Friday, November 21, 2008

1 Peter 3

I always struggle with the verses about slaves obeying masters and wives being weaker vessels and submitting. I know some of the material is cultural and I understand that "submission implies volition". I also understand that for their era Paul and Jesus and even Peter were world changers in the way they included women in their ministries and inner circles - but I still struggle.

Verse 8 finally offers me a place of equal footing where I can nod my head and feel more comfortable, "Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind." 1 Peter 3:8. I could spend the rest of my life living in to verse 8.

My daughter and I had an interesting discussion last night that led us to this verse, "Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you; 16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence. Keep your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who abuse you for your good conduct in Christ may be put to shame." 1 Peter 3 :15b-16 NRSV. My daughter was concerned about some of her friends and the sin they were living in. She wondered how to go about pointing out their errors without turning the away. i suggested that she love them. I know the temptation and the desire to argue people into the Kingdom. I have never found this to be effective. I compared it to trying to fish with a frying pan. not very good bait! But the unconditional love of God, now that is what I am after! I wish the church that represents Jesus would turn to his life of love and live into that model.

Chapter 3 ends with some interesting ideas to chase down. "For Christ also suffered for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, in order to bring you to God. He was put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit, in which also he went and made a proclamation to the spirits in prison, who in former times did not obey, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. And baptism, which this prefigured, now saves you--not as a removal of dirt from the body, but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers made subject to him." 1 Peter 3:18-22 NRSV. It is interesting to me that Christ went and proclaimed the gospel to those in "prison" that had been disobedient! Grace beyond the grave is a fascinating concept, don't you think! Peter shows the limitless power of Jesus and his love expressed through grace to all people here.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

I really like verse 15, about being ready to account for the hope that is within us. I wonder if people can see in me or other people of faith a kind of hope that they want to know where comes from. I don't always think so - but i 'hope' so!