by Darrel Cline (darrelcline biblical-thinking.org)
Chapter # 2 Paragraph # 2 Study # 2 October 11, 2009 Lincolnton, N.C.
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
1901 ASV Translation:
11 Beloved, I beseech you as sojourners and pilgrims, to abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 having your behavior seemly among the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers, they may by your good works, which they behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.
I. Living Among the Nations.
A. Peter's readers.
B. The "problem".
1. The soul's condition.
a. The "soul" sits between the physical body and the spirit that energizes it. As such, it not only receives "impact" from both of those directions, it reciprocates to both. The net result is, thus, two-fold: the emotional state of the soul is determined by the reception from the body and spirit, and its response affects the physical condition of the body and the quality of exultation by the spirit.
b. The key issue of the soul's "response" is its sense of danger/security. Physical and spiritual realities are either seen as dangerous or safe. This is an "educated" reality. The soul does not have to "see" a thing as dangerous or safe; it does so on the basis of what it has learned in terms of what it values and believes.
2. The impact of "fleshly lusts".
a. The "problem" with "fleshly lusts" is that they typically appeal very strongly to the body's sense of pain/pleasure and, ipso facto, "argue" for expression as a "good" thing. However, they almost invariably involve other persons who are subject to the indulgence of them. When this subjection is seen as arising out of one who is self-absorbed, tension arises between the individuals. This is the essential "problem" because the soul is very relationally oriented in terms of danger/safety. If a "fleshly lust" is imposed upon another in a self-absorbed way, the relationship begins to deteriorate and "danger" is perceived.
b. In this way, "war" is imposed upon the soul; not by the "victim" but by the self-indulgent imposer. Thus, the actor's own actions sponsor war against his/her own soul because the actions create "enemies".
C. The reality: believers are typically maligned.
1. This is a temptation to retaliate. However, if the believer holds to the standard of "good" behavior, there will be no exacerbation of the "war".
2. What the soul must learn is of its real security in Jesus so that it does not automatically assess events as "dangerous" or "safe".