Last week our reading focused on how the Jesus Follower should interact with God and other believers. This week starting in verse 11, we will see a shift in emphasis as Peter instructs Apprentices of Jesus in how we are to relate to those outside of our community of faith.
You may ask, “Why would a new thought or emphasis start in the middle of a chapter?” That’s a great question! Divisions of Scripture, particularly in the New Testament, did not begin in translations until the 5th century, with our modern chapter and verses added in the mid 1500’s. Remember, 1 Peter was a letter meant to be read to churches and individuals. To read more about how our modern English Bible was divided, read THIS ARTICLE on blueletterbible.org.
Peter uses the terms “temporary residents” or “foreigners” to describe the Jesus Followers’ relationships to the people and systems outside of their community of faith. The people of God have always been well versed in being foreigners in the midst of other communities. The Israelites were slaves in Egypt and captives in Babylon. The ragtag group of disciples following Jesus were living under Roman rule. To be a foreigner or temporary resident has many implications. Temporary residents have a strong sense of primary allegiance to their homeland that will ALWAYS supersede their allegiance to their temporary home. In your journaling today, explore what being a “temporary resident” means for the Jesus Follower.
In verse 12, Peter explains the implications of living as a sojourner with one’s homeland being the Kingdom of God. Our lives matter. The way we live out God’s goodness matters! Think of the frustrations of society with Christianity. Very little of the response is due to theological differences; rather, much of the response is due to the action of men and women claiming allegiance to God and interacting with the world in incredibly destructive ways. God calls all of His Apprentices to live out His will and His ways because our obedience can change the narrative of Christianity for others! We become a living tapestry of God’s grace put on display for the world to see.
This is a big calling — one that we don’t always accomplish perfectly. But through God’s grace, our obedience, and the Holy Spirit’s empowerment, we get to be signposts for God’s goodness. In your reading today, in which areas do you see God calling you back in alignment to His ways? Is your allegiance to the Kingdom of God first ?
As a reminder, here are our steps for S.O.A.P.:
- Find a quiet place and read the SCRIPTURE of the day. Read it again. Read it slowly. Read it out loud!
- What OBSERVATIONS did you make? What does this passage teach you about God or yourself? Are there any calls to action? Do you have any questions?
- How will you make APPLICATION of this scripture and live your life differently today in light of what you just read? Be specific!
- Let it marinate. Take some time for PRAYER – thank God, confess any shortcomings, and ask to be empowered. Sit for a few moments and see if God has anything else for you.
Here is our passage for the day:
11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.1 Peter 2:11–12 (NLT)