Remembering Who YOU Are
Category : General
1 Pt.2: 11 (KJV)
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.
This term of endearment carries with it a certain feeling of concern and pity, for no one knew any better than Peter the fury of the gathering storm that was so soon to break over the defenseless heads of the Christians. Also, we see that there are two reasons assigned in this verse to support the renunciation of fleshly lusts: (1) the readers are sojourners, and (2) the lusts make war against the soul. The metaphor of warfare is an apt one for the Christian life. That life is a constant struggle against many enemies, both within and without. The social order itself is basically hostile to Christianity, and the inward desires of the flesh and of the mind also constantly tend to erode spirituality.
As ye are strangers and pilgrims, and profess to seek a heavenly country, do not entangle your affections with earthly things. While others spend all their time, and employ all their skill, in acquiring earthly property, and totally neglect the salvation of their souls; they are not strangers, they are here at home; they are not pilgrims, they are seeking an earthly possession: Heaven is your home, seek that; God is your portion, seek him. All kinds of earthly desires, whether those of the flesh or of the eye, or those included in the pride of life, are here comprised in the words fleshly lusts. A fleshly lust is either the desire for anything inherently sinful, or the inordinate and excessive appetite for anything inherently harmless or indifferent. The attribute ‘fleshly’ points to the origin and sphere and aim of such lusts. Those parts in our bodies that are the key and nearest both subjects and objects of lust and concupiscence, are like unto the dung gate, 1 Chro.26:16; Neh.3:13, whereby all the filth was cast out of the temple. God hath placed them in our bodies, like snakes creeping out of the bottom of a dunghill, and abased them in our eyes, that we might make a base account and estimation of the desires thereof, as one well observed. A list of them in Gal.5:19-21. Being fleshly, they cannot but war against the soul. They war against the body in many instances, but their worst influence and most pernicious is on the spiritual nature of man.
If we look back we will see that Peter began his letter (1 Peter 1:1) by describing God’s people as sojourners in the world, (those who had no permanent, settled home). Now having demonstrated their heavenly begetting in terms of the resurrection to eternal life (1 Peter 1:3), their positions as living stones in the Temple of God (1 Peter 2:5), and their uniqueness as God’s chosen people (1 Peter 2:9), Peter continues to emphasize their other-worldliness (note also 1 Peter 1:13-15). Therefore, we are to recognize that we like them have here no permanent home, because as those who have been begotten by God and brought into His purposes they are travelling on towards an eternal home. Their inheritance is not here but in Heaven. And for that reason, they are not to allow themselves to be tempted to follow the course of this world.
There are two parts to this exhortation, that our souls were to be free within from wicked and vicious lusts; and also, that we were to live honestly among men, and by the example of a good life not only to confirm the godly, but also to gain over the unbelieving to God. It is at the soul’s expense that resistance is made, at the expense of higher duties, and with the loss of opportunities for positive progress. If not resisted we enslave the soul and take the pith out of it. With every gratification so much moral strength passes over from us into that which masters us, and the power of resistance is gradually but surely lost. The warning is addressed to Christians as strangers and pilgrims passing on to eternity. Our safety lies indeed in the grace of God, but it lies, too, in our ‘abstinence.’
Have a Great and God filled day