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Posts Tagged ‘1 Peter’

You don’t have to have a degree in theology, philosophy, or science to engage in Christian apologetics or “defending the faith.” What you need is a deep-seated faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and an abiding love for Him.

but in your hearts regard Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. -1 Peter 3:15-16

Did you notice what Peter didn’t say? He didn’t say you need to have a working knowledge of metaphysics or a basic understanding of aristotilian logic or even the scientific method.  He didn’t even suggest that conversation on spiritual matter requires an ability to answer all spiritual questions an unbeliever might have. While knowledge in the above areas is incredibly valuable, none of these things actually equip us for the task of defending the faith.

On the contrary, regarding “Christ the Lord as holy” in our hearts is the means by which we will be ready to give an answer for the hope that is in us. In other words, if you want to be prepared to defend your faith–you must simply treasure Christ supremely in your heart.

You might object that some people won’t care about how precious Christ is to you. They have questions about Christianity, the Bible, evolution, etc. etc. Let me first say that most people don’t have nearly as many questions as we think they do. And secondly, all people are naturally opposed to the things of God anyway (1 Cor. 2:14).

When we seek to convince a non-Christian of the veracity of the Christian faith, we are fighting a losing battle. Apart from the work of God on the human heart, people suppress the truth in their unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). In other words, its impossible for Christianity to gain a fair hearing–everyone you would hope to convince of Christianity’s merit are already opposed to it.

Does that mean that apologetic task is doomed to fail? If all our arguments will not convince people, how are we to approach apologetics? I have never met anyone who converted to Christ because they lost an argument about Christianity. On the contrary, I have witnessed many come to faith because of testimony of a faithful Christian and the hope they found in Christ.

The manner in which we do apologetics is as important as the answers we provide. Thus Peter says when you give a reason for the hope you have in Christ, do so “with gentleness and respect.” So its important that our lives are consistent, in some regard, with our testimony. I am not arguing that Christians seek to be perfect, but rather that they continually rely on, live by, and hope in the gospel.

Peter would have us be ready to give an answer “to anyone who asks us a reason for the hope that is in us.” You don’t have to be an expert in philosophy or science to do so because life’s biggest questions cannot be answered by science or philosophy. What happens when I die? Why did my friend die so young? Why is there so much sin, sickness, and despair in the world and will it ever go away? What is the meaning of my existence?

Science and philosophy attempt answers at these questions but neither can fix the problems that drive them. The gospel does one better. The gospel offers a fix to the problems behind these questions. Simply put, the gospel offers what people truly need:  hope.

Science and philosophy can only attempt answers to the “why” questions but neither can solve our most desperate problems. So instead of constantly worrying about whether you can intelligently answer every question your unbelieving friend might have, simply offer them the hope you have found in Christ. They may be completely closed off to any discussion of Jesus now, but eventually life will confront them with questions that they cannot answer and problems they cannot fix and if you are abiding in Christ you have the answer to their heart’s deepest longing–to know their creator through the sacrifices of His Son. When you have a friend desperate to save their marriage or coming to terms with the reality of death, if you are abiding in Christ, you have the answers to their most desperate questions.

I am thankful for intelligent Christians in the public square who are answering the scientific and philosophical questions of the unbelieving world. I praise the Lord for them but these conversations are not likely to produce much fruit. What will, however, is one friend offering another hope–hope to overcome our deepest flaws and failures. Hope to live again. Hope that will not disappoint.

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1 Peter 1:1-2 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who are elect exiles of the dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.

There is much that could be said here as well, but I will just say that this text cannot be referring only to the corporate election of Israel as each of these provinces in Asia Minor were predominately Gentile provinces.  Further, Peter clearly connects election to foreknowledge and sanctification.

Further, if you read on in 1 Peter 1:20-21, Peter says that Christ was “foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for your sake, 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”  Again, this foreknowledge must be more than just knowing beforehand as God relates it to Christ’s resurrection which was certainly foreordained by God.  All this was done so that our faith and hope are in God and thus not in our own ability to believe or our choice to believe.

1 Peter 2:9-10 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.

Again, this is clearly election language that is applied to Gentiles.  The purpose for which these gentiles were chosen was to “proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness and into his marvelous light.”  Don’t you see God’s pure unmerited grace here being poured out to Gentiles based simply on God’s choosing.  I don’t know why God chooses some and not others but I know that these texts say he does and I know that God is good and right in doing so.  I know that I didn’t deserve to experience such grace but I have and now I am free to proclaim his excellencies!  How good and gracious our God is!

James 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

“The poor” refers to believers (c.f. the Sermon on the Mount–Matt 6:1ff-blessed are the poor in spirit) and God has chosen them be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom.  Further, “those who love him” makes it clear that James has believers in mind here, it is those who love God (believers) to whom God has promised the kingdom.  God chooses them for this.  God has chosen believers to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom.

Over the course of these posts on election, I hope it has become abundantly clear that the Bible has a great deal to say about election.  While my posts have not dealt with every text concerning election, I think it should be noted that the Scriptures speak clearly on election and without doing an exegetical backflips, we see that God’s elective choice is not conditioned by anything in man but rather it is only conditioned upon His own good pleasure and will.  At the heart of unconditional election is the all-to-important reality that God is loving, gracious, and good and God saves sinners!  In fact, if I could sum up the Doctrines of Grace in three words they would be this–“God saves sinners!”

Praise God for his glorious grace to us in Christ!

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Leadership in the local church has received renewed interest in recent days, thanks in part to ministries such as 9 Marks. It seems like more and more pastors are seeking to transition their churches from a single pastor model of leadership to that of a plurality of elders (while this is a encouraging development–pastors who are making this transition should do so very carefully and patiently). By a plurality of elders I simply mean multiple pastors, elders, or overseers (these terms are essentially synonymous in the NT). We ought to rejoice in this renewed interest in plural eldership as such a model reflects the clear teaching of the New Testament.

Despite this renewed interest in plural eldership that I have seen in many churches recently, the majority of Baptist churches do not possess a plural elder model. Thus, the leadership model of the New Testament is worth thinking about. So in my next three posts, I will do my best to discuss the model of church leadership found in the New Testament. Thoroughly tracing the New Testament model of leadership in the local church would be a task too vast for this blog, however, I will do my best in this post, to briefly highlight some significant teaching in the NT on plural eldership. In two follow-up posts, I will address what biblical elders ought to be doing in our churches and why understanding the role of elders is important to all members of the church!

First, we should note that the church or churches in Jerusalem had elders (Acts 11:30; 15:2, 4, 6, 22-23; 16:4; 21:18). Acts 14:23 indicates that Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in all the churches they visited on Paul’s first missionary journey. Further 1 Timothy 5:17 indicates that the church at Ephesus had a plural leadership model and in Titus 1:5 Paul commands Titus to appoint elders in the churches of Crete.

1 Peter gives some of the strongest evidence for the presence of plural eldership in the New Testament churches. Peter’s first epistle is addressed to churches in “Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.” We don’t know exactly how many churches the epistle of 1 Peter was circulated to, but it was likely at least dozens, possibly even hundreds or thousands of churches in Asia Minor. Peter challenges “the elders” of these churches to “shepherd the flock of God among them.” Thus we can deduce from this that plural eldership was the pattern for all of the many churches that Peter’s letter is addressed to. Further, it should be noted that there is no verse in the NT that describes one person as the single elder of a church. Although the New Testament’s teaching on elders is generally directed at churches in general, Philippians 1:1 is directed to a specific church and the model for leadership is clearly one of a plurality of elders.

While other models of leadership in Baptist churches have been espoused, the burden of proof rests on them to prove the pattern of leadership in the NT is different from that of a plural elder model.

I should mention that I believe local churches are to be led by a plurality of elders rather than ruled by them. I think that NT pattern is one of congregational rule. For instance, in Galatians 1:8-9, Paul tells the churches of Galatia to reject false teaching. Thus it was the congregation’s responsibility to preserve doctrinal purity. Further, it was the congregation that ultimately holds authority in issues of church discipline (Matt 18:15-17; 2 Cor 2:6). Thus if elders are not to rule the church, what is their role?

With the plural nature of leadership in the church established, we ought to give thought to what an elder’s function in the local church is. Thus my next two posts will address the two unique functions of biblical elders—teaching and shepherding. In the list of qualifications of elders in 1 Timothy 1:6-9 and Titus 1:6-9, we see the unique qualification of elders is that they be “able to teach.” 1 Peter 5:1-4 indicates that elders are to “shepherd the flock of God.”

hammettWhile there is significant overlap in these two functions— I do think they are distinct and each is worthy of our attention. Thus, in my next two posts I will address the two unique responsibilities of elders in the local church—to teach and to shepherd the flock.

For a more thorough discussion on the plural elder model and Baptist church polity see John S. Hammett’s book Biblical Foundations for Baptist Churches.

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How do you know what your spiritual gifts are?

  1. You could take a “spiritual gifts inventory test.” (or)
  2. You could give each of the spiritual gifts a whirl and see which ones fit you best.

The second option may actually be better than the first, but I submit to you that neither of these options is satisfactory. In fact I think the question itself is dangerous.

I submit to you that the first question we should be asking ourselves is not “what are my spiritual gifts?,” but rather “what are the needs of my church?”

The DANGEROUS QuestionRemember why you have spiritual gifts–not for your own sake but for the edification of the church and ultimately for the glory of God–your spiritual gifts are not for you. Spiritual gift inventory tests are problematic for a couple of reasons. First, it is you who takes the test, thus you end up choosing your spiritual gifts. I have taken a few of these tests before and they were different every time because every time I took them, there were different gifts I was interested in. The nature of a gift is that it is not something we choose but something that is given to us. The second problem I have with spiritual gift tests is that they can, at times, make people think they have certain gifts at the neglect of others. I have heard people say things like, “I don’t have the gift of administration, so I will let someone else schedule the mission trip” or “I don’t have the gift of service, so I will let someone else do that.” Who in their right mind would want the gift of administration anyway? If we all relied on spiritual gift tests, no one would have the gift of administration (except maybe you weird people who are really organized)! But more importantly, I think Scripture gives us no indication that we are to section ourselves off to only utilizing a limited number of spiritual gifts that we think we have.

It is worth noting that the Bible never gives us a rubric for determining our spiritual gifts, nor does it ever give us an indication of how many spiritual gifts we have. Yet, if you are a Christian, you do have spiritual gifts, so what should you do?  As I said earlier, I think the first step is to ask what needs the church has. The second step is to ask God to help you meet those needs. Third step is to begin serving and seeking to help fill those needs by the power of the Holy Spirit. I really do think it is that simple, but Scripture does say quite a bit about spiritual gifts, so we ought to go beyond simply telling people to seek to meet the needs of the church by the power of the Holy Spirit.

The gifts found in Scripture could be categorized into two groups:

  1. Speaking gifts–apostleship, prophecy, teaching, discernment, tongues, exhortation, utterance of wisdom, utterance of knowledge, evangelism (Rom. 12:6-7; 1 Cor. 12:8-10, 28-30; Eph. 4:11).
  2. Serving gifts–serving, giving, leading, mercy, contributing, healing, administration, and miracles (Rom. 12:8; 1 Cor. 12:9-10, 28-30).

I will address the charismatic gifts in a post later on this week, but charismatic gifts aside, what do you notice about the spiritual gifts? First, I notice that many of the spiritual gifts are things that all believers are commanded to do in various places in Scripture. Every believer is commanded to teach and to lead in various degrees–though I do believe that men are to preach in the church–women are commanded to teach other women and to teach children in the Bible (Titus 2:3-5; Deut. 4:10, 6:11). When I look at the lists of gifts, I also notice that many of them are not all that spectacular–“teaching, administering, serving, contributing, leading, and mercy.” Each of these seem to be gifts that anyone in the church could conceivably do. So don’t section yourself off from certain gifts, but be willing to be used of the Lord in any way! Secondly don’t forget that you do have spiritual gifts, so don’t try to serve in the church by your own power, instead, “serve with the strength that God supplies” (1 Peter 4:11). And if you speak in the church, don’t speak your own wisdom, but rather speak the “oracles of God”–in other words teach the Bible.

  1. If you are a Christian, you have been gifted by the Holy Spirit to serve in the church so use your gifts to serve in the church (1 Pet. 4:10; 1 Cor. 12:7). Be a good steward of God’s varied grace.
  2. We may have various gifts in different degrees (Rom. 12:4-6; 1 Cor. 12:4-11), but don’t forget that the Holy Spirit can equip you to do anything in the church.
  3. Thus don’t think that there are certain things you can’t do. Instead, trust that the Holy Spirit will equip you to serve (Phil. 4:13; 1 Cor. 12:4-11). All Spiritual gifts are empowered “by the same Spirit, who apportions each one individually as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:11).
  4. Never use your spiritual gifts as an excuse not to serve! Doing so contradicts the purpose of spiritual gifts: to glorify God, build up the church, and promote unity. See Spiritual Gifts 101: THE Spiritual Gift.
  5. Test your spiritual gifts–are they building up the body, promoting unity, and pointing to the glory of God? If what you are doing is causing division, your “gift” might not be from the Holy Spirit!
  6. Don’t force your gifts on the body. In other words, you may have the gift of teaching but don’t demand that your church give you opportunities to teach–remember we have gifts to serve each other and not to promote ourselves.
  7. Be humble (Rom. 12:3; 1 Pet. 5:5-6). It is interesting to note that the teaching on spiritual gifts in Romans is preceded by a warning to be humble while 1 Peter’s teaching on spiritual gifts is followed by a command to be humble! As you seek to use your gifts in the church don’t forget to keep fighting your own pride! Be aware that as we seek to serve in the church, sin is “waging war against” our souls (1 Pet. 2:11).
  8. Ask where the church has needs and ask the Holy Spirit to equip you to serve. Talk to your pastors/elders–if they are faithful pastors, they are “exercising oversight” (1 Pet 5:2) and likely can help you see where the church has needs and where you can best serve. If you see a need in the church seek to fill it, or help a brother or sister in the church fill the need.

These are suggestions and are not by any means inerrant, though I have done my best to let Scripture inform these tips. If you have a different view of how we come to understand and use our gifts, please kindly leave a comment and tell me your disagreement. What I am concerned about is the individualizing of the Christian faith. Too often we ask what our spiritual gifts are without taking time to think about the needs of our local churches and how we could be used of the Lord to serve in them. I think there are certain people in the church that are better teachers than others and those who can best teach should be utilized to teach, but what if those who are able to teach leave the church? Don’t fret, our God is big enough to equip anyone to do anything. But don’t forget why you have gifts–to serve the body of Christ, to promote unity, and ultimately to bring glory to the God who has given you gifts!

My third and final post on Spiritual gifts will briefly address my view on the charismatic gifts (be patient with me, I am far from an expert on this subject!). May we all be used of the Holy Spirit in our churches to the glory of God in Christ Jesus.

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Any fruitful discussion of spiritual gifts must begin by asking two essential questions–where do they come from and what is their purpose. Unfortunately, most conversations about spiritual gifts end up being nothing more than random discussions on the charismatic gifts–in fact you are probably hoping I am going to give my position on the charismatic gifts in this post. I am not . . . if that is what you were hoping for, feel free to stop reading now, HOWEVER if you are interesting in thinking about spiritual gifts so that you can serve more faithfully in your local church, by all means keep reading.

THE spiritual gift!As we talk about spiritual gifts, we must point to THE spiritual gift–the Holy Spirit. If you have repented and put your faith in Christ for salvation, the Holy Spirit of God lives in you (Eph. 1:13). It seems obvious, but as we think about spiritual gifts we must remind ourselves that THE fundamental spiritual gift is not tongues, teaching, or exhortation, the fundamental spiritual gift is the Holy Spirit which empowers us to serve. The Holy Spirit empowers God’s people to be his witnesses to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). These two texts together tell me two things–those who believe have the Spirit and the Spirit empowers those who believe to magnify the name of Jesus!

“Spiritual” is not just a handy adjective that the New Testament writers threw around to refer to one’s relationship with God. Thus people are called spiritual in the Bible, not because they acted spiritually but because they were possessed by the Holy Spirit. The NT writers nearly always used the term “spiritual” in reference to the Holy Spirit. Thus spiritual gifts are called spiritual because they come from the Holy Spirit!

Thus believers have the Spirit and thus have spiritual gifts as all spiritual gifts are “are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills” (1 Cor. 12:11). Thus we have established the source of spiritual gifts–the Holy Spirit.

What is the purpose of spiritual gifts? Why does God give spiritual gifts to believers? I think there are three clear purposes of spiritual gifts that can be clearly seen in the NT. 1 Peter 4:10-12 will help us:

As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies- in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

  1. The fundamental purpose of our spiritual gifts must be to glorify God (v 11). In other words I have spiritual gifts NOT primarily for my benefit but for God’s glory in Jesus Christ.
  2. God has given us spiritual gifts to serve one another (v 10). Peter doesn’t allow for a category of spiritual gifts that are exercised merely for one’s own benefit. Being “a good steward of God’s varied grace” means using your spiritual gifts to serve your brothers and sisters in the church.
  3. Spiritual gifts must promote unity and not division in the church. This was the problem in the church in Corinth, people in the church were competing with one another by boasting of their ability to speak in tongues more than others (1 Cor. 14). It is worth noting that unity is featured in Paul’s discourses on spiritual gifts in 1 Cor. 12, Rom. 12, and Eph. 4. If your “spiritual gift” is causing division in the church, that is probably because its not spiritual. The Holy Spirit doesn’t empower believers to divide the church for which Christ died!

So here are two essential questions to ask yourself:

  1. Does my “spiritual gift” glorify God or does it glorify myself? Is what I am doing pointing people to the glory of God in Christ Jesus?
  2. Does my “spiritual gift” promote unity in the church for which Christ died?

These questions will help you understand whether you are really exercising your spiritual gifts in the church or not. If your spiritual gifts don’t pass these two tests, its probably because they are not spiritual. If you are a Christian, God has empowered you with His very Holy Spirit so you ought to be thinking about how you can be used of the Lord for His glory by serving in the church.

This post may seem simple to you, but as we talk about spiritual gifts we must first understand where they come from and why we, as believers, have them. Setting this foundation helps keep us sober-minded as we think about how we can be used of the Lord to serve in His churches!

In my next post, I will address the dangerous question of how to know what your spiritual gifts are!

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18Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. 21For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps (1 Peter 2:18-21).

It is a little more politically correct to translate the opening word of this passage as “servants” rather than “slaves.” However, it doesn’t change the meaning and the Greek word literally referred to a house servant or a slave. Our modern culture would be more comfortable with this text if Peter had said something like, “slaves, be patient while we seek your release.” Of course that is not what Peter said. None of the New Testament writers condone slavery, but also none of them call for the abolition of slavery (the only text that comes close to this is the book of Philemon and it only addresses the situation of one particular slave and his owner). We don’t, however, have to be embarrassed that Peter is giving instructions to slaves without calling for the overthrow of the institution of slavery.

Slavery in Asia Minor in the first century was not all that different from the kind of slavery that was practiced in our country 150 years ago. The main difference between the two is that slavery in first century Asia Minor was not racially driven. People were sold into slavery for economic reasons rather than for issues of race. Often times a man was a slave because he incurred a large amount of debt and could not pay it off, so he sold himself into slavery. Many were, however, born as slaves. In the first century there were masters that treated their slaves with respect and there were certainly masters who ruthlessly beat and mistreated their slaves. There is nothing about slavery in the first century that was fair.

Slavery was not and never has been fair. This makes it all the more shocking that Peter simply says, “slaves, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentile but also to the unjust.” The word “unjust” is actually better translated “evil” or “crooked.” Peter is telling slaves that whether you have a master who treats you fairly or not, the command remains the same—be subject to your master. Now I ought to mention that Peter does not tell slaves to obey their masters when their masters ask them to do evil—a believing slave’s first master is always God, a slave is first subject to God before anyone on earth (c.f. 1 Peter 2:17). The idea behind Peter’s command to slaves in 2:18 is that slaves live lives marked by obedience to their masters no matter whether their masters are fair or not.

Slavery is an unjust institution and we should praise God that it no longer takes place in our country. There are, however, two good reasons why the New Testament writers never call for the overthrow of the institution of slavery. First, it was an institution deeply woven into the fabric of 1st Century Roman society and most Christians in the 1st Century were social outcasts and did not have a strong political or social voice. Christians were considered strange at best and terrible nuisances at worst. Christians often faced persecution from Rome and slavery was too firmly fixed in Roman culture, thus Christians simply did not have a social voice loud enough to even imagine the possible abolition of the institution of slavery.The second and more important reason that Peter and the writers of the New Testament do not call for the abolition of slavery is that they were not social revolutionaries. Peter’s goal was never to become a political figure that would change the social landscape of Asia Minor. Peter was an apostle of Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:1). And he understood his purpose in life, along with all Christians, to be to “proclaim the excellencies” of Christ (1 Peter 2:9).The New Testament writers were much less concerned with making social wrongs right than they were with proclaiming the message that could make individuals in any situation right with God—namely, the gospel of Jesus Christ. The New Testament writers had much bigger issues to address than the unfair nature of slavery. (more…)

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You don’t hear this phrase much anymore, “winners never quit.” In fact, if we are honest, if there is one thing that we are really good at, it is quitting. We live in a culture where the option to quit is ever present. If problems are piling up or things just don’t seem to be going the way you envisioned, don’t worry you can always just quit. If you aren’t doing as well as you would like in a difficult class, you can drop the class. If you don’t like the way things are going at work . . . quit. If you are putting on more weight than you would like, you can just stop worrying about what you eat and buy bigger pants. If you don’t like the music at church, go to a different church. If you aren’t as happy with your marriage as you once were, get a divorce.

To be sure, the option to quit is inherent in every situation we face, and Americans are really good at quitting. More exercise equipment is sold in the United States than any other country and yet we are by far the most overweight country in the world . . . someone is not sticking to their plan to exercise! Divorce rates are embarrassing in America (roughly ~50%!). The message our culture is sending us is that quitting is always a possibility and you shouldn’t feel bad as long as you give it your best. But, the desire to tuck-tale and run often flies in the face of Scripture. What if Moses had said, “I asked Pharaoh to let us go, he said ‘No,’ so lets just call it quits and hang out in slavery here in Egypt?” (Moses basically did say that, but God wouldn’t have it; cf. Exodus 2-4.) What if Paul had said, “You know what, I am really tired, I am just going to hang out here at Antioch, someone else can take the gospel to the nations?” What if Jesus had said, “The cross is too much, I am calling down angels to rescue me?”

I have recently been teaching through the book of 1 Peter to the adults at my church in Sunday school. I recently taught on what is called the ‘household code’ in 1 Peter, which is really just Peter’s commands to husbands, wives, and slaves in 1 Peter 2-3. The situations Peter sets up are situations we are not likely to face, thus we tend to just gloss over 1 Peter 2-3 and lump it in the pile of Scriptures that we think don’t relate to us today. If you are still reading this post you are likely wondering what this has to do with quitting. It has everything to do with quitting, let me tell you why . . .

There are two particular situations that Peter addresses that relate to the issue of quitting. In my next post, I will address Peter’s command to slaves, but for now I want to address his commands to wives. The situation Peter addresses concerning wives was one that many new Christians in Asia Minor (see 1 Pet. 1:1) likely faced—what to do if you are Christian but your spouse doesn’t believe. What do you do if you are married to someone who doesn’t believe the gospel of Jesus Christ?

If you are a Christian, the most valuable thing in your life is your relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If you are married to an unbeliever you cannot relate with your spouse about the most valuable thing in your life! That is not easy. Though I am not married, I can imagine that this would be an incredibly difficult situation to be in. I can imagine the difficult conversations that would arise, I can imagine the tears that would be shed, I can imagine thoughts of despair creeping up. Today, when things get hard, there is always the option to quit. Peter doesn’t give that option. Peter tells believing wives “to be subject” to their husbands ‘even if some do not obey the word” (3:1). What Peter hopes will happen in the midst of this difficult situation is for “the respectful and pure conduct” of these wives to allow the wives to win their husbands “without a word.” While we could talk a great deal about what this conduct looks like, an important point that we must see is this—don’t quit on your spouse. The principle is simple—don’t quit. Your spouse refuses to believe and therefore you simply can’t encourage one another in the Lord—that is not a valid excuse to quit. The Lord just might use your perseverance to win your spouse! Even if God chooses not to change your spouse, the command is still there—be subject to your husband!

You probably aren’t facing this particular situation, but certainly you are faced with the temptation to quit. You might be tempted to drop a class, stop working out, quit your job, or quit balancing your checkbook—all of which are monumentally smaller things to quit on than a marriage, but I think we ought to be careful not to develop a pattern of quitting. It’s worth your time to stop and think about whether or not you are a perpetual quitter. You may not be doing well in a class, but if you determine to study harder, you might be better off for it. You may think balancing your checkbook is no big deal, but your family will be thankful when you are able to care and provide for them because you have been wise with what the Lord has given you. You may not work in a ‘Christian environment,’ but if you stick it out at your job, someone might just hear the gospel. And that is really what is constantly at stake in our lives as Christians isn’t it? We are constantly faced with the challenge of displaying the gospel in everything we do. Are you displaying the gospel at home, at school, at work, and at church? Probably not if you are quitting everything you start.

Start small, try refusing the temptation to quit before you finished running the amount of laps you said you would. See if you can’t study a little bit harder and do better on the next test. Don’t cancel on brother from church that wants to meet for fellowship. What in your life are you constantly tempted to quit on? The option to quit is always there but what does that say about you? Don’t quit. Jesus didn’t.

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