1 Peter 2:11 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Peter 2:11, NIV: Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.

1 Peter 2:11, ESV: Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.

1 Peter 2:11, KJV: Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

1 Peter 2:11, NASB: Beloved, I urge you as foreigners and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against the soul.

1 Peter 2:11, NLT: Dear friends, I warn you as 'temporary residents and foreigners' to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls.

1 Peter 2:11, CSB: Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul.

What does 1 Peter 2:11 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

How should God's people live? How should those who are, in Christ, a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9) live from day to day on this side of eternity? Peter answers that question in this verse while revealing two crucial truths about what it means to live as a Christian.

First, calling his readers friends, Peter also calls them foreigners, sojourners, aliens, strangers, or exiles, depending on the translation being read. He means for them to stop thinking of themselves as locals, but as people who aren't from around here. The transformation God has made in Christians through Christ is so extensive, so complete, that our home town has changed. What used to be normal for us is now foreign. We no longer fit naturally into the thinking and practices of the world around us. And we must not try to fit it; we'll be going home soon.

But, Peter admits, this can be difficult. Our body wants to sin in the way that comes so naturally to humans, to those who are at home here. Peter has made it clear that we have been saved from the penalty for our sin in Christ. And we have been freed from the authority of sin; we have the ability to choose not to sin now, in the power of God's Holy Spirit.

In other words, we have not lost the "want" to sin. Even knowing its destructive power, the "want" to sin continues to attack our soul. Peter is not saying that we risk losing the salvation God has given us. He is saying that we are in a battle to make choices appropriate to our status as God's people. So he urges us to engage the battle. Don't give in. As saved, holy people in Christ, we ought to "just say no" to the desire to sin.