Lesson 14—Behavior that Honors God
Scripture: 1 Peter 2:9-12
Lesson Goal: To grow in our understanding of how honoring God leads us to a greater desire to please Him through our lives and witness.
We begin by looking back to the previous lesson entitled “Remember Who You Are.” In that lesson we learned what it means to be able to say in truth, “I belong to Him.” As a result of our position “in Christ,” we have a song in our hearts and praise on our lips. Through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, we belong to the family of God. We are a part of His family, not by our goodness or by deserving it, but by His great mercy toward us. Today we will learn more about His mercy and His calling in our lives.
(Verse 9) “who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light”
As you read the words above, it may seem as though a question is being posed. Who? But as we read this portion in context of the entire verse, we see that it is very clear that God Himself has brought these wonderful blessings into our lives. We must remember that He “called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (See Colossians 1:13).
The darkness that Peter refers to is the sinful state of unbelievers (See John 3:19-20). He reminds his readers that God’s call of salvation has sounded forth to them, and because of their relationship with Jesus, they are no longer in this darkness. (Read Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 4:3-6).
Believers are instructed by Peter to sound forth to “declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.” A very literal rendering is that believers are “to tell out or to tell forth.” We must not remain silent.
➢ How long has it been since you told someone what God has done for you?
➢ How much of your conversation is offered as praise to God? Examples: in the break room, at the gym, as you gather with colleagues, on the tee box, at the restaurant….
What does our positive praise in “telling forth,” or lack of it, say to others?
(Verse 10) Mercy is God’s compassion towards sinners. Because of God’s great mercy, we who were not now are, and we who had not now have. This is a very simple Town Creek rendering of verse ten. Peter is writing to help his readers understand the great mercy of God. Although we once deserved condemnation because of unbelief, we have received God’s great mercy. We have been rescued by God’s great mercy. God’s great mercy has allowed each of us the glorious privilege of becoming a member of the people (family) of God.
“In one important respect, today’s culture is similar to that of Peter’s time—unbelievers from all quarters constantly attack and criticize Christianity” (MacArthur). In verses eleven and twelve, Peter exhorts his readers to live their lives glorifying God.
(Verse 11) “beloved”—We see Peter’s love and affection for his readers. “I beg you”—in these words we see and understand Peter’s plea. He uses the Greek word parakleō, to urge or to earnestly encourage. Through this word parakleō, we see and hear Peter’s heart: “I beg you!”
“as sojourners and pilgrims”—Peter urges his readers to remember they are just passing through this world. These words “sojourner” and “pilgrim” help us to understand that we are passing through and only make a brief stay here (See Hebrews 13:14). A pilgrim is someone passing through on his way home.
➢ What does it mean to you to know that you are a pilgrim in this world?
➢ Have you ever witnessed a saint of God feeling the pull from home? Explain.
Peter gives us instructions on how to live godly lives in this world.
“abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul”—Abstain means to hold oneself from. “The decision to abstain from something is one we make for ourselves by deliberate choice” (Phillips).
“fleshly lusts,”—cravings or strong desires. The fleshly lusts from our old natures war with our souls. These fleshly lusts may appear harmless, but they are deadly. They can infiltrate our minds and lives, bringing defeat to our testimony and witness. They can even disgrace us and defeat us if we do not appropriate the means to overcome these and to obtain victory as set forth in the New Testament. See 2 Timothy 2:22, Romans 6:1-6 and 6:12-13.
Believers are given clear instruction and commanded to abstain. This means that believers have the power to do so. This power is the mighty power of the Holy Spirit working in us. These fleshly lusts war against us, but we have the power to overcome and to defeat them.
The key to abstaining from fleshly lusts and winning over the temptations is to walk in the Spirit’s power (see Galatians 5:16) and use godly discipline (2 Corinthians 7:1).
➢ Write about a time in your life when you experienced God’s overcoming power.
(Verse 12 KJV) “Conversation” actually means conduct or behavior. The believer’s faith, demonstrated through his conduct and behavior, must be visible to the world in order to show nonbelievers the “light.”
See Matthew 5:16.
In Peter’s day, believers were often referred to as evildoers. Many false accusations were brought against those to whom he wrote. Peter is giving instruction that believers can disprove these accusations by living honorable, godly lives. The believer’s life is to be the greatest witness and testimony that can be given. Believers are to live in such a way as to prove wrong those who would slander them. The very nature of such goodness exposes evil.
➢ Ask yourself, “Does my honesty show forth the praises of God?”
“in the day of visitation”—“God visits people and nations, and in such can be either grace or judgment” (Phillips). In this passage, Peter probably refers to the final judgment when all people will acknowledge Jesus Christ. “God visits us, sometimes in grace, sometimes in wrath! Either way, His visitations must never be ignored” (Phillips).
Questions for Life Focus
What does it mean to you that your testimony be honorable to God and honorable before the world?
Have you ever known someone who was slandered by the world because they lived a God-honoring life? Explain in detail.
How can we honor God in these things?
Television & movies
Why is it important that your witness be God-honoring? Explain in detail.