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About-Him.Com Devotional 01-02-2010
Walking as Pilgrims and Strangers in the World
The date of the writing of 1Peter is uncertain as well as where Peter was living when he wrote the epistle. The general consensus is that it was written at a time when Roman persecution was beginning to take shape. Christians found themselves in an unfriendly word. They were considered to be a strange and dangerous cult. In Rome, they met in small groups and partook of the communion elements in secret. The Romans took the claim quite literally that they were eating the body of Christ and drinking His blood and considered them to be cannibals. The Christians also refused to acknowledge the emperor as God. Obviously they weren’t accepted in the best social circles in Rome and things were equally difficult in the cities of Asia Minor among the Christians to whom Peter addressed his first letter. This certainly affected their livelihood. They probably couldn’t obtain a job and their children couldn’t obtain an education. It wasn't too many years ago that Christians in Russia facd the same conditions. In A.D. 64, the emperor Nero blamed the Christians for the burning of Rome and a massive persecution and slaughter followed. It wasn’t easy being a Christian in those days. It isn’t easy being a Christian today in places such as N. Korea, Pakistan and the Islamic countries, among others.
We in the western world, don’t really comprehend just how easy we have it. The church at Laodicea comes to mind. They were prosperous and thought that they had it all together. Jesus saw them as wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked. He rebuked them because He loved them and He urged then to repent. Jesus pleaded with them to open the door of their hearts and to let Him in. He was longing to have a true spiritual relationship with them. He also promised that those who overcame the world would set with Him in His throne, just as He overcame and is seated in His Father’s throne (Rev. 3:14-20).
1Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
Peter urges his readers to consider that although their present circumstances are unpleasant they must not forget the position they hold in the kingdom of God; they are kings and priests to God. God who at one time was pleased to dwell in a temple made of stone was now pleased to dwell in the hearts of any who would confess His name.
1Peter 2:10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
Being gentiles, they were not covered by the covenants of the Old Testament. However, by believing in Jesus, they have become the people of God (Gal. 3:8,9,14). Suffering for the name of Christ was an accepted part of being a Christian in the New Testament. When the apostles were beaten by the Jewish council, they departed and rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name (Acts 5:41). The Lord showed the apostle Paul the things that he would suffer for His name (Acts 9:16). Paul said that he was treated as the filth of the world and as an off scouring or outcast in all things (1Cor. 4:13). He was beaten, stoned, shipwrecked. He suffered untold perils, resulting in weariness, pain, hunger, thirst, cold and nakedness (2Cor. 11:24-27). Peter said that those who were about to suffer fiery trials should rejoice because if they shared in Christ’s suffering, they would have exceeding joy in the day that they saw the glory of the Lord revealed (1Pet. 4:12-13). He also let them know that they were not alone; Christians throughout the world were suffering the same afflictions (1Pet. 5:9). See also: Mt. 5:11, 2Tim. 1:12 and 1Pet. 4:14.
1Pe 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; 12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by [your] good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Peter entreats us as believers to keep our testimony unspotted. He said, I “beseech” or “beg of you,” to abstain from fleshly lust which war against our souls. We should remember that we are pilgrims and strangers in this world. We are in the world, but not a part of it. We are actually ambassadors from another country. Our citizenship is in heaven. We hold forth the Word of life in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation .The message that we bring to this world is, “Be reconciled to God.” (2Cor. 5:20; Php.2:15-16,3:20).
Jesus told us to expect persecution: He said that we were blessed if we would be persecuted for righteousness’ sake. We ours would be the kingdom of heaven. We would be blessed when men would revile, persecute and say all manner of evil against us, for His name’s sake. When we face this, we can rejoice, knowing that a reward is waiting for us in heaven. Persecution would be nothing new . The Old Testament prophets and saints were severely persecuted also (Mt. 5:10-12, Heb.11).
Everyone is subject to fleshly lusts. These are a tool of satan who goes about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (IPe. 5:8). When we resist him, he will flee from us (Ja. 4:7). The best way to resist him is by the Word of God. It was very effective for Jesus on the Mt. of Transfiguration and it is likewise effective for us today (Luke 4:8)
When we walk uprightly and honestly before the world, people will notice, even those who are speaking evil against us. However, if we are a Christian one day and partaking of the world the next, they notice that also.
A chameleon lizard has the ability to change it’s color to blend into whatever atmosphere it is in. We are not to be ‘Chameleon Christians,’ trying to blend in wherever we are, but are to be strikingly different. - Author unknown
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