We begin this week with 1 Peter 2:18-20
v18: Servants: Being a servant or a slave, Biblically, is very different to the slavery understood by the world. Usually, a slave was a slave because of a financial obligation. He was unable to pay his dues, and so for a limited period of time he would have been required to work as a servant in order to pay off his debts (see Lev 25:39-55, Deut 15:12-18). He would work off his debt for a maximum of six years and then in the seventh year he was set free – with renumeration!
- Be submissive: Another emphasis on submission.
- Masters: Rulers or lords
- Good (reasonable) and gentle: It is a lot easier to submit to people who are gentle and reasonable.
- Harsh – this is literally the word for crooked [σκολιοῖς (skoliois)]: The literal word used here is the word ‘scoliosis’. This is a disease that affects the back and causes it to be crooked and not straight. Servants even need to be submissive to those who are not upright, to those who are crooked in their dealings.
v19: (literally) “For this is grace, if through the conscience of G-d one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.”
This is grace: Grace involves us being put into a position whereby we are able/allowed to suffer. Biblically there is a relationship between G-d’s grace being poured out and Yeshua suffering on the cross. If we are going to be conformed into His image, displaying His behaviour, it is going to involve a degree of suffering.
- Through the conscience: A conscience is a G-d given protection placed within every human being.G-d speaks to us inwardly. He has placed within each one of us His inner voice. This can be ignored, seared and blunted though (1 Tim 4:1-4)
- Suffering wrongfully: When we are placed in a position that causes us to suffer unjustly, faith does not say: ‘Why G-d?’ Faith recognizes that G-d has given us His grace so that we can demonstrate our covenantal relationship with Him through suffering. There is a relationship between receiving grace and suffering. There is a call upon every believer to suffer. When we go through difficult times it is not an indication to “throw in the towel” and allow our love for G-d to grow cold (Matt 24:12) – this will mark many people in the last days. Why does their love grow cold? They have received the wrong gospel – they simply thought good things were going to come their way (health, wealth etc) and as they see this world transitioning and things start to get tighter and harder for them, they are not going to be able to endure (1 John 2:18-19).
v20: (literally)“For what credit are you going to receive if while sinning you receive punishment and you endure it? But if doing good also you suffer and endure this is grace from G-d.”
Credit: We should all want G-d to credit our ‘account’, to be pleased with us.
- While sinning you receive punishment: This is just and is part of G-d’s order. It is right and proper for us to be punished for our sin, and there is no merit in it.
- Suffer and endure: This confirms what was mentioned earlier – every believer has a call to suffer and to endure (Luke 9:23). If people do not know that we are called to suffer, they have not understood the gospel. Yeshua told us that they persecuted Him, and they will persecute us too (John 15:20).