1 Peter 2:11-12 “Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
The greatest motivation for us to abstain from fleshly lusts is at the beginning of the verse “Beloved.” If you are a Christian then you are loved by God. How much does God love you?
John 15:9 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.
Romans 5:6-8 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Ephesians 2:4-5 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—
The word “exile” can actually be translated “alongside the house.” Which means we live alongside the world but we are not a part of it. We live around people who are a part of this world and this is their home and this is where they are comfortable but we are outsiders and foreigners.
The word “sojourner” is similar but it implies a brief period of time. Temporarily passing through. Which explains the Christians view perfectly, we are here for a short time then we go home to be with the Lord.
Here Peter tells us to abstain. Abstain means “to refrain deliberately and often with an effort of self-denial from an action or practice” Biblically what are some of these actions or practices?
What are these passions or “fleshly lusts”? Simply put they are the desires of your fallen nature and they are waging a war against your soul. That little word “which” in “which wage war against your soul” means by its very nature. Your fleshly passions or lusts by their very nature are at war against your soul. This war is not a small battle here and there; the term “war” indicates a military campaign, meaning a long term ongoing effort. Your flesh is constantly churning out passions and lusts for things that are a constant malicious attack making war against your soul.
Here when Peter says “keep your conduct honorable” he is telling us that our consistent behavior needs to be excellent. Sure we will have times of failure and sin that we need to repent of but the theme of your behavior must be one of excellence.The word used for excellent here is almost untranslatable from the Greek. The word is so rich in meaning that you need 6 or 7 English words just to give you a sense of it. It means lovely, fine, winsome, gracious, fair to look at, noble, excellent. It is the purest, highest and noblest kind of goodness.
When Peter says “that they may see your good deeds” that is in the present tense meaning as they continually observe your behavior over a period of time they will become more and more convinced that the gospel you speak of is true and has real power and the evil things that others are speaking is not true.