This passage is a conclusion of what was discussed in verses 2:11 through 3:7. In these passages Peter was teaching us what it looks like for a Christian to live a life visible to the outside world. Knowing that the original letters were written in order to encourage congregations and they did not have the technology to mass produce these letters, these letters were read out loud to all of the congregations. Therefore, to help them remember what he wanted them to remember, Peter summarizes the main points here to repeat them. Therefore, if a theme is repeated then we know that it is something that Peter was really waning us to get.
In verse 8, we see that Peter gives a summary of what it should look like if you are truly a believer in Jesus Christ. They should be displaying unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. These things can only come from the Lord, so if we want to know if we are in fellowship with fellow believers we should be displaying these characteristics. Therefore, this Bible study, if it is truly made up of true believers should be displaying these characteristics, because if Christ lives inside of all of us, then He would manifest himself in these ways. How do we stack up against these characteristics?
In verse 9, we see that Peter addresses how believers respond to those who inflict evil upon them. They are not to respond by inflicting evil in return but by praying that God will bless their tormentors. Again, we see that God is calling us to do something that the world would see as strange. The world would say if someone does something evil to then get them back so that they will be afraid to do it again. Or, at the very least if the person hurts you try to avoid them. However, this verse is telling us to return evil with good. If someone wrongs us, we are to turn around and bless them.
This at first might seem a little extreme, but is that not what Christ did for us. It is because of our sins that Christ had to go to the cross. He was beaten, abused and murdered for our sins. People mocked him and spit on him, but did He make threats or curse them. No, he went to the cross for them and died for their sins. Therefore, if Jesus can take the ultimate evil and turn around and bless us. Then how much more should we be better prepared to do the same for others when we understand how much we have been forgiven?
Now here if verses 10-12, Peter tells us how we can get the most joy out of life. He tells us that if any of us desire to love life and see good days then we will keep our tongues from evil and our lips from speaking deceit. That we will turn away from evil and do good, we will seek after peace and then pursue it. Peter also goes on to say that when we do these things that Lord will hear our prayers and if we do not do the things then the Lord will be against us.
This is exactly what we would expect since we all know that God has given us the Bible so that we can get the most joy out of life. You all have heard me use the example of how God’s law is like the rules in the game of baseball. If you want to get the most joy out of baseball you have to play by the rules, or else it would be total chaos. So basically what Peter is saying in these verses is, “if you want to love life and get the most joy out of days on earth, do these things.” Peter starts by telling us in verse 10 to keep our tongues from evil. How do we keep our tongues from evil?
First of all, by keeping your heart pure. Because what is in your heart comes out your mouth. Therefore, if you desire evil things in your heart then evil things will come out your mouth. If you harbor hateful thoughts about someone, then hateful words will come out your mouth about that person. If you harbor perverse things in your heart, then perverted things will come out your mouth. However, if harbor pure and Godly desires in your heart, then good will be on your tongue.
In verse 11, Peter tells us to turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. How does turning away from evil lead to the pursuit of peace? We get the answer in verse 12. When we are doing good, the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are open to their prayers. Therefore, we know that the God of all the universe sees and hears what we are going through and he promises that he will not only use it for our good, but for his glory.
However, it also leads to peace, because if we were to do evil, then the face of God would be opposing us. Why is God so upset with people that do evil? This is because doing evil is trying to fulfill your life in your own way. Therefore, lying is attractive to a person because it gets them out of the immediate trouble, but it does not lead to peace it leads to even more lies. And keeping up with even more lies, leads to even more stress. Therefore, God wants to speak truth because it leads to a more peaceful and joyful life. When we lie we are basically saying that we could be a better god than God can be. We say we know how to get out of this situation better than God knows how to.
For a Christian to do evil we would expect our loving father to punish us in hopes that we will return and do good. A good father does not allow a child to do whatever he wants because that child does not always know what is best for him. So a good father punishes a child so that they do not keep doing things that will evidentially lead them to harm. We too are tempted to pursue things that lead to short-term pleasures, but God does not want us to settle for short-term pleasures that are fleeting and leads desiring more. God wants us to pursue everlasting joy that leads to peace and a relationship with God that results in Him hearing your prayers.
So in others words, Peter closes out this section of scripture by saying, if you want to get the most joy and peace out of your life, even amidst suffering, do what I just told you referring to the government, those that God has placed over you, and in your marriage.