Author: Ron Graham
So far in this series on First Peter, we have looked at chapters one and two. Peter gives seven examples of how God treats us right, and seven examples of how we rightly respond to him. Now, in this lesson, we start looking at seven ways in which we should view ourselves in the light of what we have already learned. A true self image is necessary to right living. Arrogant people on one hand, or people suffering from low self esteem on the other, are suffering from a false self image. They do not see themselves as God sees them. Jesus provides the foundation of a right self image.
Peter uses the word "precious" several times in his letters, and there are several precious things which he identifies. God willing, we will look at these in a future lesson under the heading, "Our Right Set of Values". For now, it is sufficient to note in chapter one alone that...
Our spiritual riches are far more precious than "things like silver or gold" (1Peter 1:18). Silver and gold are among the least perishable things in this world, yet to seek even those makes for a "futile way of life". It is the heavenly treasures that we ought to strive for in life, and they who obtain these are rich beyond measure.
Peter uses the words "action... obedient... behaviour... work... conduct..." Yet in the same passage he says, "Fix your hope completely on the grace of God". This shows us that grace and works are not opposed to each other, nor does either stand alone. Peter gives us, in three words, an excellent analogy so that we may understand the relationship between God's grace and our works. He says, "As obedient children..."
Obedient children are not perfect children, and no sensible parent expects a child to be perfect. The love and favour of parents to their children is not based on the children being able to do everything as well as their parents can. When a little child tries to wash the dishes, make the breakfast, or create a little gift for the parents, the job often falls short of perfection. However the parents genuinely appreciate the effort and the good heart of the child. They certainly accept the gift as perfect, even though it isn't. A child sometimes promises its parents, "I'll be good all day." And the child does try hard all day to be good. The parents know that the child may not be good all day, but they overlook the lapses and kindly encourage the child's efforts. Maybe a little treat at the end of the day will be given the child "for being so good today." All this is so normal in a happy home that we take it for granted. Yet it is such a good picture of how God's grace works toward us "As obedient children..."
Flesh and blood, for all its beauty, is born mortal. Like a flower it lives and flourishes for a short span, then withers and dies. This happens to all flesh because its seed is perishable, and seed begets its like.
The new birth, however, imparts immortality. Its seed is the word of God, the gospel of Christ. This seed is eternal. It never perishes but abides forever. Having been born again, we know that we shall live forever —not in this present perishable form, nor in this mortal realm, but as glorious immortals in the marvelous light of God. We should see ourselves as such.