I Peter

I Peter – a book which really addressed the issue of suffering.  Peter personally saw how Jesus suffered and he suffered himself – making him somewhat of an expert in this area!  The first chapter and a half are valuable in so many areas, then the topic of suffering becomes the focus.  Knowing we will suffer, Peter closes in his last chapter reminding us to cast ALL of our cares on Him!!  A very deep and rewarding book!   Personalize every word!

I Peter 1 

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, is writing this letter to me and to those who are living as foreigners in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.

By the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, I am to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood.  I am to have more and more of His grace and peace.  I give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His great mercy has given me new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. I have obtained an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and will not fade away, and it is reserved in heaven for me!

Through faith, I am shielded by God’s power for my salvation, which is ready to be revealed in the last time.  Because of all of this, I greatly rejoice; even though for a little while I may have to suffer and endure trials.  These trials are a test of my faith, which is more precious than gold that perishes.  And even though tested by fire, my faith will result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed!  And even though I have not seen Him, I love Him; even though I don’t see Him now, I believe in Him and am filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.

Also, I will eventually receive the eternal reward of my faith:  the salvation of my soul.  Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to me searched intently and with the greatest care, seeking to know the time and circumstances that the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.

Through their searching, it was revealed to the prophets that they were not serving themselves, but me when they spoke of the things that I have been taught regarding the gospel by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven.  Even angels long to look into these things.

Therefore, I must think clearly and exercise self-control.  I am to fix my hope completely on the grace which will be given to me at the revelation of Jesus Christ.  As an obedient child of God, I should not slip back into my old ways of doing evil when I didn’t know any better.  But just as He who called me is holy, so I am to be holy in all that I do, because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Since I address as Father the One who impartially judges me according to my works, I am to live my life in reverent fear during my time here on earth. This is a reminder to me that I was not redeemed with perishable things like silver and gold from what is for many an empty life handed down to them from their ancestors.  No, I was redeemed with the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God without spot or blemish!

He was chosen before the foundation of the world, but He has appeared in these last times for my sake.  Through Him, I am a believer in God who raised up Jesus from the dead and glorified Him, so that my faith and hope can be placed confidently in God.  Now I can have a sincere love of my brothers and sisters since I have purified my soul by obeying the truth.

So I should fervently love them with all of my heart. For I have been born again, not physically that leads to death, but spiritually that leads to life eternal based on the living and enduring word of God!  “For I am like grass and all my glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall away, but the word of the Lord will last forever.”  And these words are the Good News that was preached to me.

I Peter 2

Therefore, I am to rid myself of all malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of any kind.  Like a newborn baby, I should long for the pure spiritual milk of the word, so that by it I may grow into the fullness of my salvation now that I have tasted the kindness of the Lord.

Then I should draw closer to Christ, who is the living cornerstone of God’s spiritual temple.  He was rejected by men, but He is chosen by God and precious to Him. For all Christ followers and I are as living stones and are being built into a spiritual house to be a royal priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

For in Isaiah it says, “I, the Lord God, am placing a stone in Jerusalem, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and anyone who believes in Him will not be disappointed.”  As a believer, this stone is very precious to me.  But to those who do not believe, Psalms states, “The stone that the builders rejected has become the very cornerstone.”  And Isaiah also states, “He is a stone that causes people to stumble, and a rock that will make them fall.”

They stumble because they do not listen to God’s word or obey it, and so they will meet the fate that was planned for them But Christ followers are a chosen people; a royal priesthood; a holy nation; a people who belong to God.  As such, I am to declare the praises of Him who has called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light.

For at one time I was not part of God’s people, but now I am; once I had not received God’s mercy, but now I have received His mercy.  As a Christ follower, I am a foreigner and stranger in this world; therefore, I am to keep away from evil desires, which wage war against my very soul. I am to be careful how I behave among my non-believing neighbors, so that even though they accuse me of doing wrong, eventually they will observe my good deeds and then give honor to God when He comes again in judgment.

For the Lord’s sake, I am to submit myself to human government, whether it be the king as the one in authority, or to governors sent by him to punish those who do wrong and honor those who do right. It is God’s will that by doing right I might silence the ignorance of foolish people.

I am not a slave; I am free.  But I cannot use my freedom as a license to do evil; as I am free so that I can submit myself to God.   I am to show proper respect for everyone; to love my fellow Christ followers; to fear God; and to honor the king.    Servants are to be submissive to their masters with all respect; not only to those who are gentle and considerate, but also to those who are unreasonable.

For it is commendable for me when I patiently endure unfair treatment for the sake of conscience towards God.  For what credit is there when I sin and am harshly treated, that I patiently endure it?  But when I suffer for doing what is right, and I patiently endure it, this finds favor with God.

For I have been called for this purpose – since Christ suffered for me leaving an example for me to follow in His steps.  For as it is written in Isaiah, “He committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth.”  While being insulted, He did not retaliate; while suffering, He did not make any threats; but He committed Himself to God, who always judges fairly. Jesus Himself bore my sins in His body on the cross, so that I might die to sin and live to righteousness.  For by His wounds, I have been healed!  Once I was like a sheep gone astray, but now I have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of my soul.

I Peter 3

In the same way, wives are to be submissive to their husbands, so that if any of them do not believe God’s word, they might be won over without words by the godly behavior of their wives.  They will do this because of the purity and reverence of your lives.

Your beauty must not be based on externals, which depend on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes.  Let your beauty come from within – the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious in the sight of God.

The way the women of old made themselves beautiful was by trusting God and being submissive to their husbands.  Sarah is an example as she obeyed her husband Abraham and called him her master.  I have become a child of hers when I do what is right without giving way to fear.

Likewise, husbands must be considerate while living with their wives.  Husbands should treat them with understanding, as they are weaker in some areas.  Also, husbands should understand that their wives are heirs with them of the grace of life, so that their prayers will not be hindered.

To sum up, I am to live harmoniously with others and full of compassion towards others.  Also, I should love other Christ followers with a tender heart and humble mind.   I should not repay evil for evil or insult for insult, but I should give a blessing instead, for I was called for this very purpose, so that I might inherit a blessing.

As Psalms states, “if I desire a happy life and to see good days, I must keep my tongue from speaking evil and keep my lips from telling lies.  I must turn away from evil and do good, and work hard at pursuing peace..  For the eyes of the Lord are toward the righteous, and His ears attend to their prayers, But His face in against those who do evil.” Who is going to harm me if I am eager to do good?

But even if I suffer for doing what is right, I am blessed.  I should not live in fear of their intimidations, and I should not be troubled.  But in my heart I should sanctify Christ as Lord, and always be prepared to give an answer to anyone who asks me to give the reason for my hope.  My answer should be given with gentleness and respect.

I should maintain a clear conscience, so that if people were to slander me, they who speak evil of me will be ashamed because of my good behavior in Christ.  For it is better, if it is God’s will, that I suffer for doing what is right rather than doing what is wrong.  For Christ died for my sins once for all times, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring me to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive by the Spirit.

So, Jesus went and preached to the spirits in prison who had been disobedient when God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the construction of the ark.   In it a few people, only eight in all, were brought safely through the water.  This is a picture of baptism by water, which now saves me because of the power of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is not the removal of dirt from my body, but it is my pledge of a good conscience before God.  And now Jesus has gone into heaven and is seated at God’s right hand where angels, authorities, and powers are in submission to Him.

I Peter 4

Therefore, since Christ suffered in His body, I must arm myself with the same attitude He had, because when I am willing to suffer in my body, I show that I am trying to cease from sin.  As a result, I should no longer live the rest of my life on earth for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God.

I should have had enough of doing the things that godless people enjoy – their immorality and lusts, drunkenness and carousing, and wild parties and terrible idolatry.  My former friends would be very surprised when I no longer join them in the wicked things they do, and they will say evil things about me.  But they will have to give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

For the gospel was preached to me when I was dead, and even though I am to be judged in the flesh as a human being, I live in the spirit according to the will of God. The end of all things is near; therefore, I should demonstrate sound judgment and self-control so that I can pray!  Above all, I am to love others deeply, for love covers a multitude of sins.

I should always be hospitable with others, and I should do that without complaining. God has given me a special gift, which I am to use in service of others as a good steward of the manifold grace of God!  If I am to speak, I should do so as one speaking the very words of God.  If I am to serve, I should do so utilizing all of the strength that God supplies, so that in all thing, God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.  To Him be the glory and power forever and ever.  Amen.

I should not be surprised when I go through fiery trials which test me, as if something strange was happening to me.  Instead, I should be rejoicing as I am sharing in the sufferings of Christ, so that at the revelation of His glory, I will be glad with exceeding joy.  For if I am insulted because of the name of Christ, I am blessed because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon me!

I must make sure that if I suffer, it is not be for being a murderer, or thief, or criminal, or as a busybody in other people’s affairs.  However, if I suffer for being a Christ follower, I should not be ashamed.  No, I should praise God that I bear His name.  For the time has come for judgment to begin with the family of God, and if judgment begins with us first, what terrible outcome awaits those who do not obey the gospel of God?

As it is written in Proverbs, “If it is difficult for the righteous to be saved, what will become of the Godless and the sinner?”  So then, if I am suffering according to God’s will, I should continue to do what is right and entrust my soul to my faithful Creator.

I Peter 5

Peter now encourages the church elders, as a fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ and as one who will also share in the glory that is to be revealed.  Elders should care for God’s flock entrusted to them.  They should willingly take care of it, not under compulsion.  Not for what they can get out of it, but for service to them.  They should not lord it over those entrusted to them, but they should lead by example.  And when the Chief Shepherd appears, they will receive the unfading crown of glory!

Young people should accept the authority of their elders; and all of us should clothe ourselves with humility towards each other.  As Proverbs states, “God sets Himself against me when I am proud, but gives me grace when I am humble.”  Therefore, I should humble myself under the mighty hand of God, so that He may lift me up at the proper time!

I am to cast all of my worries upon the Lord, because He cares for me! I am to be careful and be on the alert, for the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour.  I must resist him and stand firm in my faith, knowing that Christ followers around the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. To God be glory and power forever and ever.  Amen.

With the help of his faithful brother, Silas, Peter wrote briefly to encourage me and to assure me that this is the true grace of God.  I am to stand firm in it!  The church at Babylon, who is chosen with me, sends her greetings, as does Mark.  I should greet other Christ followers in Christian love.  Peace be with me and all who are in Christ!

 

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