Introduction: This week we look at something we have studied many
times, the issue of grace and works. From my point of view, we cannot
study this topic too much. It is not that grace is so complicated,
but rather that our lives are complicated when we deal with practical
living. Works are important. They not only have a huge impact on the
quality of our life, more importantly they are central to the issue
of whether our lives give glory to God. Let’s dive into our study and
see what practical lessons we can learn!

  1. Live Free, Live Right

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:1-3. Is it possible for you to “rid
      yourself” of dishonesty, hypocrisy, envy and slander? Can
      you “crave” pure spiritual milk? (Some of these are deeds
      – for example the words we speak. But, some of them are
      attitudes. All are hard to change by just declaring that
      you are rid of them.)

      1. What does Peter mean when he says that you “may grow
        up in your salvation?” (The great news is that we are
        saved by grace. Keeping our eye on these unwanted
        deeds and attitudes comes after our salvation. They
        do not provide our salvation.)

      2. What clue about how we should proceed is found in
        Peter’s statement, “now that you have tasted that the
        Lord is good?” (I do not think focusing on sin is the
        way to cure sin. When Peter says that we have
        “tasted” the good things of God, he points us in the
        direction to go. Focus on what is good, and what is
        bad will tend to fall away. Being aware of what is
        sinful is still important, and that is the reason
        why, as we learned recently, we were given the Ten

    2. Read 1 Peter 2:4-5. Last week we discussed the importance
      of the church. What does Peter say about the importance of
      worship with fellow believers? (We are “living stones” in
      a “spiritual house” in which we enter into a priesthood
      offering spiritual sacrifices.)

      1. Aside from working together, that seems pretty vague.
        What do you think it means to offer spiritual
        sacrifices? (I think it is living a holy life,
        advancing the Kingdom of God by what you do and what
        you say.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 2:6. How does this indicate that we “living
      stones” should related to the “precious cornerstone?” (We
      need to trust Jesus.)

      1. Now put this all together. How do we offer spiritual
        sacrifices that will increase our taste for what is
        good and decrease our taste for what is evil? (By
        trusting God!)

    4. Read 1 Peter 2:7-8. What does a “capstone” do? (It
      protects the top. Jesus is not only our foundation
      (cornerstone), He is our covering stone (capstone). We are
      surrounded by His care.)

      1. What is Peter’s point about the stumbling stone and
        the capstone? We can either place our trust in Jesus,
        or we can reject Him and He becomes a problem that
        causes us to stumble and fall.)

      2. What does it mean that the evil are “destined” to
        disobey? Does it mean that they have no choice, God
        chose for them? (No. We are all destined to disobey.
        That is what makes the sin problem so difficult for
        all of us. The key to the sin problem is the
        understanding, the trust, that we are saved by grace.
        That is why Jesus is the stone floor and ceiling for
        us, and a stumbling stone for the lost.)

    5. Read 1 Peter 2:9-10. What is our work? (To “declare the
      praises” of our God who showed us mercy by saving us by

  2. Desires

    1. Read 1 Peter 2:11-12. I’ve been pointing out the grace
      aspect of what Peter is saying. What does Peter say is the
      importance of right deeds? (They bring glory to God. They
      show that the attacks of the world on Christianity are

      1. What does Peter believe is important to good works?
        (To “abstain from sinful desires.” When we focus on
        sin, as opposed to the good, we place ourselves in
        the middle of sinful desires. Those desires lead to
        sinful deeds. We need the help of the Holy Spirit to
        get right our desires.)

    2. Read 1 Peter 4:1. What is Jesus’ attitude about sin and
      suffering? (Jesus suffered greatly to be done with sin.)

      1. How can we “arm” ourselves with that same attitude?
        (We need to take sin seriously. We need to recall the
        suffering it caused Jesus, and realize the suffering
        it can cause us.)

    3. Read 1 Peter 4:2. What should be the goal of our life? (To
      live in accordance with the will of God.)

    4. Read 1 Peter 4:3-6. On what basis are the wicked judged?
      (Their evil actions.)

      1. What is the reason for the gospel being preached to
        them? (That they might make the decision to be saved
        by grace. That they might live a life directed by
        the Holy Spirit.)

    5. Read 1 Peter 4:7. Have you had this experience? That you
      have trouble praying when you are bogged down in sin?

    6. Read 1 Peter 4:8. How does love cover sins? (When we know
      someone loves us, it helps us to overlook much of that
      person’s failures. Of course, the big picture is that the
      sacrificial love of Jesus covers our sins!)

  3. Confidence in the Future

    1. Read 2 Peter 1:16-18. Recall that the central issue for
      the life of a Christian is trusting God. If you believe in
      Jesus, what is the most challenged point about trusting
      God? (Whether Jesus came down from heaven, lived as a man,
      lived a sin-free life, died for our sins, and rose to
      return to His rightful place in heaven.)

      1. Why does Peter say we should believe this? Why should
        we trust this account? (Because Peter says he was
        there. He saw. He heard. He witnessed the heavenly

        1. Eyewitnesses are notoriously unreliable. Why
          should we believe this one? (For one thing, it
          was not just one witness. It was many. But,
          when you consider that Jesus’ disciples gave up
          their own path of life to share the gospel with
          others, a work that cost many of them their
          lives, then we can have confidence that they
          are telling the truth.)

    2. Read 2 Peter 1:19. What other basis do we have for
      believing the account of Jesus’ life? (Peter says that if
      you read the Old Testament prophets, they foretold that
      Jesus would come. We have the witness of the Bible

    3. Read 2 Peter 1:20-21. What other basis do we have to
      believe the account of Jesus? (Peter refers to the
      supernatural. He says that the prophets were inspired by
      God. I think we can also understand this to assert that
      Peter’s writing is inspired by God.)

      1. Does the work of the Holy Spirit in your life bear
        witness to the gospel? (If you have experienced the
        power and blessings of the Holy Spirit in your life,
        then you have yet another witness!)

    4. Read 2 Peter 3:3-4. When is it that people will argue that
      Jesus is not returning because He has not returned by now?
      (“In the last days.”)

    5. Read 2 Peter 3:5-7. Why should we believe that Jesus is
      coming again? (History! Jesus created the world. Jesus
      pronounced judgment on the world at the time of the flood.
      As our Creator, Jesus has a continuing interest in us and
      bringing a permanent end to the sin problem.)

    6. Friend, do you trust God? The issue runs through all of
      the practical aspects of our life. It is central to grace
      – that we trust God for our salvation and not our own
      works. It is central to how we live, do we trust the Holy
      Spirit to guide our desires and our actions? Do we turn
      our focus on what is good, rather than to focus on our own
      efforts to eradicate sin from our lives? Do you trust that
      Jesus came to earth and walked the path that we walk? Do
      you trust that He is coming again to end the sin problem
      and take us to live with Him forever? Why not ask the Holy
      Spirit, right now, to help you trust God in all things?

  4. Next week: The Church Militant.