“11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 12 Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.”NIV
As we saw yesterday, ‘’declaring’’ God’s ‘’praises’’ is, in this context, very much about how we live; the pursuit of holiness.. It is not merely about living a ‘’good’’ life, but living ‘’such good lives’’. There is a goodness which is ‘’the fruit of the Spirit’’. It is supernatural goodness: God-given, God-directed, God-energised. It’s not ordinary, every day goodness. It is goodness with a plus in it. The call is to live ‘’such good lives among the pagans’’.
Peter heard the ‘ sermon on the mount’ live. He was there in person when Jesus preached His famous message. I wonder, was he remembering and re-echoing part of it when he wrote v.12? (See Matthew 5:16). Just as Peter wrote about living ‘’such’’ good lives, Jesus had said, ‘Let your light ‘’so’’ shine before men. Two little words carrying big weight.
By the way, you may also see a likeness to what we have read in chapter 1:13-15. Peter does not say, ‘Don’t have ‘’sinful desires’’ ‘.That would be impossible for anyone who has a sinful nature, and the last time I looked I still had one! What about you? No, what Peter exhorts his readers is to ‘’abstain’’ from these longings which assault the ‘’soul’’.In other words, don’t give in to them; don’t nurture or feed or encourage them. Don’t vote for sin. You hear its campaign speeches, but don’t be taken in
We ‘fight the good fight’ against indwelling sin recognising that we are ‘’aliens and strangers in the world.’’ As I’ve said before, we are a people who don’t belong here and who won’t be long here.
This morning, I read a prayer which could not be more relevant. Having thanked God for the many blessings of the day, John Baillie says:
‘Yet let me never think, O eternal Father, that I am here to stay. Let me always remember that I am a stranger and pilgrim on earth. For here we have no lasting city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. Lord, by your grace prevent me from losing myself so much in the joys of earth that I have no longing left for the purer joys of heaven. Do not let the happiness of today become a trap to my overworldly heart.’