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Subject: Christian Religious Studies
Topic: Christian Living In The Community (1Peter 2:1 – 25)
Lesson Objectives: At the end of the lesson, learners should be able to:
i. Explain the meaning of being a true witness for Christ,
ii. Explain the importance of living through good examples,
iii. Discuss some of the social vibes in the society such as corruption, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, etc,
iv. Point out the importance of tolerance and peaceful co-existence,
v. Describe some of their Civic responsibilities.
Christians live in communities with non-christians. In most cases, people are often jealous of Christians and are very fast in pointing accusing finger at them to show that they are not righteous as they claim to be. This has been the case in the past and is still the case today. For this obvious reason and for the fear of God, Christians in their various communities are supposed to live according to Christian standard. They should be disciplined in all their conducts, knowing fully well that they are under the watchful eyes of non-christians who are very critical of them. They must comport themselves and show themselves as good citizens. They should be law-abiding and show their respect for constituted authority. Peter in his epistle outlined some of the expected roles of Christians in the community in which they live.
Peter’s Teaching on the Expected Lifestyle of Christians living among non-christians (1 Peter 2:9 – 25)
St. Peter, in his message, tried to warn Christians to abstain from any form of social vices and maintain a high moral standard of living. As earlier stated, people are fond of making false allegations against Christians; therefore, there is the need for Christians to live decently in order to stamp out such false allegations against them.
Moreover, the Jews had always regarded themselves as the chosen race based on the fact that they are the descendants of Abraham. Unfortunately, they did not recognise the importance of Jesus in God’s plan for salvation of mankind. They therefore rejected him. This privilege has been transferred to those who believe in Jesus Christ (Christians). Such people would receive the promise of the spirit (the blessing of Abraham) through faith. This was the reason St. Peter referred to Christians as the chosen race when he said:
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, that you may declare the wonderful deeds of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were no people but now you are God’s people; once you had not received Mercy but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9 – 10)
St. Peter, therefore, appealed to Christians not to conform to the standard of this world. They should avoid the passion of the flesh and things that hinder their spiritual growth. They must maintain good conduct among non-christians so that in case of false accusation, people would see their good deeds and glorify God.
Again, Christians are expected to be subjected to every human institution and to civil authorities. God set up authorities to punish wrongdoers and praise those who do the right thing. By so doing, they would put to silence the ignorance of the foolish man. As men who live under the freedom of Christ, they should not use their freedom and pretext for evil, but as servants of God, they should honour all men, love their brothers, fear God and honour their leaders. In summary, Christians should maintain high moral standard wherever they find themselves.
St. Peter advised servants to submit themselves to their earthly masters. Even where there is a case of unjust punishment, they should bear it. God rewards faithfulness, although men do not recognise it. To butress his point, Peter cited the case of the unjust suffering of Jesus as an example. When Christ was reviled, he did not revile back; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but he trusted in God. Christians should therefore follow the good example of Jesus Christ in all things.
Christians As “A Chosen Race And A Royal Priesthood”
i. Peter in his epistle described Christians as a chosen race and a Royal priesthood. By this assertion, Peter portrayed Christians as a peculiar people of God, a holy nation i.e God’s own people.
ii. According to Peter, Christians replaced the Jews who had always regarded themselves as chosen race.
iii. The Jews have lost this privilege due to their unfaithfulness and unbelief.
iv. God now requires Christians to declare by their ways of life those attitudes that justify them as believers.
v. Without their effort, God has made them His children.
vi. They should therefore neglect their previous addiction to their carnal earthly desires.
vii. They should maintain good conduct and live a life worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ and show good examples to the believers.
viii. When people make false allegations against them (Christians) their decent life of righteousness will stamp out such false allegations.
ix. They should submit to all authorities and to the governors, for governments are appointed by God to punish offenders.
x. By their righteous conduct they will silence the ignorance of foolish men or some of their critics.
xi. As people liberated from the curse of the law, they must not use their freedom as a pretext for evil.
xii. They should fear God; respect the government of the day.
xiii. They should love one another in Christian brotherhood.
xiv. Christians should follow the exemplary life of Jesus Christ, follow his footsteps for he died for our sins that we might die to sin and live in righteousness.
How Christians Can Live Their Daily Life In Support Of Peter’s Description Of Them
i. Christians should render quality services to God.
ii. Christians should have respect for authorities, elders of the community and laws of the country.
iii. They should acknowledge God in everything and give Him the glory for achievement and success.
iv. Christians should perform their Civic responsibilities such a payment of taxes, dues, etc.
v. Render possible assistance to the needy.
vi. Assist security agents whenever possible in maintenance of peace and order in the society, etc.
Interpersonal Relationship Among Christians (1 Peter 5:1 – 11)
St. Peter further spelt out the role of Christian leaders and the duties of followers and finally warned that they should all avoid conducts that might lead to their temptation and subsequently destruction by the devil.
St. Peter admonished church leaders to take care of the flock of Christ in their care, not by constraint but willingly. He told them not to engage in shameful gain or act autocratically , but they should present themselves as examples to the flock. They should copy the good examples of Jesus Christ as the good shepherd who would surely compensate them with crown of glory at his second coming.
To the followers, St. Peter advised them to be humble. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. For this reason, they should humble themselves under the mighty hand of God and in due time, God would surely exalt them above all. They should cast their anxieties on God, for He cares for them.
Finally, St. Peter enjoined all Christians to be watchful against the devil:
“Be sober, be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, be firm in your faith, knowing that the same experience of suffering is required of your brotherhood throughout the world.” (1 Peter 5:8 – 9).
He summarized by saying that the suffering of Christians is for a while, after sometime, God who called them to His eternal glory would restore, establish and strengthen them.
The Duties Of A Good Church Leader
i. A good church leader should concern himself with the spiritual physical well-being of the flock.
ii. He should live modestly.
iii. He should pray for the congregation and intercede on their behalf continually.
iv. He should encourage the people morally and give them spiritual counselling.
v. He should be a living example to the congregation.
Factors Which May Cause Conflict In The Society
ii. Jealousy and envy
iii. Negligence of one’s duties and obligations
iv. Failure to forgive one another
v. Indolence and covetousness
vi. Lack of respect or regard for constituted authority
vii. Unwillingness to participate in societal building.
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Take a quick test for this lesson
i. With reference to 1 Peter, what are the characteristics of Christian life in the community?
ii. State the behavioural patterns which Peter recommended for Christian servants living among non-christians.
iii. What did Peter mean when he referred to Christians as a chosen race?. How did he expect them to behave to civil authorities?
iv. Explain Peter’s advice to the elders and members of the church in their interpersonal relationships. State two duties of a good church leader.
v. Explain Peter’s description of Christians as a chosen race and a Royal priesthood.
vi. Give two examples in Christian’s daily life to support the above description.
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