“For freedom, Christ has set us free…” (Galatians 5). Yet Paul and the other Apostles warn against the abuse of our Christian freedom. We take a look at 1 Peter 2:11-20 and the connection of identity and the blessed use of freedom to the glory of God and the service of neighbors.

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Bible Study Notes on 1 Peter 2:11-20


USING YOUR FREEDOM

From 1 PETER 2:11-20 (ESV)

  11 Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. 12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

18 Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. 19 For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. 20 For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God.”


INTRODUCTION: Just Passing Through, on Our Way Home

Most of you were born here in America, even in Nebraska. Many have likely lived the bulk of your lives right here in this very town. Perhaps some came from other nearby towns or states. A few have traveled to other countries, perhaps visiting resorts in Mexico, taking cruises to Caribbean Islands, or booking flights abroad to tour Europe or Asia.

Maybe a mission trip took you to another country or continent. Some in our congregation visited other nations rather involuntarily, as members of the armed forces following orders–whether in peacetime or in time of war. But the vast majority of those in our congregation grew up within a hundred miles or so of Laurel, NE. Some still live or work on the very farm places at which they grew up.

I have not traveled much. For the most part, I’ve lived within an hour’s drive of the homes I slept in as a child, the schools I attended, and the places of work where I’ve served. I could visit the various churches where I was baptized, educated, confirmed, ordained and served as a Pastor in a single, long day’s drive. Except for four years of living in and near St. Louis, MO during seminary, Nebraska remains the only people and culture I’ve known.

What place is the farthest you’ve been away from home?

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What’s the longest amount of time you’ve spent far from home?

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Meeting new people, communicating in a new language, eating unfamiliar foods, experiencing different geography and weather–travel often challenges us to change our habits, our way of thinking and doing things. Our ways change more the longer we stay in a new place, less if we are just passing through…

PART ONE: “BELOVED, AS FOREIGNERS AND EXILES…”

A.) Listen again to 1 Peter 2:11-20. For people who have known no other culture or way of life, this manner of speaking initially might strike us as strange. Yet Peter is taking up a theme he established from the first verse of this letter, sent to encourage and instruct fellow children of one heavenly Father. Read 1 Peter 1:1-2. “To those who are elect exiles of the Dispersion…”

“The Diaspora” refers to the great scattering of God’s chosen people. Once they were given a unique Covenant land to inhabit as their own. Now, they stand conquered and scattered to many strange countries. They took their faith, their God and His Word with them. To what various places had God’s chosen people been dispersed to dwell for a time, according to 1 Peter 1:1-2?

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B.) 1 Peter 2:11–Consider the three names Peter calls them here:

“Beloved”–the Apostle loves them, but more importantly, God Himself loves them. Consider the word spoken by the Father at the Baptism of Our Lord:

“This is my________________ Son, in Whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

“Sojourners” –points to the temporary place which they NOW pass through

“Exiles” –points to their permanent place of origin, where they rightly BELONG

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C.) Note the Verbs in 1 Peter 2:11-12.

“Beloved, I urge you…” How is URGE different from COMMAND?

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“I urge you to abstain…” Abstain means____________________________________

Abstain from the fleshly passions “which wage war against”__________________

D.) Verse 12 gives the spiritual purpose such abstinence serves. Compare Matt. 5:14-16. What is that purpose?____________________________________________

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PART TWO: Christian Freedom and Vocational Subjection (2:13-17)

E.) Verse 13 begins: “Be subject…” This action-word, this verb is imperative, an emphatic word of direct command, not a more tender urging. When you visit a foreign land, why might it be especially important to obey it’s rulers and laws, to the best of your ability? What difficulties might you face of you refuse to “Be subject” to those rulers and laws?

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F.) For whose sake does the Apostle bid all “Be subject…”?_____________________

G.) Whose gracious will and what good purpose is served by such humility and obedience? (See verse 15)

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H.) Read verse 16. Let’s explore some different understandings or aspects of the words “Free” and “Freedom”? How would you explain the concept of freedom:

In Culture/Speech/Art/Music?

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In Civil Government/Politics?

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In Economic/Financial Matters?

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SPIRITUALLY, regarding the LAW of God?

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SPIRITUALLY, regarding the GOSPEL of our salvation in Christ?

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I.) “For freedom, Christ has set us free!” (Galatians 5:1) Describe the potential abuse of freedom, according to 1 Peter 2:16. Think of specific examples, if you can:

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