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Pilgrims and sojourners

Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits. 1 Peter 2:11-12 CSB

From our text, Peter encourages the believers, his "dear friends," to not only be verbal in their declaration of the Lord, but to also display Christ in their actions. There is a sense of urgency in this section. Peter repeats the title given to the believers at the beginning of this letter: "To those chosen, living as exiles dispersed abroad"(1 Peter 1:1). As "strangers and exiles," he is reminding them that the earth they live upon is a temporary place and not truly their home. This is what the Lord Jesus Christ told His disciples in John 17:16, "They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world." The phrase "abstain from" can also be translated as "walk away from." Now, desires are not inherently evil. The distinction here is the word "sinful," meaning desires that are contrary to God's Word and His holiness. These "sinful desires...wage war against the soul." There is an internal battle going on inside the believer: to choose to give into the sin nature residing within or to choose to follow after Christ through the leading of the Holy Spirit. The outcome of this decision not only affects the individual, but the testimony of Christians to the world around them, seen in verse 12, as the Gentiles are watching. Therefore, Peter calls believers to "conduct yourselves that WHEN [not if, but when] they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day He visits." The tense of the word used "observe" means to watch over a very long period of time. This is not just a simple glance, but they will be observed under intense scrutiny. They are being observed by those outside of the faith to find out if their testimony and their actions are consistent in their claim that they are indeed followers of Christ. In this way, believers will glorify God and hopefully, would spurn those who do not believe Christ to repent of their ways, realize their need of s Savior and place their faith in Him. This life of holiness should not be put off for there is a limited time left to stay on this earth. After the Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven, His disciples continued to provide a witness that those who are outside of the faith “were amazed and recognized that they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:13).


Isaac De Guzman

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