by Pastor Adekoya Akinbode
DECKED WITH DOUBLE HONOUR, TREATED AS IGNOBLE!
Apostle Peter ends chapter 1 of his epistle emphasizing on the eternal nature of the word of God: ‘but the word of God endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached to you.’
We know historically speaking that there have been several attempts to eradicate the Bible from circulation. A plan that had always failed! Much more, the Word of God which we know and the Person of the Word — Jesus Christ — is Eternal, having no beginning and no ending. Being born of the word of God therefore, it means that our new birth or salvation is an eternal phenomenon. We cannot overemphasize this, particularly in a situation where there are several teachings and doctrines that are promoting the erroneous notion that salvation can be lost.
Opening the chapter 2, we are advised to free our minds, our hearts from malice, hypocrisy, envy, and what have you, that can result from the way we as believers are bound to be retreated in this present world. Understand that when we talk about persecutions or trials of faith, we are not necessarily referring to some kind of suffering caused by economic instability of whatever nation of the world we find ourselves. Rather, as it was in the days when Peter was addressing the believers scattered all over Asia minor, the persecutions were some kind of ill-treatment, some kind of tyrannic rules and manipulations. The believers were being subjected to demoralizing and demeaning circumstances just to ridicule them and possibly make them feel less. They were faced with some sorts of social schism and “racism”. They were hated for no reason; subjected to derogatory menial works, just for professing Faith in The Lord Jesus Christ. Such situation can naturally make one wants to react or revenge. At least, hating those who hate you, being hostile to those that are hostile towards you, being malicious, speaking evil of those who ill-treat you and acting in some form of hypocritical ways particularly for those under various Masters and leaders at different levels. Peter admonished us to lay aside all such propensities but rather desire (long for, yearn for) the word of God intrinsically and sometimes desperately as newborn babes who desire for milk. This is like Paul counseling that we should let the word of Christ dwell richly in our hearts in all wisdom. Then, there’ll be no room for malice, hatred or hostility to be expressed outwardly. The enduring word of God is taking form in our hearts, resulting in our consistent growth in the spirit which is very vital to strengthening our faith.
The secret of being gracious to those who are not gracious unto us is to clear our mind off the natural proclivity to anger, hostility, revenge and continually guard our gracious hearts, feed our gracious minds with the gracious word of the gracious God. This way, we can continually express graciousness and manifest graciousness as partakers of the grace of God.
Apostle John in his own Epistle helps us to know that the world does not know us! Not knowing us, they want us to feel less, feel like nonentities, worthless by the way they sometimes address and treat us. But we must not lose the consciousness of who we are in Christ and through Christ. We are so precious to God so much that before the world began, He had chosen us to be His own. THAT IS BIG!
So it doesn’t matter if you are rejected by men, remember you are chosen by God! It doesn’t matter if you are treated as a nonentity before men or by men. Always remember that you are precious to God. Your identity is not necessarily in how people receive you or treat you. Your identity is defined in where you belong in the plan of God. In God’s plan, you are a lively, precious stone! Meaning that you are a member of His Body because, here in this writing of Peter, the body of Christ is likened unto a spiritual house and you a member of the body; you are as a lively stone and all of us a lively Stones that are built up to make a spiritual house unto God. So you are so important to God that you are included in His plan and in His building. You are a member of the body of Christ; an important lively stone in The House of God, even though you are a house of God. God has made His home in you!
In chapter one, Peter helps us to see the active participation of each member of the Godhead to effect and consummate the work of our salvation in Christ Jesus. He mentioned the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
In the Old testament, the blood is engaged for three major purposes: number one is to ratify the covenant. Number two is to set apart the priest after the Aaronic order and, number three is for the cleansing of lepers (Note: a leper was a type of a sinner). The shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ has ratified the New testament in our favour, set up apart as Priests even as it cleanses us from all our sins. By the blood of Christ therefore we are made to be Priests unto God and not just Priests but a royal priesthood.
The most honorable positions in the Old testament among the Jews were that of a king and a Priest. These used to be two different, separate positions — the priesthood after the order of Aaron and royalty after the order of David. All these are brought together as one in Christ after the order of Melchizedek. Since, as He is, so are we, we are Priests and Kings and that is what it means to be a royal priesthood! This is most honorable. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what the physical environment, the situation or the circumstance around you looks like, you are born of royalty and you are born for royalty! You are a Priest of the Most High God. You have access to God as a priest and you have license to issue decrees as a king. You are peculiar to God, you are God’s own very choice in Time till all Eternity!
Obviously in this second chapter, Peter is addressing the gentile Christians. We were those who in time past were not regarded as the people of God but now we are the people of God. There was no mercy for us but now we have obtained mercy. To have us included and engrafted in God’s eternal agenda, meaning that we have escaped the wrath of God to come and the damnation to come upon the children of disobedience. The interesting thing is that our election as God’s own possessions is not based on what we have done or we are doing or what we can do but solely based on the mercy of God. It is not enough to be eternally grateful and gracious: grateful to God and gracious to those around us for as long as we exist in this temporal world, till we exit or He returns.
Again, always remember who you are in God, who you are to God in Christ and through Christ Jesus and don’t let the outside world define you. If you let the outside world define you, you will soon lose the consciousness of your identity and your sense of royalty because the world does not know you and therefore cannot define you for you; can not define you as you truly are. Your identity is in Christ and in Christ alone you’re truly defined.
Your entity is not defined in your situation, your circumstance and how people receive you or neglect you. It doesn’t make you less what the situation is, you are who God says you are. So, the world may speak low or less, or even look down on us because they don’t know us. No matter what they do or what they say we know they are wrong and yet we are not moved, discouraged or perturbed. In fact, we rejoice in knowing that we are not who and what they say we are. That is why we don’t react in hostility or in anger. We rather express the same grace of our Lord Jesus Christ of which we are partakers and we embody.
In conclusion, Peter cited as an example, of course Jesus is our perfect example. How He was wrongly accused; how He was maligned; how He was beaten; how He suffered and yet when he was ‘reviled and he did not revile in return. When He suffered he threatened not but committed himself to him that judge righteously.’
Peter makes us to see that Jesus going through all those trials ultimately turned out for our own good. If Jesus had not patiently gone through all those demeaning situations under the Roman reign, certainly we will still be in our sins and will die in our sins. Certainly we will still be a people under Satan. Certainly we will be eternal victims of sin, sicknesses and diseases, and death. But Jesus, having bore our sins in His own body on the cross, we died together with Him and now alive unto righteousness! Jesus receiving those stripes meant for the unjust went through pains and agony and by those stripes we were healed. Our healing was paid for and perfected in the stripes He enduringly received. Hadn’t Jesus gone through all those we will still be wandering under darkness and in darkness: having no direction, no hope, no destination and ultimately lost to satan. But, hallelujah! Jesus ENDURINGLY and patiently going through all, in His sufferings, death and Resurrection have had us come back home with Him. We are partakers of the benefits that followed the sufferings of Christ! All that we have today and all that we are today are as a result of the sufferings of Christ. Peter admonishes us to adopt the same mindset that though we may be evil spoken of but should not speak evil or be found speaking evil in return. Those days, Christians were accused of being cannibalistic every time they partake of the communion. That is part of “being evil spoken of” Peter was talking about. Christians were ill-treated for separating themselves from immoral social engagements and gatherings. They were labelled to be atheist for not worshiping their idols with them. They were called ignorant, fools, superstitious and all sorts. But Peter maintains that it is better to be called a fool when you are not a fool than to be called a fool and be found so. It is better to be called or labelled immoral when you are not than to be called immoral and you are.
While all that the world and the people around us may say against us to spite us are expected to be false accusations, yet we are encouraged not to react adversely but in the end when they discover that they are wrong they will be ashamed and that will bring glory to God. But it will be shameful to be found to be exactly what they say about us. Therefore we are encouraged to live above the lust of the flesh. As pilgrims in this world, we are to serve as good examples of Christ, expressing his grace to all mankind. Which means there are so many things we will have to go through and overlook just to serve as good examples of Christ to the world around us. Sometimes we have our rights trampled upon. Sometimes we are conditioned by authorities to do certain things which are not evil or immoral but not in sinc with our beliefs or lifestyle just because of who we are. For instance, the Jews do not deem it fit to pay tax to any government of the world other than to God so they have the natural propensity to rebel against any government or any ruler that demands that they pay tax. But as peace-loving and peace-making people of God, we subject ourselves to the rules and the leadership of those set over us at various levels. For as long as we are not being compelled to do that which is against God. Again, we are free people but we still obey traffic rules. It’s part of it! It’s part of being subject to the ordinance of Man and we do that for the Lord’s sake that they might see his grace, his presence and his person in us and through us.
In all and above all, we don’t forget we we are:
— The Elect of Abba
— The Chosen Generation
— Heavenly Citizens on earthly pilgrimage
— Royal Priests
— God’s Priceless Possession
— God’s Precious People
— The Righteous Ones in Christ Jesus
— The Healed
— The Restored Sheep
— Christ’s Ambassadors!
Grace! Grace!! Grace!!!