Jesus Christ is - The Wonderful One
To Him be the glory both now and forever.  Amen.

1 Peter Book Study

1 Peter

Daily Bible Verse

By Charlie Garrett
and Rory Wilson


Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us,
But to Your name give glory,
Because of Your mercy,
Because of Your truth.  Psalm 115:1


This page comprises the Daily Devotionals that I sent out while working through the book of 1 Peter. If there's a particular passage in this book that you don't understand, scroll down to read my analysis. I hope what you find will bless you. I want to give my sincere appreciation to Rory Wilson who took the time to compile and edit these for me. God bless you brother!


Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 1 Peter 1:1

During Jesus’ ministry, Peter was one of the Lord's inner-circle, the other two being James and John, the sons of Zebedee. After the resurrection of Christ, Peter was considered an Apostle to the Jews and Paul was designated the Apostle to the Gentiles (see Galatians 2:6-10). Because he was an apostle to the Jewish people we can determine a few things about him –

1) He was not the first Pope. Peter never held the seat of authority over the church. Even during the earliest days of the church as is recorded in Acts 15, it is James the Lord’s brother, not Peter, who led the church.

2) The letter we are about to analyze was directed to Jewish believers, “the pilgrims of the Dispersion.”

As a short summary of the intent and purpose of the book, we should remember these points:

Author – The Apostle Peter

Date of Epistle – Mid to late 60s

Theme – To emphasize the proper attitude and conduct believers are to have when undergoing persecution.

Purpose – To encourage believers in the midst of suffering.

Presentation of Christ – Our Rock

It’s so exciting to think on the wonders that lay ahead in the next 105 days of study. Let’s take time to pray and ask for both wisdom and discernment as we move ahead –

Glorious and almighty Heavenly Father, thank you so much for the opportunity to look into the pages of the Book of Peter. He, like all of us, was a fallible man who made mistakes along His life’s journey, but even then, you breathed out Your precious word through Him. Help us to be wise and discerning as we look into this epistle that You may be glorified. Amen!


 

…elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied. 1 Peter 1:2

There sure is a lot contained in today’s verse. Peter says that those he mentioned in verse 1 are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.” Paul speaks of election in Romans 9 and 11 (and elsewhere). This is a concept which indicates that even before creation God knew who would be saved. There are different views on this, e.g.

1) God knew what choice would be made by those who received Him;

2) God chose the elect and the elect have no choice in the matter.

Both sides have verses which they use to justify their stand, but salvation is clearly described as a “gift” many times in Scripture. If something is forced is not a gift; a gift must be received. Further, to say God actively chose only some while actively passing others violates the precept that God “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth…”

Going on, Peter speaks of the “sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.” In the Old Testament, hyssop was dipped in blood and then sprinkled on things to purify them. David speaks in the 51st Psalm of being “purged with hyssop” in order to be cleaned from the serious sin he had committed.

Likewise, Isaiah looked forward to the coming Christ and said, “So shall He sprinkle many nations.” This is a clear reference to His death on the cross. By shedding His blood, He purifies all who come to Him. Without accepting Him, we remain unpurified and stand condemned.

As it says in Hebrews 9:22, “…and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” When we receive Christ, we receive “sanctification of the Spirit” which sets us apart as holy. This occurs at the moment of belief according to the book of Ephesians. Therefore, there is no separate action between accepting God’s salvation and being baptized into the Spirit; accepting Christ means being baptized into the Spirit.

Lord God, thank You for the gift of Jesus. Thank you also for the wonderful gift of being sanctified by Your Holy Spirit. We look to You in adoration for what You have done for us that we could never have accomplished on our own. It took the sprinkling of the precious blood of Jesus to cleanse us from our defilement. Thank You for this gift! Amen.


 

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3

Paul gives a sentiment similar to Peter’s verse in the book f 1 Corinthians –

 “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.”

Today Peter says, “to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Our hope isn’t some ethereal thought about what may be coming after death. Nor is it a hope lacking certainty for which we must be pitied. Instead, it’s a sure promise from God who cannot lie.

Our hope is a living hope.

Can you imagine the utter futility of life if Jesus never came? People would be hoping for an eternity of peace that would be completely out of reach. In our natural selves, we’re sold out to sin which separates us from any chance of seeing the face of God. However, because of Jesus who came “according to the abundant mercy” of “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” we have an undeserved chance at restoration and eternal joy.

Today as you head out, look around you and determine that you won’t keep this living hope a secret. Step up and take the opportunity to tell others about Jesus. The world is in desperate need of hearing about the surety of God’s promise. If God was able to change you and call you from darkness, don’t you think He’s also able to use you to be an instrument of getting His word out to others? To do anything less than spread the good news is to hide the very words which will either save them or condemn them.

Spread the word today – we have a living hope.

Yes God! You chose me for salvation and this means You chose me to be an instrument of Your word. Let me not only enjoy the benefit of eternal life, but also give me the ability to tell others about it as well. This I pray that You will be glorified in them on the great Day when You come for Your people. Amen.

 


 

…to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 1 Peter 1:4

This is a portion of the “living hope” first mentioned in yesterday’s verse and describes the result of the sanctification of the Spirit mentioned in verse 2. Believers in Jesus Christ have an incorruptible inheritance. In other words, our situation will be on an eternal level. Right now we suffer through backaches, financial difficulties, troubled relationships, etc. But what’s coming will be eternal in nature. Paul speaks about this in 1 Corinthians 15 –

For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

Not only will we put on immortality, but it will be in an undefiled state; we will live in complete holiness and the stain of sin will be gone forever. The sanctification mentioned above leads to this state of glorification which is the hope of every believer. The downside of this process is that all who fail to come to Jesus Christ will never receive the promise. They will remain in a state of eternal corruption and the prospect of heaven will be forever removed from them. We need to understand that for human beings it is “the devil by default.” A change in the settings is needed in order to share in the promise of unfading glory. Citing Paul again, we read this in Acts 26:18,

 “…to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me.”

Make sure you don’t keep the good news of Jesus Christ a secret. Without him, hell awaits.

O God, give me the strong and urgent desire to proclaim Jesus’ wonderful works to the people around me. I know it is my duty to do so and therefore take away any timidity or reticence to speak out! May I be a bold and competent messenger of Your precious gospel. Amen.


 

…who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 1 Peter 1:5

This is speaking to believers in Jesus Christ as indicated in verse 3. We are “kept by the power of God through faith.” In other words, it is the faith we professed in Jesus Christ and the power of His resurrection that saved us and it is this same faith that keeps us for the coming salvation – the redemption of our bodies.

Paul speaks in great detail of this in 1 Corinthians 15 when the Lord will come and we will be changed “in the twinkling of an eye.” Until that day though, we are in one of two states – alive and in our corruptible bodies, or absent from the body and present with Christ in spirit.

There are a number of teachers who claim we have an “interim body” until the time we receive our glorified bodies. They base this on 2 Corinthians 12 where Paul speaks of being caught up to “the third heaven.” While there he saw, heard, etc. The logic then is that if someone can do these things, they must have a body.

However, the account of the spirit of Samuel in 1 Samuel 28 clearly indicates that spirits hear, speak, and see even though they are only spirits. Such is the case with the believer in Christ. When death occurs, their spirit is immediately in the presence of Christ but awaiting their final, glorified body. This is also alluded to in 2 Corinthians 5 where Paul speaks of the soul without a body as “naked.” In our eternal state we will, therefore, have real bodies that will simply last forever.

These things will “be revealed in the last time.” As we’ve been waiting 2000 years for this to occur, one thing is for sure, we’re 2000 years closer to these things coming to fulfillment. Maybe it’ll be today! Keep your faith strong – Christ Jesus has promised us an incorruptible heavenly body. Whoo hoo!

Thank You, O God, for the wonderful beautiful promise of eternal life – free from pain and trial and trouble and sin. Instead, we will have a body which is fitting to be in Your glorious presence and a desire to please you forever. What a great and glorious hope we have! Thank You; Thank You! In Jesus name,,, Thank You!


 

In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials,…1 Peter 1:6

 “In this” is referring to the “living hope” mentioned in verse 3 and the excitingly wonderful description given from verses 3-6. This living hope allows us to greatly rejoice no matter what our current situation is. If we’re mature Christians, we will look beyond the “various trials” which have grieved us and may continue to grieve us.

In other words, we are not immune from trials and should even expect them, but they are really only blips in the road that leads us to our coming glorified state. In the book of Colossians, Paul shows us his ability to rejoice even while writing from a Roman prison –

I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up in my flesh what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ, for the sake of His body, which is the church,… Colossians 1:24

Paul was often beaten, imprisoned, abandoned or facing some other terrible time and yet he could look beyond the moment to the glory to come. If you think carefully about all that goes on around you, it is all exactly as it should be and we are moving toward the consummation of the ages. God is in complete control even if we aren’t. He is working faithfully through our many errors, trials, and heartaches. In the end, we can look back on our lives and say, “So this is why that happened.” For now, you should trust that He hasn’t abandoned you and He hasn’t carelessly forgotten about your every need. While we may mourn now, we can still rejoice in the future… our hope is that sure; our destiny is secure.

Lord God, I know you haven’t abandoned me, nor have you forgotten even my slightest sorrows. How much more then do You know and care for my greatest grief. Thank You for being so tender and caring towards me. You’re a great and awesome Creator and to You I give my praise. Hallelujah and Amen!


 

…that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,1 Peter 1:7

This refers to the previous verse which mentions being grieved by “various trials.” As you can see, these come for a good reason – to test and refine your faith. This faith we possess and which is tested in the crucible of trial, difficulty, and suffering will ultimately lead to “praise, honor, and glory.” Too often when something disastrous occurs, we cry out, “Why God?”

Imagine a father and his friends go out on the ocean for a day of fishing. Three days later, after extensive searches they are all found dead. The usual questions arise and God’s goodness is part of that questioning process. But is this right? Would these people have perished in a boating accident if they hadn’t gone boating? Would it have been better to stay indoors in a locked room?

God’s goodness is displayed in the fact that these people had the freedom to choose a day of fishing; they had the ability to relax instead of continuing work just to feed their family; they had families that loved them; etc. We don’t live in isolated cells with feeding tubes attached to us and we must expect soldiers will die in war, people who cross the street may not make it to the other side, and people who eat may accidently choke on their food.

The test then is not for the dead, but for the living. When we face trials – be they large or small; personal, within a family, or within a community; financial, life-threatening, or spiritual – we demonstrate our faith when we acknowledge God’s sovereignty and His right to work out His plan in a way that we may not always understand.

When trials come, the testing may be intense and the heat may be severe, but this refining process is something that will ultimately lead to praise, honor, and glory. And this will come when Jesus Christ is revealed to us in His glorious splendor. Pain and sadness are to be expected, but when you can honestly accept all things with the attitude that “the Lord’s will be done” you are in the high place of strong faith – a place of reward from the Creator.

O Great and Sovereign God, give me the ability to accept everything that occurs in my life as a gift from You – whether blessing or trial. I ask this because I see that even the trials are blessings in the end when they test my faith and refine it. Help me to consider today’s verse when they come that there will be praise, honor, and glory at the coming of Jesus. Amen.


…whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,

1 Peter 1:8

After the resurrection, Thomas doubted that it had occurred at all. This was even after the other apostles and those with them had emphatically claimed that Jesus was alive. Finally, eight days later Jesus appeared while Thomas was present. Finally convinced of what he saw and felt, he cried out “My Lord and my God!” Immediately Jesus made the great proclamation of faith for saints throughout the ages to come –

 “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Peter was present when this occurred and maybe he was thinking about this when he penned today’s verse, “whom having not seen you love.” Are you struggling with the validity of the biblical account? Or do you have that inexpressible joy which is full of glory? The difference may simply be that you’ve failed to apply your faith to a study of the Bible.

When your faith is faltering, nothing can build it up like opening its pages and reminding yourself about the reliability of what’s recorded there – including the book of 1 Peter – hence his writing the letter in the first place! If you find some portions difficult, go to reliable study aids which were written by people who have spent their lives verifying the accuracy of what the Bible records. Don’t be a doubting Thomas (or Jane, or Mike, or Calvin, or…)! Instead, believe the surety of God’s word and you will be filled with inexpressible joy!

Heavenly Father, I know Your word is sure and Your testimony is true. When my faith falters, help me to rebuild it through reexamining the pages of the Bible and a double-dose of Your glorious Holy Spirit. Yes Lord! Fill me to overflowing with knowledge of You by the illumination of Your Spirit. Amen.


 

…receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.

1 Peter 1:9

Let’s remember yesterday’s verse which is the first half of this thought – “Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,” Amen! That which brings inexpressible joy – the faith we possess in Jesus Christ – will be rewarded in the end with the salvation of our souls. Positionally, those who’ve called on Jesus are already saved. We know this from a multitude of verses, for example –

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees? Romans 8:24

The action is completed in the sense that we need do nothing else except wait to receive our final redemption. Until that day, let’s act as if we really believe it. We should attend church, not to be blessed but to worship out of gratitude. We should endure trials joyfully knowing that even these serve a good purpose. We should sing in our hearts (and even with our lips!) as we walk along life’s path.

If you’re forgetting to thank the Lord for the glory to come, take time today – even right now – to reflect on what’s ahead and then thank Him for the marvel of that Day! As Paul said in the Romans verse, “hope that is seen is not hope.” And as Peter says, a day is coming when we will receive the end of our faith. This will be when our hope is changed to sight; that glorious day when Jesus Christ Himself calls us to the paradise He has prepared.

Get ready, Jesus is coming and our very eyes will become the very end of our faith. Hallelujah and amen!

What a day! O, what a glorious and joyful day – O, happy day. Lord Jesus, what You have promised is worth all the waiting in the world. One day we’ll look upon Your majesty and bask in Your beauty for all eternity – saved from the stain of sin in this temporary world. Praise to You O Lord! Amen.


 

Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 1 Peter 1:10

We read these glorious words in the book of Isaiah –

For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. vss 9:6, 7

Imagine Isaiah receiving God’s words, knowing they were God’s words, and then reading them again and again and again – searching diligently trying to discover the meaning of the very words that he’d just penned. It’s almost unimaginable! A man would be born and yet He would be called the Mighty God. Men are born, live, and then die and yet it says He would be the Everlasting Father. Each word used to describe this coming One shouts out to us as the Incarnate Word of God – yes, we know Him as Jesus. But Isaiah could only look forward and wonder.

Likewise, the suffering servant passage in Isaiah 52:13-53:12 must have been incredible – what could it mean? Each of the prophets must have looked at the words they’d composed and wondered, but until such things were revealed in Jesus they simply couldn’t fathom the grace that would come. However, we can look back and understand and revel in the words that brought them such straining of thought. How blessed we are in this dispensation of God’s grace!

We look on Your word to us, O God, in awe! The grace it reveals is far greater than anything a human could imagine – You stepped out of eternity, united with human flesh, and became incarnate. You suffered on our behalf and now we have the prospect of reconciliation and eternal life – all because of You! Glory to You, O God! Amen.


 

…searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 1 Peter 1:11

The prophets of old searched carefully the very words they’d penned – looking into and inquiring of them concerning the salvation and grace that was to come. They searched concerning what would happen; they searched concerning when it would happen; and they most certainly wondered concerning the Spirit that was in them – the Spirit of Christ. What was being revealed and why? Today we have the revelation they searched out, but to them it was a mystery. Paul uses this term quite a few times as he spoke of the ministry of Christ –

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith… Romans 16:25, 26

Here we see that the work of Christ was a mystery kept in the mind of God since the very foundation of the world, but was made manifest in the gospel. This mystery was presented in the “prophetic scriptures” which is exactly what Peter is talking about. The prophets of old, wrote of the coming glory and yet to them it was veiled. Likewise, the times of the coming of Christ and the fulfillment of the ages is veiled. We can search carefully, get out our calculators and computers, look at calendars of coming events, and strain our minds over the times and the seasons, but in the end we must simply wait on the Lord’s timing.

When He is ready, He’ll be back – but not a moment sooner. It won’t come by the desires of prognosticators; it will come by the wisdom of God.

Dearest Jesus – we’d love to see You and we’d very much like to sit in Your presence and dine with You… may it be really soon. O but Lord, Your will be done, not ours. Our garments are washed, our hearts are ready, and Your invitations are in our hand. When You call, we will respond with joy. Until then, we love You. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.


 

To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into. 1 Peter 1:12

The prophets of old received God’s word and then turned around and read what they’d written out. They searched the words carefully and looked for hints about the glory to come. When they read of the sufferings of Christ and compared them with verses like the one proclaiming Him an everlasting Father they must have been completely baffled.

This coming One would be buried in a grave and yet he would rule the nations forever – it must have been incredibly hard to understand and reconcile the concepts… maybe there would be two Messiahs? Maybe the passages weren’t to be taken literally?

Finally, they realized that it was simply not for them to know. Instead, others would be the recipients of the revelation which was received; they were merely the conduit by which God was revealing the mysteries that would be revealed in Christ. And who are the favored recipients? They are those who hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.

We have received enlightenment of the verses which were veiled in times past because Jesus’ ministry fulfilled them. Once His work was complete, He opened the eyes of the apostles to understand the ancient words –

And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:47

From then on, the Holy Spirit sent from heaven has illuminated God’s word to His people – starting with the apostles and since then through faithful pastors and preachers of the Church Age. Truly we are a favored generation. As we wait on the return of our Lord, we have the pages of the Bible to guide us and instruct us in our daily lives.

Thank You Jesus for sending Your Holy Spirit to illuminate Your word to us through the preaching of the gospel and the study of its contents. Thank You for allowing us to be the recipients of the fullness of the writings which tell us of You and Your glorious work in and through humanity. Amen.


 

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; 1 Peter 1:13

Peter uses a term you may not be familiar with today, “gird up….” In the days when the Bible was written, people wore long loose fitting clothing. If you tried to run in something like that, it could hamper your stride and even cause you to get tangled up in your own clothing and go a’tumbling over. This would be no different than a lady trying to run in an evening gown. What person would run a race in an evening gown? In order to get going at a fast pace, they would pull up the long part and tuck it into their sash – then it was off to the races.

Girding up the loins of your mind then is an expression which means to be ready or prepared for something. Peter is reminding us to always be ready for the “revelation of Jesus Christ” – His coming and our being called to Him. To clarify what being prepared means, he tells us to be sober. This doesn’t merely mean “not intoxicated” even though we should never be drunk, but it also means to be mentally prepared. Our judgments need to be right and our thinking needs to be clear.

We’re also to rest our “hope fully on the grace” that is to be brought to us. This is another of the numerous hints in the New Testament – some subtle and some direct – that we are “saved by grace through faith.” This is where our hope lies; not in works but in simple faith. Why, because even after coming to Christ, we continue to fail Him day by day. We need the same grace when He comes after being saved as we did before He saved us. If you’re trusting in your own goodness or righteousness, you’re going to be surprised at His coming. We’re saved by grace; we must continue in grace; and we will see and realize the immensity of God’s grace when He comes.

In fact, Ephesians 2:7 indicates that we will understand this grace for all the “ages to come.” Infinite grace – it’s just what we need!

Thank You Lord for the infinite grace You have displayed and continue to display in my life. I fail You continuously and my only hope is in Your faithfulness despite my faithlessness. I trust in You alone for both my salvation and my continued state of favor in Your eyes. Thank You for the cross and thank You for the garments of righteousness it provides. Amen.


 

…as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 1 Peter 1:14

Many people have a problem with the concept of total depravity. This means that we are all bound under sin and totally incapable of saving ourselves. It also gives us an understanding of why God can command the Israelites to march into Canaan and destroy everything that lives – including women and children. As Jesus said in John 3:18 –

He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

We are “condemned already.” This means even from the moment of conception. All humans receive Adam’s sin-nature and don’t need to do a thing to be separated from God. However, even on those who are separated in this way, God is merciful – He provides them food, rain, and the good things of life.

He also waited 400 years to destroy the people of Canaan because of His longsuffering and “the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete” (Genesis 15:16). Likewise, God spared Nineveh at the preaching of Jonah because they repented. This doesn’t mean they were saved for eternity, but from destruction in this life; they were allowed to continue on under the sun.

Peter says that we were all in this depraved state and once conformed ourselves to these lusts. He then says we did them in “ignorance.” Ignorance of the law is, however, no excuse. If you can come to this realization and accept it for what it is, then you can understand the infinite grace and mercy demonstrated at the cross of Jesus. Glory to God for His favor upon the sons of Adam!

Truly O God, You are merciful and full of grace. Glory be to You for sending Jesus, born into the stream of humanity in order to save us from the depraved state we were in. Surely You are worthy of all our praise! Yes! Glory to You, O God! Amen.


 

…but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,… 1 Peter 1:15

From eternity past, the Father has called us to be saved. This is known as the doctrine of “predestination.” It tells us that our salvation was and is set in stone; it was a done deal even before creation. And yet the Bible says that we must receive Jesus in order to be saved – an act of our free-will. How are these two concepts reconciled?

God doesn’t think like we do – thought after thought or “sequentially.” Rather, God knows everything intuitively and immediately. Nothing is unknown to Him including the free-will decision we make to receive Jesus as Lord. Because of our salvation, it follows then that we need to be holy just as God is holy.

However, because we think sequentially – thought after thought – we get caught up in life as it comes our way. We’re challenged with trials, troubles, woes, and difficulties as the moments turn into hours and the hours pass into days. This is why we so desperately need to be filled with God’s Holy Spirit.

Just as we asked for and received salvation, we need to ask forgiveness when we sin (a reactive action) which prepares us for being filled. Also, we need to pray for wisdom, patience, and especially God’s direction in advance (acting proactively). By living in this way, we open the doors to holiness and right living.

It simply isn’t possible to go to church once a week, raise hands and shout “Hallelujah” and then spend the rest of the week relying on that short experience to keep us holy. Please make a daily commitment to

1) morning - rise and praise;

2) daily - walk and talk;

3) evening - lay and pray.

The Bible says we’re always in the presence of the Lord. Remember this and act accordingly – so be holy in all your conduct.

Lord God, the more we trust in You and the closer our walk is with You, it seems the more evident our sin is. Give us wisdom to confess our sins as we commit them and also to ask for guidance each day that we may be protected from sinning even more. Fill us to overflowing with Your Holy Spirit that we may be pleasing vessels of holiness to You. Amen.


 

…because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16

A couple great points come from today’s short verse.

1) Paul is quoting Leviticus 11:44 along with several other occasions where this is mentioned. Scripture quoting Scripture is one way the Bible validates itself internally. Things are proclaimed and then they happen; things are stated and then they’re re-quoted elsewhere; someone claims to be a prophet and Jesus confirms that status. These and many other such occurrences validate the authority of other books, other people, and other concepts within the framework of the Bible.

2) God is making an absolute statement about Himself – a statement that can be inferred from simply thinking about the nature of God, even without the Bible. In other words, the Bible not only validates itself internally, but in a host of other ways, including when discussing the nature of God. Unlike the Koran or other religious texts from religions around the world, only the Bible confirms the nature of God 100 percent. We’re left with an absolutely sure word concerning His nature and that He has revealed Himself to us in a way we can understand.

3) We are to reflect God’s image. He is holy and we are to act accordingly. He is full of grace and we are to likewise be graceful. He is filled with mercy and therefore we need to exercise mercy. The same is true with truthfulness, love, righteousness, justice, etc. God expects us to live in a way that reflects His nature. When we deviate from that, we isolate ourselves from His goodness and are left with only a fearful expectation of judgment. Let’s always attempt to live our lives in a way which reflects God’s infinite qualities, even if we fall short of demonstrating them perfectly.

Heavenly Father, today is a tough bill to fill. It’s extremely hard for me to be holy at times. Likewise, I know I fail you in being forgiving, truthful, and in all the other ways that should reflect Your glory. Forgive me of my weakness and fill me with Your Spirit that I will be enabled to reflect you properly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


 

And if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; 1 Peter 1:17

In this verse we see two obvious overlaps in the duties of the Godhead. Compare what it says with these two verses –

For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord. 1 Corinthians 4:4

When we call on Jesus we call on God; when we call on the Father we call on God. Likewise, the authority for judgment rests with Jesus and yet the authority for judgment rests with the Father. Everything must be taken in context, but it’s obvious that God the Father is revealed to us in God the Son.

Note that judgment is “according to each one’s work.” Salvation is eternal and is from the first moment, but our judgment will be based on the work we do after that moment. This then is not a judgment for condemnation, but for reward. If you desire a greater heavenly reward, then you need to “conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear.”

This is not a fear of condemnation, but a reverent fear. God is ever-present with us and we simply can’t hide our wicked actions. Instead, we need to fear that they will be exposed and loss will result. As it says in Acts 17:28, “…in Him we live and move and have our being.” Let’s act as if we really believe it – in reverence, in holiness, in gratitude for all good things. Remember what is promised for those whose works are acceptable!

Lord, it is so easy to get distracted and forget that You are right here with me. When I do, of course I fail You and act in a way that isn’t as holy as it should be. For this, I’m sorry. I ask that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit and remind me of my obligations to You and of the eternal rewards that accompany following them. Amen.


 

…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,…1 Peter 1:18

 “…from the aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers,…” Because Peter is writing to 1st century Jews, this is must surely be speaking in a general sense about the society and culture built around the Jerusalem temple. However, this must also be speaking in a much more specific sense. When the elders of His time confronted Jesus about such an issue, we read –

 “Why do Your disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat bread.” He answered and said to them, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God because of your tradition? For God commanded, saying, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who curses father or mother, let him be put to death.’ But you say, ‘Whoever says to his father or mother, “Whatever profit you might have received from me is a gift to God”— then he need not honor his father or mother.’ Thus you have made the commandment of God of no effect by your tradition.  Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with their lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Matthew 15:2-9

Adding to the Law of Moses, the elders of the Jewish society had heaped traditions upon the people and counted them as laws. Christ not only redeemed us from the law, but we are to be free from all legalistic entanglements as well. Unfortunately, churches follow exactly this same pattern today, adding in as requirements those things which are neither found nor even intimated in Scripture. Be careful to learn your Bible. By doing so, you won’t be snookered by misguided attempts to shut down or efface the purity and glory of the gospel.

Lord, I know that I’m accountable to You for my doctrine. Therefore, please provide me with wise teachers who can properly instruct me, the desire to learn Your word on my own, and – above all – the filling of Your Holy Spirit to guide me and enlighten me to the truth of Your word. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


 

…but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:19

Yesterday Peter said, “…knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things…” He then went on to list things we think are precious – gold and silver. Today he contrasts these useless things with that which is of infinite value, “the precious blood of Christ.” The most purifying substance in the universe is the blood of Christ. It represents

1)   The infinite love of God.

2)   The perfect grace of God.

3)   The pure mercy of God.

4)   The supreme righteousness of God.

5)   The satisfied justice of God.

6)   The inestimable holiness of God.

7)   The kept promises of God.

Jesus Christ, represented here by an innocent lamb, one that is completely free from spot or blemish, was sacrificed on our behalf. Our moral corruption; our heaped up sins; our wayward thoughts, words, actions, and inactions; all of these were laid upon Him at the altar of sacrifice which is the cross of Calvary. And all of God’s divine and eternal attributes were reconciled in Him to us by His death. If you want to know the cost of your sins, look to the cross. The blood of Jesus Christ, which represents His death in place of yours, is the cost. But there is good news in His crucifixion. By calling on Him 1) You can now be reconciled to God; 2) All sins – past, present and future are forgiven, and 3) You have a certain hope of eternal life because of His resurrection; death couldn’t hold Him and He promises the same to you! He rose again by the power of the Eternal God. Jesus has prevailed; Jesus is Lord!

Lord, may I never boast in gold or silver. May I never look with prideful satisfaction upon a good paying job or a large home. May I never trust in anything so temporary or trivial. Instead, may I trust in the glory of the cross and in the perfect blood which restores me to You. Glory to God in the highest! Jesus is Lord! Amen.


 

He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you… 1 Peter 1:20

The Bible says, “In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” There was a point when time began, before which it didn’t exist. Einstein realized this when he postulated the Theory of Relativity. This means that the incarnation and work of Jesus Christ was determined before time itself. This isn’t a misreading of one verse either. Revelation 13:8 repeats this amazing concept –

All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

This verse is speaking of unbelievers who have rejected the “Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Instead, they turn to the antichrist in worship and adoration. The point not to miss today though is that Jesus Christ, God incarnate, was destined for the horrors of the cross before time, space, or matter existed. The mind of God, which is infinite in knowledge, saw your sin and rebellion and purposed that instead of you being crucified, He would accept the punishment in the body of Jesus.

The next time you determine to click on a porn site for a peek, steal a pack of gum for a kick, lie to your boss about why you came to work late – or a zillion other sins of the flesh – remember that Jesus’ suffering came about because of our rebellion and it was at a point when the matter of our physical bodies had not yet been created. We’re accountable to the One who spoke us into existence. Remember this and be holy, even as He is holy.

Amazing love – that You, O God, could look through the immense continuum of time – to the moment I would live – and still speak me into existence. I’ve rebelled, I’ve fallen, I’ve done wickedly, and yet You still created me. More than that, You sent Jesus to die for the sin I committed, even before I’d done these things – amazing love; amazing grace. Amen.


 

…who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.1 Peter 1:21

This is speaking to you, the believer in God through Jesus Christ. It is the power of God (repeated elsewhere in the New Testament) that raised Jesus from the dead. A common misunderstanding of cults is this –

The Father is God.

Jesus is not the Father.

Therefore, Jesus is not God.

This is a mistake in reasoning known as the Fallacy of Illicit Major. “Major” refers to the major (or first) premise, not a person in the military. The major premise may be true, but it is not all-inclusive. Just because the Father is God, it doesn’t in anyway negate the Son or Holy Spirit from being God.

The second premise is true and is all inclusive – the Father isn’t the Son and the Son isn’t the Father. Based on the incorrect thought of the first premise though, the conclusion is false and the argument is invalid. Take time to read up on fallacies because it will help you think more clearly and defend your position; which should be completely defensible.

This, however, doesn’t mean it will be accepted so don’t get too frustrated. No matter what others believe, it is God who raised Jesus from the dead “and gave Him glory.” Again, this doesn’t mean Jesus lacked glory or isn’t part of the Godhead. Jesus, in His High Priestly prayer speaks of the glory He shared with the Father before creation – see John 17:5. Jesus Christ is not a vain hope, nor is He a created being. He is the incarnate Word of God; the eternal Son of the Father. As it says, “your faith and your hope are in God.” When your faith is in Jesus Christ, your faith is in God. If your faith is not in Jesus Christ, you fail to honor the Father – “If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor (John 12:26).”

Heavenly Father, from You comes logic, order, reason, and wisdom. Give us the strong desire to look into these aspects of understanding that we may be able to defend our positions when faced with difficult challenges. By doing this, may You be glorified and the lost be directed to You. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.


 

Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart,… 1 Peter 1:22

 “Since you have purified your souls…” Again, as for the umpteenmillionth time in the epistles, we have a verse which proclaims eternal salvation. If our souls are purified, then we are cleansed and now acceptable to God who loved us enough to send Jesus. Why is this so important to understand?

It’s because a failure to comprehend it leads people into bondage and they become easily directed by the whims of their spiritual leaders. It also leads to the financial gain of those leaders because their followers are bound into works-based religion. If our souls are purified through faith in Jesus Christ, then we don’t need a denomination directing them; they are at liberty in and through Christ.

Ephesians says that the moment we believe we’re sealed with the Holy Spirit. This is a “deposit or guarantee which can never be revoked. Once sealed, we can repeatedly pray for and receive His filling which allows us to obey the truth. This leads us, as it says above, into sincere love of the brethren – a love which is fervent and with a pure heart.

Yes, we will have conflicts with fellow believers.

Yes, they will often irk us with their peculiarities just as we will irk them (make sure you look in the mirror and evaluate the irk-factor in yourself instead of pointing it out in others.) But an irksome person can still be loved.

This is the bond we need to work on – liking or not-liking to be with someone is much different than loving them unconditionally. If you’re having trouble loving someone in your congregation because they’re so annoying, irritating, weird, or whatever then ask the Holy Spirit to change YOU, not them. Ask Him to give you the ability to put up with their peculiarities.

True change comes from the heart in each of us, not in changing the world and its people who are around us.

Heavenly Father, grant me the ability to love those that I find so vastly different than me. Help me to remember that they are who they are because of their own life-experiences. As these have shaped them and define them, it’s better that my heart be changed than they be changed from who they truly are. Help me to understand this in my dealings with them. Amen.


 

…having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, 1 Peter 1:23

In contrast to the traditions of men and false additions to true faith, we have the word of God – the Holy Scriptures given to us to guide our lives and give us a clear and pertinent understanding of the things of God. It’s through this precious gift that we hear the message of faith which can save. Elsewhere Paul states it like this –

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

The logical connection is made when we hear and receive the word properly relayed from the pages of the Bible. This is what stirs up our faith and it is this faith which brings new life from above – that of being “born again.” The term Peter is using which is translated here as born again is derived from the same root word that Jesus uses when speaking of being “born again” in John 3. Understanding this should help you to realize the immense importance of reading and knowing the Bible.

If we’re “born again…through the word of God” and Jesus says you must be born again in order to see the Kingdom of God, then it follows that misunderstanding the Bible can lead you to a false Jesus and a false gospel. O, but when we understand the simplicity of the gospel and accept Jesus as the incarnate Word of God, then we are truly born again, “not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible.”

Our acceptance of the gospel is a seed which shall never die, but which will sprout in us to eternal life.

Have you asked Jesus to forgive you of your sins and grant you eternal life? If not, call on Him today. He is the precious gift of God for the salvation of all people who trust in Him.

Let’s thank God for Jesus today –

Almighty and most-wise Creator, praises and honor belong to You alone. In Your infinite wisdom, You sent us Jesus to lead us back to You and to bestow upon us eternal life. Our songs of praise and thanks will never end as we hail You for all eternity – Worthy is our God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.


 

…because
      “All flesh is as grass,
      And all the glory of man as the flower of the grass.
      The grass withers,
      And its flower falls away,…
1 Peter 1:24

Today’s verse really needs to have the next verse included with it in order to be properly understood, but we’re not there yet – so be patient! We’ll just take the verse as it is and consider it.

First, it’s a quote from Isaiah 40:6, 7. In this verse, man is compared with grass. This isn’t a comparison about the value of man, but rather a comparison about the transitory state of man. We as people love to look at young and healthy children and marvel at their energy. Again, we look at movie stars and models in their teens and twenties and gaze in amazement at their shapely bodies, bulky muscles, perfect hair, and oh! so pearly white teeth. But as the thirties approach, these qualities become less the rule and more the exception. By the time many reach their 40’s, they’re wearing glasses and heading down the streets of Bald-dom or Wrinkleville. A mere 10 years after that, we use the term “stately man” or “handsome woman” to be polite and acknowledge that they’re still ok to look at, but only like you’d look at an interesting billboard on the highway.

Our years, though few, take their toll on us and bring about changes that are not only permanent, but are physically and mentally degrading. Just as the grass easily sprouts up and is lovely and fresh, it quickly withers away – maybe from cold, maybe from heat, maybe from too much sun. But what was green and lush in the morning, is dry and crinkly in the evening. Soon its flower falls away and then nothing is left but the slow process of re-mulchification into the soil from which it came.

 And we too follow a similar pattern, eventually returning to the ground from which our first father Adam was originally created. Taking heed to Solomon’s warning in Ecclesiastes 12, we should remember our Creator now, before these times of aging have ended us in our final resting spot. Remember Him now!

Glorious God, I see that 70 years comes out to only 25,550 days. I’ve let far too many of those go by already and the majority of them have been unfaithfully negligent of my responsibilities to You. Forgive me of my past thoughtlessness and help me to live my days rightly – praising You, speaking of You, and being filled with You! Amen.


 

But the word of the LORD endures forever.”  Now this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you. 1 Peter 1:25

Today finishes the quote from Isaiah 40 and here the “word of the LORD” (meaning the Old Testament name of God) is equated with the gospel of Jesus.

Remember yesterday Peter spoke of our existence as humans in a temporary and fleeting way. No sooner do we rise up than we age, die, and return to the earth. Despite all of our hopes in politicians, charismatic figures, large incomes, or worldly possessions, none of these things will last. The car we bought that we just “had to have” four years ago is already breaking down and falling to pieces. The politician we thought would correct our problems two years ago turned out to be just another person who licks his finger and holds it up to see which way the wind is blowing. The paychecks of the last year have all been spent and our bank account is empty.

O, but the word of the LORD endures forever. As the sands of time have speedily fled through the hour glass, and man’s time on earth has passed from generation to generation, the word of God stands as a testament to what is and what isn’t proper. If we want to know how things will turn out, we don’t need a horoscope, an astrologist, or a mystical seer.

Instead, we merely need to look into the pages of the Bible and we can see the end of man, the beginning of eternity, and the glory of God – all wrapped up in the Person of Jesus Christ. It is His gospel which alone reveals these things and it is by faith in Him alone that we can participate in the good side of what the future holds. When we reject Him, we have only a hopeless anticipation of sadness, destruction, and exile.

Let’s make the right choices now and let the Word of God abide soundly in our hearts and souls.

Lord God, today I call on Jesus as my Lord and Savior; today I renew my hope in Jesus the Lord; today I look to the cross and leave the world in my wake. Blessed be the name of the Lord on whose gospel of peace I rest my hope. Glory to the holy Lamb of God. Amen.


 

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 1 Peter 2:1

Here we are – already starting chapter two of this wonderful book! Today Peter says “therefore.” Remember when you see the word therefore, you should stop and see what it’s there for. In other words, go back and review. Since the last “therefore” which was in chapter one, we’ve read –

1) We will be judged according to our work.

2) We have been redeemed, not with corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Jesus.

3) Jesus was foreordained before the foundation of the world and was manifest now for our sake.

4) Through Him we believe in God and our faith rests in God.

5) Because of this faith (obeying the truth through the Spirit) we are to love one another with a pure heart.

6) This love is possible because we’ve been born again into incorruptible life by the word of God; the gospel of our salvation.

Therefore and because of these points, we need to lay aside anything which would hinder or be a detriment to the gospel of our salvation. Such things include:

Malice – the intent or desire to cause harm or pain to someone;

Deceit – the intent to defraud or deceive someone;

Hypocrisy – making false claims or pretenses of having admirable principles, beliefs, or feelings;

Envy – having resentful or unhappy feelings of wanting what someone else possesses; and

Evil speaking – engaging in gossip, course language, willful destruction of others with the tongue, etc.

If we put aside such things, we’ll have a strong and admirable life-walk in the gospel, thus bringing credit and honor on Jesus our Lord and God the Father. Pay heed! We’re called to holy living!

Lord God and Heavenly Father, please guide me in my walk and keep me from the sinful attitudes mentioned in today’s verse. These things, from time to time, well up in my soul and cause division, animosity, and strife. Help me, O Lord, to bring honor to You and to put to rest these things. Help me to be the godly Christian You have called me to be. Amen.


 

…as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 1 Peter 2:2

Four times in the New Testament the term “milk” is applied to knowledge of the word of God, which is the Bible. Each of those times, it’s applied to the very basic knowledge of God and of His works as recorded there. Here’s an example from the book of Hebrews –

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food. vss. 5:12.

Even in today’s verse, Peter is consistent with this imagery stating that just as newborn babes know intuitively that milk is the food they need and where to get it, we should crave for that spiritual milk which is imparted to us in the word. If a baby doesn’t get milk, the result is malnutrition and eventually death. And it’s no different with those who accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Should we call on Him and neglect to grow in Him, we’ll backslide to a point where we become completely malnourished and we’ll eventually die.

This doesn’t mean a spiritual death – believers have crossed that chasm and are made alive in Christ. But a failure to pursue the things God would rather have us pursue will eventually result in picking up bad habits from the past – drugs, alcohol, etc. These will naturally lead to the destruction of our bodies and end in death.

This is the case with believers who are mentioned in the Bible and we are no less immune to such things. So get into the word, read it, crave it, and grow in it! God has a wonderful plan for your life if you will simply allow Him to fulfill it in you. Don’t waste your life on pursuing the wind. Instead, pursue God and His righteousness during your short walk on this earth.

Lord God, time is tight, many things draw my attention away from what is important, and I find it hard to meet my desires in reading and learning Your word. Forgive me for this and remind me of my priorities which are first to knowing You. Give me wisdom to set aside the trivial that I may pursue that which is of eternal value. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


 

…if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious. 1 Peter 2:3

Today Peter reaches back into the psalms to find the right words to finish his thought –

Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good;
         Blessed is the man who trusts in Him! Psalm 34:8

Have you ever looked at food coming out of the oven and started to salivate in expectation of the delight to come? Or have you ever heard someone speaking about a meal and all of a sudden your mouth starts to water? This is the mental picture that both Peter and the psalmist of old are trying to relate to you.

The Lord is something we should desire with a yearning even stronger than that of food when we’re hungry. And not just any food, but the most delightful tasting, yummiest feast we could imagine. This is why Peter told us to “desire the pure milk of the word” – so that we can grow in it, be nourished by it, and have our souls satisfied from the delight of it.

If you’ve never had this yearning to read the Bible, or if you once had it, but now it’s faded, then ask the Lord to clear out all the unhealthy diet in your life (too many Gummi Worms?) that you’ll again have the time and the desire to seek Him. A diet of TV, Facebook, and shopping can only take away the time you might otherwise have spent in His presence and learning about Him. Like eating sweets, those things don’t nourish and they only last a moment. But the Bible and its contents will feed you for eternity.

Take time today – yes, even now! – to commit to reading your Bible. May you be blessed as you do – to the glory of God.

O God, let me not squander my few years here on the trivial and temporary. Instead, help me to focus on the eternal and everlasting. I desire to follow You, but far too often get sidetracked from that set goal. So please Lord, kindly steer me in the right direction and remind me of the greater and eternal blessings that come from seeking You first. Amen.


 

Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious,… 1 Peter 2:4

What does it mean to be a “living stone?” The Bible sometimes uses terms which seem contradictory to the sensibilities of the world.

Take the term “living sacrifice” for example. It doesn’t make sense unless one understands what God expects of us. A sacrifice, by its very nature, is something that dies. Likewise, a “living stone” doesn’t make sense on the surface. But when we realize that it’s a metaphor for something else, we can more clearly understand the concept. A stone is something unmoving and unshakable; it indicates permanence and stability.

Jesus is like that to us – He doesn’t change, but is rather permanent and reliable. When confronted with His doctrine, the rulers of Israel rejected Him because He wouldn’t relent in properly teaching the things of God and the surety of His word. These people were so caught up in legalism and the teachings of man that they spent their time trying to work out issues completely unrelated to what was expected of them. At one time, Jesus remarked –

The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.  For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. Matthew 23:2-4

Because of this and a host of other words of condemnation, the leaders of Israel rejected Him. However, He carried out His work, the work of God, faithfully and remains the unchangeable, glorious, and precious Living Stone. Until the end of the ages, Jesus Christ is our eternal and magnificent Lord.

What an honor and a blessing to know that You, O Lord, are with us – firm and unchanging. Help us to likewise be firm in our convictions, resolute in our faith, and acceptable to You in our actions. May we be like You – precious living stones in the heavenly temple to come. Amen.


 

…you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 2:5

In the previous verse, we saw Jesus termed a “living stone.” Today Peter continues the thought by telling us that we, like Him and through Him, are living stones which are being used to build a spiritual house. No competent architect would ever start a project without knowing exactly how much material was needed to complete the task. When building a home, they will account for how much piping, electric wire, roof shingle, framing wood, etc. is needed. This can and will be calculated exactly so that budgets of time and money are met.

Likewise, God – who is infinitely wise – knows exactly what is needed to build His temple. In a pre-shadowing of this heavenly temple, He gave exact details for the earthy tabernacle (and later the temple) for the people of Israel. Here is an example of this care –

Then David gave his son Solomon the plans … for all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, of all the chambers all around, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries for the dedicated things; 1 Chronicles 28:11, 12

These plans included all of the materials, but David also set apart detailed numbers of priests, Levites, and others who would do the work – during and after the construction of the temple. Just as these were taken care of by the Holy Spirit, so is the eternal temple being carefully constructed by Him. When the materials are ready, the temple will be built. God alone knows when the last “living stone” will be chosen, but when that day comes, the rapture will occur and we will be taken into glory – there to “offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” Are you ready? Have you accepted Christ as Lord and Savior? Every day that goes by is one day closer to that glorious moment. Until then, let’s practice our sacrifice of worship –

Praising You today, O God – Yes! Praising You today.

We come into Your presence, Lord, so hear us when we pray!

Glory to You O God on High, May our song ever be…

Glory to the Lamb of God, Our Precious Savior is He. Amen.


 

Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture,
      “Behold, I lay in Zion
      A chief cornerstone, elect, precious,
      And he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.”
1 Peter 2:6

Peter quotes from “Scripture” today, meaning the Old Testament. He is confirming, as so often happens, that Jesus is the fulfillment of what was prophesied. This verse is a quote from Isaiah 28:16 and uses terminology that is found elsewhere in the Bible, that of the cornerstone.

A cornerstone is the first stone laid when starting a building and is therefore the most important for ensuring that the building will be plumb and level. If this stone is faulty in material, the building will fail. Likewise, if it’s placed incorrectly, the building will fail. Because of this, the cornerstone must be very carefully chosen; it must be flawless. It must also be laid by the most skilled builder of all – in this case, God Himself. The word used by Peter for “chief cornerstone” is the Greek word akrogoniaion. It’s a special word, unique to the Bible, and is used only twice in its pages. The other use is by Paul in Ephesians 2:20 –

…having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,

Take time today to read Ephesians 2:18-22 to see more of what the word encompasses. God is building a temple and He began with His own Son, Jesus Christ. From this starting point, believers from all ages are being built into a spiritual temple. As Peter says, “He who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.” If you’ve trusted Jesus Christ as your Savior, you have crossed from death to life and have been selected as a stone in the living temple where God will reside for all eternity. This has been guaranteed by the sealing of His Holy Spirit and can never be taken away – you will never be put to shame.

Out of gratitude, awe, and joy, we should therefore endeavor to be acceptable to God in all we do. If you’re struggling with this today, as we all do from time to time, let’s pray about it…

Lord God, as a living stone in Your glorious temple, I know I need to be holy and acceptable to You. O, but I fail so often. Fill me anew with Your Holy Spirit that I might live right, act appropriately, and conduct my affairs wisely and thus bring honor to You. This I pray that You will receive the glory You are due through my life and actions. Amen.


 

Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient,
      “The stone which the builders rejected
      Has become the chief cornerstone,”
1 Peter 2:7

Today’s quote comes from the 118th Psalm. This is known as a Messianic Psalm because of its predictions of the coming Messiah. Our verse today is quoted five times in the New Testament – three times in the gospels, once in Acts by Peter, and then again by Peter in today’s verse.

Each occasion is specifically applied to Jesus, His work, and His rejection by the nation of Israel. Despite His rejection and their attempts to nullify His work, He prevailed and has become the chief cornerstone. It’s on Him that the church is established and from Him all else proceeds, properly aligned and both level and plumb. Any congregation or body of believers which is properly grounded in Him will be successful – not particularly in numbers or wealth, but in proper doctrine and sound faith.

Peter says, “…to you who believe, He is precious.” How do you care for your home? Do you treat it as a comfortable place to live, keep clean, properly maintain, and enjoy? Is your home dirty and not well maintained? We have an eternal home that is built on the precious Person of Jesus and we’re all being built into a living temple where God will reside, illuminated by His splendor through Jesus.

If you know this is true and that our position in this home is given to us because of what Jesus did, shouldn’t we be pursuing Him, His word, and His glory? Let’s endeavor to keep our spiritual house clean and free from fault and let’s further ensure that we’re being built properly by reading and applying the Bible to our lives. Rather than being careless about our eternal dwelling, let’s give it the attention is rightly deserves. And let’s do it in a way that others will see our works and give God the glory He is due.

Yes O God! Jesus is the precious cornerstone of my eternal dwelling. Because You have given such attention to me, please remind me of my responsibility to you – working to become an acceptable living stone in Your glorious temple. Give me the strong urge and desire to pursue You and Your word, that I will be properly trained in righteousness. Amen.


 

…and

     “A stone of stumbling

    And a rock of offense.”

   They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. 1 Peter 2:8

Not only did Christ become the Cornerstone of the Church, but He is also the Capstone. He began it and He will finish it. He is pre-eminent in all ways to those who are a part of His living temple. But to those who have rejected God’s gracious offer through Him, He has become a “stone of stumbling and a rock of offense.”

This terminology comes from Isaiah 8 where it says,

“The LORD of hosts, Him you shall hallow; Let Him be your fear, and let Him be your dread. He will be as a sanctuary, but a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense to both the houses of Israel, as a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble; they shall fall and be broken, be snared and taken.” vss. 13-15.

These verses are speaking of the LORD (Jehovah), and Peter clearly identifies them with Jesus. The people of Israel, attempting to please God through works, stumbled over the stumbling stone – they missed God’s grace in a futile attempt to obtain it by their own goodness. Rather than being their Rock of Refuge, He was to them a rock of offense. He fulfilled the law which they could never do and thus set it aside.

O, but traditions are hard to break, and they rejected His work in an attempt to establish their own. Paul explains this in the book of Romans. Likewise, we love tradition and we love to add our own concepts of appropriateness to our worship and faith.

Take time today to evaluate your heart in the congregation you attend. Are you a part of adding in pet peeves, self-goodness, or self-determinations of others when evaluating Christ’s grace and mercy? It’s a slippery slope, so be careful to move away from these things. Christ determines worth and it’s something we need to work out in ourselves, not others.

O God, give me wisdom when dealing in matters related to the church I attend. Help me to stay away from legalism – both in myself and towards others. Instead, allow me the ability to discern what is right and appropriate and apply it to myself. I love You Lord and I want to be pleasing to You in all ways. To the glory of Jesus I pray, Amen.


 

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 1 Peter 2:9

Peter uses terms once applied to Israel to convey the role that the church now holds –

Chosen people – Deuteronomy 7:6

Kingdom of Priests – Exodus 19:6

Holy nation – Exodus 19:6

Special people – Deuteronomy 26:18

Along with these titles, Peter goes to Isaiah 60:6 and applies it to the church as well when it says that the gentile nations will come and “proclaim the praises of the LORD.” All of these are being applied to the church, indicating their fulfillment in the people that follow Jesus. This doesn’t mean, however, that the Jewish nation is through.

Daniel 9:24-27 allots 490 years to them to complete certain things. Thus far 483 of those years have been completed and 7 more are yet future. These seven years will occur when the church is taken out at the rapture. Then, once more, Israel will be the focus of God’s attention on earth.

In the meantime, all peoples – Jew and gentile alike – who have called on Jesus are a part of the church, the Body of Christ. We have been called from darkness into His marvelous light. As it says in Isaiah 60:2, 3 –

But the LORD will arise over you,
And His glory will be seen upon you.

The Gentiles shall come to your light,
And kings to the brightness of your rising.

Indeed, the glory of the LORD has arisen over us in the Person of Jesus Christ!

Thank you, O most glorious Heavenly Father for allowing me the privilege of being a servant of the King, my Lord Jesus.  May I faithfully proclaim His praises all of my days and may I serve as a faithful witness of His glory. This I request that You may be exalted! Amen.


 

…who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:10

Do you divide the Bible up into an Old Testament God who is wrathful and stern and a New Testament God who is gentle and loving? This is the concept that many have concerning its pages, but it’s important to know that God is unchanging and the same attributes expressed in the Old Testament are also expressed in the New. We read this proclamation in Exodus 34:6, 7 –

 “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

God proclaimed His glory to Moses as He passed by. When He did, the first attribute He mentioned is that He is merciful. This is particularly so to the people of God, but it also applies to all humanity. When Nineveh had grown to a certain state of moral corruption, instead of destroying them God sent Jonah to call them to repentance. When they did, He withheld their destruction.

Likewise, any person who shakes their hand and says, “I don’t believe in God” is worthy of destruction, but He relents and allows them to continue…maybe they will repent and believe. How much more then is God willing to bestow mercy on us when we do become His children! We once “had not obtained mercy, but now have…” If you’ve called on Jesus Christ, God has demonstrated infinite mercy upon you. Unlike the non-believer who will eventually die and be cast into hell, God has promised you eternal life. What an amazing God!

Yes Lord! You are truly amazing – that You would show mercy even to me, a great sinner. I can only sing Your praise and attempt, although in an unworthy manner, to bring glory to You all my days. What a great and awesome God You are! Thank You for Jesus and the mercy You showed me through His sacrifice. Thank You, O God, thank You! Amen.


 

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 1 Peter 2:11

Peter calls his recipients “beloved” today. He uses this term twice in 1 Peter and 6 more times in 2 Peter. Only after explaining our position as believers in Christ does he use this term. Let’s review what led to this –

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

You can almost see him writing these words and, as they come out of his mind, realizing how we truly are beloved of God and therefore to each other as well. Along with this then comes the responsibility to act as “sojourners and pilgrims.” What he means is that this world is not our permanent home and so we shouldn’t get caught up in the things that others find so valuable, particularly fleshly lusts.

This obviously includes sexual immorality, but also includes anything contrary to holy living such as gluttony, coveting, envy, strife, etc. Peter says all of these things “war against the soul.” If he acknowledges this, then he must have the same war in his own soul. In other words, being an apostle, preacher, minister, or missionary doesn’t make one immune. We all have a responsibility to not get entangled in these things and it’s something we all struggle with. When you slip and fail, confess and turn back. Jesus is merciful and forgiving.

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I have the very war in my soul that Peter speaks of today. The world pulls one way even as my own heart tells me to resist these things. I confess that I fail You often and simply can’t go it alone. Instead, I need You with me each step of the way. Strengthen me and give me the ability to win this war – to Your glory! Amen.


 

…having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 1 Peter 2:12

This is one of those verses which should make us stop and really reflect on the consequences of what Peter is implying. When Peter speaks of the “gentiles” he is speaking of the peoples of the world among whom his believing recipients live their lives. He’s telling them in no uncertain terms that they will “speak against them as evildoers.” Despite this attitude though, he implores them to live rightly, conduct their affairs in a way which reflects appropriate conduct, i.e. doing “good works” in their presence, and thus by their actions bring glory to God. This is similar to what Paul said when speaking of his Jewish brethren who didn’t believe –

For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. Romans 11:13, 14

Our conduct should be right at all times in order to lead people to Jesus. If we don’t act appropriately, we not only keep them from desiring a relationship with Jesus, but we also bring discredit upon His name. Taking this a step further though, today’s verse is telling us that even if our actions don’t lead to someone’s salvation, they will serve a different purpose.

When God’s “day of visitation” comes, these non-believers won’t be able to point their fingers and say, “We didn’t know about you; no one shared their testimony with us.” In other words, our right living and appropriate actions will be sufficient for them to say, “I should have paid attention to what I observed.” Imagine how we’ll feel when the opposite is true and our lives failed to be an example. Determine today that this will never be the case, but that your life will be a constant and favorable testimony to the title of “Christian.”

Heavenly Father, I know that my conduct has not always been a source of inspiration to the non-believers around me. I also know that there will be those who will have accusations against me on that great Day of Judgment. For this, I am sorry. Give me the heart’s desire to always reflect Your glory from this day on. Amen.


 

Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 1 Peter 2:13

 “Therefore” – let’s go back and determine why we need to submit to man’s ordinances.

1)      We are sojourners and pilgrims, abstaining from fleshly lusts;

2)      Our testimony, when observed by the peoples of the world is meant to bring about God’s glory, even if it’s on the Day of Judgment.

Here we are, living in the land God determined for us – be it Korea, America, Germany, etc. We’re told by Peter here to submit to every ordinance of man. If the king (or president, Prime Minister, etc.) signs a law, then we’re to obey it. We’re to do this even if it seems unjust. Everyone in the country is bound under the same law and if they obey it and Christians don’t, then they’re leaving a bad testimony and also an unfavorable image of our greater King.

In all things, there is a hierarchy. As Christ established the government we live in, it is subject to Him and we are subject to it. However! If at any time our earthly government passes a law that is contrary to the law of God, we must disobey it. This is because we have a higher law in God’s word.

Here’s an example. America has legalized abortion. We therefore are to allow abortion to continue (such as not murdering the doctors involved in conducting them) while still working within the framework of the government to abolish the practice.

However, if America passed a “mandatory abortion after one child” law, we would be obligated to disobey this law when directed at us individually. We must follow the higher law of God and protect the life He created. Sometimes it’s hard to determine where disobeying should and shouldn’t be practiced. This is why it’s so very important to know and practice God’s law contained in the Bible.

Heavenly Father, you’ve called us to live at peace with our governments and our leaders. You’ve shown us that we are to follow them, even when we disagree with their laws. Help us to be discerning in the proper conduct of our lives and the following of your mandates. This is right because it ultimately glorifies you. So be with us as we conduct our affairs. Amen.


 

…or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 1 Peter 2:14

This verse is the second half of what was started yesterday. Peter said we’re to submit to every ordinance of man. He then went on to explain that this means from kings or, as is mentioned today, governors.

Peter is implying that each level of government has been established to bring about order in our society and when a particular level of authority passes a law, we’re obligated to obey it. If we don’t, those authorities have been given additional powers – such as sending along people designated to enforce the laws which have been passed.

We have local police, sheriffs, state enforcement agencies, and also federal enforcement units – such as the FBI, DEA, TSA, IRS, etc. We may not always like how these people conduct their affairs, but they are the designated authorities and we’re accountable for our actions towards them.

Peter goes on to explain why – “for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.” If we didn’t have law enforcement, there would be chaos. If we didn’t have tax collectors, the government wouldn’t be properly funded, etc. Evildoers would be in charge and life would be far more miserable than it is when laws are enforced.

Likewise, when we obey the law and give respect to the authorities, we can (hopefully!) expect praise and compliments from them. Obviously this isn’t always the case, but when law enforcement gets out of hand or when government becomes over-burdensome, the people generally handle the problem by replacing the offenders. In history this has often been a bloody replacement, but if society works properly, these things can be handled at the voting booth.

Lord Jesus, give me patience when dealing with the authorities. Too often they seem to step into our lives in a way which is beyond the authority we’ve granted them. If this is the case, may peace prevail and may I be given the proper words and conduct to handle the situation! I pray this that You will glorified through my actions. Amen.


 

For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— 1 Peter 2:15

This explains why we’re to submit to every ordinance of man – to the king, the governor, etc. Because:

1)      These people have been ordained by God to rule;

2)      By disobeying them punishment will result (which brings discredit);

3)      By obeying them praise will result (which brings credit); and,

4)      Through obeying them, the arguments of foolish and ignorant men will be silenced.

If you can see the logic here, then you can understand why Christians are to be law-abiding citizens. It also makes sense that the more nutty the laws of the rulers, the more important it is to obey them.

As unbelieving, ungodly people grow in number in the government their laws will naturally reflect this. It would be normal to expect then that we would fight against the government because of their ungodly rules. But by doing this, we would give the enemies of God even more chance to revile us and Him. As long as the laws don’t cause us to violate God’s law, we actually bring credit on Him by obeying them and acting as proper citizens. It shuts the mouths of the ignorant and takes away their ability to revile God.

Make sure you consider this when you speak out against your leaders, when you think about violating their laws, or when you attempt to conspire with others in bringing harm to those appointed above you. You bear the name of Jesus Christ; therefore, you’re responsible to act responsibly and bring credit to Him.

O Lord, I really have a tough time with some of the ungodly laws and arrogant, slanderous leaders appointed over me. But I can see the importance of praying for them, obeying them, and working within the established laws they have passed. It’s all to bring credit to You. So Lord, please give me the ability to do so. Amen.


 

…as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 1 Peter 2:16

The context of today’s verse is what Peter has been discussing for the last couple of days – we are to submit to the authorities appointed over us and to live in harmony with the laws they have duly established. He said we’re to do this because –

1)      It is the will of God.

2)      Our actions will silence the accusations of “foolish men.”

Peter then goes on to say that we are free. This certainly means that we are free from the restrictions of this world; we have a higher allegiance. But our higher allegiance is actually of a much stricter moral code than the code of our earthly rulers.

Even though we’re actually free from society’s mandates, this in no way excuses us from living morally and in an upright manner. Others are watching who are bound to the rules of society. If they were to see us exercising our freedom in a licentious manner, it would give them every opportunity to accuse us and also rail against the God we claim to follow.

As Peter says, we may be free in one sense, but we are “bondservants of God” at the same time. How can we claim liberty leading to moral perversion under a lesser master? It makes no sense and yet this is the exact way much of Christendom lives. When you move about society, be careful that others understand that the One you serve is far more precious to you than freedom from the world system in which you live.

Let’s pray for strength and fortitude in this area –

O God, I am Your servant and yet I’ve acted as if I’m free from Your law and bound to the laws of man and the chains of sin. You freed me from this life and yet, unfaithful as I am, I often return to it. Please transform me to holy living and right moral direction that You will be held in high esteem on the Day of Judgment by those who have seen my testimony. Amen.


 

Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17

Four wonderful imperatives are wrapped together in one verse to sum up the paragraph we’ve been looking over. Rather than getting wordy, Peter leaves no doubt and no ambiguity as to what sums up his thoughts. We are to –

1)      Honor all people. All people – the poor, foreign, homeless, toothless, aged, young, annoying, etc. are created in God’s image. All people are deserving of our respect and attention.

2)      Love the brotherhood. A little more specific than “honor all people” and, really, maybe a bit more difficult too. How annoying are some of the people in our church! Isn’t easier to ignore them or avoid them when you see them coming? Sometimes it’s easier to travel to foreign countries and hang out with people who don’t speak our language than be nice to people in our own church. But we’re called to love our fellow Christians no matter how different they are.

3)      Fear God. Direct and to the point. Solomon said it this way –

Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
      Fear God and keep His commandments,
      For this is man’s all. Ecclesiastes 12:13

Honor the King. I put a capital K here because it’s surely talking about Jesus. Peter is moving from the general to the specific, “people à brotherhood à God à King.” How do we honor God? By honoring Jesus. As Jesus Himself said, “He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” John 5:23.

 

Yes Lord, give me wisdom and kindness in dealing with others – in the family of man, in the family which is the church, towards my Creator, and as a son of the King. May my actions be appropriate in all ways and may You be glorified through them. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


 

Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 1 Peter 2:18

How many of you have had a really terrible boss in the past? How many of you have a really crummy boss now? Peter is telling you today that you’re to be submissive to your masters.

Obviously, we don’t have bondservants and masters in today’s society, but we do have bosses that we’re accountable to. As long as we’re working for them, we’ve made the voluntary choice to submit to them. We’re to show them proper respect regardless of how moody or uncaring they are. Fortunately for many of us, we work in a hierarchy and bad bosses can be monitored by higher bosses. Further, we have workplace standards in place which were set by government bodies at all levels.

In the time of the Roman Empire, such wasn’t the case and slaves, hired hands, etc. were at the whims of their overlords. No matter whether they were gentle or harsh, Peter told them (and us today) that they were to be submissive. Jesus set the perfect example of a servant when He washed His disciples’ dirty feet. If the Creator was willing to show such humility, how much more should we – who have imperfect bosses directing imperfect employees – be submissive?

Peter will go on to explain why he mandates this, but it should be obvious without waiting. Think it through and know that we are all accountable for our actions, particularly as Christians. Let’s look to the perfect example of our Lord –

Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He had come from God and was going to God, rose from supper and laid aside His garments, took a towel and girded Himself. After that, He poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel with which He was girded. John 13:3-5

Wow Lord, I see how terribly short I fall from Your high standard. I’ve not been submissive to those around me in the way Your word directs. I’ve complained, gossiped, and even talked back to my superiors. Give me a new heart and a full-cleansing that I might be an acceptable employee in the future. May my actions bring you the glory You’re due. Amen.


 

For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 1 Peter 2:19

What a tough verse to practice and how few people are able to master what it asks! Even if we suffer wrongfully, our conscience toward God should tell us to accept what’s happened rather than diminish our testimony of Him in our lives.

Remember the context – Peter has been explaining that we need to be in submission to our “masters” and then he tells us that even if we are and they treat us wrongfully, we should continue to submit to them and endure their grief. Our testimony is that important to God and is “commendable.” Being magnanimous in the face of obvious wrong treatment isn’t easy, but Paul says elsewhere –

 “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
      If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
      For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Romans 12:20

In today’s unreasoning society, we’re often faced with real unfairness. Hard work and dedication are no longer rewarded and are, in fact, condemned. For example, students in school who perform to the best of their abilities are not granted “top of the class” awards because others who failed to perform might feel left out. This is just as unfair as a boss who mistreats you. But a student who is magnanimous in such an instance will be remembered for their attitude. If this is done because they are a Christian, then the Lord will commend them for their behavior.

There are so many instances in our lives where we can show ourselves approved by God, but the difficulty is in actually doing it. Let’s ask the Lord for His help –

Heavenly Father, You know how difficult it is for us to overlook mistreatment and unfairness, but if it will bring You glory, then give us the ability to act properly in these instances. Our makeup determines that Your divine hand be there to guides us or we will simply not be able to act in the way You expect. Thank You for being with us in such times. Amen.


 

For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 1 Peter 2:20

Peter states what should be obvious in the first half of today’s verse – if you’re punished for doing something wrong and you take your punishment patiently, what credit is there in that? In fact, it’s not only something that should be done, but if it’s not done there’s bound to be more punishment. No one likes a wise guy and to fight back over just punishment shows a person that needs more punishment. Peter contrasts this, however, with the one who suffers patiently when the punishment is undeserved.

Think of a missionary in a hostile country – doing real good and trying to bring the saving message of Jesus to people who so desperately need it. However, the ruler of the area opposes the gospel and mistreats the missionary. If the missionary fights back, what will be the result? It will be more conflict and an even greater animosity towards the gospel. But if the missionary suffers after having done no wrong and accepts the unjust punishment, what will be the response? As has so often been the case in the history of the church, the gospel wins over because of their patient suffering. The exact opposite of what is expected occurs.

Let’s look to the epitome of unjust suffering as contrasted to just suffering and remember what occurred –

 “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” Luke 23:40, 41

The criminal on the cross next to Jesus realized that He was being crucified even though He was innocent. In return, the world has become a vastly different place – light shines in the darkness and many souls that would otherwise have been eternally condemned will now stand in the presence of God without fear. Hallelujah to the Lamb of God!

Jesus, you suffered patiently when no punishment was due. Give me that ability as well; give me the ability to bear up under unjust punishment and to bless, not revile, my false accusers. And through this, may You be glorified. Praises to You, O Christ. Amen.


 

For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 1 Peter 2:21

The evidence for the Christian to expect and accept suffering in this life is overwhelming. How people have come to the doctrine of the “prosperity gospel” is astounding. It was brought about by misunderstanding, misapplication, or misuse of the message of the Bible.

This is not to say that we can’t hope for blessing, work for prosperity, or be born into wealth, but these things are not to be expected. Christianity is not an entitlement society of wealth and ease. Instead, it is a commitment to following one Lord and to be willing to set aside our own personal gain, our earthly desires, and even our family relationships when they interfere with our responsibilities to Jesus.

If you’ve been told to claim a blessing in Jesus’ name, you’ve been counseled incorrectly on what we can anticipate. Today’s verse, among many others, tells us in no uncertain terms that as Jesus suffered for us, we can expect to suffer as well.

The gospel message is the central theme of the Bible and Jesus is the center of that message. He lived faithfully, bore pain and suffering quietly, and prevailed over this temporary life of earthly passions and lusts. This then has become our example to follow.

What is commendable? Missionaries who give their lives away for Jesus’ sake; pastors who preach on Sunday and are willing to work a second job, if necessary, during the week; congregants who praise Jesus on Sunday and continue to praise Him morning and night throughout the week, even if they face trials, poverty, cursing, or abuse. For most of the world, following Jesus is a life-threatening commitment, and yet one which they gladly accept.

Let’s never lose sight of Jesus’ example; let’s never fail to follow it when called to do so.

Lord, many times I’ve been promised ease, abundance, prosperity, and wealth by preachers, but Your word proclaims a different reality. Help me to accept blessing and ease or hardship and trial as You choose for me. No matter what, give me the desire and ability to follow Jesus through thick and thin. Amen.


 

“Who committed no sin,
      Nor was deceit found in His mouth.”
1 Peter 2:22

Today, Peter quotes Isaiah 53:9. I hope you’ll take time to read Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 today. This is the “Suffering Servant” passage which details the ministry of Jesus – including His death and resurrection. All of this was prophesied 700 years before it occurred, but Peter mentions today’s verse because of what he previously said –

For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps…

Jesus was perfect and without sin and there was no deceit in His words. Despite this, He was treated treacherously and condemned to die. If the Lord of Creation was willing to undergo such treatment after His perfect life, shouldn’t we – who are sinners by nature – be willing to suffer shame and reproach as He did?

Peter leaves us with no other possible answer than, “Yes Lord, I will follow Your example.” Let’s always endeavor to remember His way when we’re facing trials, even when we’ve done no wrong. As Peter says, “…for to this you were called.”

Heavenly Father, You’ve called me to be as Your Son – faithful, patient, and willing to suffer even when I’ve done no wrong. Give me that supernatural ability and may my life be a testimony to Your great faithfulness. I love You and desire to be a pleasing child in Your glorious family. Amen.


 

…who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 1 Peter 2:23

Notice the capital “H” in Him here. This is not speaking of the righteous judgment of Pilate or Caiaphas. Instead it’s speaking of the righteous judgment of God. The obvious question then should be, “If this is righteous judgment, and Jesus is being judged, then He must have done something wrong, yes?”

Judgment comes from wrongdoing, so how can it be that Jesus, who never sinned, is being judged? The answer is found throughout the Bible, in both testaments. We have sinned, but God graciously allows us to transfer our sin to an innocent substitute. This substitute is then killed, thus removing the sin.

As it says in the book of Hebrews though, the blood of bulls and goats (Old Testament sacrifices) can never take away sin. Instead, they were accepted by God until the time when Jesus’ more perfect sacrifice came. Jesus gave His life on the cross for the sins of all people who, by faith, accept what He has done. God righteously judges our sin in His own Son. Jesus’ death is what removes our guilt.

The great news is that not only is our sin removed, but Jesus came back to life because “it was impossible for death to hold Him.” He never sinned, so not only did He remove our sins, but they had no lasting effect on Him as well.

Now, by the power of the resurrection, Jesus promises eternal life to all who have had their sins likewise removed. Can you see this? Our sins are gone; death comes through sin; therefore, we can never truly die again. Though we die in our mortal flesh, our eternal souls have been made alive in Christ. Someday we will be given eternal bodies as well. In addition to conquering death, Jesus did it without reviling those who wrongly accused Him. Behold! The perfect Son of God who tolerated the revealing and threats of man to give us new life!

What a glorious Gift we have in our Lord Jesus! What an incomprehensible story of faithfulness, mercy, and grace! O God, how can it be that You have judged my sin in Your own precious Son? And even more, You’ve given me eternal life because of His victory! Glory to You, O God! Amen.


 

…who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 1 Peter 2:24

We need to be careful when evaluating this particular verse. Peter is quoting a portion of Isaiah 53:5 –

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
      He was bruised for our iniquities;
      The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
      And by His stripes we are healed.

The context of what Peter is quoting and what Isaiah was looking forward to is spiritual healing, not physical healing. Jesus “bore our sins” that we “might live for righteousness.” This then is the healing provided by Jesus in these passages.

Far too often churches, pastors, and congregants use this verse to “claim healing” in a physical sense – such as a hurting tooth, a bad illness, etc. But this verse isn’t implying that type of healing at all. This isn’t to say we can’t pray for healing, but by quoting this verse over someone with a physical problem and “claiming healing” because of it can only lead to false expectations and weakened faith.

Jesus bore our sins at the cross. In doing so, our sins are removed from us. This allows us the spiritual healing of being “born again” by God; something that had been missing since the Fall in the Garden of Eden.

The amazing part of this is that God took our pain and our suffering and placed it on His own precious Son. The precious healing we receive because of His cross is spiritual and eternal. We have new life because of the work of Jesus Christ. Prayers and doctrine for physical healing are handled elsewhere in the New Testament, so be careful how you apply today’s verse when asking God for the healing of physical infirmities.

Thank You, O Lord, for the wonderful blessing of Jesus and the healing He provides. Through Him and through His suffering, we are healed of our state of corruption and death and have new life. O, to be called a son of the Living God because of His terrible trial! Thank You for Jesus. Amen.


 

For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. 1 Peter 2:25

Peter says we “were like sheep going astray.” A sheep doesn’t intentionally leave the security of the shepherd. Instead, without thinking they just keep eating grass and moving farther and father away from him until they’re lost.

This is the comparison God makes to us throughout the Bible. We don’t reason things out, but just amble along without a care or a thought. We’re in a state of helplessness and there’s nothing we can do to correct it. We pursue sin like grass and continue in it until we’re so lost that it’s what seems normal and proper, like eating grass is to a sheep. It takes the shepherd’s attention to bring the sheep back into the fold and likewise, it takes God’s attention to bring us back to Himself.

This is just what God has done through Jesus – hence the terminology of Him being the Good Shepherd, the Chief Shepherd, and the Great Shepherd as well as today’s name – the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls. This is the final verse of Chapter 2 and confirms the thoughts on yesterday’s verse as well. When it says, “by whose stripes you were healed” it’s speaking of spiritual healing. The entire context of the passage is speaking of our being lost in sin and separated from God. But God sent Jesus, the Shepherd and Overseer of our souls, to bring us back to Him. This then is the healing that’s being referred to.

It is the reversal of the curse of death mentioned in the first pages of Genesis. When God said to Adam that he would die on the day he ate of the fruit, he was referring to this state of spiritual death and helplessness. But He also promised this would be corrected. Thanks be to God! It was in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus our Lord. By His stripes, we truly are healed.

What a marvelous and gracious Creator You are! We departed from You and became lost in sin and death. O, but You sent Jesus to find us and bring us back home again. What a wonderful story of deliverance and redemption! Thank You, O God, for Jesus. Amen.


 

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives,1 Peter 3:1

Peter has been talking about the quiet suffering and obedience of Christ Jesus for the past eight verses, explaining to servants that they should act in a similar manner. Today he says that wives should be likewise submissive to their husbands.

Rather than putting women down, as has so often been proclaimed by liberal theologians and female activists, this verse is actually placing them in a high and exalted position. No one, no matter how bad their theology on Jesus, diminishes the high position God places on servant-hood and servant leadership. In fact, it is one of the greatest aspects of Jesus’ earthly ministry.

But suddenly the attitude is changed when the role of women is mentioned. It’s as if they’re saying, “How dare those chauvinistic Apostles tell women to be submissive to their husbands.” Peter and Paul in particular are treated as if they’re women abusers and that they should be dismissed because of their culturally biased attitude towards women. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

As previously discussed, servants are to be examples to their masters for several reasons –

1) That the name of Jesus won’t be brought into disgrace;

2) That unbelievers will see their behavior and possibly come to be saved by it;

3) That the order of things, which has been established by God, will be maintained – something beneficial to all.

Peter says the same concepts that apply in other hierarchies also apply in familial relationships. To fight against what has been ordained by God in the family structure is no different than fighting against His will for us in the larger society. Don’t ever feel women are being given anything but a high and exalted position in the workings of God. What He has ordained is proper, fitting, and honoring to each – male and female alike.

Heavenly Father, help us to fully appreciate the glorious role that Jesus filled as both a Servant of God and as the Head of the church. Help us likewise to fulfill the role ordained for each of us – as men and women of God, chosen for Your glorious purposes. May we do as You would have us do and thus bring glory to You in the sight of all. Amen.


 

…when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 1 Peter 3:2

Husbands – today’s verse is not speaking of a wife fearing you! It’s completing yesterday’s thought. Let’s quote the whole concept for clarity –

Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear.

If a lady has an unbelieving husband, her character is to be such that he will want to know who this wonderful Lord is that gave him such a great wife. It should be no different today as it was in the times of the Roman Empire.

If you come to Christ and then act in a manner which is in line with the gospel account, regardless of how you’re treated, he can’t help but notice. “Chaste conduct accompanied by fear” is certainly looking at the noble life of a Christian woman who fears the Lord. This isn’t referring to fear as if you’re scared for your life. Instead, it’s a reverent fear of the power and splendor of the Lord.

For example, no one who has this fear would use His name in a profane way. Instead, because of His surpassing greatness, we use His name in awe and trembling. This then is the fear of the believer and it is this attitude which our spouse should see and want to understand more clearly.

Let your respect for the Lord be of the highest and most exalted manner possible. Let the people of the Lord proclaim His surpassing greatness and be ever mindful of His mercies upon us. By having this attitude, may others see our testimony and our faithful walk and be won over, even without words.

Lord, before I knew You, I lived as one who had no respect or fear for You. My lips failed to praise You and, in fact, spoke Your name in inappropriate ways. Now I know You, now I fear You, now I love You. Give me the desire and ability to always exalt You so that others will see and fear You as well. In all things, may You be glorified through my life. Amen.


 

Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel—1 Peter 3:3

This and similar verses have led to some interesting fashions for Christian women – entire denominations clad in matching dresses and bland appearance.

Here’s how the NIV translates it – “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.” And here is a literal, word for word, translation – “Of whom let it be not the outward of braiding of hairs, and of putting around gold or of clothing garments of adornment.”

It’s good to study various translations and also to refer to the original for clarity. However, it’s not good to “pick and choose” a translation because it meets your personal preference. Rather, the Bible needs to interpret itself and where there’s no comparable thought, wisdom is needed to know what’s being intimated.

The NKJV, used above, adds the words “merely” and “fine” which are not in the original. The reason they do this is because:

1) elsewhere in Scripture women wear fine apparel and have other outward adornments, thus highlighting their beauty;

2) nowhere in Scripture is outward adornment to highlight beauty forbidden – in fact, it’s often noted with approval.

Great biblical women of faith have adorned themselves with finery; in the Song of Solomon the beauty and adornments of Solomon’s wife are highlighted, including gold and silver. The exemplary wife of noble character mentioned in Proverbs 31 is robed in “fine linen and purple.” Because of these, the NKJV has rightly inserted “merely” and “fine.” A woman’s beauty should not be “merely” noticed because of her externals.

Tomorrow we’ll look at why. Christian ladies, know that you’re beautiful to Jesus because of who you are, not what you wear. You have great worth and were sculpted by a loving Creator who accepts you because He fashioned you. If you wear finery to enhance that beauty, do it so as to bring honor to the Lord.

Lord, no matter what I wear and no matter how I paint my face, I have no true beauty apart from You. But through Jesus, I’m radiant and lovely. Whether I adorn myself in fine things or not, may I bring glory to You because of the inward beauty You gave me through Jesus. Thank You for Jesus! Amen.


 

…rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.1 Peter 3:4

Yesterday we read these words – “Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel…” Today’s verse explains that rather than relying upon such temporary things, a woman of God should be guided by her pure heart.

What do we remember about Sarah for example? Do we know how her hair was arranged? Does someone still have the bracelets she wore? Even if they did, they’d be completely worn away by now. The beautiful handmade clothes she wore disappeared thousands of years ago. But we still have the knowledge of who she was and what her attitude toward her husband and toward God was.

Likewise, the fleeting beauty of those in Hollywood or in fashion magazines will be gone within 20 or 30 years. The only thing left of any value at all will be their character. Looking at the great examples of today, it’s a sure bet that most of them will be completely forgotten in the same amount of time – multiple divorces, drug addictions, arrests for abuse, etc. mark the character of most of these shallow and unreasoning people.

What they need isn’t a new silk dress; they need the covering of Christ. They don’t need more gold and diamonds; they need that which costs nothing and yet which has infinite value. If only we could pursue that which is of true value – Jesus. What we need is Jesus!

Charm is deceitful and beauty is passing,
      But a woman who fears the LORD, she shall be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Lord, may the women of God look in the mirror and realize how precious they are – simply for who they are and not because of what they wear. When they apply make-up, put on earrings, or buy a new dress, may they remember that these things don’t make them beautiful. Instead, it’s a pure heart and a gentle and quiet spirit which shows their true beauty. Amen.


 

For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 1 Peter 3:5

Peter is referring to his previous thought on the appearance and apparel of women. Great women of God don’t rely on gold and silver jewelry, abundant makeup, or high fashion handbags to impress their husbands. Instead, they maintain the “incorruptible beauty” which is comprised of a gentle and quiet spirit.

This in no way implies that a woman is to dress blandly or shun away from any of the external treatments. However, those things aren’t what they should be relying on to catch their husband’s attention. If they are, then sadness and dissatisfaction will result.

These things are temporary and fading and people get old and wrinkly. The day is coming when the finery no longer works and the wrinkles are all that’s left. When that day arrives, then there’s nothing but emptiness and loneliness. But when a woman adorns herself with her inner beauty, trusts in God, is gentle and respectful and – yes – submissive to her husband, she has a firm and lasting foundation set for the love and approval of her husband.

Is being submissive meant to be degrading to a woman? Of course not! God made women the “weaker vessel” and it’s the man’s duty and responsibility to care for and protect her. He is to honor his wife as his lifelong partner and look at her true beauty.

Only a perverse person would reject a godly, submissive, and gentle wife for someone who is glitzy, finely dressed, and as shallow as a wading pool. In the end, he is destined to drown in his own tears and sorrow. But a man who respects the beautiful, kind, and gentle wife of God is a man who will live in true happiness and contentment.

Heavenly father, may we look to the pattern You have set for our marital relationships. Give us joy and contentment in the husband or wife of our youth and may we revel in the bond You established on the day we vowed our souls to each other in Your presence. Amen.


 

…as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord. And you are her children, if you do good and do not fear anything that is frightening. 1 Peter 3:6 ESV

I chose the ESV for today’s verse because the NKJV is a little hard to follow.

Very few major figures in the Bible come away with nothing negative said about them… and Sarah is not one of them. Her faults as well as her nobler deeds are given – showing her to be just as human as the rest of us.

Together, she and Abraham worked through life’s difficulties and problems, occasionally faltering in their conduct. But Sarah is remembered as a true woman of God because she was faithful to her husband, calling him “lord.”

The word “lord” in the Hebrew passage being referred to is “adoni.” “Adon” is simply a term that can mean “Mr.” In fact, in modern Hebrew, if I were to introduce my friend at a business meeting, I would say, “This is adon Cohen.” The “i” in “adoni” indicates possession (my lord, or my master). She could have used another term which is very similar – “baali.” This term is used to indicate “my husband.”

In Genesis 18:12, Sarah chose to use the term adoni, rather than baali. This was her way of showing respect to her husband. In today’s verse, Peter goes on to say that the woman of God should show similar respect when referring to her husband. He also says that women shouldn’t “fear anything that is frightening.”

This seems to be contradictory – if something is frightening, we should, by the very nature of the occurrence, fear it. But despite the future being an unknown, and the unknown can be frightening, Peter lets us know that this is where trust comes in. If God’s promises are fixed and firm, then we should have confidence that He is in control of all things…even that which is frightening. Have faith, God is in complete control!

Lord, just as Sarah was given a child in her old age; just as the children of Israel were delivered through the Red Sea; and just as Jesus was resurrected unto eternal life, so I trust that You will deliver me from all that is frightening. I know that You are in complete control of all things. Amen.


 

Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 1 Peter 3:7

For the past 6 verses, Peter has been explaining the role of women in the family structure. Like Jesus who came as a Servant, Peter explained that the role of a woman was equally high and exalted. The only thing shameful about serving is that someone would fail to do it, thus failing to resemble the Lord. Today Peter speaks to the husbands – “dwell with them with understanding.”

Men and women are created differently in mindset. Women are geared towards one thing and men towards another. This doesn’t mean there are no similarities, but there are differences. Men need to understand this. Why? It’s because women are the weaker vessel.

If a man fails to relate to his wife, what does he end up doing? He misuses her both physically and emotionally. He does this because he’s simply failed to empathize with her. The failure is more often than not the man’s fault!

Men are to give honor to their wives “as to the weaker vessel.” This means they’re to be attentive to their needs, gentle in their demeanor, and protective of their life. A man should be willing to lay down his very life for the woman he committed to at marriage. To fail in this regard is to disregard what Jesus did for the church – dying for it. Jesus has given the example for men to follow.

Peter goes on to say that women are “heirs together of the grace of life.” What a catastrophe then when men fail to acknowledge this! Men will certainly be held accountable for their mistreatment or lack of caring for their wives – each a gift from God and precious in His sight.

Finally, Peter says men are to do these things that their “prayers may not be hindered.” Men, why are your lives out of control? Why are you suffering in a crummy marriage? Go look in the mirror. Nine times out of ten it’s because you’re failing to be the godly husband you’re supposed to be. Your prayers are being hindered because of it and God’s face is not turned toward you. Step up to the plate and act like the man of God you’re supposed to be!

Lord, help me to be the spouse you intend for me to be. I’ve failed in what Peter has laid out for me in these verses and it has caused disruption and stress in my family. Give me wisdom in dealing with my spouse that you will be glorified through my actions and peace will prevail in my home. Amen.

 

Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 1 Peter 3:8

Peter says “finally” today, as he begins summing up the previous thought. This began all the way back in verse 11 of Chapter 2. He’s been telling us how to act as servants, wives, and husbands – particularly living as sojourners and pilgrims.

Although he says, “love as brothers” he’s obviously using it in the inclusive sense of males and females because he’s addressing everyone mentioned in the preceding verses. We’re asked to “be of one mind.” Doesn’t that seem to be a huge barrel to fill! But again he’s talking in the general sense. Of course we all have different hopes, likes, aspirations, etc. What he means is that in the Christian context we should all have the same attitude towards our faith, or fellowship, and our love for each other. We need to have compassion one to another.

When a brother or sister is experience sickness, sadness, or loss, we should empathize with them and comfort them. We need to love one another without hypocrisy. A notable tenet among Christians is that we don’t necessarily need to like each other, but we do need to love each other. Even though we may not want to be around a particular person because our lives don’t sync well with them, when we are around them we need to give them the same dose of love that we’d give our best friends.

Peter says we also need to be tenderhearted. Too often we allow our morning mood to carry on throughout the day, but instead we need to endeavor to be warm and affectionate in our dealings with one another. He goes on to say that we need to be courteous. This is in addition to being tenderhearted and adds in a spoonful of respect and submission. These qualities don’t always come easily, but they’re given for our benefit. As we endeavor to live them out, we’ll mature as people and as Christians.

Heavenly Father, I admit that I’ve not been the epitome of Christian character. I’ve not been of one mind with my brothers, I’ve failed to be compassionate, loving, tenderhearted, and courteous… and yet this is what You expect. Be with me and guide me to be a reflection of You, the fulfillment of all these qualities. To Your glory I pray. Amen.


 

…not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9

How many people send money to televangelists in order to receive a blessing! And yet Peter shows us today how we can truly inherit a blessing, and it has nothing to do with lining the pockets of a smooth speaker. Instead, our blessings come from being obedient to the word of God. This includes the following precepts –

1)      Having compassion – demonstrating that the hurting are truly important to you.

2)      Loving as brothers – no matter how you feel about those around you, you’re willing to set aside the petty and love them despite the differences.

3)      Being tenderhearted – when you show tenderness to others, you display a caring that most people need at any given moment.

4)      Being courteous – Jesus washed the feet of his disciples setting an example of humility. Be sure to open the door for others, allow people in when traffic allows, be polite to sales people who have nothing to do with the problem you may be experiencing, etc.

5)      Don’t return evil for evil or reviling for reviling – just because you’ve been offended it’s no reason to turn around and bite back. As Jesus instructed, “turn the other check.” Instead of handing back poison, hand back a blessing.

These then are the ways we can inherit a blessing. If we’re trying to gain favor from pastors, evangelists, or others by sending them money in order to make more money, then we’re acting in a manner contrary to Scripture. The attitude of the heart, and not the desire for a fuller wallet, is what God is pleased with.

Heavenly Father, too often I fail to act in the ways outlined here. Too often I want the blessing without being a blessing. Forgive me for this callous and self-centered attitude and help me always to be the type of Christian who is obedient to You and to Your word. Let me be an avenue of love leading others to You. Amen.


 

For

“He who would love life
      And see good days,
       Let him refrain his tongue from evil,
      And his lips from speaking deceit.”
1 Peter 3:10

Today is a quote from the 34th Psalm. Peter told us to be of one mind; have compassion for one another; love as brothers; be tenderhearted; be courteous; don’t returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling – and instead return blessing.

The reason why is given. If we do these things (He says “For”) it demonstrates our love for life and an expectation of living days of happiness. As a way of confirming what he’s said and the benefits of following his advice, he cites Scripture. This accomplishes several things.

1) It gives credence to the advice he’s given. Just as a Christian counselor or pastor will cite Scripture in order to support their advice today, Peter does the same while writing his epistle.

2) It verifies the authority and value of the Old Testament, including the psalms, in the Christian’s life. As Paul said to Timothy – “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Paul said this when only the Old Testament existed, thus confirming its continued validity in the life of the believer.

3) It’s telling us that what was cited in the Old Testament has found its fulfillment in the New. Peter is applying Scripture from the Jewish culture to the testimony about Jesus – indicating He is the reason for what was previously written. Because of these points, let’s take his advice. Let us always refrain from using our tongue for evil and may our lips never speak falsely or deceitfully. Although this should be obvious to us, it’s not always easy for us. Stay close to God, walk in the Spirit, and rely on the Son for your life and conduct and these difficult pronouncements will be made attainable.

Lord God, just as Isaiah said he was “a man of unclean lips” and he dwelt among a society of people whose lips were impure, we too have mouths which don’t always utter blessings. Instead, we bite back, speak falsely, and revile when we should bless. Help us in our fallen state to overcome these things and thus bring honor to You. Amen.


 

Let him turn away from evil and do good;
       Let him seek peace and pursue it.
1 Peter 3:11

Peter continues to quote the 34th Psalm today. This psalm says that anyone who “would love life and see good days” should follow a particular course of action.

We’ve already been told to keep our tongues from evil and our lips from deceitful speech. In addition to these, we should “turn away from evil and do good.” This may seem obvious, but how often do we rationalize wrongdoing when we think it will result in good?

Sometimes it’s so much easier to follow the crowd in our voting, our choice of church to attend, our exceeding the speed limit in order to get where we need to go, or in a host of other routine matters. But our votes reflect choices that lead us to either godly or ungodly leaders, our church of choice reflects the very soundness of the gospel in our lives, our exceeding the speed limit regardless of being on time or late reflects our desire to obey the laws of the land in which we live (and which the Bible expects us to obey).

Anytime we choose the easy path, even if good eventually results, it reflects on us – not on the result.

Secondly today we’re told to “seek peace and pursue it.” A perfect example of misunderstanding “pursuing peace” is modern Israel. The world is seeking a “peace plan” which involves dividing the land and taking a portion (and eventually all) of it from the Jewish people. But God has already determined what will bring peace to the region. He has also made the sovereign choice to restore the land to Israel. According to Joel 3:1, the very thing that the world thinks will bring peace will actually bring its judgment. Seeking peace must be from God’s perspective or it will ultimately result in more unrest. It is the gospel of Jesus Christ which brings about the ultimate goal of peace – restored fellowship with God.

Heavenly Father, help us to have clear thinking when we act – never to follow evil in hopes of a good result. And help us to pursue true peace – emulating Jesus and proclaiming His gospel to the nations. In so doing, may we bring you all the glory that You are due. May we always think our actions through before we err in our ways. Amen.


 

For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous
   and his ears are attentive to their prayer,
but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.
1 Peter 3:12

This is the third verse in a row that Peter has quoted from Psalm 34. He says that the “eyes of the Lord are on the righteous.” Unfortunately for humanity, the Bible also says, “There is no one righteous, not even one;…” Understanding where righteousness comes from is then a really important matter.

All people are born into the stream of humanity from one common ancestor, Adam. We have all therefore inherited his fallen state and lack any righteousness of our own. Therefore, any righteousness in a person is an imputed righteousness – something credited by God. Under what circumstances is a person credited then?

The answer, throughout the Bible is that righteousness is credited because of properly placed faith. It is faith in God’s sovereign workings in humanity by which we are credited with His righteousness. Slowly, throughout history, God worked toward the coming Messiah. And at just the right time, Jesus came. It is by faith in Him and what He has done for us that we are imputed righteousness.

Once this is secured, the Lord is attentive to our prayers. When we call out to God in the name of Jesus, we satisfy the requirement God has chosen for restoration. Unfortunately for humanity (as noted above), this leaves all people who fail to call on Jesus without a Mediator. In this case, the face of the Lord is against them. Here it says, “…those who do evil.” By default, all people outside of Jesus are in this category. There can be no restoration until the sin problem is dealt with first.

If you would love life and see good days, then get right with Jesus! All else will be in its proper place once this is accomplished.

Lord, You haven’t made it hard for us to be reconciled. However, You have made it a narrow path and a limited choice. Thank You that there is the choice though. By faith in Christ Jesus, I am again restored to a right relationship with you. Now O Lord, hear my prayers and respond to them according to Your great wisdom. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


 

And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good? 1 Peter 3:13

Here we’re referring to the words of the psalm Peter just quoted, “He who would love life and see good days…” After this, came four admonitions of what to do in order to see those good days. This was followed by an explanation concerning why these would bring about the benefits promised. This might lead someone to believe that by doing them they’re sure to live content, happy lives without ever fearing trials or troubles. But, like the book of Proverbs, this is to be taken as general truth and not something to always be expected – except in the life to come.

The very next psalm in the Bible after the one Peter quotes says –

Fierce witnesses rise up;
         They ask me things that I do not know.
They reward me evil for good,
         To the sorrow of my soul. Psalm 35:11, 12

King David wrote both psalms and yet there’s no contradiction when it’s understood that we don’t always receive the same treatment we hand out. It should be expected that trials and troubles will come, even when we act exactly like the Lord would have us act. In fact, in some contexts, the more we act like Christ the more persecution we can expect. Jesus told us this as did the apostles.

Despite this, it behooves us to act properly, regardless of how others eventually treat us. Generally, this will lead to peace and contentment with those around us. One thing is certain, if we’re belligerent and unruly, we can only expect strife and conflict. Following the general guidelines Peter laid down will normally result in a happier time.

Lord, how much better is life when things go smoothly. But should I be persecuted or treated unfairly for my faith, give me the courage to look beyond the moment and to the great reward you have in store for us. Let my life be a light and an example to those around me, even those who are at enmity with You. Amen.


 

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” 1 Peter 3:14

Just as was discussed yesterday, we can generally expect good results from proper behavior, but this isn’t always the case. Peter contrasts yesterday’s verse with today’s by stating “but.” In other words, even if you do what’s right, you might find that things don’t turn out like a walk in the summer grass. Instead, we may suffer for our righteous stand. And where does he turn to prove his point? He turns to the prophet Isaiah. In Chapter 8, Isaiah received this instruction from the Lord; the last line being what is quoted by Peter –

For the LORD spoke thus to me with a strong hand, and instructed me that I should not walk in the way of this people, saying:
      “Do not say, ‘A conspiracy,’
      Concerning all that this people call a conspiracy,
      Nor be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled. Isaiah 8:11, 12

Isaiah was told to prophesy to the people about their unrighteousness and incorrect thinking. Not everything then was directed by a conspiracy, nor is everything today directed by a conspiracy. The problem with this type of thinking is that eventually everyone is a foe and there’s a spy under every bed. Too many people in the church have failed to understand this and to them the government is an enemy, the phone company is an enemy, and even others in the church are enemies.

Threats and hatred become the standard, even to faithful believers who haven’t crossed every “t” or dotted every “i.”  This type of behavior leads to a bad name for Christians in general and eventually to a complete breakdown in fellowship. Peter tells us, as Isaiah did, that we’re to remain faithfully righteous and not be afraid of such people. Read your Bible, love your Lord, and keep right fellowship with your fellow Christians to the greatest degree possible.

Lord, because You are my Lord, I shall not fear, nor shall my heart be troubled. What can man do to me? You have my eternal soul safely in Your hands…everything else is just temporary and fading away. Help me to keep this attitude always – even when troubles surround me. Thank You Lord Jesus. Amen.


 

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;1 Peter 3:15

Several times in the many years of publishing of this devotional, it’s been recommended that you remember where to find (and hopefully memorize) a particular verse – this is one of them. Take time to go back up, read it, and reflect on it. We’ll be here when you get back…

Did you think about it?

Peter asks us to “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” This is an active thing; something we should be doing constantly. If you see a beautiful bird flying in the sky, tell the Lord “Thank You for allowing me to see this.” If you taste something wonderful, “Thank You Lord! It’s delicious.” If you get thwacked on the head by a rock kicked up by your lawnmower… “Thank You Lord,… that could have been worse.” In all you do, give thanks and praise to the Lord.

Next Peter says that you should “always (underline that!) be ready to give a defense … for the hope that is in you.” The word “defense” is the Greek word “apologian.” This is where the discipline of Christian apologetics gets its name. Apologetics means exactly as this is translated – to defend. Peter says that we don’t just need to tell people about Jesus, but we need to defend our stand.

Are you prepared to answer any and every question that comes your way about the faith you have in you? If not, then you’re not obeying the Bible. This is not an accusation when you can’t come up with an answer to something you’ve never thought of – that happens to even the greatest theologians. But it is an accusation if you don’t even know where to go to get the answer. You should be fully prepared at all times to say, “I know just the right person to talk to.” Or “I know where I can get you that answer…and I will.” Never, never be unprepared to defend your faith, but when you do defend it you’re to do it “with meekness and fear,” not in arrogance or belligerence.

May the Lord, the Lord Jesus be with You as you prepare yourselves for stepping out into the great spiritual battlefield which fights against the gospel of salvation.

Heavenly Father, You who gave us Your word to instruct us, I’ve often not been properly prepared to defend the hope I have in me. Today I ask that You fill me with the hunger and great desire to be ready, at a moment’s notice, to provide the answers necessary for the questions I receive. I ask so that You will be glorified through my faithful answers. Amen.

 

…having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.1 Peter 3:16

Today’s verse may be as hard for a faithful Christian to fulfill as any in the Bible. Yesterday we were told to always be ready to give a defense for our faith, but to do it in “meekness and fear.” We’re to do these things with a “good conscience” meaning without reviling, arrogance, or belittling. The reason is because “when” not “if” they defame us as evildoers, they may be ashamed of their conduct.

In the vast majority of these occasions, those who defame us won’t care diddly and will go on persecuting. However, the faithful testimony of Christian witnesses under persecution is a strong sermon to those who see it. Many people throughout the ages have seen the faithfulness of those being persecuted and have repented of their accusations, coming to Christ in humility and remorse.

Those who don’t – those who continue in their persecutions – will be ashamed when Christ judges them. Don’t ever think that these wicked and unregenerate people will get away with a thing. They won’t. While the saints are being called to everlasting joy, they will be swept away into eternal destruction. The temporary pain they meted out will be returned to them for eternity.

To remind yourself of the call to which we have been called, do a general image search on “Christian persecution.” Or, you can visit the Voice of the Martyrs website. There you’ll see the truth of Islamic, communist, and even socially liberal treatment of Christians. The tide is turning to this type of treatment even in America. When it comes, be set in your mind to have a good conscience towards those who defame you for Christ’s sake.

Lord, I don’t look with joy at the prospect of reviling, torture, or death for Your sake. I admit this freely. But Lord, should this day come for me, please give me the courage and soundness of mind to respond in a manner worthy of the most honorable title of Christian. To Your glory may this be the result of my witness. Amen.


 

For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. 1 Peter 3:17

No one in their right mind wants to suffer. There are times in the history of the church however that people have actively gone out looking for martyrdom thinking that they’ll receive a greater reward for it. This kind of thinking may reflect a lack of vitamins in the diet, but it doesn’t represent anything the Bible teaches.

Having said that, if suffering, reviling, or even martyrdom comes, we can expect a blessing from God. This is confirmed by Jesus’ words as well as elsewhere in the New Testament. The only hindrance to receiving such treatment is timidity on our part. We can’t expect to suffer for doing what is right if we don’t put ourselves in the position where we could possibly face the suffering.

How easy it is to stay in our comfort zone and live in ease and security, but how much more notable it is to pursue and excel in that which is difficult. Do you ever take time to consider the faithful Christians in every country of the world, sent from their homes and families in order to teach, preach, and translate the word of God? Some of them will never return home, but they’ve found a greater calling in this life than Sunday afternoon football followed by work weeks that anticipate more Sunday afternoon football.

And one doesn’t have to travel to distant lands to step into places of difficulty. Most towns and cities have places that need to hear the gospel and where one can also expect reviling and possibly suffering. But this is where the gospel meets the heart and this is where miracles can still happen. Don’t be afraid to step out and proclaim Christ. Your eternity is secure, so fear not – what can man do to you?

Lord, give me a heart and desire to see Your message spread – in whatever place it needs to be proclaimed. Let me not be timid or fearful of the reviling of man, but rather let me proudly stand in defense of Your word. May my life be a testament to Your faithfulness in this world. Amen.


 

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 3:18

Yesterday we spoke about our righteousness being “imputed” from God; that we have no innate righteousness. Today Peter explains this to us. Christ suffered for our sins. He took upon Himself the sins of the whole world though He was without sin. By trusting in this noble and glorious act, God “imputes” Christ’s righteousness to us and our sin is transferred to Him at the cross.

As Peter says, Jesus suffered as the “just for the unjust.” He did this so that He might bring us to God. We were separated from God by an infinitely wide chasm, but Jesus – being fully God and fully man – was able to remove that infinite gulf. As Man, He could take our sins from us; as God, He could place His hand on the Father and obtain forgiveness for us. He is the bridge which spans the divide.

When we trust in Jesus for this relief from sin and death, we are “put to death in the flesh.” The punishment for sin is death (see Romans 6:23) and so we must be considered dead to sin (see Romans 6:11). Once sin is crucified in our lives, and immediately at this point, we are “made alive by the Spirit.” This, like a thousand other New Testament verses, proves the doctrine of eternal salvation. If we have died to sin and then are made alive by the Holy Spirit, then we have been “born again;” we can never die again. As Paul says in Ephesians 1:13 –

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise…

The moment you believe, you are sealed with the Holy Spirit. God, who cannot err, has placed His seal of life upon you. We serve a great God – greater than our ability to slip and fall. We are securely in His hands, saved and freed from the wages of sin.

What an absolutely glorious bargain! The Just one – Jesus our Lord – died for the unjust! We are now freed from the wages of sin and death through His precious blood. O God, how gloriously wonderful You are to deal with us in such a glorious and gracious manner. May our hearts never fail to praise You for the wonderful deeds You have wrought. Amen.


 

…by whom also He went and preached to the spirits in prison,… 1 Peter 3:19

Throughout the ages, this verse has led to a ton of confused thinking. In various sects such as the Mormons it is used to justify their stand that there is no hell and no torment. The idea is that Christ, after the death of the people being referred to, went and preached to departed spirits to call them to repentance. This is because they never had a chance to hear the Good News and Christ takes care of this after the fact. This would be comparable to someone in a jungle today receiving a special grant from God because no one comes and physically preaches to him. This is not at all what’s being discussed here. The Bible is very clear in Hebrews –

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,… Hebrews 9:27

All men are already under Adam and already heading to hell. Jesus confirms this in John 3:18 when He says we are “condemned already.” What Peter is saying today is that the saving message of Christ which was originally promised to Adam and which was later understood by righteous men such as Enoch and Noah was preached by those men even back then. Jesus enabled these men to plead with the people; to preach to the people. Because the people being referred to were dead at the time of Peter writing this epistle, he speaks of them now as “spirits in prison.” They weren’t in prison when Christ spoke to them; they are in prison as Peter writes about them. We have this life to get it right with God. When our eyes close for the last time, our eternal destiny is sealed.

Lord God, thank You for faithful men of righteousness who preach the true and precious gospel to the people of the world. Thank You that we have a chance to respond to this message and be born again, born from above, by Your gracious Spirit. May we make the right choice while there is still breath in our lungs. Amen.


 

…who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight souls, were saved through water.1 Peter 3:20

This is completing yesterday’s verse which spoke of the preaching of Noah and other righteous men by the power of the Spirit of Christ before the great flood came. These are now the “spirits in prison” waiting for final judgment. God doesn’t leave the people of the earth without a testimony of who He is. Even if they don’t receive the gospel which can lead to salvation, they still have creation itself to testify to who He is –

Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. Acts 14:17

God was even merciful to these people as He “waited in the days of Noah.” It took 100 years for Noah to complete the ark, during which time he also surely preached repentance to the people. The question of the day is, do you really believe in the account of Noah and the flood? Too many churches and theologians dismiss it as myth as does the evolutionary community. But the Bible doesn’t leave us with that option. If you’re not sure, ask yourself this question, “Is Jesus a liar?” If you’re a Christian, you can only answer “No!” Claiming that Jesus is truthful then necessitates a belief in Noah and the flood. Noah is mentioned in Jesus’ genealogy and he is spoken of by the apostles and by Jesus as well –

And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Luke 17:26, 27

Noah was real, the flood was real, and the judgment of the flood really happened. Eight people among the population of the world were spared. Such is the judgment of sin…thank God for His gospel and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ.

Lord God Almighty – in Your powerful hands are the saved of the ages. Also, in Your powerful hands are the souls of the condemned. You are righteous in Your judgment and merciful towards the objects of Your favor. Thank You for Jesus, thank You for the cross, thank You O God for Your Gospel of Peace. Amen.


 

There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 1 Peter 3:21

Peter makes the connection between baptism and the flood of Noah where 8 people were saved through the water. Paul makes a similar connection in 1 Corinthians 10 where those who went through the Red Sea were all “baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea.” Like Paul though Peter says that it isn’t the baptism of water which saves, but the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Peter says “not the removal of the filth of the flesh” indicating water submersion, but the baptism “of a good conscience toward God.”

Too often people focus on the externals, but fail to complete the verse or paragraph to see that what is being said is exactly the opposite of what they originally thought. Jesus said in Mark 16:16 –

He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Again, “he who believes and is baptized” seems to indicate that water baptism is somehow required for salvation, but this isn’t what’s meant. Rather, the baptism of the Holy Spirit is what is being referred to. Paul says quite clearly that the moment you believe, you receive the deposit of the Holy Spirit. This is the baptism being referred to here. It is also the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” mentioned elsewhere. “He who believes and is baptized” is a single event – when you believe, you receive. Salvation comes from trusting in Jesus Christ and His resurrection (see Romans 10:9) and is the “answer of a good conscience toward God.” Too often denominations separate these actions or mandate what is simply not implied (such as water baptism) because of a confused understanding of these passages. Remember that 1) Salvation comes from calling on Jesus; 2) the moment you call on Jesus you are sealed or “baptized” with the Holy Spirit; 3) filling of the Holy Spirit comes with obedience, prayer, and living a holy life.

Thank You Lord for the simplicity of Your gospel. Thank You that I’m saved by grace through faith and the moment I believe, I’m eternally sealed with Your Holy Spirit. What a wonderfully glorious God You are to lavish such favor upon me. Thank You Lord for the blessings found in Christ. Amen.


 

…who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.1 Peter 3:22

The resurrection of Jesus was the sign that He had prevailed over death. Now He has ascended to heaven and is at the right hand of God.

Peter confirms what Jesus said in Matthew 28:18 when He proclaimed, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Peter details this authority as being over angels and authorities and powers. This is a way of saying “everything.” All authority at every level is subject to the rule of Jesus.

The term “at the right hand of God” is not indicating a physical position as the Jehovah’s witnesses must assume (showing a separation between Jesus and God). This makes no sense when we rightly understand from the Bible that “God is Spirit.” Rather than being separate, the term “the right hand of God” indicates the supreme position of authority. All of God’s authority rests in the Son. Knowing and believing this allows us to look at the world in a completely different light.

When nations descend into turmoil and chaos seems to be only result of what’s going on around us; when news services can’t discern what will happen next and they speculate over the fate of gas prices, economies, or people groups; when leaders fall and other more wicked leaders rise to power – all of these things are already known to God and are under the complete control of Jesus.

If you’re stressing over current conditions in the world, if your investments seem to be precariously close to disappearing, or if you can’t find an intelligent soul to ease your mind over the turmoil, then remember to simply trust in Jesus and His perfect plan. Either He is in control and Lord over all or He’s not. If you claim He is, then be at peace. Things are perfect and coming to their completion. He sends you shalom from the right hand of God on high.

Whew! Just when I think the world is coming unglued, I can turn back to Your word and remember that everything is happening just as it should. Israel will be safe, God’s people – the church – will be raptured, and eternity is going to be perfect. What worry should I have? None! Praise be to God…no worries at all. Amen.


 

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, 1 Peter 4:1

 “Therefore” is referring back to verses 3:8-22. Here is the sequence of Peter’s thought –

1) We are to be compassionate for and good to others, blessing them even when they persecute us.

2) This will bring a blessing upon us because the Lord is attentive to the righteous deeds of His people.

3) We’re to give a defense of why we have the sure hope of our faith, but we’re to do it in a gentle and meek way.

4) Through our display, and especially when it involves suffering, those who persecute us will be ashamed.

5) This pattern was set by Christ at the cross and is what brought us to God; this pattern worked in us and can be expected to have the same result in others.

6) This was done even before the flood – to a world abounding in wickedness – in order to make known the righteousness of God. So we, in this wicked world have the same pattern to follow.

7) Despite our actions, only a few may be saved – just as only eight came through the flood – but those eight became the antitype of how we also are saved and brought to righteousness, sealed with the Holy Spirit in baptism.

8) The resurrection is our assurance that we’re on the right path and that we have the power of Christ behind us.

Because of all this – “therefore” – we should “arm ourselves with the same mind” as Christ. He suffered in His flesh to save us from sin. Arming ourselves with this mind is to act in the same way, even in suffering, to bring others out of sin. By failing to do this, our actions indicate that we feel others are less deserving of what was of infinite value to us. Let us never make that error, but instead let’s hold others, even those who persecute us, with the same high value as God did when He sent Jesus to call them to righteousness.

Lord it certainly is hard to look at the world around us and not feel angry and the sin and perversion going on. But we too once walked in that way so let us not forget the depths from which we were called. You saved us despite our actions and You can save them as well. May You use our faithful testimony to bring others to righteousness. Amen.


 

…that he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 1 Peter 4:2

Peter is making an argument similar to the one made by Paul in Romans 6-8. Notice the similarity in the following verses to what Peter is saying above –

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 6:1-4

Both men have indicated that true baptism comes from faith in Christ. Paul says we have “died to sin” and Peter says we have “ceased from sin.” Sin no longer has mastery over us, but rather we are slaves to righteousness leading to holiness.

It is certainly right and fitting that both men discuss the same issue in a similar way. Should only one account have been recorded, misinterpretation of these verses would be even easier than they are. Already people fail to understand the significance of baptism and how it’s applied here. There is also misreading of what it means to live holy lives and there is misunderstanding about the eternal state of man – all because people grab single verses and run with them rather than taking all things in context and comparing Scripture with Scripture.

The Bible isn’t as complicated as many people make it, but it is very detailed. By skipping around and picking and choosing verses, we can easily be led down the wrong path. For today, just know that we are to put away the life of flesh and live for God. This is our calling to holiness through Jesus. Although we cannot attain sinless perfection in this life, it should always be our goal to live in a manner which shuns fleshly lusts and strives for holy living.

Jesus my Lord! You’ve given me the pattern by which I should live. I know that I fail You often and often slide backwards, but Lord, give me spiritual traction that I may press onward towards the life of holiness that You have called me to. May You be the one who is glorified as I pursue You every step of the way. Amen.


 

For we have spent enough of our past lifetime in doing the will of the Gentiles—when we walked in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.1 Peter 4:3

In context, this is referring to why we should live holy lives, because Christ suffered to put sin to death in us. Because He did, we should be willing to suffer as well. The reason is that we’ve participated in the very things which led to His cross. Peter details some of them – lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries.

Even when we were living in this fashion, Christ was willing to give His own life to buy us back from there. Remember that Peter is writing to 1st century Jews who had converted to Christianity and so he terms this way of life “the will of the Gentiles.” Although the church is mainly made up of gentiles now, the concept still applies because the same sins beset us today as those of the past. Very few people aren’t guilty of participating in one or more of the items noted here. In addition to this, the list isn’t all-inclusive.

Anything which brings about sin also necessitates judgment. The cross is sufficient to cover all of it though. Because it is, and because of God’s great mercy which is displayed in it, we can now see why Peter calls us to accept suffering as well and to also live in the will of God. These things should stem naturally from a grateful heart. Those who accept Jesus as Lord and don’t have this attitude demonstrate an ingratitude that will be regretted throughout the ages.

Such is the case of those being addressed in 1 Corinthians. In that epistle, Paul writes to a congregation full of confused, self-serving, and argumentative people. Throughout the letter, Paul directs them to Jesus and His work. Likewise, Peter directs us to Him as well. One day – be it soon or down the road a bit – we will face Jesus. At that time, how many of us will be ashamed at the lack of attention we paid to His calling? Let’s strive now to live for Him!

Yes Lord Jesus, give me the will, desire, and ability to serve You in holiness. May I even be willing to suffer for Your sake if that is what’s necessary. Whatever will bring You the most honor, may that be my heart’s desire. I truly do wish to glorify You, O Lord. Amen.


 

In regard to these, they think it strange that you do not run with them in the same flood of dissipation, speaking evil of you. 1 Peter 4:4

The “flood of dissipation” that’s being spoken of today is the unholy conduct mentioned in the previous verse – walking in lewdness, lusts, drunkenness, revelries, drinking parties, and abominable idolatries. If you notice, Peter is making a connection to the previous chapter where the flood of Noah is introduced.

Surely Noah faced the evil tongues of those around him and belittled him as he steadily built the ark. But in the end, he was saved through the flood and the others were destroyed. Likewise, if you’ve come to Christ and have given up on the character and conduct you once lived, you’ve probably faced and possibly still face the jeers of those you once hung around with.

They may look at you as if you’ve lost your mind, thinking it strange that you don’t run with them anymore. The fact is though that you’re the one who has found reason and understanding and it is you who are being safely guided through the very same “flood of dissipation” that you were once drowning in. Don’t be disheartened and don’t be discouraged by the constant beat of the drums calling you to return to this empty way of life. Rather, stand fast and march on towards the goal which is the high calling of life in Jesus Christ.

By your steadfast attitude, you’re even likely to become a witness to the very people who are currently giving you such a difficult time. In the end, they may have their eyes opened, simply because of your faithfulness to Christ. Stand firm then in Jesus and may He be your safe hiding place and strong refuge. Don’t let the life you once lived take over and nullify the glorious work Jesus is working in you.

Lord Jesus, you know the temptations I face, the taunts I have endured, and the continuous call for me to return to my previous way of life. Give me a strong and resolute spirit to stand firm against these things and to be a bold and faithful witness to the glorious change You have brought about in me. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


 

They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 1 Peter 4:5

We’ve been looking into the actions of those who refuse to come to Christ and live in the same spirit of dissipation and drunkenness that characterizes the fallen world. These are obvious examples of ungodly living, but anything that is contrary to God’s nature falls into the same category.

Idol worshippers cover the majority of people on earth. Any religion not founded on faith in Jesus Christ is idol worship. One doesn’t need to bow to a stone Buddha to fit this category. Instead any form of incorrect worship will do, whether it’s pantheism (belief that everything is God); polytheism (belief in many gods); etc. Like them, liars, murderers, thieves, sorcerers, those who practice astrology, etc. are all awaiting the same fate. Either Jesus Christ is Lord in one’s life, or something else is.

While considering this, take time to also reflect on those who mistreat you (meaning all Christians) or persecute you because of your faith. Right now it seems unbearable. We hear of Christian persecution around the world and it seems like the enemy is winning the battle. Even in America, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to even mention the name of Jesus in public without having somebody from the ACLU or other anti-Christian organization threaten to sue you or have you tossed into jail.

If you feel their oppression, don’t be surprised, these things will come. But remember that Jesus is a fair and righteous Judge. In the end, they will receive their just desserts for having fought against Him in this life. Following His path will be rewarded and fighting against it will be punished. Nothing will be left unattended on the great Day of His righteous judgment. Be at peace and continue to be a light to these people lest they share in the fate of the wicked.

Lord, my inclination is to pray for speedy judgment on those who persecute and fight against Your church. But You would have me do otherwise. You would have me pray for them now that they might turn and be healed. Give me a willing heart to do this so that they may receive commendation, not condemnation, on Your great Day of visitation. Amen.


 

For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit. 1 Peter 4:6

Who is being talked about here? Today’s verse, along with the several verses in chapter 3, are difficult and can be easily misconstrued. However, only one explanation is correct. Did someone go preach to dead people? The answer is “no.” The people who are being referred to were alive when they heard the gospel message just as we today hear the gospel. In order to understand this, we need to look at the context of the preceding verses?

Peter was speaking about Jesus suffering for us “in the flesh” and so we should be of the same mind, not living for sin and lust but for the will of God. He then went on to explain that we all were also like the disobedient people of the world, having done the same wicked things. Unlike them though, we are now free from condemnation whereas those who are still disobedient will “have to give an account to Him who is ready to judge the ‘living and the dead.’” He then says today, “for this reason” and tells us that this is the same pattern that was applied to those who are now dead, but previously heard the gospel. Here is a breakdown then of the idea we can draw from what Peter is saying –

1) Living a holy life, one which is honoring to God, is what should be expected when the gospel is preached to us.

2) God is going to bring judgment on all people who have heard the gospel but failed to receive it; they’ve had no change in their heart or life.

3) It makes no difference how others judge us, particularly those who live “in the flesh” as long as we live the way that God would have us live – in His Spirit and for the message of Christ.

Remember fellow Christian, we are accountable to God, not to men, for our actions. When someone pokes at you for being a faithful believer, pay it no heed. God’s commendation is infinitely more valuable than their accusations.

Praise be to God who has called me out of death and bondage and brought me into the Light of His glorious Son. Lord, I could sing of your love and faithfulness forever. Le me not be discouraged or ashamed when men mock me for following You. Instead, may I count it as double honor. Amen.


 

But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 1 Peter 4:7

 “But” is indicating that everything Peter has said to this point about suffering for Christ, living in a holy way for Christ, and proclaiming the gospel for Christ is a temporary state. “But the end of all things is at hand…” This was written almost 2000 years ago and things are continuing on as they did at the time of Peter – what was he talking about?

Peter’s words are consistent with the entire New Testament message. The “Church Age” is an indeterminate amount of time and therefore all of it falls under the category of “the last days.” In other words, since Christ ascended until He returns, regardless of the duration, we should live in imminent expectation of His return and be about the business He has directed us to. The things Peter has been talking about – don’t neglect them, the end of all things is at hand…Christ could return any moment.

Take your prayers seriously and don’t neglect them, the end of all things is at hand…Christ could return at any moment. Have you been negligent in telling others about Jesus – no time like the present, the end of all things is at hand…Christ could return at any moment. Whatever we do, we should do it with the expectation of Christ’s possible return.

This doesn’t just go for positive things; it should guide our life in not doing wrong things as well. Be honest, don’t lie, don’t steal, watch yourself that you don’t fall into sexual immorality, the end of all things is at hand…Christ could return at any moment. When Christ returns, whether for us individually in death (be it sudden or from age) or whether He comes for the whole church in the rapture, we don’t want to be found either neglecting His call or be found living in a less-than holy manner. Be ready, Christ is coming and the end of all things is at hand.

Lord, how I need to be reminded of today’s warning. I often slip into unpreparedness – both in my witness to others and in the conduct of my personal life. Be with me, guide me, and carry me in a manner that will bring You glory on the day of Your visitation. Amen.


 

And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

Today Peter again reaches back into the Scriptures and quotes a portion of Proverbs 10:12 –

Hatred stirs up strife,
      But love covers all sins.

Peter is speaking of “above all” having a fervent love “for one another.” First, it is the highest duty and secondly, although this doesn’t exclude non-believers, it is directed at believers. A strong and forgiving love is the truest sign of a Christian as we learn from Jesus’ words –

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.” John 13:34, 35

Although Jesus was speaking to His apostles, the words are directed to all faithful believers who come after them as well. When a brother sins against you and repents, you are obligated to forgive them of their offense. This is the model in every single instance in the Bible. If they fail to repent, then you’re to forgive them potentially and hand it over to the Father for Him to deal with. By these actions, you “cover a multitude of sins” in the forgiving process. Once forgiven, the account is clear and you can go on in the grace of the Lord. Think this through clearly and have peace with yourself, with your fellow Christian, and also in the arms of Christ.

Lord, You know the offenses committed against me and how upset they’ve made me. You also know the offenses I’ve committed against You. Their weight is far higher than what I’ve endured...this I know. So Lord, give me a heart willing to forgive when forgiveness is due that I won’t be outside of Your will and direction for my life. Amen.


 

Be hospitable to one another without grumbling.1 Peter 4:9

There’s a ton of difficulty for most of us in these seven words! In 1Timothy and Titus, Paul says that elders are to be hospitable; it is one of the requirements of the job. Peter says that everyone in the brotherhood is to be hospitable.

Logically, if an elder fails to be hospitable then the congregation is going to be equally inhospitable. The old truth that a “nation won’t rise above its leader” applies to the church as well. The pastor of a church sets the tone for the entire congregation. If his doctrine is faulty, the congregation will be led astray. If he tolerates sin, the congregation will fall into the same sin. If he is a back-biter or a gossip, the congregation will tear itself apart. Likewise, the pastor of the congregation needs to be hospitable. When he is, the rest of the congregation will normally take on this favorable quality.

Being hospitable, however, needs to be genuine. If it’s done in a spirit of grumbling, can anyone expect to see it as anything but a grudgingly committed act? Of course not! It’s important to keep this in mind as we relate to others. Christ didn’t head towards Jerusalem hemming and hawing about the difficulty that lay ahead. Instead, the Bible says “Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem,…” The NIV translates the word “steadfastly” as “resolutely.” Jesus faced the coming trial with determination and did it in such a way that Luke, while compiling his gospel, could state the matter in this strong and reliable language. Let us have a similar steadfast and resolute demeanor when we demonstrate hospitality towards those who come across our path.

Lord, I admit I’m not always as hospitable as I should be. In addition to this, when I am, my heart isn’t always behind the act. Instead, I inwardly grumble about whatever inconvenience I perceive in the matter. Lord, give me a right heart as I deal with others – deferring to their needs and not to my comfort. This I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.


 

As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:10

Each of us has been given different likes and different abilities. These are gifts from God and He asks us to use them in a way which will return glory to Him. Several times in his epistles, Paul lists gifts useful to the church. Here is his list from Romans 12:6-8 –

Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

As you notice, these are the same gifts found in the secular world (prophecy in this case can be equated with public speaking). The difference then between our abilities and those of non-Christians is that we, as Christians, are to use them for the glory of God. Peter confirms this when he says that we all have been given a gift and that we should minister it “as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”

Instead of using our God-given gifts and talents for our own benefit, we are now – as Christians – to exercise them –

1) to the glory of God’s grace in our life, and

2) for the ministering of others.

Are you a sales clerk? Then sell with cheer and by bringing Christian light into your store. Are you a lawyer? Then administer your gift in a way which will define proper ethical behavior. Are you a service technician? Then conduct your job knowing that God has blessed the work of your hands when you do it for His glory. Whatever your life’s work and skills are, remember to exercise them to the honor of the Lord who has delivered you into His eternal kingdom!

Heavenly father, sometimes I look at other jobs that people have and think they must be closer to you because of what they do – preaching, working in a church, or serving as a missionary. But I see from Peter’s words that I can bring just as much glory to You in the work I do. Please give me the opportunity to share Your gospel right from my place of work. Amen.


 

If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 4:11

We read the following words in the Old Testament book of Deuteronomy –

And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:6-9

These same ideas are repeated in Deuteronomy chapter 11. Peter uses this familiar idea when he writes today’s verse. Whenever we speak we should speak “as the oracles of God.” Our language should be continuously salted with verse and our words should be sprinkled with glorifying God. It doesn’t matter who we speak to, we should be bringing the knowledge of Jesus to those around us.

Likewise, Peter tells us that if we minister we should do it “as with the ability which God supplies.” God doesn’t supply half-heartedly and so we shouldn’t minister that way either. In all we do – whether speaking or ministering, we need to do it so that “God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.” If we’re doing otherwise, then we’re depriving the Lord of the honor, glory, and dominion that He alone is due. Let’s never fall into this error, but rather let us be living testimonies to the Lord, the Lord Jesus Christ – to the glory of God. Amen!

Lord, as Isaiah cried out – “I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips.” I ask you today to purify my heart and soul and bring me to the place where I speak, act, and live solely for You and Your glory. On my own, I can’t do this, but with Your Holy Spirit I know I can. Glory to You O God! Amen.


 

Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;… 1 Peter 4:12

After telling us that the end of things is at hand and giving warnings and admonitions for several verses, today Peter tells us that we can expect fiery trials as we wait on the Lord.

This isn’t a note that “maybe” we’ll face trials; it’s a note that we should expect them. When they come, we shouldn’t think it strange that we’re facing them. Nor should we think they’re something we as individuals are facing while those around us are free from them. Rather, each person who attempts to live a godly life will be facing their own trials. These are allowed in our lives to try us, to test us, to strengthen our armor, and to build our Christian character. However, none of these things are allowed without the approval of the Lord.

To understand God’s sovereign hand in all things – even in calamity – read the first two chapters of Job. Satan had to get permission to bring trial and disaster on Job. The Lord allowed these things to happen and He will allow difficulties to come about in our lives as well. This doesn’t in any way demonstrate an uncaring or unloving attitude in the Lord. Instead, all things are brought about for our benefit (whether we understand it at the time or not) and for His glory.

In the end, we will see the wisdom of every thing that has happened to us in our lives. The thing for us to remember now is that it is not “some strange thing” that has happened to us. No, it’s a demonstration of God’s confidence in us and our ability to learn and grow from what has occurred or is occurring in our lives.

Heavenly Father, I don’t like the fiery trials I’ve faced in the past and I certainly don’t look forward to the ones yet to come, but I know that You have ordained them for my learning and growth. When they come, remind me of this so that I can bear up under the pressures they bring about. In the end, I know that You will be glorified and I will be edified. Amen.


 

…but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 1 Peter 4:13

Do you remember yesterday’s thought? It said, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;…” Peter is telling you that when you face the fiery trials of the Christian walk you should actually rejoice. This is because when you face them, you’re partaking in the sufferings that Christ suffered. He was reviled and reproached though He did no wrong. When you suffer in a like manner, you’re partaking in His afflictions as well. This is obviously of great value to the Lord and something for which you’ll be rewarded, so don’t be disheartened.

Instead, remember Jesus’ own words –

Blessed are you when men hate you, And when they exclude you, And revile you, and cast out your name as evil, For the Son of Man’s sake. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy! For indeed your reward is great in heaven, For in like manner their fathers did to the prophets. Luke 6:22, 23

Paul used this same terminology as Peter does above in 2 Corinthians 7:4 when he said, “I am exceedingly joyful in all our tribulation.” Jesus set the pattern, Paul and the other apostles confirmed the pattern, and we are to live by it to the greatest extent possible.

Peter likewise suffered in this way, both as recorded in the book of Acts and at the end of his life – something he will mention later in his writings. Peter isn’t asking us to do anything that he and the other apostles hadn’t already endured. Be firm in your convictions now that you will be willing to suffer for Christ. When He appears, you will be glad with exceeding joy at the approval He lavishes upon you!

Jesus, if I’m to face persecution and reviling, I ask that You fill me with Your Holy Spirit of grace that I may be a pleasing example of patience and faithfulness during the fiery trial. This I ask that You – You, O Lord – will be glorified through my sufferings. To Your honor and glory I pray. Amen.


 

If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.1 Peter 4:14

A couple points for you to consider –

1)      You can’t be reproached for the name of Christ if you’re not a Christian;

2)      Normally and rightfully, you won’t be reproached for the name of Christ even if you are a Christian if you keep it a secret;

3)      You can’t expect the blessing promised here if you’re not reproached for the name of Christ, but this doesn’t mean you won’t be otherwise blessed.

4)      Having the Spirit of glory and of God upon you isn’t necessitated upon bearing reproach for the name of Christ.

These four points should be obvious, but some people tend to miss one or more of them. For example, some people in the church age have been openly belligerent in their Christian life, seeking to be reproached and even martyred. They did this expecting a greater blessing in the afterlife (see point 4). This kind of thinking is abnormal. We’re to live our lives in a manner which brings glory to Jesus, not to ourselves.

This then leads back up to point 2 – you can’t bring glory to Jesus if you keep it a secret. What’s the point in growing in the knowledge of Jesus if we don’t share it with others? Being timid about His role in your life is like being timid about eating dinner. When you share your faith in and love for Jesus – whether you’re reproached or not – you can expect the Lord to favor it and bless you (see point 3). No matter what you face, a pat on the back or a punch in the head, you will be rewarded.

Don’t worry about your here and now! Instead, look to the needs of those who haven’t heard about Jesus and share His name with them. If you do, the Spirit of glory and of God will lead you, support you, and rest on you. Have no fear in what man can do; the Lord can do so very much more!

Heavenly Father, how glorious You are. May I request You send Your Spirit of glory upon me in great measure. Overwhelm my timidity and give me the desire, ability, and action necessary to proclaim the name of Jesus. Whether I suffer reproach or thanks, let my words be filled with His grace! Amen.


 

But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people’s matters.1 Peter 4:15

After all the lofty and notable descriptions Peter used in the preceding thoughts, he now turns to this verse. All of us are susceptible to doing wrong and falling back into evil patterns and we need to be continuously on guard about how we conduct our lives. Should we fail and turn back to the things he mentions, we’re bound to get caught and suffer for our actions.

His point then is that we should rather suffer for Christ than for something so inappropriate. Also, realizing the severity of the first three categories mentioned – those of murderers, thieves, and evildoers, it’s notable to see the fourth item in the list, that of busybodies. Most of us would agree that being a murderer is a really bad thing. Thieves are a scourge in all societies and there are usually strict penalties when one is caught stealing. Likewise, the term “evildoer” isn’t the type of label most people would want to be associated with. There are plenty of modern terms we use to describe a person who is a general evildoer, none of which are light and flowery.

But here Peter adds in something which carries the same weight and yet which is as common as birds chirping in the morning – busybodies. We tend to dismiss this type of person as someone not to be trusted and to stay away from, but they don’t receive prison sentences, nor do we have colorful metaphors we direct towards them. From a biblical perspective though, this type of behavior is held on the same level as murder!

This is because being a busybody destroys the lives of those it touches. It infects and ruins congregations, and it never accomplishes anything but unhappiness and disaster. The next time you’re tempted to mention a private matter, get involved in someone else’s business, or interfere in some unwanted way, remember that Jesus will hold you to account for your actions. Determine now to be the epitome of ethical behavior in all of your dealings.

Lord Jesus, I pray that you keep me from the willful desire to get involved in areas that are none of my business. Should I hear a busybody in action, please don’t let me get sucked into their poisonous trap, but rather keep me from them that harmony may prevail. This is a tough area and I pray that You keep me safely from it. Amen.


 

Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter. 1 Peter 4:16

Here’s the account of when the apostles were beaten by the ruling leaders of their time –

And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name. And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ. Acts 5:40-42

The apostles were called into the ruling council and strictly warned to not speak in Jesus’ name. They were beaten for having done so in the past and then were warned to not speak in the name of Jesus in the future.

One would think that facing the highest court in the land and being threatened would scare these men. Additionally, one would think that being beaten would make them timid about speaking out in the future. Instead it says they departed “rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.”

The next sentence then proclaims that they “did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” If you think it through clearly, what is there to worry about if your faith is sound? We proclaim Jesus as Lord and that we believe His promises. One of them is that we’re given eternal life through His name. Whatever little trouble we face in this world, if this promise is true (and it is!), then every trial and every pain is simply a temporary matter.

Jesus Christ truly has prevailed and we really do have a sure hope. If you suffer for His name, don’t be ashamed. Instead, glorify God because of it.

I know in my heart that Your word is true and that Jesus Christ is Lord. O God, please help me to understand this in a rational way and never to forget that with this confession comes the promise of eternal life. What can man do to me when You are at my side? I am safe and secure in the hands of my Creator! Amen.


 

For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God? 1 Peter 4:17

Peter repeats a concept which reaches back into the Old Testament – that judgment begins at the house of God. Here is a difficult and sobering portion concerning the destruction of the first temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian exile –

To the others He said in my hearing, “Go after him through the city and kill; do not let your eye spare, nor have any pity. Utterly slay old and young men, maidens and little children and women; but do not come near anyone on whom is the mark; and begin at My sanctuary. …  Then He said to me, “The iniquity of the house of Israel and Judah is exceedingly great, and the land is full of bloodshed, and the city full of perversity; for they say, ‘The LORD has forsaken the land, and the LORD does not see!’ Ezekiel 9:5, 6, & 9

God didn’t spare those who sinned against him then, He didn’t spare them at the destruction of the second temple, and He has judged them at all other times in human history as well. What would make anyone thing that the God who is unchanging and perfect in all His ways would suddenly do “something different?” Rather, God has judged and promises to continue to judge all wickedness. And His judgment begins at His house. The religious leaders who are filled with bloodshed, greed, and perversity will receive both the first and also the strictest judgment. As the Bible records – “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” Hebrews 10:31

Lord Jesus, You are filled with love and compassion, but You are also Holy and righteous. You cannot tolerate sin and I know You will judge all wickedness. I pray for the faithless religious leaders – that they will repent and turn to You as Lord before they are swept away. May You be exalted by their conversion to the truth of who You are. Amen.


 

Now “If the righteous one is scarcely saved, Where will the ungodly and the sinner appear?” 1 Peter 4:18

Again in this chapter Peter reaches back to the book of Proverbs to establish his thought. He modifies the verse a bit from the Hebrew which reads –

If the righteous will be recompensed on the earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner. Proverbs 11:31

Both verses look to the conduct of life now and the ultimate disposition of man. What is implied in both verses is that there is a fixed and firm standard of righteousness and ungodliness. This standard isn’t unknown to either Solomon who recorded the proverb or Peter who used it. They both speak with the knowledge that “the righteous” are in one category and the “ungodly and the sinner” are in another. If they speak in this manner, then they must know what the dividing line is. As both of these men participated in the Day of Atonement ritual, they would certainly have reasoned out that their righteousness didn’t come from them. If it did, they wouldn’t have needed a Day of Atonement at all.

Peter, unlike Solomon, saw the fulfillment of the Day of Atonement in the Person of Jesus Christ. He understood that the righteousness of God is imputed, not through the blood of bulls and goats, but through the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the propitiation for our sins and is the dividing line of righteousness the Bible records.

If you have accepted Jesus as Lord, you will be saved (even if “scarcely” due to failing to grow in sanctification). If you’re trusting in anything else under the heavens for your righteousness, you will appear – not in heaven and God’s glorious presence, but in hell and eternally separated from the goodness which was offered to you as a gift. Choose life, choose heaven…choose Christ!

Lord, I know that in me is nothing good, but through Jesus I am declared righteous. Thank You for cancelling my infinitely large debt and covering me with His righteousness. Thank You for the garments of white that He alone has given me. Glory to You, O God – thank You for Jesus! Amen.


 

Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator. 1 Peter 4:19

Notice the qualifier that Peter places in the middle of his sentence – “according to the will of God.” Suffering isn’t always something we receive for doing well. If we commit a crime, we suffer punishment for that and we have no one except the law, perhaps a penitentiary, to commit our soul to. If we go skiing and become paralyzed from a broken neck, we commit our soul to whoever will tend to us for the duration of our years. But if we suffer according to the will of God, for any reason, we can confidently commit our soul to Him because of our good deed – whatever it may be.

And what else can we do but rejoice at the suffering we experience? What occurred was done according to His will and was thus ordained by Him for the benefit of

1) ourselves (see Romans 8:28),

2) for those who participate in the process, and

3) for the sake of the gospel.

As Peter says, God is a “faithful Creator.” Knowing this allows us to understand that what we face is serving a good and logical purpose. So be content with this knowledge. The other instances above – committing a crime and the skiing accident – can be used by God as well for His great purposes. Criminals in prison have become strong Christians and have brought great glory to God with their lives both in and later out of prison. Those who’ve been in accidents which resulted in physical trauma have used their disabilities to touch thousands and even millions of others.

A classic example is Joni Eareckson Tada who was paralyzed in a swimming accident. To this day, she suffers through pains and trials, but her ministry has brought uncounted masses to Christ. Be content in your suffering such as she has been – to a loving Creator who is working out His plan in a glorious way.

Lord God, when I suffer – whether it’s from another’s hand or from my own aches and pains of this earthly body – may You use my suffering in a way which will bring You great glory. I commit my soul to You, knowing that Your plan is far greater than the one I would otherwise follow. Thank You for using me in the way that is appropriate to You! Amen.


 

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: 1 Peter 5:1

Peter gives us some tremendous insights into his ministry today. The first is that he is now speaking to elders in the church (pastors would be a comparable term here). He states that he is “a fellow elder.”

The Roman Catholic Church has held for eons that Peter was the first pope and that since him there has been a line of succession leading down to the current day. They claim the title and right to their authority because of this. However, this is nowhere indicated in Scripture, and in fact the opposite is true. Peter was one of a crowd of elders, fallible and completely dependent on his Lord.

Secondly, Peter is termed in Galatians 2:8 as the “apostle to the circumcision” (meaning the Jews). Four times it is Paul who is called the apostle or teacher to the gentiles. As the modern church is made up of a vast majority of gentile believers, the reasoning given for Peter being their first pope is faulty.

Thirdly, it was James – the Lord’s brother who was the recorded leader of the early church. This is documented in Acts 15 and is quite clear in its content. Having set aside this notion, we now turn to his exhortation.

He speaks to these fellow elders and reinforces their faith by stating that he was a personal witness to the sufferings of Christ. They are walking by faith and not by sight, whereas Peter actually has sight added to his walk. This was a valuable assurance then and it remains so today. Because of Peter’s witness of both the sufferings and then resurrection of Jesus, he can now – with complete confidence – tell his fellow elders of the glory that will be revealed. The Lord rose! The Lord is victorious! The promises of the Lord are completely reliable! Peter went to his death at the hands of the Romans for what he knew to be true.

Unlike muslim martyrs of today who die for what they only believe (and incorrectly at that), no one would die for what they knew to be false. Peter’s death confirms what he claims.

Blessed assurance – Jesus is mine! We have the written testimony of His sufferings from first-hand witnesses. They, in turn, are corroborated by other witnesses. And down through the ages, the line of truth has been unbroken. We can, with full assurance, call on Jesus as Lord. Because of this, we will be a partakers of the glory to come! Amen.


 

Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly;… 1 Peter 5:2

Peter is speaking to the elders still. Here in one verse he asks them to –

1) Shepherd the flock of God, the people under their care. A shepherd feeds his sheep with their necessary food. He leads them, but he also searches for those who stray, prods along the slow pokes, and is tender to his sheep. He spends an enormous amount of time with his flock and gets very little in return for his efforts. He works under the blazing sun of the day and through the cold of the night. He cares for them in the rain and during the snows that fall. But he also looks at the magnificent stars placed in the heavens and enjoys the smells and sounds of the wilderness – fresh grass, howling animals, birds alone and birds in flocks. A shepherd takes time to appreciate the created majesty around his flock and thus learns to appreciate his flock even more.

2) A shepherd serves as an overseer. This is the Greek word “episkopountes” and is where the term Episcopal comes from. He is to oversee the affairs of his flock willingly and cheerfully. If a pastor is in a denomination with a hierarchy and he is assigned a cruddy location, for example, he’s to accept his duties as having been directed by God and to accomplish them for His glory and not out of a grudging sense of getting to the next pastorate.

3) Finally, a pastor – above all workmen – is to work according to the strict principles of honesty and for the fair wage he’s allowed; never looking for inappropriate gain. Any pastor or evangelist who promises his flock “a financial blessing” in return for sending him money is dishonest and should be immediately rejected as unqualified and untrustworthy.

Lord God, I can imagine how difficult it is to cheerfully shepherd a flock in the church and so I pray that You give me the desire to be good to my pastor and to support him in every way which will encourage him and be an example to the other believers around me. May my actions bring You the honor You deserve in this matter. Amen.


 

…nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; 1 Peter 5:3

This verse is a continuation from verses 1 & 2. Today Peter tells elders to be examples to the congregation and not acts as lords over them. This ought to seem obvious, but it often easily escapes a large number of pastors.

Power, even a little bit of it, is an intoxicant. When people come up to you week after week seeking resolutions to their problems, bringing compliments on a great sermon, or seeking favor within the church, it can certainly lead to a feeling of superiority over those around you. The larger the church, the more susceptible to this one will often become.

But it’s not limited to larger churches. Congregations of 30 or 40 people can often be at the most risk of falling prey to charismatic leaders. The attendees willingly give up their identity and are led down the paths of evil conjured up by a devil with a stronger will. This was the case with cults such as Heaven’s Gate, the Branch Davidians, etc.

Congregants need to constantly evaluate the direction of the pastor to ensure he’s sticking to the Bible and following the admonitions laid out for their position. Pastors likewise need to evaluate themselves and determine if they’ve strayed from what is sound and appropriate. Having a faithful confidant who will be willing to call to account any diversion from the right path is useful and wise.

The Old Testament kings had prophets and seers who would openly speak to them about what was right and hopefully direct them back from wrong choices. Leading a congregation is a sacred trust and the Lord holds those in authority to a higher standard of judgment. So watch your elders and help keep them humble while honoring them for their faithful service.

Lord, I certainly wouldn’t attend the church I’m at without respecting my pastor. He’s been a faithful leader and I pray for him today. Keep his heart humble and his eyes directed on You and on faithfully proclaiming Your word. May our congregation be a light in the darkness to the community around us. Amen.


 

…and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away. 1 Peter 5:4

The New Testament assigns three different adjectives to Jesus’ title as the “Shepherd” –

Good Shepherd – John 10:11

Great Shepherd – Hebrews 13:20

Chief Shepherd – 1 Peter 5:4

Today Peter calls him the “Chief” Shepherd. The word used in Greek is “archepoimenos” and you may recognize the prefix “arch” meaning first or beginning.  Other uses of the word “arch” can mean corner, magistrate, power, principality, principle, or rule. Peter is using this term to show the preeminent position of Christ Jesus in the role of shepherd. He’s done this because in verses 1-3 he has been addressing elders or “shepherds” of individual churches. Remember what he said to them –

The elders who are among you I exhort, I who am a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that will be revealed: Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock;…

Having established these guidelines, he works on the assumption that if they’re properly followed, then the Chief Shepherd will reward these leaders with a “crown of glory.” This will be an eternal crown which will never fade away. All of our earthly treasures will fade, but for those leaders who are faithful, something much greater will replace them. If you’re a shepherd of a flock, be careful to lead faithfully – the Lord is watching and will reward or judge your actions.

We look to You as our Chief Shepherd Lord Jesus. Our eyes and our hearts are set upon the joy of the day when You appear and lead us to our eternal dwelling. Until that day, may our earthly shepherds faithfully execute their duties that You will be glorified by them. Praises be to You, now and forever! Amen.


 

Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” 1 Peter 5:5

Like in Chapter 4, Peter goes to the wisdom of the Proverbs in today’s quote. After addressing the elders of the church, he turns to the younger generation and asks them to willingly submit to those who have been placed in authority. Then, immediately, he adds in that all of us should “be submissive to one another.” He’s now covered everyone in the congregation.

All of us are to submit to each other and give honor and respect in all directions. Let’s keep in mind that not everyone is going to follow this advice, and many people, due to a lack of knowing their Bible, would think this a foreign idea. However, submission has to start somewhere. Because of this, it’s up to those who know God’s word and have taken Peter’s advice to heart to be the initiators.

Submission doesn’t mean allowing oneself to be abused or misused by others, but it does include overlooking slight offenses and unintentional breeches of courtesy towards one another. In the quote from Proverbs we see the reason for this congenial and meek attitude – it’s because God resists the proud. He does this actively. Pride is the great destroyer of fellowship with Him and between us and others. When pride steps into the room, a joyous and happy atmosphere quickly fades away.

In contrast, God gives grace to the humble. This means that God’s unmerited favor rests on those who are humble and contrite in spirit. We still fall short of His merit, thus the term “grace” is used. But God notices our attitude and lavishes His caring and guiding love upon us when we act in this manner towards others. If we receive it from acting this way in a sympathetic environment, how much more in an unfriendly one! Be humble, submit to one another, and love the Lord your God with all your heart. God attends to those who act in such a way.

Lord Jesus, you know how hard it is for me to be submissive, particularly when it involves someone who is less than kind in their demeanor. But God, give me grace to act in the way Your word tells me to act. May my life be a testament to the grace shown me at the cross and the grace You continue to show me as I act properly towards those around me. Amen.


 

Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,…1 Peter 5:6

To understand the “therefore” we need to remember yesterday’s cited proverb. In the typical form of a proverb, we have two different reasons for following today’s admonition –

God resists the proud,
      But gives grace to the humble.

1)      Because God resists the proud, humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. By demonstrating pride, we alienate ourselves from the Creator. He is the glorious One who set the stars in place, made bumble-bees, and gave each of us our abilities. All things are from Him and therefore all credit is due Him; pride is excluded.

2)      Because God gives grace to the humble, you should humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God. When we humble ourselves before the Creator, he lavishes on us unmerited favor; grace. This is something he does not because we stand and act pious in front of others. Instead, He searches our hearts and minds and extends His grace to those who truly walk in a humble and contrite manner, recognizing His sovereignty in all things.

When we humble ourselves in His presence, we not only receive grace for the day, but Peter says that God will exalt us in due time. There is a glorious day coming when the trumpet shall sound and all the saints of the ages will be translated. At this time, we will stand at the judgment seat of Christ and receive our rewards and losses based on our conduct in Christ. May we be about His business until that glorious (Oh yes! That glorious) day!

Lord Jesus, look on me with the favor promised so long ago through the prophet Isaiah – “‘For all those things My hand has made, And all those things exist,’ Says the LORD. ‘But on this one will I look: On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at My word.’” May you be glorified as I walk humbly and in contrition before You. Amen.


 

…casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 1 Peter 5:7

Peter remembers the tender care the Lord showed for him after the resurrection. Jesus restored him even though he had three times denied Him on the night of the crucifixion. Peter, as well as anyone else, could honestly say that Jesus truly cares for the people of the world. While writing today’s words, he may have remembered what Jesus said while preaching in Israel

Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

These words, along with Peter’s thought today, echo down through the ages. If you’re hurting, troubled, anxious, and distraught over life in general, or overburdened with the difficulties around you, Jesus tells you where to find rest. Likewise, Peter tells us how to obtain that rest. Cast your cares upon the Lord and in place of them take up His easy yoke.

We’re told to do these things because He truly cares for us. He is the Shepherd of the sheep who was willing to lay down His life for us. How much more now, since the resurrection, can we find complete assurance in His tender care. Take your troubles each morning and hand them over to the Lord. In place of them, ask for His peace and contentment in the challenges you anticipate. When you mentally make the leap that Jesus really can do these things, you will come to the place where nothing can truly steal your joy. Yes, cast your cares upon the Lord, for He cares for you.

Here I am Jesus, facing another day of trials and burdens. Instead of facing them alone, I place them in Your tender care. Handle them for me and give me the peace – that true peace – which can only come from You. I thank You for leading the way through this veil of tears and bringing me safely to a place of happiness and contentment. Amen.


 

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 1 Peter 5:8

Peter gives us two admonitions today –

1)      Be sober. This is the Greek word “nepsate” and means to be watchful and/or mentally calm. We’re to remain alert and on guard at all times for what lies around us and what lies ahead.

2)      Be vigilant. This is the Greek word “gregoresate” and means to be alert and awake.

In other words, these two words are complementing each other and each reinforces the meaning of the other. This is important because we have an adversary…

The reason for the two admonitions is because the devil (aka Satan) is out there and he is like a “roaring lion.” Earlier in the chapter the role of the shepherd was discussed. He is the one who tends to the sheep. However, when the sheep are in the fold and a lion roars, they may be scared into flight – away from the rest of the sheep. This leaves them as easy prey.

The devil is looking to devour anyone he can and it’s far easier to go after someone who isn’t fellowshipping with other believers, attending church and Bible studies, and actively engaged in other Christian activities. The devil is looking for just this sort of person to tempt – whether through pride or lust – into his trap. Once they’re there, they have nothing of substance to fall back on.

This doesn’t mean they would lose their salvation, but depending on the sin, they could lose their marriage, their freedom in society, or even their life. This is exactly what Satan wants. By accomplishing this, he can bring discredit on the name of Jesus. Determine now to be ever-vigilant, awake, and watchful lest you become a victim of the devil’s wiles.

Lord Jesus, in You I have the victory and by staying in Your word and in fellowship with other believers I know there is safety. Help me to prioritize my life that I don’t let the necessary things be put off for that which is far less important. Keep me on the path of righteousness so that the devil has no ability to come after me with his temptations. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.


 

Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.1 Peter 5:9

Peter tells the individual believer that no matter what we’re going through, other believers in the world are going through the same things elsewhere. He certainly knows that this doesn’t lessen our own suffering, but it should help in the sense that at least we know we’re not alone in what we’re dealing with. God isn’t allowing something unique to overtake you and your burden is something that you can deal with. So stand fast in the faith you have and resist what the devil is sending your way. Paul speaks in the same terms as Peter does in Ephesians 6. Here is a portion of that for you to consider –

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Ephesians 6:10-13

When we face the temptations or the sufferings the devil sends our way, we need to be prepared for them by putting on “the whole armor of God.” The only way we can do this is to be prepared in advance. If we don’t know the Bible, then when the time of trial comes, we can’t use it for our defense. If we haven’t developed strong faith, we can’t exercise it when needed. Now is the time for us to prepare for life’s trials. Stand firm and steadfast, grounded in the gospel of your salvation.

Lord Jesus, You know my trials and temptations all too well. You know the areas where I’m lacking the proper discipline to handle more. So Lord, be with me and protect me from the rage of the devil. Be my Shield and my Defender as I head through the maze of life’s challenges. Thank You Lord Jesus. Amen.


 

But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 1 Peter 5:10

As is found throughout the Bible, even dozens of times in the New Testament, Christians who have been called to God’s eternal glory can and should expect to suffer. Churches that teach otherwise and that promise oodles of earthly blessings without trials should be dismissed.

Expecting trials and sufferings should be the norm, not the exception. It is these very times that demonstrate God’s grace in our lives. Furthermore, it is these trials that mold us into that image our Creator desires for us. There is no shame in sufferings and in fact the opposite is true. Even more, taking trials with grace is pleasing to God who set the example for us in the cross of Jesus.

A noteworthy example from our own time is Bill Bright, the founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. In his later years, Bill got pulmonary fibrosis of the lungs which caused him great suffering and eventually led to his death. However, during the ordeal he never lost his testimony for Christ or his expectation of being perfected, established, strengthened, and settled. His example, along with countless other faithful believers is noteworthy and demonstrates a true and sound faith. These people encourage us that the promises of the Lord transcend even final suffering and death.

There is a great day coming when our physical pains will be set aside for everlasting joy. Our headaches, backaches, cancers, and other diseases will be no more. As the book of Revelation triumphantly proclaims –

And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

When you’re suffering, in whatever form, be of the attitude that it is serving a good purpose. Determine to reflect Christ, even in your time of affliction. God has trusted you to accomplish a personal demonstration of grace on His behalf.

Heavenly Father, despite my trials and sufferings, may my life be an example to others of the grace You have lavished upon me. May my times of trials lead others to understand that Your sovereign purposes are being worked out, even in me. Be with me during these times so that You will be glorified. Amen.


 

To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. 1 Peter 5:11

Who is Peter speaking of here? If you review the previous verses, you may find it hard to decide. “But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” Is Peter speaking of God or of Jesus? Jesus is the nearest antecedent, but God is the main subject of the verse.

The fact is that Peter is speaking of Jesus, who is God. Glory and dominion properly belong to God, but the same terms refer back to the book of Daniel when referring to the Son of Man –

I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him.
Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
Which shall not pass away,
And His kingdom the one
Which shall not be destroyed. Daniel 7:13, 14

God guards His glory and refuses to allow it to be shared with another, or false, god (see Isaiah 42:8). Jesus is the one who reveals to us the glory of the invisible God. To Him then belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen!

What a marvelous story the Bible tells of Your love for us! Though You are infinitely beyond our comprehension, You came and clothed Yourself in the form of a man so that we may know who You truly are in a way that we can understand. Thank You, O God, for our Lord Jesus! Amen.


 

By Silvanus, our faithful brother as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God in which you stand. 1 Peter 5:12

Peter speaks of writing his epistle “by Silvanus…” Although not certain, it’s suspected that this is the same person called “Silas” in Acts 15:22 who helped Paul with his missionary journey to Antioch and later to many locations in his missionary travels. Whether this is correct or not, Peter calls him a “faithful brother” meaning that he could be trusted with handling and transmitting the letter to others.

He again states the purpose of the letter; it is an exhortation to, and a testament of, the “true grace of God” in which his recipients stand. This grace is the Person and work of Jesus Christ – the focus and purpose of all Scripture handed down to us by our great God.

Two questions for each of us arise from today’s verse –

1)      If Peter were here today, would he consider you, as he considered Silvanus, a “faithful brother?” Are you trustworthy to handle and transmit the word of God faithfully? Think on this and evaluate how you treat the Bible and if you’re willing to share it with others who are lacking in the grace of God.

2)      Do you stand firmly on the Person of Jesus Christ? And if you feel you do, what gospel are you placing your faith in? There is one gospel presented in the Bible – God united with human flesh, lived the perfect life we can’t live, died on a cross to pay for our sins, and was resurrected to eternal life. His death is fully sufficient to reconcile us to God and He now sits at the right hand of God ever interceding for those who have called on Him as Lord.

Stand firm in the gospel of Jesus Christ, be willing to share this gospel with others, and ensure that when you do share the gospel, you do it in a manner which squares with the biblical account.

Heavenly Father, I trust in your grace, displayed in the gospel of Jesus Christ my Lord. Be with me as I head out into the world. Like Silvanus, send me as a tried and true servant to share with others the same grace I’ve received and by which I stand. May You be pleased with me as I faithfully go forth. Amen.


 

She who is in Babylon, elect together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son. 1 Peter 5:13

Peter sends a greeting from “she who is in Babylon” to the letter’s recipients. Who “she” is has caused a bit of debate over the years. Is it referring to a single person or a church body? The majority opinion is that it’s referring to a church and the “elect” are the members of the church. The meaning of “Babylon” can likewise have several possibilities –

1) Peter was actually in the district of ancient Babylon in Assyria where a Christian church had been established;

2) Peter is using the term “Babylon” as a code word for Rome; or

3) Peter is using the term as a code word for some other city – Joppa, Jerusalem, etc.

One can’t be dogmatic on the actual meaning Peter was applying and good arguments for at least the first two options exist. Should he be referring to Rome, it would be because it was a city of great religious apostasy like Babylon of old. In order to not stir up trouble, he used the term to let the recipients know how he felt about the place without actually using the name Rome.

If this is so, then the term would be a widely recognized one – particularly because no further description beyond the name is provided. This is not an unreasonable proposition when it’s believed that the same term – Babylon – is probably what’s being referred to concerning Rome in the book of Revelation. Regardless of where Babylon is, there are faithful believers there, elect in Christ, and sending a hearty greeting to their fellows at the end of Peter’s pen.

Finally, “Mark my son” is certainly speaking of John Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark and the same person who traveled with Paul and Barnabas on missionary journeys. He eventually came to be with Peter during the time of the writing of this letter. In the ultimate sense, you too are being greeted because the letter made its way into the Bible...See, a personal letter from Peter to you from Babylon. Save the stamp, it could be a collector’s item!

Thank You Lord for including me in the unfolding pages of Your glorious plan for the redeemed of the ages! How precious it is to be one of the elect, holy and chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world! Here’s a great “Hallelujah” to You! Amen.


 

Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen. 1 Peter 5:14

We come to the last verse of 1 Peter. Thank you for sharing in the journey we’ve made through its wonderful verses. May we take heed the admonitions given, remember the instructions provided, and meditate on the wisdom imparted all the days of our lives.

Peter was an eyewitness to the advent of Christ. He was there all during His ministry, saw firsthand the transfiguration, stumbled at the crucifixion, and was restored at the resurrection. He beheld the ascension and participated in the coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Peter sat with the early elders in the church and continued his witness of the work of Jesus Christ throughout his life.

This epistle was given for our benefit and instruction by his loving hand. And how does he leave his audience? “Greet one another with a kiss of love.” This was the custom and tradition of fellow believers in the early church. It was something done between those who felt godly affection between each other and it tells us that we should maintain that affection at all times when dealing with our brothers and sisters in the Lord.

He then finishes off the letter with a blessing – Peace to you – shalom or wholeness of mind, and body, and spirit to “all who are in Christ Jesus.” His letter is written to converted believers and it is for their edification. Those who improperly handle the words of the Bible, or who dismiss them as anything less than the perfect words of God are fooling themselves and their hearers.

This letter, along with the other 65 books of the Bible, testifies to the Person and work of Jesus Christ. He is the focus of Scripture and we’re to keep our eyes and thoughts directed at Him alone. Next stop, 2 Peter… Amen!

Oh Heavenly Father! Thank you for the wisdom and instruction imparted through the hand of your servant Peter. Help us to remember what we’ve learned and to follow You all the more faithfully because of it. We look forward to his next letter, the book of 2 Peter, with anticipation and expectation of great wonders to come. Amen.





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