Tuesday 12 September 2017

Bible Book:
1 Peter

1 Peter 4:1-19 Tuesday 12 September 2017

Psalm: Psalm 78:1-7


Those who first read Peter's letter were in a very differentmindset to that we might find ourselves in today.

Peter begins just as he finished the previous chapter, speaking of the suffering ofChrist and goes on to list the sins the individual might have beenguilty of before they came to faith. He then contrasts thelifestyle of the new Christian with those who have not yet knownJesus for themselves, and how that can have an influence on thoseoutsiders. In addition, he reminds the believers that even thosewho have not come to faith as they have done will have to come tojudgement at the end of time. Peter reminds them that, as was thethinking at that time, the end times are approaching, the time whenGod will act to bring about the conclusion of the earth which Godhad created; and would take to all those who have done God's ownwill throughout the ages. Bearing that in mind, his readers areencouraged to go on to "lead an ordered and sober life" (atranslation of 1 Peter 4:7) so that they are right with Christ.

We are then given a distinctive portrait of the Christiancommunity. Love, hospitality and service are three key aspects ofthe Christian life as we can see from reading the letters of Paul,but Peter adds to this the statement that "love covers a multitudeof sins".

The last section of the passage seems rather odd in that a fieryordeal is upon them (verse 12). We do not know the particularcircumstance described and we can only assume that Peter isreferring back to the beginning of his letter where he speaks aboutgold being passed through the assayer's fire (1Peter 1:7), thus indicating that the suffering that a believermight undergo, whether by persecution or other torments, will, inthe end, bring about their salvation.

To Ponder

  • How do we come to terms with the many places in the NewTestament where the final judgement is considered to beimminent?
  • Is the formula set out by Peter in verses 7-10 a suitableformula for church members today, or is it too narrow for ourtimes? Why?
  • Verse 17 states "for the time has come for judgement to beginwith the household of God". How would you suggest that such aprocess should begin?
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