Stan Gale

Husbands, Likewise

Paul, in speaking of the authority structure of the home, says that husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for her. Husbands are to serve their wives in the model of Christ. To borrow from what Peter will later say about elders, husbands are to exercise shepherding care of their wives, not domineering over them, but being examples to them in loving humility. In that humility, their prayers will not be hindered but kindled. 
Now Peter turns to address husbands.

Husbands, likewise (1 Peter 3:7, NKJV)
God has designed an ordered society for the well-being and prospering of mankind. That well-being is under severe threat in our day from rejection of gender and lifelong marriage between one man and one woman. Ultimately, that rejection is rebellion against God (Matt. 19:4-6).
Part of God’s order involves structure and authority. We see it in the State, in the church, and in the home. In each of these spheres the creature is rising up against the Creator, declaring self-rule.
Peter has just addressed wives, calling them to respectful and pure conduct, cultivating an attractiveness not promoted on a billboard but an inner beauty found in the Bible, the glamour of godliness. In many ways, the wife is the model for the unity Peter will call all of us to in a moment (3:8-12).
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Leveraging Leviticus

Leviticus is a book of hope, not in running from God but in running to Him, where He redemptively points us to the unblemished Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. By His stripes we are healed.

For it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.Leviticus 17:11, NKJV
Whenever I read the opening chapters of Leviticus I am taken aback by all the different sacrificial offerings (burnt, peace, grain, guilt, sin), the frequency with which they are to be made, and the detail in which they are presented. I am much relieved to be ministering on this side of the cross.
Leviticus gives us an idea of the insidiousness and pervasiveness of sin. No one is untouched by it. Sin is a stain to life, our awareness brought to the fore in the presence of the holy God. As with Isaiah, the closer we draw near to God the more acutely aware we become of our sin and sinfulness, and of our abject helplessness to do anything about it (Isa. 6:5).
What particularly strikes me in the descriptions of these sacrifices is all the attention given to unintentional sins (Lev. 4-5), those sins of which we are unaware and may commit inadvertently or by omission. It brings to mind the expression that ignorance of the law is no excuse.
When it comes to sin in our lives, we tend to think of willful sins, those sins we commit or omit with intention. The psalmist has this in mind when he says, “Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression” (Psa. 19:13).
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Called to Suffer

Jesus is the epitome of suffering unjustly. He neither acted with sin nor reacted in sin. Peter tells us: He “committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten” (1 Pet. 2:22-23). What do we do when we are provoked, particularly when we know we are in the right?

But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. (1 Peter 2:20, NKJV)
“For to this you were called.” That’s how Peter begins verse 21 as he lifts our eyes to our Lord Jesus. What is the “this?” Clearly, it is suffering unjustly, suffering for righteousness’ sake. We are not to be surprised by suffering but expectant of it and prepared for it.
Peter couches suffering in terms of our calling. It is part and parcel of denying ourselves and taking up our cross to follow Jesus as His disciples. Jesus is our model. “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps” (1 Pet. 2:21).
Jesus is the epitome of suffering unjustly. He neither acted with sin nor reacted in sin.
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A Living Epistle

Peter addresses us as a royal priesthood, a people belonging to God, loved by Him. He urges us to abstain from evil and devote ourselves to our Kingdom calling under the lordship of Jesus Christ, with an eye to provoking glory to God in the eyes of others.

that… they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation  (1 Peter 2:12, NKJV)
Perhaps you’ve heard the exhortation to “preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words.” That has a nice ring to it, particularly when so many professing believers live hypocritically, saying one thing but doing another. There is something appealing and authentic about being living epistles, reflecting Christ in us, the hope of glory. Plus, it accords with our Lord’s teaching from the Sermon on the Mount: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:16).
The problem with this exhortation, however, is that it is unbiblical, or at best does not reflect the whole of biblical teaching. It is true that we are to live as light in darkness.
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Living Stones

In Him we are precious, valued, chosen not because we are choice but because of His grace. We are enfolded into Christ’s church not to be admired as we might admire the beauty of the great cathedrals of Europe, but to serve. Peter identifies us as a holy priesthood, tasked with the responsibility and joy of offering spiritual sacrifices to God through Jesus Christ. 

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious (1 Peter 2:4, NKJV)
As Paul uses the analogy of believers being the material of which the temple is built and in which God dwells (Eph. 2:19-22), so Peter describes us as living stones being built into a spiritual house.
We are reminded that the church is not a building but a people, a people united to the Living Stone, Jesus Christ. He was rejected by men, a Man of Sorrows, but precious in the sight of God. This Stone was prophesied of old. “Behold, I lay in Zion A chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame” (1 Pet, 2:6; cf. Isa. 28:16).
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The Living Word

The beating heart of the Scriptures is the good news of salvation bound up in Jesus Christ, something Peter has summarized (1 Pet. 1:20-21), characterized (1 Pet. 1:24-25), and actualized (1 Pet. 1:23) in the accomplishment of God’s saving purposes. All this serves as a reminder for us of what we possess in the holy Scriptures. Through them the Spirit nourishes us with the truth and invigorates us for our journey as aliens and sojourners. 

But the word of the LORD endures forever. (1 Peter 1:25, NKJV)
Peter held a high view of the Bible. He regarded it for what it is, the word of God Himself. In his second epistle Peter explains to us the nature of Scripture: “no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit” (2 Pet. 1:20–21).
In this affirmation, Peter recognizes that the written Word does not ultimately originate with man but with God. He particularly identifies the Holy Spirit as the One who brings truth to light. The Spirit inspires, illuminates, and accomplishes His purposes through the Bible. Those Scriptures relate to the Old Testament and also to the New (cf. 2 Pet. 3:15-16).
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Jesus referred to the gospel as the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23). The Kingdom was our Lord’s preeminent teaching, illustrated in parables and demonstrated in works of power that showed authority over Satan and reversal of the effects of the fall. For us to embrace the gospel is to recognize Christ as King. 

conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear (1 Peter 1:17, NKJV)
What comes to mind when you hear the word “gospel”? You may well think of the good news of great joy announced by the heavenly messenger to the shepherds outside Bethlehem. In the gospel is found a righteousness from God that is by faith in what Christ achieved and not by works done by us. It holds the promise of forgiveness of sins and life eternal.
But the gospel is more than that, just like Christ’s redeeming work involved more than just us. It reaches to the entire creation (Rom. 8). We are not merely new creatures; we are part of a new creation that speaks to the Kingdom of God.
Jesus referred to the gospel as the “gospel of the kingdom” (Matt. 4:23).
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Well Behaved Children

We are light in the Lord; therefore, we are to be light. We are to be holy as our heavenly Father is holy. That begs the question, how is our Father holy? How are we to emulate Him? We are to be set apart, internally and externally consistent, and at odds with evil. Growing in the knowledge of God will enable us to apprehend two things: a deeper understanding of holiness, and a more profound grasp of our absolute need for Jesus Christ. 

Be holy, for I am holy. (1 Peter 1:16, NKJV)
For what are we to prepare our minds, focus our attention, and direct our steps (1:13)? Peter picks up a theme with which he began his letter – obedience. He urges us on “as obedient children.” At the outset, Peter informed us that we were chosen for obedience (1:2). Now, after reminding us that we are heirs in Christ, he addresses us as obedient children.
Peter fleshes out this obedience in two ways. Negatively, he insists that we no longer live in a manner that characterized us prior to our conversion to Christ. Positively, Peter urges us to live consistently with our new life in Christ, being “holy in all our conduct.”
This before-and-after thread runs throughout Peter’s letters. Living out our newness in Christ brings glory to God and prompts others to see our good behavior and give glory to our Father in heaven.
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The Meaning of Xmas

What do you make of the X of Xmas? There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a Hallmark movie or two and shedding a tear. There’s nothing wrong with singing “Jingle Bells” or wanting hippopotamuses for Christmas.  But we don’t want to miss what Christmas is really about and that is the eternal Son of God coming into the world to save sinners.
Good news of great joy for all people

“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’.” (Luke 2:10–11, NKJV)
It’s the time of year where there are deals galore. All you need to do to get them is enter a special code in the appropriate box and the percentage off will be applied at checkout.
A Christian publishing house offered a site-wide discount using the code XMAS. One customer contacted them taking them to task for using XMAS instead of CHRISTMAS. She claimed they were taking Christ out of Christmas and should know better.
The publisher wrote back and explained that X actually had a long tradition in Christian publishing. Before the invention of the printing press, scribes would copy the Greek New Testament by hand. In so doing, they might abbreviate the name for Christ (Χριστός) with the Greek letter Chi, which looks like the letter X in our English alphabet.
So Xmas is scribal shorthand of sorts for Christmas. The X represents Christ, but that’s only if you are in the know. Xmas could mean different things to different people, depending on your perspective.
Let me suggest four possible perspectives for the X in Xmas, including what each perspective might think of the biblical account of Christ’s birth and a representative seasonal song.
The Atheist Perspective
This point of view (POV) crosses Christ out of Christmas. In fact, it’s not crazy about the word Christmas to begin with. Holiday greetings are more like it.
These are people who are actually doing what that complaining customer was talking about, Xing Christ out of Christmas. It’s kind of a mission statement for them. Religion is enslaving and an opiate to the mindless masses. They are saving people from themselves.
What would this POV think about the biblical account? It’s nothing but a fairy tale, ranking right up there with Frosty and Rudolph. The problem, though, is there are people who actually believe the nativity nonsense.
How about a seasonal song? One candidate is “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer.” Nothing about Jesus and the season does carry danger to the naive.
The Commercial Perspective
The X in this POV is like the X the salesman puts on the contract to show you where to sign to close the deal on your purchase. Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year because it’s when the bottom line moves most dramatically into the black.
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Prophets and Angels

That day had come and Peter was witness to it. He saw the suffering of Christ and the glory of His resurrection. He encountered the risen Christ and proclaimed the good news of the gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit poured out at Pentecost. Peter interpreted the events in light of the prophetic word of the Old Testament. We live in the fullness of time, the last days in which God has spoken and acted in His Son.
We live in the fullness of time.

“things which angels desire to look into” (1 Peter 1:12, NKJV)
When we come upon a crowd gathered, curiosity compels us to find a vantage point for us to see what is going on. How much more so is that case with the most significant event in human history?
At the fall of mankind through the sin of Adam in Genesis 3, God uttered a completely uncalled for promise. He spoke of the Seed of a woman who would do battle and gain victory over the ruler of this present age. God could have brought the curtain down on human history, but in keeping with His purpose in redemption, God allowed history to continue that would be the womb for the promise of a Deliverer.
Through the years, God would give more and more detail about this Savior.

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