, if God should will it so, that you suffer for doing what is right rather than for doing what is wrong has to do with the blessing that comes from undeserved suffering.   Doing what is right does not mean “the points program” in the church.  It doesn’t even mean morality because morality is basic to the entire human race and this is talking about something in the Christian Way of Life.  So we have a Greek word for doing right which is “agaqopoieo” and it means to produce divine good.  Divine good is produced to the maximum through the erection of the edification complex in a believer’s soul.  Doing what is wrong is production of the sin nature.  Both alternatives are stated.  The objective for the readers of 1 Peter is that they produce divine good.  Well doing or the production of divine good should be a normal thing in the Christian life.

Verse 18

This verse tells us how to produce divine good so the slanderers’ mouths are quieted.  We go to our prototype the Lord Jesus Christ and follow His example.  The suffering of Christ was much greater than any suffering we will experience and He handled it by means of the filling of the Holy Spirit.  We simply follow His example and remain filled with the Holy Spirit a maximum amount of time.

Though Jesus Christ was unique in His humanity, he still suffered like we do yet He was able not to sin.  We call His uniqueness the Hypostatic Union.  Jesus Christ is the unique Person of the universe.  He is the only Person in history to be both fully God and fully man.  The term for this unique union is derived from the Greek word hupostatis meaning essence.  In the case of Christ it is both divine and human essence in one Person forever.   He is the God-Man.  (Hebrews 1:3)

Christ was born of a virgin therefore He was born without a sin nature.  He is superior to man because He is God and because He is a sinless human being.  He is the only way to God, qualified to be a substitute for all of us.  Even though His two natures are united in one Person, they retain their separate identities.  The attributes of one do not belong to the other.  Deity remains deity and humanity remains humanity.  Because of this unique union, Christ is the perfect mediator between God and man.  He is the only One in history qualified to go to the Cross and pay the penalty for sin.  Christ was also our prototype, in that He lived an impeccable (sinless) life under the filling of God the Holy Spirit. (I Timothy 2:5)

Jesus, as a man, is seated at the right hand of the Father at this very moment.  Deity is omnipresent and does not sit; only His humanity sits.  And it is His humanity that will return to earth at the Second Coming.  Theologically we say that Jesus is undiminished deity and true humanity in One Person forever.  Undiminished deity, in that He is as much God as the Father and the Holy Spirit in essence, attributes and character.  True humanity, in that our Lord possesses a body, a soul and a spirit. (Acts 5:31; Hebrews 1:3, 4:15, 10:5; I Peter 2:24; Matthew 26:38; Mark 2:8; Luke 23:46; I John 3:3)

While on earth Christ voluntarily restricted the function of His deity.  This doctrine is called kenosis and takes its name from the Greek word kenoo, which means to deprive oneself of a rightful function.  This doctrine explains how Christ, the creator of the universe, could leave Heaven and become a man. (II Corinthians 8:9)

We must remember that Jesus Christ is coequal and coeternal with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit.  He voluntarily subordinated Himself to the Father’s plan to provide salvation.  This means He also deprived Himself of the exercise of His divine attributes.  At no time did Christ “empty Himself” of His deity.  He was never less than God.  He simply restricted the use of His divine attributes voluntarily.  (Colossians 2:9) 

Jesus had to learn the Scriptures the same way that we do, under the control and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit was the One who empowered Him and sustained Him throughout His life on earth, including the Cross.  As a man, Christ suffered in the same ways that we suffer but much greater, of course.  The ultimate humiliation was suffering the divine judgment from God for our sins. (Matthew 24:36; John 8:56, 16:14; Philippians 2:8)

Christ glorified the Father by executing the Father’s plan, not by glorifying Himself.  However, the limitation of kenosis ultimately glorified Christ because He was able to execute the plan perfectly, without sin.  As a testimony to the fact that God is completely satisfied with the Son, Christ is now seated at the right hand of the Father.  This impeccable life was our prototype to demonstrate to us the fact that we too can execute God’s plan. (John 19:30; Philippians 2:5-8)

Christ remained free from the three categories of sin: the sin nature, Adam’s original sin and personal sins.  The sin nature, as we have studied, is passed down genetically from the father, but Christ had no human father.  The virgin birth of Christ assured that He would have no sin nature. (I Corinthians 15:22)

Without a sin nature, Adam’s original sin could not be imputed to Christ since it had no home or target as it does with the rest of humanity.  Therefore, the first two categories of sin were already taken care of when He was born.  Christ was born physically and spiritually alive, whereas, we are born physically alive but spiritually dead (separated from God). (Romans 6:12)

Christ did, however, have to face the avoidance of personal sin.  As deity, He was not able to sin and as humanity, He was able not to sin.  This means that the possibility of committing personal sin existed.  Christ was tempted to sin in His humanity, not in His deity.  God cannot be tempted to sin, but Christ, as a man, could be tempted to sin.  How could Christ accomplish the amazing task of a sinless life?  The only way He succeeded in not sinning was by residing in and relying upon the power and the control of God the Holy Spirit.  Jesus Christ, our Savior has paved the way for us to execute the Victorious Christian Way of Life. (James 1:13; Hebrews 4:15; I John 3:5; Matthew 4:1-4)

“Able not to sin” emphasizes Christ’s free will to make the right decisions to obey God’s mandates.  Satan’s temptations of Christ were real and intense.  And remember that Christ in His humanity was personally weaker than Satan, yet He was able to resist him by the power of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. (Hebrews 2:7)

The filling of God the Holy Spirit is much more powerful that Satan, all his demons and this world system.  Christ tested and proved the life under the control of the Holy Spirit.  We cannot be sinless as Christ, but we can use the same power system that He used.  And God has also given us the Rebound recovery system, something that Christ did not need, in order that we might utilize this power system to our maximum advantage.  We, therefore, have no excuse for not living in the same spiritual environment in which Christ lived.  We can acquire wisdom, make good decisions from a position of strength, develop a personal sense of destiny, increase our capacity for love, happiness and blessing, have complete control over our lives and bring glory and honor to God by a life of virtue and integrity.

Being made alive in the spirit is a reference to the resurrection of Christ in which God the Father and God the Holy Spirit were also involved in raising Him from the dead. (Romans 6:4, 8:11; Ephesians 1:19-20; Colossians 2:12; I Thessalonians 1:10; John 10:-10-18; I Peter 3:18)  During the time that Jesus Christ was in the state of physical death His human spirit went into the presence of the Father in Heaven.  His soul went to Paradise where all of the Old Testament saints resided.  His body went into the grave.

Verse 19

In which also He went and made proclamation to the spirits now in prison refers to the time when Jesus went to a compartment of Hades to announce to one segment of fallen angels His victory.  He told them how their particular mission to corrupt the human race and cut off the genetic line of the Messiah had failed.  Jesus Christ proclaimed salvation to these fallen angels.  He informed these angels that they had failed in their attempts to destroy His humanity and that God’s plan had moved on through every satanic attack.  Christ had gone to the Cross on schedule!  Christ’s appearance to them was the visible evidence.  The penalty of sin had been paid for mankind, and thus it was possible for mankind to make a decision for the Son of God and to enter into fellowship with God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit for all eternity!