Submit Yourselves

1Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. 

‘Submit yourselves’ Be subject, as in Romans 13:1-7. Christians commanded to obey human laws and civil rulers as long as they do not transgress the laws of God. Ten duties of citizens are required: To be subject to civil government (2:13-17; Rom. 13:1; Tit. 3:1); to be afraid to disobey civil rulers (Rom. 13:3; Pro. 24:21); to do good (Rom. 13:4; Tit. 3:1); to pay taxes (Rom. 13:1-7; Matt. 22:17-21); to render dues to all people (Rom. 13:7); to honour civil rulers (2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 23:5); to pray for civil rulers (1Tim. 2:1-2); to obey civil laws (Rom. 13:1-7; Ezr. 7:26); to do not curse rulers (Eccl. 10:20); to work for peace (Rom. 12:18).

In God’s plan He has determined that human governments shall exist to help Him carry on moral government and enforce moral laws. Even though they are appointed by God, He is not responsible for their acts, which is mainly evil and selfish. If they get out of line He will judge them, as He will all others. Some facts about human governments: They were instituted by God (2:13-17; Gen. 9:1-7; Rom. 13:1-6). Their purpose was to execute criminals and enforce law and order among people (2:13-17; Gen. 9:6; Isa. 11:4-9; 65:20; Dan. 2:21; 4:17-25; 5:21; Rom. 13:1-6). Human governments, are not founded upon the arbitrary will of God, but upon the needs of humanity in securing their highest good.

‘Ordinance’ the Greek word ktisis, always translated “creature” or “creation” except here and Hebrew 9:11. It means not only to be subject to every human ordinance, but also to every human creature that has any authority in government. The Jews thought it was unlawful to obey any ruler who wasn’t Jewish.

‘For the punishment of evildoers’ this is the purpose of human government and civil rulers, and it is only right that all good people cooperate to put lawlessness down.

‘So is the will of God, that with well doing you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men’ when Christians obey the eight commands for pilgrims, they not only do the will of God, “but put to silence” the enemies of Christianity. The eight commands for pilgrims are: Abstain from fleshly lusts (2:11); live honest lives before men (2:12); submit to human civil rulers (2:13-15); be free, but live godly (2:16); honour all men (2:17); love the brotherhood (2:17); fear God (2:17), and honour the king (2:17).

‘Silence’ [Greek: phimoo] translated “put to silence” (2:15; Matt. 22:34); “be speechless” (Matt. 22:12); “hold one’s peace” (Mark 1:25; Luke 4:35); “be still” (Mark 4:39); and “to muzzle” (1Cor. 9:9; 1Tim. 5:18).

‘Ignorance’ [Greek: agnosia] translated “ignorance” (2:15) and “not knowledge” (1Cor. 15:34). This rightly pictures foolish men who do not seem to have intelligence enough to accept Christianity (cp. Ps. 14:1).

‘Foolish’ [Greek: aphron] meaning senseless; witless; crazed or silly.

‘As free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God’ Jews considered themselves servants to no one but God. They used this doctrine for a cloak of maliciousness to justify their many rebellions against Rome and other nations. Peter warned them to be subject to civil rulers in all lands proving they were true servants of God.

‘Honour all men’ Romans 13:7 says: “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.” Withhold nothing from civil government or its lawful officers that is required of you to pay. Pay taxes, customs, fear, and honour to all people over you in public life.

‘Brotherhood’ this means all true Christians in the one family of God (Eph. 3:6, 14-15) who represents the male (Heb. 2:11-12) body of Christ.

‘Fear God’ – fear [have respect] God who gave these commands lest He punish you for disobedience.

‘Honour the king’ honour the emperor or the highest civil ruler, for human government came from God (2:13-17; Rom. 13:1-7) even though the rulers are of darkness (Eph. 6:12).

Purified Your Souls

1Peter 1:22-24 Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower thereof falls away

‘Purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that you love one another with a pure heart fervently” seven experiences of Christians are mentioned here: Purity of soul; obedience to the truth; yieldedness to the Holy Spirit; love without hypocrisy; love with fervency; purity of heart and the new birth by the Word (1:23; 1Tim. 1:5).

Psalms 24:4 teaches: “He that has clean hands, and a pure heart; who has not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.” These are the type of people that will inherit the earth and multiply and replenish it forever (Gen. 8:22; 9:12; Dan. 2:44-45; 7:13-14, 18, 27; Luke 1:32-33; 2Pet. 3:13; Rev. 21:3-7, 21-27; 22:1-5). Four qualifications are mentioned: Clean hands (Ps. 15:1-5); a pure heart (Ps. 51:7; Mal. 3:2-3; Matt. 5:8; John 15:3); no idolatry (vanity, 1Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; Heb. 12:14), and being truthful (Rev. 21:8).

Matthew 5:8 says: “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” One receives a pure heart when born again (2Cor. 5:17; Eph. 4:24; 2Thess. 2:13; 1Jn. 1:9; 2:29; 3:5-10; 5:1-4, 18).

‘Being born again’ many Scriptures say that when one is born again and in Christ, he “receives power to become a son of God” (1:12); he has “crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts” (Gal. 5:24); “his sins are blotted out” (Acts 3:19); “he is washed, sanctified, and justified” (1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rev. 1:5); “he has turned from darkness to light and from the power of satan to the power of God” (Acts 26:18); “he has salvation” (Rom. 1:16; 2 Thess. 2:13); “he is created in righteousness and true holiness” (Eph. 4:22-24); “he is God’s elect” (Eph. 1:7; 1 Pet. 1:2-4; Col. 3:12); and “he departs from all iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:4, 19-22).

‘By the word of God’ two agents of the new birth: the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5; 1Cor. 6:11) and the Word of God (John 3:5). Water is used in a figurative sense of salvation (John 4:14; Isa. 12:3), of the Spirit baptism (John 7:37-39), and of cleansing by the Word of God (John 15:3; Eph. 5:26). Since men are cleansed and born again by the Word (Jas. 1:18; 1Pet. 1:23), it is clear that being born of water means being born again by the Word of God.

‘All flesh is as grass’ this is quoted from Isaiah 40:6-8. This was the message the voice of the vision told him to cry: People are like grass which withers soon and is gone, but the Word of the Lord shall stand forever (Isa. 40:6-8; Psa. 119:89-91; Matt. 5:18; 24:35; Mark 13:31; John 10:35; 12:34; 1Pet. 1:25).

‘As grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass …’ this is the 4th New Testament prophecy in 1Peter. Earthly seeds and reproductions will soon perish, but the Word of God is eternal (Jas. 1:11; 4:14).

Believe in God

1Peter 1:19-21 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

‘As of a lamb without blemish and without spot’ He came as a man – a lowly servant of all to set the right example of how men can be like God. He came and lived as God would live among men so that men could learn to live like God. He literally “emptied Himself” (Php. 2:5-8) and took the form of a servant instead of the form of a sovereign. He humbled Himself from deity to humanity and from humanity to infamy, taking on Him the sins of the world and redeeming fallen man to His original dominion.

‘Foreordained’ the Greek word proginosko meaning to know beforehand (Rom. 8:29). It refers both to God seeing ahead that He would have to send a Saviour to redeem man from the fall (Rom. 8:29-30). No single individual is chosen, elected, foreknown, or predestined to be saved or lost without his personal choice and responsibility in the matter (John 3:16; 1Tim. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17). It would be cruel impartiality – unjust regard for one and an unjust disregard for another – and not divine justice for one to be chosen by God to be saved and another to be damned. God offers grace to all alike. His invitations, promises, provision, and warnings of punishment are general. All people are invited to choose life and are warned of eternal punishment if they do not do so. It is inconsistent with man’s probation for God to elect some to be saved and some to be lost.

‘Before the foundation of the world’ before the disruption or overthrow of the pre-Adamite world (Matt. 13:35). ‘Foundation’ the Greek word katabole means to cast or throw down (note the verb kataballo translated “cast down” in 2Corinthians 4:9 and Revelation 12:10). Katabole should have been translated “overthrow” or “casting down of the world” in Matthew 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 4:3; 9:26; 11:10; 1Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; 17:8. With the exception of Hebrews 11:10, katabole is used with kosmos meaning social world, and refers to the overthrow of the pre-Adamite world by the flood of Genesis 1:2; 2Peter 3:5-7; Psalms 104:5-9; Jeremiah 4:23-26 and the defeat of Lucifer and his earthly kingdom before Adam (Isa. 14:12-14; Eze. 28:11-17; Luke 10:18).

‘Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God’ four things Christians believe: They believe in God through Christ, in the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ, in the ascension and exaltation of Jesus Christ and that their faith and hope are based upon the work of Christ.

To fully belief means: To believe that all the promises of God are yea and amen to all (2Cor.1:20); to believe that all things are possible to the believer (Mark 9:23); to believe that all things we ask in prayer we receive (Matt. 7:7-11; 21:22); to believe that even all of our desires will be granted (Mark 11:22-24); to believe that we can ask what we will, and it will be given (John 15:7); to believe in those things that be not as though they were (Rom. 4:17); to believe that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him (Heb. 11:6); to believe that God gives liberally and that he does not upbraid or rebuke when we come to him for anything (Jas. 1:5-8); to believe without ever a question or a waver that what is asked is done (Jas. 1:5-8); to believe that it is the will of God to give what He has promised (1Jn. 3:22); to believe that Christ took all sickness and sin in His own body on the cross and that we do not have to bear them one minute after we accept His vicarious work (Matt. 8:16-17; 1Pet. 2:24; Isa. 53:4-5). To believe that every believer can do the same works of God that Christ did and that God’s power in the baptism of the Spirit is the same today as when Christ and the early believers received it (John 14:12-15: Luke 24:49; Acts 1:8; 2:38-39; 5:32).

Come Unto Me

John 6:41-46 The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Jesus therefore answered and said unto them, Murmur not among yourselves. No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, come unto me. Not that any man has seen the Father, save he which is of God, he has seen the Father. 

As a last resort for their unbelief, the Jews always fell back on the excuse of ‘Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from Heaven?’ The same excuse so many uses today to deny that Jesus is God as the second person of the Trinity and not just a mere prophet.

The way the Father draws men to Him is always through the Word which is Jesus as clearly explained in John 1:1, 14 and in John 14:6 it is stated that  Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life and no man can come to the Father, except through Jesus (the Word). No man is able to come to God except by God’s Word through the Holy Spirit and his own conscience, both of which are God-given (John 16:7-11; Rom. 2:12-16).

The Word must be heard for faith to grow (Rom. 10:11-17; 2Cor. 1:17-24) and the Holy Spirit to convict of sin (John 16:7-11). Man’s conscience then condemns or sanctions his own action as right or wrong according to the light received (Rom. 2:12-16; 2Cor. 2:15-17; 1Jn. 1:7). God draws or allures but never drags or uses force.

‘It is written in the prophets’ – the Old Testament was known as the Prophets, (or the Law and the Prophets) because it was the period that the Father spoke to the world through prophets (Heb. 1:1; Lk. 16:16) for there were no Bibles yet, only book scrolls of the Old Testament.  ‘And they shall be all taught of God’ through the prophets that wrote the books of the Old Testament man was told about God.

‘He has seen the Father’ For those – in the days of the apostles – who have seen Jesus (His example) they have also seen the Father (John 14:7).

Believe on Him

John 6:36-40 But I said unto you, That you also have seen me, and believe not. All that the Father give me shall come to me; and him that come to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which see the Son, and believe on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day. 

‘That you also have seen me, and believe not’ Jesus explains to the Jews that God, and not Moses, gave the bread to the Israelites, but the Jews have seen Him multiply bread and do all kinds of signs and they still refuse to believe (trust) in Him. They only followed Jesus from sensual motives (John 6:26-27).

The thirteenth New Testament prophecy is constantly being fulfilled in ‘All that the Father gives me shall come to me, and him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out’ When one ‘comes to’ it means to come in faith, repenting and turning to Christ with a whole heart, giving up sin, and consecrating himself forever to God and His Word and His will (Rom. 10:9-10; 2Cor. 7:10; 1Jn. 1:9; Acts 2:38-39; 3:19).

The fourteenth New Testament prophecy – ‘And this is the Father’s will… that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day….that every one which sees the Son, and believes on Him, may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day’ – is being fulfilled and will be completely fulfilled in the resurrection (1Thess. 4:16-17; 1Cor. 15:23, 51-58).

The ‘last day’ is used six times of which five times refers to the last day of redemption of the righteous when their bodies will be fully redeemed (John 6:39-40, 44, 54; 11:24), and of the last day when the wicked will be resurrected and judged (John 12:48; Rev. 20:11-15).

The Hour Come

John 4:21-26 Jesus say unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour come, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour come, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seek such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman says unto him, I know that Messias come, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus say unto her, I that speak unto thee am he. 

Jesus answered the woman on her question from verse 20, the hour cometh when you shall neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father which is the sixth New Testament prophecy in John that is fulfilled. The answer embodies a great principle, that true worship is that of the heart and not of or at any particular place.

‘Father’ the Greek word is pater, and when used of God it expresses relationship and parentage to His “only begotten Son,” and to adopted sons (Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5).

‘Salvation is of the Jews’ – the salvation predicted by the prophets was to come through the Messiah of the Jews (Luke 2:30; Rom. 3:1-2; 9:4-5; 1Pet. 1:10-12).

The hour is here now when true worshippers shall worship God in Truth, thus in Christ who is the Word (John 1:1,14,17; 14:6). ‘In spirit’ the area of the mind where our thoughts are produced and of which we are commanded to renew our minds (Rom. 12:2; Eph. 4:23).

God is a Spirit Being, and must, therefore, be worshipped ‘in spirit,’ not the sun, moon, stars; nor an image of wood, stone, or metal; and not beast or man. He is not the air, wind, universal mind, love or some impersonal quality. He has a personal spirit (Psa. 143:10; Isa. 30:1) with a mind (Rom. 11:34), intelligence (Gen. 1:26; Rom. 11:33), will (Rom. 8:27; 9:19), power (Eph. 1:19; 3:7, 20; Heb. 1:3), truth (Psa. 91:4), faith and hope (Rom. 12:3; 1Cor. 13:13), righteousness (Psa. 45:4), faithfulness (1Cor. 10:13), knowledge and wisdom (Isa. 11:2; 1Tim. 1:17), reason (Isa. 1:18), discernment (Heb. 4:12), immutability (Heb. 6:17), and many other attributes, powers, and spirit faculties.

The Gift of God

John 4:10-15  Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knew the gift of God, and who it is that say to thee, Give me to drink; thou would have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. The woman say unto him, Sir, thou hast nothing to draw with, and the well is deep: from whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself, and his children, and his cattle? Jesus answered and said unto her, Whosoever drink of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. The woman say unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. 

‘The gift of God’ according to the Word is Christ (2Cor. 9:15; Heb. 6:4; Rom. 8:32); the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38-39; 8:20; 10:45; 11:17); Spiritual gifts (Rom. 1:11; 11:29; 12:6; Eph. 3:7; 4:7); Salvation (Rom. 5:15-21; Acts 4:12; Eph.2:8-9); Eternal life (Rom. 6:23; John 10:27-29); Divine call (1Cor. 7:7; Rom. 12:3-6; Eph. 3:7; 4:7); Good gifts (Jas. 1:17; Mat. 7:11); Ministers (Eph. 4:8-11).

‘The living water’ – ten gifts of this Gospel: Grace and truth (John 1:17); the Living Water (John 4:10); the Holy Spirit (John 7:37-39; 14:16); a perfect example (John 13:15); God’s Word (John 13:34; 17:8, 14); the glory of God (John 17:22); the true bread (John 6:32); Eternal life (John 6:33; 10:27-29); Peace (John 14:27); and answers to prayer (John 15:16; 16:23). The woman did request for this gift of God that was here the living water that Christ offered to her.

Eastern travellers frequently carry a leather bucket with which to draw water from public wells. This well was about 32 metres deep, 2.7m in diameter and had 4.5m of water. It was cut out of solid rock and showed the engineering skill of ancient times.

To Bear Witness

John 1:6-11  There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which light every man that come into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. 

This John refers to John the Baptist, used 20 times in this gospel and never by the title ‘Baptist’ as in the other gospels; he is not to be confused with John the Apostle who is the author of this gospel as well as 1,2,3 John and Revelation. John the Baptist was not the light but came to witness of the Light – the true Light that is Jesus Christ the Messiah (John 8:12; 9:5; 12:35-46) so that men can believe through Him (John 14:6) and be reconciled with the Father.

Jesus Christ became flesh – He came into the world – the same world (earth) He created (Col. 1:15-17) and they (people) knew Him not – most people chose not to have a relationship with God and when Christ came, He did not come as they would have preferred: as a king and to set them free from earthy rulers, but instead He came as a pauper and came to free us of sin, so the people rejected Him. Even His own nation, the Jews (or Israel) through whom He could demonstrate to other nations what God purposed for mankind.

The Word

John 1:1-5 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shine in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. 

‘In the beginning’ refers to the dateless past (Pro. 8:23) and the Word refers to Christ (John 1:14; Rev. 19:13) and proves His pre-existence (Mic. 5:1-2; Rev. 1:8, 11; 2:8). He is an eternal Being as are also the Father and the Holy Spirit (Ps. 90:1-2; Heb. 9:14). They are the Divine Trinity as described in 1John 5:7. Not only was the Word with God, but He was God and always will be as much divine as the other two members of the Trinity (Isa. 9:6-7; Heb. 1:8-12; Rev. 22:13-16). God created all things by Jesus Christ (Eph. 3:9; Col. 1:15-18; Heb. 1:1-2). Not only were all things created by Him, but redemption of creation is by Him (John 17:2; Col. 1:20). As all creation came by the Son, through the Holy Spirit, so all redemption comes the same way. It was what Christ did on the cross that made it possible for God to redeem through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:3-5; Tit. 3:5). When we walk in Christ (1Pet. 2:21-23) who is life and the light of men, we can begin to shine as the light of the world, as a city that is set on a hill that cannot be hid. “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14-16).

The Greek word for comprehended is katalambano which means to seize upon; to keep down or under; stop; to catch up within the sense of to discover or detect. It means that the satanic powers of darkness (Eph. 6:12) did not overcome the Word, but that the Word spoiled (conquered) them on the cross (Col. 2:14-17). In John 8:12 Jesus states “I am the light of the world: he that follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

God’s Will

James 4:13-17 Go to now, you that say, today or tomorrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas you know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appear for a little time, and then vanish away. For that you ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that. But now you rejoice in your boastings: all such rejoicing is evil. Therefore to him that know to do good, and do it not, to him it is sin. 

Boastings here consist of bragging on buying and selling from city to city and what one will do here and there. One should always say, “If the Lord will, we shall live to do this, or that”. This would demonstrate a personal faith in God and His providence instead of one’s own abilities. All such boasting is of evil intent. We cannot travel, shop, work or live life from our own understanding and ideas, we have to trust in God and acknowledge Him in all our ways, then He can direct our paths (Pro. 3:5-6).

God’s will is always to make us perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through the Lord Jesus Christ (Heb. 13:21).

For what is your life? It is a vapour…This is practically what was said of the rich man in James 1:10-11, so little worth to one’s life whom only focuses on the riches and ‘success’ of this world. The last verse warns that if we know what is good – to do right according to God’s standards – and we don’t, we are sinning. The Greek word for sin is hamartia which means to miss the mark.