“let him refrain his tongue from evil”

One cannot be a Christian without enduring persecution without complaining

1 Peter 3:10-22 Mark 12:18-27

 

The readings for today, Tuesday, the 38th week after Pentecost are from 1 Peter and Mark. We should read the Scriptures with understanding. Here are a few points about these readings.

 

1 Peter 3:10For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

 

This is a quote from  Psalm_34:12-16.  It cannot be overemphasized how important it is to “keep our tongue from evil”. I have said before, “If you cannot stop sinning, at least be kind!” This is because the first and greatest commandment is fulfilled in the doing of the second – to love our neighbor as ourselves. Perhaps I should say: “at least be kind and hold your tongue!” because it is rare that we talk about others and do not do harm to them in some way. Some of the best things I have ever said are the things I have not said, and I am certain this applies to everyone. We may have poor self-control over many things, but God will help us in all of them if we control our tongue. Even if our thoughts are evil, if we do not let words pass our lips that reflects the evil in our heart, the fire of the passions that causes our evil thoughts will be snuffed out, just as a fire goes out when the flue is closed.  

 

 

1 Peter 3:17For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

 

This is something to remember when we feel persecuted. The Apostle explains later that we must endure persecution gladly because our Lord was persecuted. Our life is an emulation of Him. Perhaps we cannot pray with great attention, and are a little lazy, and many other things. But if we endure persecution and even simple unpleasantness without complaining and responding in kind, God will help us in all things. There are many things we cannot do, but we can be kind to others, and we can stop complaining about our lives. If we do these things, we will truly attract God’s grace to us.

 

 

1 Peter 3:18For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;

 

It is important to note that the Apostle says that Christ suffered ONCE for our sins. We do not believe that the Eucharist is a reenactment of our Lord’s sacrifice, but rather an entering into the one sacrifice He made.

 

The Apostle also mentions the dogma that Christ descended into Hades (“prison”) and preached to all the spirits there. This idea is repeated many times in our services.

 

 

1 Peter 3:21The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

 

Here the purpose if baptism is described. – a “good conscience toward God”. Baptism enables us to pursue perfection and attain it. We cannot have a good conscience toward God unless we change. This is a well known idea in our daily life. We may do something terrible to someone and be forgiven by them, but we still bear a burden of unease until we have made amends or changed in some way. Our friend forgives us, and his forgiveness is not predicated upon our actions, just as God forgives us, but we must change in order have a good conscience towards our friend (or God). Without baptism, this change is not possible.

 

 

Mark 12:26And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

 

We show that we BELIEVE the Lord’s words when we ask those who have dies (in the body) to pray for us.

 

 

1 Peter 3:10-22 10 For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: 11 Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil. 13 And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? 14 But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear: 16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. 17 For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing. 18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: 19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; 20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. 21 The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

 

Mark 12:18-27 18 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, 19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. 21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. 22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. 23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. 24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. 26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.

 

 

 

 

Priest Seraphim Holland 2011.   St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church, McKinney, Texas

 

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