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1 Peter 4a

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Introduction:

The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Nine: The Rest of Your Time (1 Peter 4:1–11)

Peter had a great deal to say about time (1 Peter 1:5, 11, 17, 20; 4:2–3, 17; 5:6). Certainly the awareness of his own impending martyrdom had something to do with this emphasis (John 21:15–19; 2 Peter 1:12ff). If a person really believes in eternity, then he will make the best use of time. If we are convinced that Jesus is coming, then we will want to live prepared lives. Whether Jesus comes first, or death comes first, we want to make “the rest of the time” count for eternity.

And we can! Peter described four attitudes that a Christian can cultivate in his lifetime (“the rest of his time”) if he desires to make his life all that God wants it to be.

Last week we wrapped up chapter 3 talking about the good work of suffering for doing right.

In the last part of that chapter, Peter looked back to Christ as our example.

And not just an example but an encouragement.
And the greater point was the power of God’s grace … to see us through even the greatest suffering.
So far in this epistle, Peter has addressed:
The purpose of trials
Who we are in Christ
The motivation for living godly lives
Submission to authority
And as of last week, suffering for doing right.

We could broaden the scope and say that Peter has covered general principles, specific application of those principles, and guidelines for those enduring suffering.

Now, later in this chapter, Peter moves into advice for the family of God.
The section we are starting this morning is a continuation of that last item … the second part of the counsel Peter gave for those who face suffering for their Christian faith.
----

Last week in our study of the second half of chapter 3, Peter encouraged the Christians to remain faithful to their tasks in light of the coming vindication of God.

In the first piece (3:13–22), Peter encouraged the Christians to remain faithful to their tasks in light of the coming vindication of God.

As Christians, we are at times faced with suffering that is due to our faith, and we are tempted to give in to our fears and make the wrong decisions.

But if we “sanctify Christ as Lord” in our hearts, we need never fear men or circumstances.
Our enemies might hurt us … but they cannot harm us.
Our present section (4:1–6) is the second piece of advice Peter gives to those who face suffering for their Christian faith. In the first piece (3:13–22), Peter encouraged the Christians to remain faithful to their tasks in light of the coming vindication of God. Now he focuses on the effects of suffering on the Christian life.
But we do great harm to ourselves if we do not trust God.
If we are opposed for doing good, then better to suffer for righteousness’ sake than to compromise our testimony.
We already know that our suffering and the way we endure it, serves the purposes of God.
We grow in grace by it and we are a testimony of Christ to the world.
And now, continuing from chapter 3, Peter focuses on the effects of suffering on the Christian life.
He very quickly does so by first giving an exhortation for us to be like Christ, and then giving a reason for suffering like Christ.
He again gives an exhortation for us to be like Christ, and then gives a reason for suffering like Christ.
I’m hoping we can get through this whole chapter this morning, so lets cut this introduction short and jump into the chapter.
Prayer: Lord, as we embark to study your Word, we ask that our hearts would be open to receive all that You have to say to us. We desire to be hearers and doers and for You to lead us in Your ways. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
And we can! Peter described four attitudes that a Christian can cultivate in his lifetime (“the rest of his time”) if he desires to make his life all that God wants it to be.

v1-3

We start with a “therefore” … and when we see that word, we should consider what it is “There For.”

It calls us to look back because the author is looking back.

Peter is again calling us to look back to the suffering of Christ, as we had in chapter 1, 2, and 3.
The picture is that of a soldier who puts on his equipment and arms himself for battle. Our attitudes are weapons, and weak or wrong attitudes will lead us to defeat. Outlook determines outcome, and a believer must have the right attitudes if he is to live a right life.
At the end of chapter 3, Peter looked to the outcome of Jesus’ suffering … His death on the cross, but also His resurrection.
Or we could say, His suffering at the hands of man, and His vindication by the Father.
So Peter’s “therefore” is here because he is starting from that same point … the vindication of suffering for righteous reasons.
But his purpose now is to prepare the Christian … with right attitude.
Weak or wrong attitudes will lead us to defeat.
The picture is that of a soldier who puts on his equipment and arms himself for battle. Our attitudes are weapons, and weak or wrong attitudes will lead us to defeat. Outlook determines outcome, and a believer must have the right attitudes if he is to live a right life.
So often, outlook has bearing on outcome, and for a believer to have the right attitudes helps him to live a right life.
When one turns out the lights to go to sleep, it may be hard for us to see.
But when we are awakened by our bladder, we are able to make out the path to the bathroom.
It doesn’t take us long to grow accustomed to the darkness.
And we live in a world darkened by sin.
A friend and I met at a restaurant to have lunch. It was one of those places where the lights are low, and you need a miner’s helmet to find your table. We had been seated several minutes before we started looking at the menu, and I remarked that I was amazed how easily I could read it. “Yes,” said my friend, “it doesn’t take us long to get accustomed to the darkness.”
It is possible for a Christian to grow accustomed to that sinfulness of the world.
But the more we expose ourselves to the light of God’s Word, the less accustomed (may I even say ‘welcoming’) we are to the darkness of sin.

But look at verse 1.

In the ESV it reads like this:
1 Peter 4:1 ESV
Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,

Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,

We’ll deal with the latter part of that in a moment.
1 Peter 4:1 NKJV
Therefore, since Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind, for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,
v1
The front portion, calls back to what Peter has already said in chapter 2:
1 Peter 2:21 NKJV
For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:
And ...
1 Peter 3:18 NKJV
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,
1 Peter
Put simply, Jesus suffered and died on the cross for our sins.
So then, how can we enjoy that which made Jesus suffer and die on the cross?
Any instrument that was used to
If a vicious criminal stabbed your child to death, would you preserve that knife in a glass case on your mantle? I doubt it. You would never want to see that knife again.
Our Lord came to earth to deal with sin and to conquer it forever.
He taught the truth and He lived the truth before the people.
He healed and forgave sins … and, while having great compassion for sinners, on the cross, Jesus dealt the deathblow to sin.
He dealt with the consequences of sin by healing and forgiving; and, on the cross, He dealt the final deathblow to sin itself. He was armed, as it were, with a militant attitude toward sin, even though He had great compassion for lost sinners.
We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ … not by works.
So, we are not dealing with earning salvation by keeping the law.
Any reliance on any kind of works as a part of salvation is to say that God owes it to you as a wage.
Rather, we desire to live pleasing to the One who gave Himself as penalty for our sins.
Put simply, our goal in life is to “cease from sin.”

When we are saved, we are sanctified as belonging to God.

The word translated “sanctification” in the Bible means “separation.”

We are separated out from the world and the judgment it is under for sin and we are separated to God.

But we are also being progressively sanctified in our life as we become less like the world and more like Christ.
Desires have been reoriented and instead of loving sin, we love righteousness.
We will not reach this goal of being sinless until we die, or are called home when the Lord returns; but this should not keep us from striving.
----

So … now for the 2nd part of verse 1 … “He who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.”

Peter did not mean that suffering of itself would cause a person to stop sinning.

We’ve all endured suffering to some degree and yet we all still sin.
Pharaoh in Egypt suffered tremendously in the plagues, and yet he sinned even more.
I have visited suffering people who cursed God and grew more and more bitter because of their pain.
Rather, the idea here is the same truth taught in .
Romans 6:1–4 NKJV
What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.
Romans 6
We are identified with Christ in His suffering and death, and therefore can have victory over sin.
We are identified with Christ in His suffering and death, and therefore can have victory over sin.
But the central idea here seems to be the same truth taught in : We are identified with Christ in His suffering and death, and therefore can have victory over sin. As we yield ourselves to God, and have the same attitude toward sin that Jesus had, we can overcome the old life and manifest the new life.

v2

v2

Jesus lived His life for the will of the Father.

And the phrase,he who has suffered in his body is done with sinpoints the Christian to having the same mental approach Jesus had.
McKnight, S. (1996). 1 Peter (p. 224). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House.
The contrast Peter set up is between the desires of men and the will of God.
If people who knew you well before you were saved cannot say that you are any different, perhaps you need to examine yourself.
Salvation does have a price for the Christian.
Friends may not like the “new you” and may excuse themselves from friendship with you.
Or maybe not … but there is almost always something of the old life that can no longer be a part of the new life.
The will of God is so much better to us now.
Before, doing the will of the world was our pursuit … now, there is no amount of satisfaction in it … but we desire that which IS SATISFYING.
In this newness of life, the will of God is so much better to us.
Of course, we still feel pressure from the world that we should give into it’s desires.
But if we do that … we will be wasting God given time ... and regret it when we stand before Jesus.
The will of God is not a burden that the Father places on us … rather it is divine enjoyment and enablement that makes all burdens light.
Rather it is the divine enjoyment and enablement that makes all burdens light.

The will of God comes from the heart of God and is an expression of the love of God.

We may not always understand what He is doing, but we know that He is doing what is best for us.
We do not live on explanations.
We live on promises.

v3

Now, remember from a few weeks back we took a look at many ways in which the word Gentile is used in scripture.

Here, in verse 3, it is not speaking of ethnicity (that is, anyone who is not a Jew.)

“Gentiles” as it is used here has nothing to do with ethnicity.
It is being used as a synonym for “unsaved people” … but more than that, one could substitute “pagan.”
So then, “doing the will of the Gentiles” speaks of sinning.
We might put it this way … “After all, you have sinned enough” and then the implied, “It’s time for you to get on with a life of obedience.”
Those of us with kids have all probably been frustrated when they seem to stubbornly insist on continuing down a sinful path.
From our point of view we recognize that no good can come of it and we want to say, “Enough all-ready! Don’t you see that you’re setting yourself up for consequences you will not like?”
Peter, speaking like a parent to his children (or we might say an Apostle to the church) is saying exactly that.
But Peter relates to them … he says, “We.”
But of course,
Another use of the word “Gentile” was on a national level.
There were the Jews, who were God’s chosen people, and then there were those who were not Jews … the Gentiles.

Israel was supposed to be a light to the other nations, teaching them to love God.

But instead, they were influenced by the other nations and acted as they did … lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

Now, remember how Peter wrote this letter to believing Jews living outside of the land of Israel … but in chapter 2, brought in the church, that is the whole body of Christ.
So, Peter, reminds his readers of their past … whether they were Jews or Gentiles.
Without Christ, they were all in the same sad situation … sinners desperately in need of saving.
Now, they have been saved … “Christ suffered for us in the flesh.”
What they could not achieve as Israel, was now a reality in Christ.
As Paul wrote in Romans 6:
Romans 6:5–6 NKJV
For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
Our only escape from sin is found in Jesus.
His death, burial and resurrection allows us to identify with Him in such a way that we can LEGITIMATELY consider ourselves dead to sin, but alive to God.
When it comes to sin, we depend on grace, yet we must not take sin lightly.
And, yes … When it comes to sin, we depend on grace, yet we must not take sin lightly.
We say “no” to sin … not because God’s grace isn’t enough, but because we have died to sin.
Even as redeemed believers in Jesus, we must still contend with the ongoing presence of sin in our bodies.
Our flesh at times might recall that there was a momentary pleasure to sin … and if we are not mentally prepared for that we could be drawn into it again.
And so Peter has earlier said, “Arm yourselves also with the [mind of Christ].”
Lewdness is “sinful abandon.”
Lusts speak of “evil cravings.”
Drunkenness is broader than simply over indulging in wine … it is “debauchery - that is, indulgence in sensual pleasures.”
Revelries is “binging on wrong behavior.”
Drinking parties goes with idolatries ... likely referring to pagan worship parties.
These things were all forbidden by the LAW.
But they were often done in secret.
Even though these practices were forbidden by law (“abominable” = illegal), they were often practiced in secret.
The LAW was given that sin might abou
God never intended the law to save us from sin and death.
It could not, because of the weakness of our flesh.
God accomplished by Jesus’ work on the cross that which we could not do in the flesh.
Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law in us and put sin to death, once and for all.
The power and enslaving chains of sin and death were broken by Jesus.
----

In the back half of verse 3, Peter, speaking to believers says, “When we walked.”

There are times when looking back at your past life would be wrong, because Satan could use those memories to discourage you or try to pull you back into sinful activities of the past.

But it is also true that a godly perspective of where you’ve been can keep you on the better path you are now on.
This is why God in Deuteronomy 5 urged Israel to remember that they had once been slaves in Egypt.
In , Paul remembered that he had been a persecutor of believers, and explained that this encouraged him to do even more for Christ.
He wrote:
1 Timothy 1:12–13 NKJV
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
1 Timothy 1:12 NKJV
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry,
Peter listed out many sinful activities that he was aware of among those he was writing to … or that they may have been influenced to participate in.
We sometimes forget the bondage of sin and remember only the passing pleasures of sin.
“The will of the Gentiles” means “the will of the unsaved world” (see ). Lost sinners imitate each other as they conform to the fashions of this world (; ). “Lasciviousness” and “lusts” describe all kinds of evil appetites and not just sexual sins. “Revelings and banquetings” refer to pagan orgies where the wine flowed freely. Of course, all of this could be a part of pagan worship, since “religious prostitution” was an accepted thing. Even though these practices were forbidden by law (“abominable” = illegal), they were often practiced in secret.
We may also have done such things before salvation, but we were still sinners … and our sins helped to crucify Christ.
How foolish to go back to that kind of life!
We may not have been guilty of such gross sins in our preconversion days, but we were still sinners—and our sins helped to crucify Christ. How foolish to go back to that kind of life!

v4-6

The people to whom Peter was writing were believers living in 5 Roman provinces.

There, they would have stood out … not just in what they did, but in what they did not do … such as participating in pagan idolatry.

And, those who were not Christians then would consider Christians strange for not participating … after all, everyone is doing it, why can’t you just have fun, too?
Today, we look at this text in regards to our own surroundings … which would be friends, family, or culture.
And again Peter is drawing off of that previous Jew/Gentile riff … but this time it’s Christian/Unbeliever.
There has been a radical change in the believer.
Unsaved people do not understand this.
The fulfillment of sinful desires that wreck the body, destroy homes and ruin lives is not unusual to them.
What is unusual is not to participate in those things.
And when someone who previously did suddenly does not, the impression is that he has lost his mind.
But let a drunkard become sober, or an immoral person pure, and the family thinks he has lost his mind!
But let a drunkard become sober, or an immoral person pure, and the family thinks he has lost his mind!

Paul encountered this on both sides.

Soon after his conversion he experienced suspicion from other believers who knew him as someone who persecuted Christians.
And he was a mystery to those who rejected the Gospel.
In , Festus told Paul:
Acts 26:24 NKJV
Now as he thus made his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are beside yourself! Much learning is driving you mad!”
It may be frustrating to us that the lost see the difference and reject it as crazy.
Festus told Paul, “You are out of your mind!” (, nasb) and people even thought the same thing of our Lord ().
But we must be patient toward them.
After all, the Word of God says in that unsaved people are blind to spiritual truth and in that they are dead to spiritual enjoyment.
Do not read below:
2 Corinthians that unsaved people are blind to spiritual truth () and dead to spiritual enjoyment ().
2 Corinthians 4:3–4 NKJV
But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.
Ephesians 2:1 NKJV
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
We must be patient with them because our contact with them is important to them since we are the bearers of the truth that they need.
In fact, our contact with the lost is important to them since we are the bearers of the truth that they need.
Certainly, defamation by the unsaved falls under the category of suffering for righteousness.
And as Peter said before, our enduring suffering is a testimony to the lost.
In chapter 3, Peter wrote:
1 Peter 3:15–17 NKJV
But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
1 Peter 3:
Vengeance belongs to the LORD … The unsaved may judge us, but one day, God will judge them.
The unsaved may judge us, but one day, God will judge them.
Paul wrote to Timothy that he should avoid foolish arguments.
Do not read below:
2 Timothy 2:23 NKJV
But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.

Instead of arguing with unbelievers, we should hold to our testimony and pray for them, knowing that the final judgment is with God.

Instead of arguing with them, we should pray for them, knowing that the final judgment is with God.
----

Now look at verse 6.

Remember last week I told you that we should not understand those tricky couple of verses from the end of chapter 3 outside of Peter’s intent.

That meant keeping them in context with what Paul was already saying.
And that kept us from inventing things that are not in the text.
We could get into some really wacky stuff if we removed those verses from their context.
And the same goes here with verse 6.
To keep from inventing things that are not in the text, we must look at this verse according to the context in which Peter wrote it … or we will invent a new doctrine that there can be salvation after death.
The context is suffering and vindication.
Peter is speaking of Christians who died for their faith … such as Stephen.
“Those who are dead” means “those who are now dead” … that is, dead at the time Peter was writing.
They died by the judgment of men … falsely accused.
Will their deaths go unavenged?
Peter was reminding his readers of the Christians who had been martyred for their faith.
But now, in the presence of God, they received their true judgment … awarded with eternal life, as they are sealed unto Christ by the Holy Spirit.
Of course not … all men will give an account to God.
Peter was reminding his readers of the Christians who had been martyred for their faith.
These martyrs had been falsely judged by men, but now, in the presence of God, they received their true judgment.
The Bible makes it clear that there is no opportunity for salvation after death.
1 Peter 1:25 NKJV
But the word of the Lord endures forever.” Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you.
Hebrews 9:27 NKJV
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
Our unsaved friends may try to get us to go back to our old ways.
They may even oppose us.
But the final Judge is God.
We may sacrifice our lives in the midst of persecution, but God will honor and reward us.
As Peter had said earlier in chapter 3, we must fear God and not men.
1 Peter 3:13–17 NKJV
And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
While we are in these human bodies (“in the flesh”), we are judged by human standards.
One day, we shall be with the Lord (“in the spirit”) and receive the true and final judgment.

v7

There is a doctrine … a very important doctrine known as the doctrine of immanency.

It refers to Jesus’ immanent return.

refers to Jesus’ immanent return.
We are to live with the expectancy even the anticipation that Christ will return at any moment.
In fact, there is nothing more in biblical prophecy that needs to happen before Jesus comes again.
The word imminent means “likely to happen at any moment; impending.”
Regarding the end times, Jesus’ disciples asked Him, “When will these things be?”
Do not read below:
Mark 13:4 NKJV
“Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?”
And Jesus responded:
Mark 13:32–33 NKJV
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Take heed, watch and pray; for you do not know when the time is.
When we speak of the imminence of Christ’s return, we mean that He could come back at any moment.
While God does not keep us in the dark, we should also remember that God does not intend for us to fully understand the timing of His plans.
… that God does not intend for us to fully understand the timing of His plans.
But the Bible very simply says that Jesus’ return is near, and we are to wait eagerly for it.
This is where the Doctrine of Immanency comes in.
The doctrine says that, “We are to live in the expectation of His any-moment appearance for us.”
And so it should not surprise us that Christians in the early church expected Jesus to return in their lifetime.
Romans 13:12 NKJV
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
1 John 2:18 NKJV
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.
----

The fact that He has not yet returned does not invalidate His promise.

In fact, Peter wrote in the 3rd chapter of his 2nd Epistle that the Lord is going to keep His promise, but is being long-suffering toward us.

That is because He wants all to come to repentance.
Do not read below:
2 Peter 3:8–9 NKJV
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:8-
The church age, which we are now in, is the last age before the Tribulation and the return of Christ.
And when Peter wrote this letter, it was about 30 years into the church age.
And this follows with what Peter has been saying to this point.
Christians who realize that the end of the age could happen at any time should act in a certain way
That is because how we live and serve today will determine how we are judged and rewarded on that day.
No matter what interpretation we give to the prophetic Scriptures, we must all live in expectancy. The important thing is that we shall see the Lord one day and stand before Him. How we live and serve today will determine how we are judged and rewarded on that day.
No matter what interpretation we give to the prophetic Scriptures, we must all live in expectancy. The important thing is that we shall see the Lord one day and stand before Him. How we live and serve today will determine how we are judged and rewarded on that day.
Paul wrote to the Corinthian believers:
1. Be sober—v. 7
2. Watch unto prayer—v. 7
3. Have fervent love—v. 8
4. Use hospitality—v. 9
5. Minister your spiritual gifts—vv. 10–11
6. Think it not strange—v. 12
2 Corinthians 5:10 NKJV
For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.
7. Rejoice—v. 13
8. Do not be ashamed—vv. 15–16
This is not a judgment regarding salvation.
9. Glorify God—vv. 16–18
Salvation was determined by Christ’s sacrifice on our behalf and our faith in Him.
10. Commit yourself to God—v. 19
The Bible plainly teaches believers that all of our sins are forgiven, and we will never be condemned for them.
The judgment seat of Christ is not God judging our sins, but rewarding our lives.
Those who reject Jesus will stand before the LORD to receive the condemnation for their sins.
v. 19 The phrase “be sober” means “be sober-minded, keep your mind steady and clear.” Perhaps a modern equivalent would be “keep cool.” It was a warning against wild thinking about prophecy that could lead to an unbalanced life and ministry. Often we hear of sincere people who go “off balance” because of an unbiblical emphasis on prophecy or a misinterpretation of prophecy. There are people who set dates for Christ’s return, contrary to His warning (; see ); or they claim to know the name of the beast of have books in my library, written by sincere and godly men, in which all sorts of claims are made, only to the embarrassment of the writers.

So then, we are back to verse 7 … “The end of all things is at hand; therefore …”

First, Peter says “be serious.”

It’s a Greek word meaning “to be of sound mind”the ESV puts it “be self controlled” … it’s the same idea as what Peter wrote in verse 13 of chapter 1 … “gird up the loins of your mind.”
Do not read below:
1 Peter 1:13 NKJV
Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
A modern equivalent would be “keep cool” or “keep your head about you.”
The phrase “be sober” means “be sober-minded, keep your mind steady and clear.” Perhaps a modern equivalent would be “keep cool.” It was a warning against wild thinking about prophecy that could lead to an unbalanced life and ministry. Often we hear of sincere people who go “off balance” because of an unbiblical emphasis on prophecy or a misinterpretation of prophecy. There are people who set dates for Christ’s return, contrary to His warning (; see ); or they claim to know the name of the beast of have books in my library, written by sincere and godly men, in which all sorts of claims are made, only to the embarrassment of the writers.
This is in opposition in many ways to the previously mentioned sins.

The opposite of “be sober-minded” is “frenzy, madness.”

It was a warning against wild thinking about prophecy that could lead to an unbalanced life and ministry.
Often we hear of sincere people who go “off balance” because of an unbiblical emphasis on prophecy or a misinterpretation of prophecy.
There are people who set dates for Christ’s return, contrary to His warning (; see ); or they claim to know the name of the beast of .
have books in my library, written by sincere and godly men, in which all sorts of claims are made, only to the embarrassment of the writers.
The opposite of “be sober-minded” is “frenzy, madness.”
This is the mindset that describes the previously mentioned sins.
It is the Greek word mania, which has come into our English vocabulary via psychology.
It’s also a reminder to how we approach scripture.
Many people have taken some of the previous verses and turned them into “new” revelations or interpretations of scripture that have nothing to do with what they actually mean.
If we are sober-minded, we will be intellectually sound and not led off on a tangent because some charlatan presents some “new” interpretation of the Scriptures or some “new revelation.”

Another benefit is that we will face things realistically and be free from delusions.

The sober-minded believer will stay on target in his or her faith, keeping Christ and Him crucified the main thing.
They won’t get have a purposeful life and not be drifting, and he will exercise restraint and not be impulsive.
He will have “sound judgment” not only about doctrinal matters, but also about the practical affairs of life.
Ten times in the Pastoral Epistles, Paul admonished people to “be sober-minded.”
It is one of the qualifications for pastors () and for the members of the church ().
In a world that is susceptible to wild thinking, it is imperative that the church be sober-minded.
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Of course, lets not leave out the next part of the phrase, which is “watchful in your prayers.”

I am not suggesting that we not study prophecy, or that we become timid about sharing our interpretations. What I am suggesting is that we not allow ourselves to get out of balance because of an abuse of prophecy. There is a practical application to the prophetic Scriptures. Peter’s emphasis on hope and the glory of God ought to encourage us to be faithful today in whatever work God has given us to do (see ).
All Christians may not agree on the details of the event, but we can agree on the demands of the experience. We shall stand before the Lord! Read and for the practical meaning of this.

They go together … If we are sober-minded, we will be “watchful in [our] prayers.”

This was personal to Peter as the gospels record that he and other disciples went to sleep when they should have been “watchful in [their] prayers.”
The phrase “watch and pray” and the idea of being watchful and praying occur quite a bit in the New Testament.
And for good reason … it’s an admonition to “be alert” and have an attitude of prayerfulness.
Prayer based on knowledge and mature evaluation of a situation is more effective prayer
prayer based on knowledge and mature evaluation of a situation is more effective prayer
1 Peter: An Introduction and Commentary (i) Pray More and Love Each Other More (4:7–9)

prayer based on knowledge and mature evaluation of a situation is more effective prayer

We must have an alert attitude and be on guard, just like the workers in Nehemiah’s day ().
An expectant attitude toward Christ’s return involves a serious, balanced mind and an alert, awake prayer life.
The test of our commitment to the doctrine of Christ’s return is not our ability to draw charts or discern signs, but our thinking and praying.
If our thinking and praying are right, we are looking to the soon return of Christ, which affects how we live our lives.

v8-11

If we are looking to the soon return of Christ, then we will also have love for one another and relate to them properly.

Peter says that Love for other Christians is important.

He says that love for one another is to be “fervent” … “earnest” is another word we could use.
And remember that Peter was writing to people to instruct them as a great persecution was coming.
After Judas departed from them to betray Jesus, Jesus instructed His disciples in , “Love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Do not read below:
John 13:34–35 NKJV
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
Love is the mark of a believer in this world.
Love is the badge of a believer in this world ().
And Christians need to love one another and be united in heart … especially in times of persecution and suffering.
But Christian love is something we have to work at.
We will not always have the emotional feeling of love … and yet we are to do the things that love does of dedicated will.
The word pictures an athlete straining to reach the goal.
It speaks of eagerness and intensity. Christian love is something we have to work at, just the way an athlete works on his skills.
It is not a matter of emotional feeling, though that is included, but of dedicated will.
Christian love means that we treat others the way God treats us, willing to forgive sins.
It is even possible to love people that we do not like!
If you have sinned, I cannot love you in such a way that your sin has no consequences.
But if your sin is against me, I can allow love to cover that sin so that we are able to fellowship.
Christian love is forgiving.
Peter quoted from :
Proverbs 10:12 NKJV
Hatred stirs up strife, But love covers all sins.
This verse is alluded to in and and 7.
Understand here that love does not condone sin.
That’s not what Peter is saying.
Rather, if we love somebody, we will be grieved to see him sin and hurt himself and others.
for, if we love somebody, we will be grieved to see him sin and hurt himself and others.
But love does cover sin.
Love motivates us to come along side and help the other repent.
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Where there is hatred, there is malice; and malice causes a person to want to tear down the reputation of his enemy.

This leads to gossip and slander (; ; see ).
Sometimes we try to make our gossip sound “spiritual” by telling people things “so they might pray more intelligently.”
No one can hide his sins from God, but believers ought to try, in love, to cover each other’s sins at least from the eyes of the unsaved.
After all, if the unsaved crowd finds ammunition for persecuting us because of our good words and works (; ), what would they do if they knew the bad things that Christians say and do!
gives us a beautiful illustration of this principle. Noah got drunk and shamefully uncovered himself. His son Ham saw his father’s shame and told the matter to the family. In loving concern, Ham’s two brothers covered their father and his shame. It should not be too difficult for us to cover the sins of others; after all, Jesus Christ died that our sins might be washed away.

Our Christian love should not only be fervent and forgiving, but it should also be practical.

Peter says to be hospitable to one another … without grumbling … and he says that we should use our spiritual gifts in ministry to one another.

We should share our homes with others in generous (and uncomplaining) hospitality, and we should use our spiritual gifts in ministry to one another.
In New Testament times hospitality was an important thing.
There were not many hotels.
And many Christians could not afford to stay at a hotel.
In some cases Christians were forced to relocate because of persecution and needed a place to stay.
Also the Apostles, prophets, and other teachers would travel from church to church as the full cannon of scripture was being written.

Hospitality comes up a lot in the Bible … even in the Law of Moses.

Jesus accepted and commended hospitality when He was ministering on earth … and so did His Apostles after Him.
records that Abraham was hospitable to 3 strangers and found that he had entertained the LORD and 2 angels.
Jesus enjoyed hospitality when He was on earth, and so did the Apostles in their ministry.
Human hospitality is a reflection of God’s hospitality to us.
The Fellowship Offering of the sacrificial system pictured this.
The offerer received a portion of the sacrifice back and was to use it to foster fellowship with his neighbors.
Christian leaders in particular should be “given to hospitality” (; ).
When we open our homes to other believers, 3 John says that we help the testimony of Christ.
In fact, Jesus said in that when we share with others, we share with Him.
Do not read below:
Matthew 25:35 NKJV
for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
,
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We should not open our homes to others just so that others will invite us over (). We should do it to glorify the Lord.
In my own itinerant ministry, I have often had the joy of staying in Christian homes. I have appreciated the kindness and (in some cases) sacrifice of dear saints who loved Christ and wanted to share with others. My wife and I have made new friends in many countries, and our children have been blessed, because we have both enjoyed and practiced Christian hospitality.

Finally, and this is where we will close for today … verses 10 and 11 tell us that earnest love for one another will find expression in the use of spiritual gifts for the benefit of others.

We all have different and various gifts … things that we are particular good at, or drawn to, or that come naturally to us.

Christian love must result in service. Each Christian has at least one spiritual gift that he must use to the glory of God and the building up of the church (see ; ; ). We are stewards. God has entrusted these gifts to us that we might use them for the good of His church. He even gives us the spiritual ability to develop our gifts and be faithful servants of the church.
Each Christian has at least one spiritual gift that he must use to the glory of God and the building up of the church (see ; ; ). We are stewards. God has entrusted these gifts to us that we might use them for the good of His church. He even gives us the spiritual ability to develop our gifts and be faithful servants of the church.
And we are stewards of those gifts.
That means God has entrusted these gifts to us that we might use them for the good of His church.
All gifts are important to the church and play a part in building up the body.
There are speaking gifts and there are serving gifts, and both are important to the church. Not everybody is a teacher or preacher, though all can be witnesses for Christ. There are those “behind-the-scenes” ministries that help to make the public ministries possible. God gives us the gifts, the abilities, and the opportunities to use the gifts, and He alone must get the glory.
Some are behind the scenes gifts and some are used in a more visible way.
But all can be witnesses for Christ.
God gives us the gifts, the abilities, and the opportunities to use the gifts, and He alone must get the glory.
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Now, look at verse 11.

The phrase “oracles of God” does not suggest that human speakers are infallible.

The phrase “oracles of God” in does not suggest that everything a preacher or teacher says today is God’s truth, because human speakers are fallible. In the early church, there were prophets who had the special gift of uttering God’s Word, but we do not have this gift today since the Word of God has been completed. Whoever shares God’s Word must be careful about what he says and how he says it, and all must conform to the written Word of God.
Human speakers can make human mistakes.
In the early church, there were prophets who had the special gift of speaking God’s Word, but we do not have this gift today since the Word of God has been completed.
That is no excuse for error in the pulpit, however.
Because we have God’s Word in written form … complete.
A pastor can choose to teach directly from it, staying in context and will be much more likely to rightly divide what scripture says.
But more and more we have pastors teaching from dreams they’ve had … or the catchphrase today is “downloads” they’ve received from God.
Usually such messages point to people and the wisdom of men rather than the wisdom of God and glorifying Jesus Christ.
And the message contains very little scripture because otherwise what the pastor is saying would be rejected.
To put it simply … Whoever shares God’s Word must be careful about what he says and how he says it, and all must conform to the written Word of God.
While on our way home from the African trip I mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, we were delayed in London by a typical English fog. London is one of my favorite places, so I was not disturbed a bit! But the delay gave my wife and me the opportunity to show London to a couple who were traveling with us. Imagine trying to see that marvelous city in one day!
We had to make the most of the time—and we did! Our friends saw many exciting sites in the city.
And it should thus glorify God by magnifying Christ … just as Peter does here in verse 11.
Only God knows.
Peter knew Jesus Christ in the flesh as a man.
Don’t waste it! Invest it by doing the will of God.
Peter offers up praise to Jesus saying, “To whom belong the glory and the dominion for ever and ever.”
And I think we can all say “Amen” with Peter to that.
The word translated dominion can also mean ‘power’; if that is the sense here it cannot mean that Peter wants Christ (who is all powerful) to have in himself more power, but rather that he wants the powers of the creation, and especially the powers of man, to be given more fully into Christ’s service (cf. ; ; ). But that sense is in any case very similar to dominion.
To Jesus Christ whom he knew in the flesh as a man, Peter writes words of praise appropriate only to one who is also fully God: To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. The word translated dominion can also mean ‘power’; if that is the sense here it cannot mean that Peter wants Christ (who is all powerful) to have in himself more power, but rather that he wants the powers of the creation, and especially the powers of man, to be given more fully into Christ’s service (cf. ; ; ). But that sense is in any case very similar to dominion.
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Let’s stop here and pray:
Every Christian who lives a godly life experiences a certain amount of persecution. On the job, in school, in the neighborhood, perhaps even in the family, there are people who resist the truth and oppose the Gospel of Christ. No matter what a believer says or does, these people find fault and criticize. Peter dealt with this kind of “normal persecution” in the previous part of his letter.
Prayer: Lord, we thank you for this time we have had together worshipping You and studying Your Word. We thank you that You are faithful and Your mercy endures forever. Increase our love for one another and for all, establish us in all things. Keep our minds and our hands from evil and protect us from the deceptions of our enemy the devil. Thank You for the trials that You graciously see us and grow us through. May You be glorified in our trials. Thank You for being our Great High Priest. Lord, we place ourselves before you to do Your will. Lead us in victory, and use us to spread knowledge of Jesus Christ to the unsaved world.
But in this section, Peter explained about a special kind of persecution—a “fiery trial”—that was about to overtake the entire church. It would not be occasional personal persecution from those around them, but official persecution from those above them. Thus far, Christianity had been tolerated by Rome because it was considered a “sect” of Judaism, and the Jews were permitted to worship freely. That attitude would change and the fires of persecution would be ignited, first by Nero, and then by the emperors that followed.
Peter gave the believers four instructions to follow in the light of the coming “fiery trial.”
Persecution is not something that is alien to the Christian life. Throughout history the people of God have suffered at the hands of the unbelieving world. Christians are different from unbelievers (), and this different kind of life produces a different kind of lifestyle. Much of what goes on in the world depends on lies, pride, pleasure, and the desire to “get more.” A dedicated Christian builds his life on truth, humility, holiness, and the desire to glorify God.
v12-19
This conflict is illustrated throughout the Bible. Cain was a religious man, yet he hated his brother and killed him (). The world does not persecute “religious people,” but it does persecute righteous people. Why Cain killed Abel is explained in : “Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.” The Pharisees and Jewish leaders were religious people, yet they crucified Christ and persecuted the early church. “But beware of men,” Jesus warned His disciples, “for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues” (). Imagine scourging the servants of God in the very house of God!
God declared war on Satan after the Fall of man (), and Satan has been attacking God through His people ever since. Christians are “strangers and pilgrims” in an alien world where Satan is the god and prince (; ). Whatever glorifies God will anger the enemy, and he will attack. For believers, persecution is not a strange thing. The absence of satanic opposition would be strange!
Jesus explained to His disciples that they should expect opposition and persecution from the world (). But He also gave them an encouraging promise: “In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world” (). It was through His death on the cross of Calvary, plus His resurrection, that He overcame sin and the world (; see ).
The image of “fire” is often applied to testing or persecution even in modern conversation. “He is really going through the fire,” is a typical statement to describe someone experiencing personal difficulties. In the Old Testament, fire was a symbol of the holiness of God and the presence of God. The fire on the altar consumed the sacrifice (). But Peter saw in the image of fire a refining process rather than a divine judgment (see ; ).
It is important to note that not all of the difficulties of life are necessarily fiery trials. There are some difficulties that are simply a part of human life and almost everybody experiences them. Unfortunately, there are some difficulties that we bring on ourselves because of disobedience and sin. Peter mentioned these in and 3:13–17. The fiery trial he mentioned in comes because we are faithful to God and stand up for that which is right. It is because we bear the name of Christ that the lost world attacks us. Christ told His disciples that people would persecute them, as they had Him, because their persecutors did not know God ().
The word “happened” is important; it means “to go together.” Persecution and trials do not just “happen,” in the sense of being accidents. They are a part of God’s plan, and He is in control. They are a part of and will work out for good if we let God have His way.
v13
Literally, Peter wrote, “Be constantly rejoicing!” In fact, he mentioned joy in one form or another four times in these two verses! “Rejoice … be glad also with exceeding joy … Happy are ye!” The world cannot understand how difficult circumstances can produce exceeding joy, because the world has never experienced the grace of God (see ). Peter named several privileges that we share that encourage us to rejoice in the midst of the fiery trial.
Our suffering means fellowship with Christ (v. 13). It is an honor and a privilege to suffer with Christ and be treated by the world the way it treated Him. “The fellowship of His sufferings” is a gift from God (; ). Not every believer grows to the point where God can trust him with this kind of experience, so we ought to rejoice when the privilege comes to us. “And they [the Apostles] departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” ().
Christ is with us in the furnace of persecution (; ). When the three Hebrew children were cast into the fiery furnace, they discovered they were not alone (). The Lord was with Paul in all of his trials (; ; ), and He promises to be with us “to the end of the age” (, nasb). In fact, when sinners persecute us, they are really persecuting Jesus Christ ().
Our suffering means glory in the future (v. 13). “Suffering” and “glory” are twin truths that are woven into the fabric of Peter’s letter. The world believes that the absence of suffering means glory, but a Christian’s outlook is different. The trial of our faith today is the assurance of glory when Jesus returns (). This was the experience of our Lord (), and it shall also be our experience.
But it is necessary to understand that God is not going to replace suffering with glory; rather He will transform suffering into glory. Jesus used the illustration of a woman giving birth (). The same baby that gave her pain also gave her joy. The pain was transformed into joy by the birth of the baby. The thorn in the flesh that gave Paul difficulty also gave him power and glory (). The cross that gave Jesus shame and pain also brought power and glory.
Mature people know that life includes some “postponed pleasures.” We pay a price today in order to have enjoyments in the future. The piano student may not enjoy practicing scales by the hour, but he looks forward to the pleasure of playing beautiful music one day. The athlete may not enjoy exercising and practicing his skills, but he looks forward to winning the game by doing his best. Christians have something even better: our very sufferings will one day be transformed into glory, and we will be “glad also with exceeding joy” (see ; ).
v14
Our suffering brings to us the ministry of the Holy Spirit (v. 14). He is the Spirit of glory and He has a special ministry to those who suffer for the glory of Jesus Christ. This verse can be translated “for the presence of the glory, even the Spirit, rests on you.” The reference is to the Shekinah glory of God that dwelt in the tabernacle and in the temple (; ). When the people stoned Stephen, he saw Jesus in heaven and experienced God’s glory (; ). This is the “joy unspeakable and full of glory” that Peter wrote about in .
In other words, suffering Christians do not have to wait for heaven in order to experience His glory. Through the Holy Spirit, they can have the glory now. This explains how martyrs could sing praises to God while bound in the midst of blazing fires. It also explains how persecuted Christians (and there are many in today’s world) can go to prison and to death without complaining or resisting their captors.
Our suffering enables us to glorify His name (v. 14). We suffer because of His name (). You can tell your unsaved friends that you are Baptist, a Presbyterian, a Methodist, or even an agnostic, and there will be no opposition; but tell them you are a Christian—bring Christ’s name into the conversation—and things will start to happen. Our authority is in the name of Jesus, and Satan hates that name. Every time we are reproached for the name of Christ, we have the opportunity to bring glory to that name. The world may speak against His name, but we will so speak and live that His name will be honored and God will be pleased.
The word “Christian” is found only three times in the entire New Testament (; ; ). The name was originally given by the enemies of the church as a term of reproach; but in time, it became an honored name. Of course, in today’s world, the word “Christian” means to most people the opposite of “pagan.” But the word carries the idea of “a Christ one, belonging to Christ.” Certainly it is a privilege to bear the name and to suffer for His name’s sake ().
Polycarp was the Bishop of Smyrna about the middle of the second century. He was arrested for his faith and threatened with death if he did not recant. “Eighty and six years have I served Him,” the saintly Bishop replied, “and He never did me any injury. How can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?”
“I have respect for your age,” said the Roman officer. “Simply say, ‘Away with the atheists!’ and be set free.” By “the atheists” he meant the Christians who would not acknowledge that Caesar was “lord.”
The old man pointed to the crowd of Roman pagans surrounding him, and cried, “Away with the atheists!” He was burned at the stake and in his martyrdom brought glory to the name of Jesus Christ.
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In the furnace of persecution and suffering, we often have more light by which we can examine our lives and ministries. The fiery trial is a refining process, by which God removes the dross and purifies us. One day, a fiery judgment will overtake the whole world (). Meanwhile, God’s judgment begins “at the house of God,” the church (). This truth ought to motivate us to be as pure and obedient as possible (see for an Old Testament illustration of this truth).
In the furnace of persecution and suffering, we often have more light by which we can examine our lives and ministries. The fiery trial is a refining process, by which God removes the dross and purifies us. One day, a fiery judgment will overtake the whole world (). Meanwhile, God’s judgment begins “at the house of God,” the church (). This truth ought to motivate us to be as pure and obedient as possible (see for an Old Testament illustration of this truth).
There are several questions we should ask ourselves as we examine our own lives.
v15
v15
Why do I suffer?
We noted before that not all suffering is a “fiery trial” from the Lord. If a professed Christian breaks the law and gets into trouble, or becomes a meddler into other people’s lives, then he ought to suffer! The fact that we are Christians is not a guarantee that we escape the normal consequences of our misdeeds. We may not be guilty of murder (though anger can be the same as murder in the heart, ), but what about stealing, or meddling? When Abraham, David, Peter, and other Bible “greats” disobeyed God, they suffered for it; so, who are we that we should escape? Let’s be sure we are suffering because we are Christians and not because we are criminals.
v16
Shame?
This statement must have reminded Peter of his own denial of Christ (). Jesus Christ is not ashamed of us ()—though many times He surely could be! The Father is not ashamed to be called our God (). On the cross Jesus Christ despised shame for us (), so surely we can bear reproach for Him and not be ashamed. The warning in is worth pondering.
“Not be ashamed” is negative; “glorify God” is positive. It takes both for a balanced witness. If we seek to glorify God, then we will not be ashamed of the name of Jesus Christ. It was this determination not to be ashamed that encouraged Paul when he went to Rome (), when he suffered in Rome (), and when he faced martyrdom in Rome ().
v17-18
Win the lost.
Note the words that Peter used to describe the lost: “Them that obey not the Gospel … the ungodly and the sinner.” The argument of this verse is clear: If God sends a “fiery trial” to His own children, and they are saved “with difficulty,” what will happen to lost sinners when God’s fiery judgment falls?
When a believer suffers, he experiences glory and knows that there will be greater glory in the future. But a sinner who causes that suffering is only filling up the measure of God’s wrath more and more (). Instead of being concerned only about ourselves, we need to be concerned about the lost sinners around us. Our present “fiery trial” is nothing compared with the “flaming fire” that shall punish the lost when Jesus returns in judgment (). The idea is expressed in —“If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!” (niv)
The phrase scarcely be saved means “saved with difficulty,” but it does not suggest that God is too weak to save us. The reference is probably to , when God sought to rescue Lot from Sodom before the city was destroyed. God was able—but Lot was unwilling! He lingered, argued with the angels, and finally had to be taken by the hand and dragged out of the city! Lot was “saved as by fire” and everything he lived for went up in smoke (see ).
Times of persecution are times of opportunity for a loving witness to those who persecute us (see , ). It was not the earthquake that brought that Philippian jailer to Christ, because that frightened him into almost committing suicide! No, it was Paul’s loving concern for him that brought the jailer to faith in Christ. As Christians, we do not seek for vengeance on those who have hurt us. Rather, we pray for them and seek to lead them to Jesus Christ.
v19
When we are suffering in the will of God, we can commit ourselves into the care of God. Everything else that we do as Christians depends on this. The word is a banking term; it means “to deposit for safekeeping” (see ). Of course, when you deposit your life in God’s bank, you always receive eternal dividends on your investment.
This picture reminds us that we are valuable to God. He made us, redeemed us, lives in us, guards, and protects us. I saw a savings and loan association advertisement in the newspaper, reaffirming the financial stability of the firm and the backing of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. In days of financial unsteadiness, such assurances are necessary to depositors. But when you “deposit” your life with God, you have nothing to fear; for He is able to keep you.
This commitment is not a single action but a constant attitude. “Be constantly committing” is the force of the admonition. How do we do this? “By means of welldoing.” As we return good for evil and do good even though we suffer for it, we are committing ourselves to God so that He can care for us. This commitment involves every area of our lives and every hour of our lives.
If we really have hope, and believe that Jesus is coming again, then we will obey His Word and start laying up treasures and glory in heaven. Unsaved people have a present that is controlled by their past, but Christians have a present that is controlled by the future (). In our very serving, we are committing ourselves to God and making investments for the future.
There is a striking illustration of this truth in . The Prophet Jeremiah had been telling the people that one day their situation would change and they would be restored to their land. But at that time, the Babylonian army occupied the land and was about to take Jerusalem. Jeremiah’s cousin, Hanamel, gave Jeremiah an option to purchase the family land which was now occupied by enemy soldiers. The prophet had to “put his money where his mouth is.” And he did it! As an act of faith, he purchased the land and became, no doubt, the laughingstock of the people in Jerusalem. But God honored his faith because Jeremiah lived according to the Word that he preached.
Why did Peter refer to God as “a faithful Creator” rather than “a faithful Judge” or even “a faithful Saviour”? Because God the Creator meets the needs of His people (). It is the Creator who provides food and clothing to persecuted Christians, and who protects them in times of danger. When the early church was persecuted, they met together for prayer and addressed the Lord as the “God, which has made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is” (). They prayed to the Creator!
Our Heavenly Father is “the Lord of heaven and earth” (). With that kind of a Father, we have no need to worry! He is the faithful Creator, and His faithfulness will not fail.
Before God pours out His wrath on this evil world, a “fiery trial” will come to God’s church, to unite and purify it, that it might be a strong witness to the lost. There is nothing for us to fear if we are suffering in the will of God. Our faithful Father-Creator will victoriously see us through!
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