Class Notes: 6/18/2008
1Pet 3:15-16 The believer's good conduct as a witness in the midst of suffering
In our study of the mandates for the believer in God's pre-determined plan we are presently examining the mandate found in 1Pet 3:15; for the believer to sanctify or set apart the TLJC in their hearts or stream of consciousness and as a result be focused on TLJC rather than the adversities in life and to be ready to give an answer of the "hope that is in them" that results from the believer's occupation with TLJC.
1Pet 3:15; Because of this, (the sanctification of TLJC In their heart) believers will be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks with gentleness and respect.
Last time we discussed the words translated "with gentleness and reverence" which describes the way that the believer is to present the information to those who ask recognizing their free volition and we looked at how it is that the believer maintains a good conscience in the midst of the suffering because often suffering is perceived to be caused by failure, but as we saw in the case of Job that was not the case. His suffering was the result of being presented by God as a witness to satan.
1Pet 3:16;c The word translated "behavior" is the Greek word "anastrophe" which means manner of life or how one conducts themselves. It not only refers to the overt actions but also addresses the thoughts and motivations of the believer that ultimately result in the overt actions.
When the believer maintains or holds on to a good conscience their good conduct that comes making good decisions from a position of strength because they have made decisions based on Doctrinal norms and standards under the motivation of the mentor ministry of God the Holy Spirit results in putting to shame those who are slandering or speaking evil of them and who are part of the source of the suffering the believers Peter is speaking to are facing.
They were suffering because of people testing and system testing from the legalistic Jews who were implacable, vindictive, and self-righteous because of their negative volition regarding the gospel of salvation by grace through faith alone in the person of TLJC alone.
Peter is instructing them to maintain their good behavior in spite of the pressure they were under and to treat their accusers with grace, and not lose their own integrity or spiritual strength when interacting with them.
Peter was encouraging them to stay inside the PPOG where true happiness always resides and not to depend on people or material things for happiness. Good Conduct from living inside the PPOG results in having personal control of one's life, a personal sense of destiny, self-confidence from metabolized doctrine, and therefore, poise and command of self in any situation of adversity or prosperity.
Believers are to bring their happiness to others and not lean on others or circumstances for their happiness. Peter was instructing them not to be led away from the PPOG and doctrine by the conflict and antagonism they were facing, but instead maintain their good conscience and conduct and as Prov 13:20a; says, "walk with wise men will be wise".
Without unconditional impersonal love developed in spiritual independence, believers inevitably become a slave to people and the way that they are treated.
The solution to people testing is found in the combination of personal love for God and impersonal love for mankind. In fact, the believer's personal love for God the Father is demonstrated by their impersonal love for all mankind. 1John 4:20-21;
"Spiritual independence," aka "spiritual autonomy," with it's cognitive independence, that corresponds to "hope", the second stage of growth in the spiritual life, is the prerequisite for solving all problems of human relationships, including people testing, system testing and thought testing.
In spiritual independence believers are spiritually self-sustained, and are able to solve their own problems with the recall of Bible Doctrine under the ministry of God the Holy Spirit.
It also provides them the divine power to accept correction and receive understanding. Believers take personal responsibility for their own decisions when they are spiritually self-sustained. They never blame any one else or circumstances when in adversity. They simply submit themselves to the Lord and wait on his deliverance. 1Pet 5:6-7;
Virtue love, with it's personal love for God and integrity love for mankind, as a problem solving device is the secret to the believer's relationships with God and mankind.
Virtue love is the manifestation of the power of God, 2Tim 1:7;Through impersonal integrity love, the believer has control of their own life and their own happiness. Therefore, disappointment, frustration, and dissatisfaction with others cannot damage their happiness; they are protected from the misery caused by keeping their eyes on people.
Once the believer has attained spiritual adulthood, and begins to face the different forms of suffering for blessing, God becomes the source of the believer's happiness.
1Pet 3:16; The believer's good conduct in the face of opposition or pressure is often a better witness than anything they may actually say to someone who asks them of their hope. Peter describes this in 1Pet 3:1-2;
This category of witness bridges from the believer's giving an account of the hope that is within them to those who ask to the believer's greater witness that is demonstrated by their conduct inside the PPOG in the midst of the suffering not only before men, but before the angels.
We see from the book of Job, that Satan argues that men, like angels, will not be able to handle suffering, especially if they consider the suffering unjust. Satan alleges that the only reason anyone remains faithful to God, is because God blesses him.
This was the allegation he made in Job 1:9-11;
God then presented Job to satan as a witness. Job 1:12; The book of Job chronicles how Job discredited Satan's theory and glorified God.
Paul describes himself in a similar way in 1Cor 4:9; where the word translated "exhibited in the NASB is the Greek word "apodeiknumi" which means to show publicly as an exhibit or demonstrate or prove to be true. It was used to describe a gladiatorial show in the time the Bible was written.
Paul goes on to describe himself and the other apostles as gladiators by describing them as "men condemned to death", using the Greek word "epithanatos" which in secular literature was used to describe those who were thrown daily to the lions. At the time when this was written, the gladiators in the Roman arena would address the crowd in the stands with the Latin phrase "morituri salutamus" which means "we who are about to die salute you"
Paul goes on to describe himself and the other apostles as being a "spectacle" to the world, both to angels and to men.
The word translates spectacle is the Greek word "theatron" that is the source of the English word theatre and is the place where the games or dramatic spectacles were exhibited and where the public assemblies were held. It is also used to describe someone who is exhibited to be gazed at and made sport of.
The word translated "behavior" is "anastrophe” the same word that we have in our passage 1Pet 3:16;
The point is that one's behavior even when nothing is said is an effective witness especially if one is enduring suffering and it is an even more effective witness if the suffering is undeserved.
Paul discusses this same principle in Rom 12:17-21; where he quotes Prov 25:21-22; Good conduct in the face of evil is a very effective witness.
This type of conduct requires maximum use of the Faith Rest Drill as the believer applies Bible Doctrine from their recall of the the promises of God to their function as a plaintiff in the supreme court of heaven.
Their function in faith rest under the mentorship of God the Holy Spirit leads to the transition to hope which is their absolute confident future expectation from God resulting in Personal Love for God that enables the unconditional integrity love that is necessary to deal with the suffering. (Faith --> Hope--> Love) 1Cor 13:13;
1Pet 3:16; The believer's good conscience and conduct is the result of their holding in their position "in Christ” or "in union with TLJC” through their application of Bible Doctrine that results in their receiving the power to deal with the suffering Phil 4:13; and results in the those who slander them being put to shame.
The word translated "shame" is the Greek word "kataischuno" which means to be disgraced, confounded or dishonored 1Pet 3:17; For it is better, if it is the will of God (4th class condition of if " it could be God's will but that is not normally the case") that you suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. Net Note 29
Peter is saying that it is most likely that their suffering deserved, but it is possible that it is not.
We understand from Phil 1:29-30; that undeserved suffering is part of God's plan for the advance of the believer.
Regardless of weather the suffering deserved or undeserved, it provides a platform for the believer to make a defense of the hope that is within them, not only with their words, but by their good conduct in the suffering.
Both men and angels are watching their conduct in the suffering and as believers apply Bible Doctrine in the suffering they are actually witnessing of the veracity and faithfulness of God and his word to both men and angels.
Remember the believer's witness is for the angels as much or more as is it is for other people.
When in the midst of the suffering, believers should be looking for the opportunities that God may be presenting to them to make their defense and become a witness of TLJC rather than being focused on how or when the suffering will end.
In fact, believers are actually commanded not to think their sufferings are strange or unusual and to rejoice in the suffering to the degree that the sufferings are based on their relationship with TLJC. 1Pet 4:12-13;
The word translated "surprised" is the present passive imperative of the Greek word "xenizo” It is a command not to be surprised when the believer faces suffering.
If the believer is to become that witness for God, to mankind and the angels, they must exhibit the following characteristics while in the midst of their suffering which will cause men to ask of their hope and simultaneously refute the allegation of Satan that creatures will not serve God when faced with suffering especially undeserved suffering.
Many of these passages contain the imperative mood of command in their syntax in the Original Greek so they are mandates to believers
Believers are commanded to Greatly Rejoice and Keep on Rejoicing in their suffering. 1Pet 1:6; 1Pet 4:13;.
Believers are to maintain good conduct in the face of slander. 1Pet 2:12;NET
Believers are to Patiently Endure, not speak evil or Threaten, and Entrust themselves to God 1Pet 2:20-23; 1Pet 4:19;
Believers are not to fear, be intimidated or be troubled, they are to sanctify Christ in their thinking, and maintain a good conscience and good behavior. 1Pet 3:14-16;
Believers are commanded to arm themselves with the attitude of TLJC 1Pet 4:1;
Believers are commanded not to be surprised when they are targeted for suffering 1Pet 4:12;
They are commanded not to feel ashamed by the suffering 1Pet 4:16; 'if" is in the first class condition, assumed to be true, The word translated "ashamed" is the present middle imperative of the Greek word "aischno"
They are commanded to allow themselves to be Humbled by God 1Pet 5:6; The word translated "humbled" is the aorist passive imperative of the Greek word "tapeinoo"
They are to to cast or "throw" their Anxiety on TLJC 1Pet 5:7; The word translated "cast" is the Greek word "epiripto" which means to throw. NET note 12
and to be on the alert, resisting the Devil by being firmly established in the Doctrine 1Pet 5:8-9; The word translated "alert" is the aorist active imperative of "gregoreo" meaning to "keep on keeping awake" and the word translated "resist" is the aorist active imperative of "antistete" meaning to "keep on standing against".
Some of the results that accrue to the believer who endures suffering with these exhibited characteristics are:
The believer proves the efficacy or proof of their Faith (Doctrine) 1Pet 1:6-7; 1Pet 4:12;
The believer shuts up or silences the foolish speech of ignorant people by their doing of divine good in spite of the suffering. 1Pet 2:13,15;
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