I wrote this article for the men’s ministry at my church. It highlights a vital matter in the life of every man of God.
Writing to dispersed believers in many places in Asia Minor (1 Pet. 1:1), Peter began by emphasizing vital realities for them to consider as born-again children of God the Father (1 Pet. 1:3, 14, 23; 2:2). Among these, he highly stressed the glorious consummation of their salvation that they would experience at the revelation of Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:5, 7, 9, 10, 13).
In view of these things, he challenged them with multiple commands (1 Pet. 1:13, 15, 17, 22). His third command charged them to live in a way (1 Pet. 1:17-21) that needs more attention in our day.
As obedient children of God (1 Pet. 1:14) who pray (1 Pet. 1:17) to our Holy Father (1 Pet. 1:15-16), it is vital that we keep in mind that we “address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work” (1 Pet. 1:17). Being children of God does not exempt us from His holy scrutiny and assessment of all our ways!
We who pray to our Father do so to the One who knows all our secrets (Rom. 2:16; 1 Cor. 4:5) and shows no favoritism in His dealings with any of us (1 Pet. 1:17a). His dealing with us in this way necessitates that we live our entire Christian lives fearing Him and His perfectly fair assessment of us as His children (1 Pet. 1:17b).
We must live in such fear of our impartial Father because of the glorious redemption that He has granted us (1 Pet. 1:18-19). He has not redeemed us from our formerly futile living with the things that man values most, such as silver and gold (1 Pet. 1:18). Instead, we have been redeemed with what God values infinitely more than any material thing that fallen man values—the precious blood of Christ, the unblemished and spotless Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (1 Pet. 1:19; John 1:29)!
We must live a redeemed life of fearing our impartial Father to whom we pray because the priceless blood with which He redeemed us was the blood of the Christ whom on the one hand He foreknew in eternity past (1 Pet. 1:20a). We must also live such lives because on the other hand that Christ “has appeared in these last times” for our sake (1 Pet. 1:20b).
Through the eternally foreknown Christ who has appeared to redeem us, we are believers in God (1 Pet. 1:21a). Through that Christ, we are believers in our Father who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory so that our faith and hope are in God (1 Pet. 1:21b).
We have learned from 1 Peter 1:17-21 that God demands that we live a redeemed life of fearing our impartial Father to whom we pray. To learn some specific truths about what such a life looks like, we need to consider some related teaching (1 Pet. 3:7-12).
Based on the example that Christ has left for us (1 Pet. 2:21-25), husbands must live properly with their wives: (1) living with her in an understanding way that takes into consideration that she is weaker because she is a woman; and (2) showing her honor because she is “a fellow heir of the grace of life”(1 Pet. 3:7a-d). Living in this way with them is necessary for husbands so that their “prayers will not be hindered (1 Pet. 3:7e).
Comparing the teaching of 1 Peter 3:7 with 1 Peter 1:17-21, we learn that one specific aspect of living a redeemed life of fearing our impartial Father to whom we pray involves husbands relating with their wives in a way that shows that they fear God. God knows everything about how each husband is treating his wife, and every husband must fear displeasing the Father to whom he prays by mistreating his wife!
In 1 Peter 3:8-12, Peter then provides related teaching about Christian conduct that not just husbands but also all other believers must heed. A close examination of this passage shows that it ties directly with what we learned from 1 Peter 1:17-21.
Summing up what he has been saying, Peter challenges all believers about being “harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit” (1 Pet. 3:8). Being such believers includes “not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead” because we have been called “for the very purpose that [we] might inherit a blessing” (1 Pet. 3:9).
He explains our calling to that purpose further by citing Psalm 34:12-16. Because the teaching of that passage is an inspired explanation to children of how they are to fear the Lord (Ps. 34:11), Peter’s use of it here to explain our calling shows that we have been called to be children who fear the Lord in certain specific ways (1 Pet. 3:10-11).
From the citation of Psalm 34:12-16 in 1 Peter 3:10-12, we learn that we who would lead a blessed life of fearing God must keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking deceit (1 Pet. 3:10). We must turn away from evil, do good, seek peace, and pursue it (1 Pet. 3:11).
Peter then explains these directives by inserting for at the beginning of 1 Peter 3:12, which is not in Psalm 34:15. By doing so, however, he does not change the original meaning; he brings out the logical connection that was there all along but was unstated. We are thus called to inherit a blessing (1 Pet. 3:9) through heeding certain directives about fearing God (1 Pet. 3:10-11) because His eyes “are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayer” (1 Pet. 3:12a-b), but His face “is against those who do evil” (1 Pet. 3:12c).
Because Peter’s teaching here (1 Pet. 3:8-9) is about fearing God (1 Pet. 3:10-11) in view of His differing responses to the prayers of people according to His assessment of their lives (1 Pet. 3:12), we see that what he teaches us here parallels his earlier teaching about fearing our Father who impartially judges those who pray to Him (1 Pet. 1:17). The comparison of 1 Peter 3:8-12 with 1 Pet. 1:71-21, therefore, teaches us some specific aspects of fearing our impartial Father to whom we pray.
As men of the Word, let us live such (1 Pet. 3:7-12) redeemed lives of fearing our impartial Father to whom we pray (1 Pet. 1:17-21)!