Do you want to live a blessed life? Do you want to please God and enjoy His favor? Do you want to know and do the Lord’s will? Then be a blessing to those around you. Show love to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Have care and compassion for each other. Don’t take revenge when others do you wrong. Don’t even desire revenge. Instead, forgive those who have wronged you by remembering how much forgiveness God has given you. Don’t gossip or complain about others, but rather build others up with kind words of praise and respect.
Peter wrote these truths to the suffering believers living in the first century Roman Empire but also to Christians today. We don’t suffer through the same persecution and hardships as those Christians. But like them, we are humans made in God’s image, corrupted by sin, and redeemed by the blood of Jesus. They apparently struggled with getting along with each other, and so do we. Sometimes they offended and hurt each other and needed to seek each other’s forgiveness, just like we do today. They needed to be challenged to walk in God’s love and live out their faith daily in their relationships with each other, and so do we.
Why should we want to bless each other in the ways that Peter describes in verses 8-11? Because we want God’s hand of blessing and mercy on us instead of His rod of discipline and correction. When we obey our Father, we stay under the protective umbrella of His grace. His eyes of favor and blessing are on us. His ears are open to hear our prayers. This does not mean that our life on earth will be easy or that we won’t face difficulties and pain. In fact, tomorrow’s passage will talk again about how we should understand and endure suffering as followers of Christ. But enjoying God’s blessing means that He is with us. We get His peace in the middle of trials. When we are striving to please God and turn away from sin, we get His smiling face of approval. And for the Christian, that is the greatest blessing of all.
The Text (1 Peter 3:8-12)
8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For
“He who would love life
And see good days,
Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
And his lips from speaking deceit.
11 Let him turn away from evil and do good;
Let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
And His ears are open to their prayers;
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”
Background and Observations
• Peter’s challenge about “not returning evil for evil” is just like what he had heard Jesus say in the Sermon on the Mount. “But I say to you,” said Jesus, “love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you…that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45). If we must forgive and love even our enemies, how much more should we forgive and love our brothers and sisters in Christ?
• Verses 10-12 are a quotation of Psalm 34:12-16. It is amazing how often the New Testament writers quote or paraphrase the Old Testament, especially the Psalms. This shows us that they knew their Scriptures very well, which for them meant just the Old Testament, and that these Scriptures were able to make them “wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). If we want to grow our relationship with the Lord, then we should study both the Old and New Testaments with hearts open to doing God’s will.
Questions to Think About
1. In what ways have you enjoyed God’s blessing as a result of obeying Christ and His teachings? Can you think of some specific examples from your recent past?
2. When do you feel like you have experienced God’s discipline as a clear result of your sin? What happened? How did you know that it was God’s discipline and not just a trial to build your faith?
3. Can you think of a time when you wanted to get revenge against someone but instead chose to forgive him or her? What were the consequences of your godly decision?