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  Bro. Tom’s Weekly Bible Study
  Week #16
Posted: December 21, 2006

I PETER 3:14-17

We have been reminded from I Peter 3:8-22 that one’s beliefs will affect our behavior.  We have studied that a proper behavior in our relationship will be affected by suffering.  Let us study verses 14-17 which give us thoughts on our behavior ‘In Our Relationship To Self’.  This text says, But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak of you, as evil doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.”

As we study our relationship to self we are confronted in verse 14 with ‘The State Of Our Self’.  Let us be assured the Bible teaches nothing about a positive mental attitude or thinking good about one’s self.  This is something the lost of this world can do.  We speak of a much higher realm when Peter speaks of suffering for righteousness sake, we will find ourselves happy.  The word ‘happy’ means supremely blessed, over fortunate, and well off.  Only the righteous mind of Christ produces this behavior when self is suffering.  This righteous behavior will cause us to reject fear and trouble in our heart.  The word ‘trouble’ means to be disturbed or agitated.  We will find the behavior of self to be in His easy yoke and carrying His light burden.  How can one reach this state?

In verse 15a this behavior is only produced through the ‘Sanctifying Of Self’.  The text tells us to set apart the Lord God in our heart.  The heart can only be given over to the Lord by our personal and public contact with the Word of God.  Jesus said in John 17:17, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy Word is truth.”

This righteous behavior can also be produced by a ‘Shrinkage Of Self’.  We are told to be ready to give an answer for the hope in us.  The word ‘answer’ speaks of a trial lawyer giving a defense motion.  We are to do it with ‘meekness’ and ‘fear’.  These two words speak of a distrust of self.  They have the idea of oppressing high mindedness.  In order to distrust self, verse 16 tells us to have a ‘good conscience’.  It is a conscience that is void of offence toward God and man.  This kind of conscience will cause the world to blush with confusion when they falsely accuse us of wrongdoing.  Let us not put any confidence in the arm of the flesh.

The last thought in a proper behavior involves ‘The Sovereign Over Self’.  In verse 17 we find these words, “For it is better, if the will of God be…” There is so much talk today about man’s free will of choice.  Let us be assured our free will has never taken us to God, only away from God.  The natural man who embodies the free will ‘receiveth not the things of God’.  Let us rest sweetly in the control of His sovereign will even if it means putting self down by suffering for well doing.

Oh, how many countless millions have given their lives to be burned because of righteous living.  Let us not think we will sail on beds of ease while others sail through bloody seas.