Sanctify the Lord God (Chapter 3 Verses 8-22)
Now Peter throws the whole thing together, all of you (vv8-12). Love, sympathy, harmony, humility, and compassion (Philippians 2.1-5). Forgive the evils, the hurts caused by others, forget the insults (Romans 12.17), bless and be blessed (Matthew 5.44; Matthew 18.21-35). Peter elucidates with a quotation from the Psalms (vv10-12; Psalm 34.12-16a). But again you see it’s this quality life Peter has been speaking about all along. God’s blessing is upon us when we live in this way as a Church. Look what he says about prayer (v12), is this the reason why prayers are not answered? Because our living standards are so low, is that why we are in a sense powerless? It all matters very much. The Lord’s eyes are upon his people always. The gospel we love and proclaim is God’s power for salvation and for transformation, of both heart and life, it provides the model, Jesus, and the power, the Holy Spirit. It is the Father’s will we be changed from the image of sin to the image of his Son. And the means he uses to accomplish this is regeneration, sanctification, by faith and prayer, by suffering and discipline, by word and Spirit. Yes, even the suffering these believers are enduring, Peter writes, are working for them an eternal weight of glory (2Corinthians 4.17). Everything works together for good to those who love and are loved by God (Romans 8.28).
This is the answer to our fear as well (vv13-14). Beloved if God is for us who can be against us (Romans 8.31)? If we are doing what is right in his sight, who can condemn us? If we are blessed by him, who can take that away? Nobody! What is it that they fear (v14b)? Everything, their own shadows even. If we are right with God there is nothing to fear at all. That ultimately is the answer to all our phobias. It’s amazing what ills are caused by fear, and anxiety, heart trouble, high blood pressure, some forms of asthma, rheumatism, ulcers, arthritis, migraine and many stomach disorders, it truly is amazing. Perhaps we begin to understand why the Bible speaks so often about not being afraid, about having courage, trusting God, knowing and enjoying the peace of God. Worry, fear, anxiety is public enemy number one, society is full of it, and people are dying from it. Get rid of it, trust God and do right (vv13-14). Meditate on Paul’s words here: “by prayer and supplication…..the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:4-8).
(© James R Hamilton, written May, 1998)