Only grace soaked people are able to walk in joyful obedience

“Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.  For
“Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.
For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”” (1 Peter 3:8–12 ESV)

Finally.  Peter transitions now from instructions aimed at specific groups to general godly virtues that should accompany all believers.  The Greek word for “finally” is also translated “end” or “goal.”  So the end goal should be behavior that encompasses these characteristics.  These are internal, heart level traits that are Holy Spirit wrought.  Peter mentions:
• Harmonious (unity of mind) – sounds like meekness; willing to press God’s agenda and not our own.
• Sympathy – sensitivity or sorrow for the hurting, broken & down trodden.  Even for those who are depressed and suffer mental ailments.  For it is the grace of God that we don’t suffer the same way.
• Brotherly love – more than just love, but love like a brother – permanent, covental, familial.
• Tender hearted or compassionate – We have to see the bigger picture of our ultimate inheritance in order to be truly tender hearted towards others.
• A Humble mind – Thayer:  “the having a humble opinion of oneself; a deep sense of one’s (moral) littleness; modesty, humility, lowliness of mind.”  Humility is knowing one’s place in creation; we are created, He is Creator.

Peter ups the the ante by telling his readers not to repay evil for evil, not to keep score.  People who keep tabs mentally are miserable people, let us not be numbered among them!  On the contrary bless those who curse for you are a blessing.  Only grace soaked people will be able to execute this.  It seems to be imbedded in the human psyche to get even and keep score and unless God rebuilds that we always will.

As believers, there will be a longing for the word of God because we have indeed tasted & seen that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8 & 1 Peter 2:3).  If there is an absence of desire for the word of God, the person has to ask if they have ever really tasted & seen that the Lord is good – does he really have a regenerated heart?  Peter connects his thoughts to the truths in Psalm 34:12-16).  Do you a desire to love life & see good days?
• Then don’t speak evil & deceitfully.  A life of daily obedience to God yields the blessings of God.  But our obedience must be a joyful obedience, a glad submission.  If we obey to get the blessing then we don’t love God, we love ourselves!
• Turn from evil & do good.  Obedience, in glad submission, yields the blessings of God (not always external) while disobedience yields the discipline of God, for the Lord is against those who do evil (Psalm 34:16, 21 & Hebrews 12:4-11)
• Seek & pursue peace.  Peace with God & peace with others.  Sounds like the words of our Lord:  ““Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” (Matthew 5:9 ESV)
• The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous & his ears are open to their prayers.  Wow!  The sovereign Creator of all things has open ears to hear the prayers of the righteous!  That is amazing.  But, who is righteous – none are, no not one (Romans 3:10).  The righteous live by faith (Galatians 3:11).

As Christians, these should be growing in our lives.  It is interesting that Peter highlights the blessings of God while writing to suffering Christians.  How are they blessed while suffering, how are we blessed while we are suffering?  We are chosen children of the Creator with an inheritance beyond our wildest imagination.  That should produce wow and worship in our souls.  We should meditate upon and be moved by the fact that the divine, holy, perfect, sovereign Creator would determine before He formed the world to adopt you.  We were His enemies, objects of His holy wrath and He chose to make us new: He chose to regenerate us, forgive us and adopt us.  We weren’t good, we didn’t seek Him – He sought and saved us.  That is the fuel to suffer well.  When we have this perspective we begin to sound like Paul when he wrote:  “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18 ESV)

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