Peter wrote a letter to Christians who were suffering various trials. He encouraged them to keep on rejoicing ( Holding on to Joy During Difficult Times ) and reminded them of the purpose of their calling (Joy is Living out the Purpose of Your Calling). Also he told them the importance of doing what is right.
Doing what is right…of course we are to “do what is right”. But what is right??
Everyone has an opinion about it. We cannot watch TV, read a newspaper or scroll through our Facebook feeds without people declaring what they believe to be “right” and expect all of us to agree with them.
Society would have us believe that if it feels good, gives us pleasure, or comes naturally… then it has to be the right thing to do.
If you are not sure what is right according to God, Peter’s letter can help with that. He included instructions throughout the letter – commands to be holy (1:15), fervent in love (1:22), submissive (2:13, 18; 3:1), and humble (5:6) just to name a few. Peter doesn’t just instruct the reader to do what is right…he reminds them WHY they are to do what is right.
1. For the Lord’s Sake
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. 1 Peter 2:13-15 nasb
Do what is right by submitting to governmental authority not for praise or to silence foolish men, but because it is God’s will. Paul points out that God establishes all authority and when we oppose authority…we oppose Him (Romans 13:1-2).
Doing what is right is honoring and valuing all people. It is caring for Christians as family. It is honoring those in authority. All of our actions are to be out of the reverence we have for God (1 Peter 2:17).
2. For the Sake of Conscience toward God
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a person bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. 1 Peter 2:18-20
First thought this is not for me…I am not a slave. Yet this biblical principle to submit with respect can apply to the employee and employer relationship. When we submit out of consciousness of God’s will, we might suffer now but ultimately will find favor with God.
3. For the Sake of Righteousness
Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, 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; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame. 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. 1 Peter 3:13-17
Suffer for doing what is right and I am blessed! Really? I don’t feel blessed…but feelings are not necessarily the reality. Jesus told us to expect tribulation (John 16:33) and when we are persecuted for righteousness we are blessed for the kingdom of heaven is ours and our reward will be great (Matthew 5:10-12). Remembering the blessing that comes with enduring trials (James 5:11) can help us do what is right today. Not to fear but be ready to give a defense for our faith with gentleness and reverence, realizing it could be God’s will that we are suffering for “doing what is right”.
After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:10-11