LIFE LESSONS FROM 1 AND 2 PETER
by Jeffrey Hagan
1 & 2 Peter
Lesson 1: Salvation is from God.
In First Peter 1:1-2 we have three things said about our election: we are told about its origin and basis in God's foreknowledge. We are told about the way it becomes real and actual in our lives by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit. And we are told about the goal or purpose of election: that we might obey Jesus.
One thing we can say for sure about Peter's meaning is that it is not hidden. When you put something first, you are not trying to hide it. That's important, because today we sometimes shy away from election. That's not the case in the New Testament. It's spoken of in a natural, forthright way by Jesus and his apostles. That's how we should speak of it too.
Lesson 2: We are to grow in our faith.
In First Peter 2:2, 5 we see we are to grow in our faith. Peter lists some "hows." He uses the word “all” three times in the list. If we are to grow we must aim for zero malice in our lives; zero deceit; zero hypocrisies; zero envies; and zero slanders.
Don't be discouraged here, the task is impossible. Notice I said this is what we should "aim" for.
Lesson 3: Suffer for the sake of righteousness.
Peter clearly knows Christians will “suffer for righteousness’ sake” and he calls such suffering a blessing (3:14). In 3:14-16 we see a reason Christians are to rejoice in suffering. The assumption here is that their hope—the “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ”—will be evident in their suffering.
Lesson 4: Love each other by serving.
In First Peter 4:8-11 his emphasis is on loving one another. He says to do so "above all."
Peter paints a picture in 4:10 of a house with variously talented stewards who are given the owner's funds to distribute. The house is the church, the stewards are all of us, the various talents are all of our different gifts, the funds are God's grace and the administration is the exercise of our gifts. The most striking part of this comparison is the analogy between the owner's funds and God's grace. Grace is the currency in the household of God. We are called to be stewards of grace.
Lesson 5: Be humble.
The main point of 1 Peter 5:5-7 is that we Christians should be humble people. Three times the command comes in one form or another.
Verse 5a: "you who are younger, be subject i.e., be humble to the elders."
Verse 5b: "Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another."
Verse 6: "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God...".
Lesson 6: God called you, so act like it.
In Second Peter 1:3 we see Peter alluding to the fact that a believer’s “calling” is God’s drawing him to salvation, "...who called us to his own glory and excellence."
A believer’s “election” is God’s selection of him to be saved from before the foundation of the world. God is the one who calls and elects, so the believer’s calling and election are already “sure” from God’s point of view; therefore, the command for believers to make their calling and election sure must refer to the believers’ point of view. God wants us to have assurance of our salvation, and the best way to do that is to be pursuing godliness and growing in the Christian life.
2 Peter 1:6-7 lists godly qualities that believers should add to their faith—knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love. Those qualities are the “these things” of verse 10, and the reader is urged to then “make your calling and election sure.”
Here Peter is addressing those who already have faith. Peter presumes that some of those who did not demonstrate these qualities had in fact been saved, for “whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they HAVE BEEN cleansed from their past sins” (1:9, emphasis added). So, being cleansed from past sin does not automatically mean a person will grow in knowledge, self control, etc., but, if they don’t “possess these qualities in increasing measure” (verse 8), they are spiritually nearsighted and forgetful of God’s grace.
Lesson 7: Beware of false teachers.
In Second Peter 2:1-3 Peter gives a warning about false teachers.
False teachers are abundant in our day and age. Just turn on TBN and watch any of the shows they broadcast and you will find false teachers. Many are blatant, but many are sneaky.
"God told me..." are the beginning words of many sentences that spew from the mouth of false teachers. Failed prophecies, fake miracles, unsubstantiated "healings," acting drunk or high and attributing it to the Holy Spirit, sinister laughing, making animal noises, blowing on people, and throwing a white suit jacket on people to "slay" them in the Spirit are just a few examples of the absolute garbage that has crept its way into the church. All of these things are adding to God's Word.
They offer a way of living that attracts people. Sometimes, as in this case with Peter's two epistles,, it is the offer of “licentious” lifestyles. At other times, like in Galatians, people will seek out legalism because of the feeling following some kind of code or rules can bring. The result of all of this is that the Gospel gets slandered.
Lesson 8: Beware of scoffers.
Although scoffers have always been around, Scripture seems to indicate that as the Day of the Lord draws closer, the scoffing will increase. Peter describes these scoffers as “following their own evil desires” (3:3) and questioning the second coming of Jesus (verse 3:4). Thousands of years have passed since Jesus ascended into heaven promising to return for His followers. Scoffers point out how long it has been and mock those who still wait and long for His return.