1 Peter 1

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Teed Commentaries



1 Peter Chapter 1





How do you feel about the future right now? A little nervous? Wondering where terrorists are going to strike next?  Wondering if you will have enough money to provide for your retirement, or your children’s college educations? For many the future holds a lot of question marks and uncertainties. What will happen with gas prices?  Will the bird flu really become a pandemic and sicken or kill millions of people? Is the conflict in the Middle East really the beginning of World War III?


Many people in the early church also lived in uncertain times. Persecution of Christians was becoming an entertaining sport and many were unfriendly to the followers of Christ. Peter wrote a couple letters to these Christians and today we will start looking at the first of those letters. But first a little background about the man, Peter, himself.


Peter came from a family of fisherman who lived in Bethsaida and later in Capernaum. Andrew was Peter’s brother and introduced him to Christ. Peter was married and his wife apparently accompanied him in his ministry. [1] Jesus clearly singled out Peter for special lessons throughout the gospels. [2] Peter often served as the spokesman for all 12 apostles. After the coming of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4), Peter was empowered to become the leading gospel preacher from the day of Pentecost on (Acts 2-12).


When it came time for Peter to be crucified, he claimed he was not worthy to be crucified in the same way that Jesus was crucified, and asked to be crucified upside down, which he was. Now let us look at what Peter was called to tell us by His Lord and ours, Jesus Christ.


1 Peter 1: 1,2 NLT:

1 This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ. I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and


The author of this letter identified himself as, “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.” Some have questioned whether a common fisherman could have written this letter, especially since Peter and John were both called “unlearned and untrained men” (Acts 4:13). That simply means that they did not have a doctor of theology degree from Harvard. We must not underestimate, however, the training Peter had for three years during which he spent day and night with Jesus. We must also remember the powerful impact of the work of the Holy Spirit in Peter’s life. The Holy Spirit empowered Peter to write this epistle, making Peter a very good example of what Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31, NLT:


26 Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you.
27 Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
28 God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important.
29 As a result, no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
30 God has united you with Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made him to be wisdom itself. Christ made us right with God; he made us pure and holy, and he freed us from sin.
31 Therefore, as the Scriptures say, “If you want to boast, boast only about the Lord.”


His given name was Simon, but Jesus changed it to Peter, which means “a stone” (John 1:42). The Aramaic equivalent of Peteris Cephas,” so Peter was a man with three names. Nearly fifty times in the New Testament, he is called “Simon”; and often he is called “Simon Peter.”


Peter and Paul were the two leading apostles in the early church. Paul was assigned especially to minister to the Gentiles, and Peter to the Jews (Galatians 2:1–10). The Lord had commanded Peter to strengthen his brethren (Luke 22:32) and to take care of the flock, and the writing of this letter was a part of that ministry. It was a letter of encouragement to the churches and to those Christians who were and would be suffering trials.


In chapter 5, verse 13, Peter indicated that he wrote this letter “in Babylon” where there was a community of believers. There is no evidence, either from church history or tradition, that Peter ministered in ancient Babylon, which is modern-day Iraq, which at that time did have a large community of Jews. There was another town called “Babylon” in Egypt, but we have no proof that Peter ever visited it. Peter is probably referring to Rome in a symbolic way when he speaks of  “Babylon.” We do have reason to believe that Peter ministered in Rome and was probably martyred there. It was not unusual for persecuted believers during those days to write or speak in “code” in order to protect themselves and their fellow believers.  For instance, in Revelation 17:5 and 28:10 Rome is called “Babylon.” When writing this letter, Peter probably referred to Rome as Babylon so that the Romans would not have any reason to be offended by his comments, nor would they be provided with any information that could be damaging to the churches.


There is, however, no evidence whatsoever that Peter founded the church in Rome, as many people think, or that he served as the first bishop of the Roman Catholic Church.


Peter directed this letter to: “aliens” in verse 1. They are called “strangers and pilgrims” in 1 peter 2:11. These people were citizens of Heaven through faith in Christ (Philippians 3:20), and therefore were not permanent residents on earth. Like Abraham, they had their eyes of faith centered on the future city of God (Hebrews 11:8-16). Just like a very old gospel song said, “This world is not my home, I’m just a-passin’ through  . . .” these Christians were in the world, but not of the world (John 17:16). We also, who have accepted Jesus Christ, are temporary citizens in a foreign land, ambassadors so to speak, but we long for our true home which is in Heaven.


Because Christians are “strangers” in the world, they are often considered to be “strange” in the eyes of the people around them (1 Peter 4:4). Christians have beliefs, standards and values different form those of the world. We will discover in this epistle that some of the readers were already experiencing suffering because of their different lifestyle.


These believers were also a “scattered” people. The word translated “scattered” (diaspora) was a technical term for the Jews who lived outside of Palestine at this time. [3] They had been driven from their homeland of Israel. However, Peter’s use of this word does not imply that he was writing only to Jewish Christians, because some statements in his letter suggest that some of his readers were converted out of Gentile paganism. [4] There was undoubtedly a mixture of both Jews and Gentiles in the churches that received this letter and we will notice a number of Old Testament references as we go through these chapters.


The important thing for us to know about these “scattered strangers” is that they were going through a time of suffering and persecution. At least fifteen times in this letter, Peter refers to suffering. Some of these Christians were suffering because they were living godly lives and doing what was good and right. [5] Others were suffering rejection for the name of Christ (1 Peter 4:14) and being insulted by unsaved people who just loved to ridicule them (1 Peter 3:9–10). Peter wrote to encourage them to be good witnesses to those who were persecuting them, and to remember that their suffering would lead to glory. [6]


So 1 Peter is a letter of encouragement (1 Peter 5:12). We see also that a theme of suffering is contained throughout the letter. But in addition there is a theme of glory. One of the encouragements that Peter gives suffering saints is the assurance that their suffering will one day be transformed into glory. This is possible only because Jesus suffered for us and then entered into His glory.


As believers, we have a living hope because we trust a living Christ. This hope enables us to keep our minds under control and hope to the end(1 Peter 1:13) when Jesus will return. We must not be ashamed of our hope but be ready to explain and defend it. Since suffering brings glory, and because Jesus is coming again, we can indeed be hopeful.


However suffering does not automatically bring glory to God and blessing to God’s people. Some believers have weakened and fallen in times of trial and have brought shame to the name of Christ. It is only when we exercise our faith in God’s promises and depend on the grace of God that we can glorify God in times of suffering. Peter also emphasized God’s grace in this letter. In chapter 5, verse 12, Peter writes: “I have written to you briefly, encouraging you and testifying that this is the true grace of God. Stand fast in it.”  


The word “grace” is used in every chapter of 1 Peter. Grace is God’s generous favor to undeserving sinners and needy saints. When we depend on God’s grace, we can endure suffering and turn trials into triumphs. It is grace alone that saves us (Ephesians 2:8–10). God’s grace can give us strength in times of trial (2 Corinthians 12:1–10). Whatever begins with God’s grace will always lead to glory. [7]


As we study 1 Peter, we will see how the three themes of suffering, grace, and glory unite to form an encouraging message for believers experiencing times of trial and persecution. These themes are summed up in 1 Peter 5:10 and 11, verses I would recommend we all memorize:


And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the power forever and ever. Amen.


The cynical editor and writer, H. L. Mencken, once defined hope as a pathological belief in the occurrence of the impossible.” But that definition does not agree with the New Testament meaning of the word. True Christian hope is more than an “I hope so” with fingers crossed. It is confident assurance of future glory and blessing.


An Old Testament believer called God “the Hope of Israel” (Jeremiah 14:8). A New Testament believer affirms that Jesus Christ is their hope. [8] The unsaved sinner is “without hope” (Ephesians 2:12); and if one dies without Christ, he or she will be hopeless forever. The Italian poet, Dante, in his Divine Comedy, put this inscription over the world of the dead:


“Abandon all hope, you who enter here!”


This confident hope Peter speaks of gives us the encouragement and confidence we need for daily living. It does not mean that we should put on our pajamas and go up on the roof to complacently await the return of Jesus Christ. Instead, it puts us in the workplace, on the battlefield, where we keep on going when the burdens are heavy and the battles are hard. Hope is not a sedative; it is a shot of adrenaline, or a blood transfusion. It infuses us with energy. Like an anchor, our hope in Christ stabilizes us in the storms of life (Hebrews 6:18-19); but unlike an anchor, our hope moves us forward, It does not hold us back. Some translations of the Scripture use the word “expectation” instead of “hope.” Expectations keep you looking forward.

1 Peter 1:3-5 NLT:

3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation,
4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.


Peter outlines a progression that is easy to follow. Everything begins with salvation, our personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ. If we know Christ as Savior, then we have hope. If we have hope, then we can walk in holiness and in harmony. There should be no problem submitting to those around us in society, the home, and the church family. Salvation and submission prepare us for suffering, and if we focus on Christ, we can overcome and God will transform suffering into glory. [9]


Because of Christ’s resurrection, Christians have a hope of eternal salvation that is actually a certainty, for it is as verse 4 tells us: “beyond the reach of change and decay.” It is guaranteed and protected by God Himself. Listen to what Jesus told His disciples in John 10:22–30 NLT:


22 It was now winter, and Jesus was in Jerusalem at the time of Hanukkah, the Festival of Dedication.
23 He was in the Temple, walking through the section known as Solomon’s Colonnade.
24 The people surrounded him and asked, “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”
25 Jesus replied, “I have already told you, and you do not believe me. The proof is the work I do in my Father’s name.
26 But you do not believe me because you are not my sheep.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me,

29 for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand.

30 The Father and I are one.”


Because of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, believers have been born into a living hope, and that hope includes the glory of God. But, what do we mean by “the glory of God”?


The glory of God can be described as His complete splendor and perfection. The glory of God means the sum total of all that God is and does. “Glory” is not a separate attribute or characteristic of God, such as His holiness, wisdom, or mercy. Everything that God is and does is characterized by glory. He is glorious in wisdom and power, so that everything He thinks and does is marked by glory. He reveals His glory in creation (Psalm 19), in His dealings with the people of Israel, and especially in His plan of salvation for lost sinners.


When we were born the first time, we were not born for glory. “For all flesh is like grass, and all the glory of man like the flower of grass” (1 Peter 1:24, quoted from Isaiah 40:6).


Whatever feeble glory mankind has will eventually fade and disappear; but the glory of the Lord is eternal. The works of mankind done for the glory of God will last and be rewarded (1 John 2:17). But the selfish human achievements of sinners will one day vanish to be seen no more.


The miracle of salvation that Peter begins to describe in verse 2 of 1 Peter originated with God. We were chosen long ago by the Father, according to verse 2 as well as Ephesians 1:3-4, NAS:


3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 just as he chose us in Christbefore the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love.


Another biblical word used to describe “being chosen” is the word “election.”  This election was not based on anything we had done, because we were not even on the scene at the time. Nor was it based on anything God saw that we would be or do. God’s election was based totally on His grace and love. We cannot explain it (Romans 11:3-36), but we can rejoice in it.


Verse 2 speaks of “foreknowledge.” That does not suggest that God merely knew ahead of time that certain of us were going to believe and therefore He chose us. This would take our salvation completely out of God’s hands and place it in ours. Remember, it is only because of the grace of God that we can be saved. God has made it possible because of His grace for a person to be saved if he or she is willing to confess that they are a sinner and to accept Christ’s death as payment for those sins. God did, however, initially bestow His special love on the Israelites and He did this for the special purpose of having them lead the rest of the world to a knowledge of God as well.


The plan of salvation, however, includes more than just God’s love; it also includes the work of the Holy Spirit in convicting the sinner and bringing him or her to faith in Christ. The best explanation of this is 2 Thessalonians 2:13–14 NLT:


13 As for us, we cannot help but thank God for you, dear brothers and sisters loved by the Lord. We are always thankful that God chose you to be among the first to experience salvation—a salvation that came through the Spirit who makes you holy and through your belief in the truth.
14 He called you to salvation when we told you the Good News; now you can share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.


Remember, the Son of God had to die on the cross for our sins, or there could be no salvation. Verse 2 clearly indicates the role of the Trinity in our salvation. While the word “trinity” never appears in the New Testament, we find a number of passages like this one, which clearly delineate the existence of each Person of the Trinity as co-existing. Notice the roles of each Person. We have been chosen by the Father, purchased by the Son, and set apart by the Spirit. It takes all three if there is to be a true experience of salvation.


As far as God the Father is concerned, I was saved when He chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world. As far as the Son is concerned, I was saved when He died for me on the cross. But as far as the Spirit is concerned, I was saved sometime around 1990, when I heard the Gospel and received Christ. Then it all came together, but it took all three Persons of the Godhead to bring me to salvation. If we separate these ministries, we will either deny divine sovereignty or human responsibility; and that would lead to heresy.


Peter emphasizes the balance and cooperation between God and His human servants in His plan to save sinners. In 1 Peter 1:23 we see that the Gospel was preached to these people by the ministers of God and that they heard it and believed (see also 1 Peter 1:12). Peter’s own example at Pentecost demonstrates the progression and balance we see in Romans 10:14:


But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them?


The same God who ordains our salvation, also ordains the means to that salvation, the preaching of the Gospel of the grace of God.


Our hope as believers is a living hope because it is grounded on the living Word of God (1 Peter 1:23), and was made possible by the living Son of God who arose from the dead. A living hope is one that has life in it and therefore can give life to us. Because it has life, it grows and becomes better and better as time goes on. Time destroys most hopes; they fade and then die. But the passing of time only makes a Christian’s hope that much better.


Peter called this hope an inheritance (1 Peter 1:4). As the children of the King, we share Christ’s inheritance in glory. [10] We are included in Christ’s last will and testament, and we share the glory with Him according to John 17:20–26 NLT:


20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.

21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.

23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.
24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
25 “O righteous Father, the world Does not know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me.
26 I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.”


Returning to 1 Peter chapter 1, note in verse 4 Peter’s description of this inheritance for it is totally unlike any earthly inheritance. For one thing, it is incorruptible, which means that nothing can ruin it. Because it is undefiled, it cannot be stained or cheapened in any way. It will never grow old because it is eternal; it cannot wear out, nor can it disappoint us in any way.


In 1 Peter 1:5 and 9, this inheritance is called “salvation.” The believer is already saved through faith in Christ as Paul described in Ephesians 2:1–10 NLT:


1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins.
2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God.
3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much,
5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!)
6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.
7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you cannot take credit for this; it is a gift from God.

9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.


So when a person believes in Christ and His work on the cross and receives Him as their personal Savior, that believer is then saved through Christ, but the completion of that salvation awaits the Second Coming of Christ. At that time we will be given new bodies and enter into a new environment, the heavenly city, the New Jerusalem. Paul called this “the blessed hope” in Titus 2:13.


What a thrilling thing it is to know that we were born for glory. When we were born again, we exchanged the temporary glory of mankind for the eternal glory of God, [11] and our future home and inheritance are guaranteed and reserved.


But there are some who think they might not make it, that they might lose that guaranteed salvation. Do not ever think that way because if you have made a true confession of sin and an honest expression of faith that Jesus Christ died as a payment of your sin, you are in. You can never lose that salvation because as verse 5 says, your salvation is being “kept by the power of God.” The word translated “kept” is a military word that means “guarded, shielded.” The tense of the verb reveals that we are constantly being guarded by God, assuring us that we shall safely arrive in Heaven.


Believers are not kept by their own power, but by the power of God. Our faith in Christ has so united us to Him that His power now guards us and guides us. We are not kept by our own strength, but by His faithfulness. How long will He guard us? Until He  returns and we share in the full revelation of His great salvation. This same truth is repeated in 1 Peter 1:9.


it is encouraging to know that we are “guarded for glory.” According to Romans 8:30, we have already been glorified. All that awaits is the public revelation of this glory (Romans 8:18–23). If any believer were lost it would rob God of His glory.


And therein lies our hope—that because of the salvation Christ offers us, we have Him and all that He provides to guide us, empower us, and encourage us. Because of our hope in Christ we have a future that is secure. Because of our hope in Christ we can live each day in the knowledge that He is always with us and that God keeps every promise He makes. What more could you want?



The purpose of suffering

1 PETER 1:6-13


We have already learned that 1 Peter is a book of encouragement with three main themes that run throughout it: Suffering, grace, and glory. We will now begin looking at the theme of suffering, something which I am sure we can all relate to.


When we covered 1 Peter 1:1-5 l, you may recall that Peter taught us that the Son of God, Jesus Christ, had to die on the cross for our sins, or we could not have salvation. Peter also taught us that the same God who made possible our salvation also makes possible the means to that salvation, the preaching of the Gospel of the grace of God. If you do not hear the Bible taught, you won’t know the road to salvation and eternal life, and therefore will not be able to exercise your free will to choose Christ. We just looked at Romans 10:14 but we see it has application again here. In Romans 10:14, 17 NAS, Paul writes:


14 But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them.

 17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.


Peter continued teaching us that because of Christ’s resurrection, Christians have a hope of eternal salvation that is an absolute certainty, for it is as verse 4 tells us: “beyond the reach of change and decay.” It is guaranteed and protected by God Himself. Whatever feeble glory mankind has will eventually fade and disappear; but the glory of the Lord is eternal. The works of mankind done for the glory of God will last and be rewarded (1 John 2:17). But the selfish human achievements of sinners will one day vanish to be seen no more. Let us now continue our study beginning in 1 Peter 1:6-9 NLT:


6 So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while.
7 These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.
8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.


Peter had some inside information from Jesus, and he knew that a “fiery trial” was about to begin, and that trial would be an intense persecution against all Christians by the Roman Empire (1 Peter 4:12). When the Church began in Jerusalem, it was looked on as a branch of the traditional Jewish faith. The first Christians were Jews and they met in the temple compound. The Roman government took no official action against the Christians since the Jewish religion was accepted and approved by Rome. But when it became clear that Christianity was not a branch of Judaism, that it was a religion with its own unique belief system, Rome had to take some action.


Several events occurred that helped to jump start this “fiery trial.” To begin with, Paul had defended the Christian faith before the official court in Rome (Philippians 1:12–24). He had been released but was then arrested again. His second defense failed also and Paul remained in prison (2 Timothy 4:16–18). Secondly, when the city of Rome burned, the Romans believed that their insane Emperor, Nero, had set the city on fire because he was possessed with the thought of building an entirely new city that would be more spectacular than any other city in the known world. Their suspicions about Nero were right on, because in order for that new city to be built, the existing city had to be destroyed. So by all accounts, sometime during July a.d. 64, Nero did set fire to Rome.


The Romans were totally devastated by this fire. Their culture, in many ways, went down with the city. All of their religious figures were destroyed. This had tremendous religious implications because it made the Romans believe that their gods had been unable to deal with this disaster and were also victims of it. Many Romans were homeless and many more had been killed. As you can imagine, the Romans were outraged. So Nero realized he had to find a scapegoat for what he had done.


The emperor chose the Christians as his scapegoat because Nero knew that the Christians were already hated because of their association with Jews and because they were thought to be hostile toward the Roman culture. Nero spread the word that the Christians had set the fires.


A vicious persecution of Christians followed throughout the entire Roman Empire including the cities we read about in verse 1 of 1 Peter.


Peter was most likely in Rome about this time and was probably executed by Nero while all this persecution was going on. Nero was also responsible for executing the apostle Paul. But before he was executed, it was Peter’s desire to prepare the churches for this coming persecution.


Not all Christians in every part of the Empire were going through the same trials to the same degree at the same time. It varied from place to place, though suffering and opposition were pretty common throughout the empire (1 Peter 5:9). Nero introduced official persecution of the Church, and other emperors followed his example in later years. Peter’s letter must have been a tremendous comfort to Christians then as well as for those who were to suffer during the reigns of Trajan from AD 98–117, Hadrian from AD 117–138, and Diocletian from AD 284–305. Christians in the world today also have Peter’s letter as a source of comfort and hope when their own “fiery trials” of persecution begin. There is mounting evidence that we could be approaching the end times, the seven-year Tribulation, and the return of Christ. We cannot be certain of this of course because nobody knows the time other than God, but we can tell you that all the prophecies regarding the Tribulation are in place, and I do believe that these latter days, whenever they come, will bring a great deal of suffering and persecution to the people of God. Therefore, this is a most appropriate time for us to take comfort in Peter’s message.


Today personal “fiery trials” for North American Christians include many things: the boss or co-worker that picks on you for your faith, teenagers who are making bad decisions and messing up their lives, physical illness of your own, dementia or physical illness in your parents, financial or legal problems. The list is long and the trial is unique for each individual. But God’s promises apply in these trials also.


We as Christians should especially rejoice in the assurance of our salvation, even during earthly trials. Our goal should be to demonstrate the kind of faith that will “bring us much praise and glory and honor” when Christ returns. Let us remember that all God plans for us, whether in times of joy or trial are a preparation for what He has in store for us in Heaven. He is preparing us for the life and service yet to come. Nobody knows all that might await us in Heaven. But this we do know: life today is a school in which God trains us for our future ministry in eternity. This explains the presence of trials in our lives. They are some of God’s teaching methods in God’s Christian School.


Peter shared several facts about trials. There are special times when God knows that we need to go through trials. Sometimes trials discipline us when we have disobeyed God’s will as the psalmist wrote in Psalm 119:67 NLT: “I used to wander off until you disciplined me; but now I closely follow your word.” At other times, trials prepare us for spiritual growth, or even help to prevent us from sinning. Listen to Paul’s words in 2 Corinthians 12:1–10 NLT.:


1 This boasting will do no good, but I must go on. I will reluctantly tell about visions and revelations from the Lord.
2 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I do not know—only God knows.
3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know
4 that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell.
5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses.
6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I do not want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message,
7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away.
9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

10 that is why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.


We do not always know the need being met, but we can trust God to know and to do what is best.


Trials are not easy. They can bring grief and pain, the same kind of grief and pain that Jesus suffered in Gethsemane, and that the Christians suffered at the death of their loved ones who were executed. Trials are, however, controlled by God. They do not last forever; they are for a season. When God permits believers to go through fiery trials, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat. If we rebel, He may have to reset the clock; but if we submit, He will not permit us to suffer one minute too long. The important thing is that we learn the lesson He wants to teach us and that we bring glory to Him alone.


Peter illustrated this truth by referring to a goldsmith. A goldsmith would not deliberately waste valuable gold. He would d put it into the smelting furnace long enough to remove the cheap impurities. Then he’d pour it out and make something valuable. It has been said that the Eastern goldsmith kept the metal in the furnace until he could see his face reflected in it. So it might also be said that God keeps us in the furnace of suffering until we reflect the glory of Jesus


This glory will not be fully revealed until Jesus returns in the end times for His Church. Our trials today are preparing us for glory in eternity. When we see Jesus Christ, we will bring “praise and honor and glory” to Him if we have been faithful in the sufferings of this life. Listen again to the words of Paul in Romans 8:14–18 NLT:


14 For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.
15 So you have not received a spirit that makes you fearful slaves. Instead, you received God’s Spirit when he adopted you as his own children. Now we call him, “Abba, Father.”
16 For his Spirit joins with our spirit to affirm that we are God’s children.
17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.

18 Yet what we suffer now is nothing compared to the glory he will reveal to us later.


While we may not be able to rejoice over what constitutes the trial itself, we can rejoice in the God who controls the trial and we can rejoice as we look ahead to what is waiting for us. Just as the assayer tests the gold to see if it is pure or counterfeit, so the trials of life test our faith to prove its value. A faith that cannot stand up to trials and testing is of little value. Too many people who claim to be Christians do not have a true faith, and that will be revealed as trials come up in their lives, for they turn to other things rather than to the Lord.


Jesus spoke of this in a parable. Listen to what He had to say in Matthew 13:1–6, 18–21 NLT:


1 Later that same day Jesus left the house and sat beside the lake.
2 A large crowd soon gathered around him, so he got into a boat. Then he sat there and taught as the people stood on the shore.
3 He told many stories in the form of parables, such as this one: “Listen! A farmer went out to plant some seeds.
4 As he scattered them across his field, some seeds fell on a footpath, and the birds came and ate them.
5 Other seeds fell on shallow soil with underlying rock. The seeds sprouted quickly because the soil was shallow.
6 But the plants soon wilted under the hot sun, and since they did not have deep roots, they died.

18 “Now listen to the explanation of the parable about the farmer planting seeds:
19 The seed that fell on the footpath represents those who hear the message about the Kingdom and do not understand it. Then the evil one comes and snatches away the seed that was planted in their hearts.
20 The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy.
21 But since they do not have deep roots, they do not last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are persecuted for believing God’s word.


The seed that fell on shallow soil produced rootless plants, and the plants died when the sun came up. The sun in the parable represents “trials.“ The person who abandons their faith when the going gets tough only proves that they had no real faith at all.


Job went through many very painful trials, trials much more severe than any of us will ever go through. Listen to what he said in Job 23:10 NLT: “But He (God) [12] knows where I am going. And when He tests me, I will come out as pure as gold.” And Job did come out as pure gold. is not it exciting to know that we were born for glory, that we are being kept for glory, and that we are being prepared for glory?


1 Peter 1:8, 9 NLT:

8 You love him even though you have never seen him. Though you do not see him now, you trust him; and you rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy.
9 The reward for trusting him will be the salvation of your souls.


Our love for Christ is not based on seeing Him physically, because we cannot yet see Him. It is based on what the Bible has taught us about Him.


In Romans 5:5 Paul tells us that the Holy Spirit within the believing Christian has poured out God’s love into our hearts. This love He offers us allows us to love Him in return. When you find yourself in some trial, and you hurt, immediately lift your heart to Christ in true love and worship. Why? Because this will give you a sense of hope even while you are going through the trial.


Satan wants to use life’s trials to bring out the worst in us, but God wants to use these trials to bring out the best in us.


If we love ourselves more than we love Christ, then we will t experience any of the glory now. The fire will burn us, not purify us.


Faith in Christ means that we surrender everything to God and obey His Word in spite of our circumstances. Love and faith go together. When you love someone, you trust them. Faith plus love equals hope, a formula you might want to commit to memory (Faith + Love = Hope). Where you find faith and love, you will find confidence for the future.


How can we grow in faith during times of testing and suffering? The same way we grow in faith when things are going well. Paul tells us in Romans 10:17 NLT, that: “faith comes from hearing, that is hearing the Good News about Christ.” The only way our faith will grow during times of trial is when we turn to the Bible, not just to read it, but to study it, to internalize it, and to pray to the God who wrote it. We will grow during times of trials if we apply what we have read and studied in the Bible to what we are going through. Merely to read it, though important, is not sufficient for dealing with big trials. We must, as Ephesians 6:17 tells us, implement the Word of God as our weapon in the battle, for it is “the sword of the Spirit.” Such familiarity with the Word of God will also help us to resist the temptations that will come from Satan during those trials.


you have heard of resistance training? Perhaps you engage in it during your workouts. But in case someone is not familiar with resistance training, it involves using machines with graduated weights. You push or pull these weights, depending on what part of the body you are exercising, and as you do so specific muscles become more developed. As the muscles develop you increase the weight so as to become even stronger. Previous levels that once seemed so difficult become easy for you. Well, rest assured Satan will keep bringing his heavy guns against you, but as you practice resisting him your spiritual muscles will grow stronger. Our relationship with Christ through His Word not only strengthens our faith, enabling us to resist Satan more effectively, but it also deepens our love for the Lord.


You may not feel like rejoicing over the circumstances, but you can rejoice in them by focusing your heart and mind on Jesus Christ. Each trial offers us the opportunity to learn something new about the love of Christ. Abraham discovered new truths about God on the mount where he was willing to offer his son as a sacrifice in obedience to God‘s command (Genesis 22). God had no intention of allowing Abraham to go through with this, but He wanted to test Abraham’s faithfulness before He gave him the awesome responsibility of founding the Jewish nation. Three Hebrew young men discovered His nearness when they went through the fiery furnace (Daniel 3). Paul learned the sufficiency of His grace when he suffered with a thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12).The joy God produces is “glorious and inexpressible” according to 1 Peter 1:8. This joy is so deep and so wonderful that we cannot even describe it. Words fail us.

1 Peter 1:10-12 NLT:

10 This salvation was something even the prophets wanted to know more about when they prophesied about this gracious salvation prepared for you.
11 They wondered what time or situation the Spirit of Christ within them was talking about when he told them in advance about Christ’s suffering and his great glory afterward.
12 They were told that their messages were not for themselves, but for you. And now this Good News has been announced to you by those who preached in the power of the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. It is all so wonderful that even the angels are eagerly watching these things happen.


The Old Testament prophets faithfully recorded God’s promises of eternal salvation, even though they realized that they would never see the fulfillment in their own lifetime but that they were recording those words for future generations. In the same way, the angels, though they’re not fallen creatures and therefore do not need redemption, are interested in the subject of salvation as well.


If we love God, trust Him, and rejoice in Him, then we can receive from Him all that we need to turn trials into triumphs. Someone once told me that “Every adversity is the seed of a greater benefit.” Charles Spurgeon used to say, “Little faith will take your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” It is not enough that we long for Heaven during times of suffering, for anybody can do that. What Peter urged his readers to do was exercise love, faith, and joy, so that they might experience some of the glory of Heaven in the midst of present suffering.


The amazing thing is that this “salvation” we are awaiting—the return of Christ—was a part of God’s great plan for us from eternity. The Old Testament prophets wrote about this salvation and studied closely what God revealed to them. They saw the sufferings of Jesus the Messiah, and also the glory that would follow; but they could not fully understand the connection between the two. In fact, in some of the prophecies, the Messiah’s sufferings and glory are blended in one verse or paragraph.


When Jesus came to earth, the Jewish teachers were awaiting a conquering Messiah who would defeat Israel’s enemies and establish the glorious kingdom promised to David. Even His own disciples were not clear about the need for His death on the cross (Matthew 16:13–28). They were still inquiring about the Jewish kingdom even after Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 1:1–8). If the disciples were not clear about God’s program, how could the Old Testament prophets understand it?


God told the prophets that they were also ministering for future generations. Between the resurrection of Jesus and His return in glory in the end times, we have what is known as the “church age.” The truth about the Church was a hidden “mystery” in the Old Testament period. Now let us look again to Paul’s writing about this mystery, Ephesians 3:1–11 NLT:


1 When I think of all this, I, Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus for the benefit of you Gentiles
2 assuming, by the way, that you know God gave me the special responsibility of extending his grace to you Gentiles.
3 As I briefly wrote earlier, God himself revealed his mysterious plan to me.
4 As you read what I have written, you will understand my insight into this plan regarding Christ.
5 God did not reveal it to previous generations, but now by his Spirit he has revealed it to his holy apostles and prophets.

6 And this is God’s plan: Both Gentiles and Jews who believe the Good News share equally in the riches inherited by God’s children. Both are part of the same body, and both enjoy the promise of blessings because they belong to Christ Jesus.

7 By God’s grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News.
8 Though I am the least deserving of all God’s people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.
9 I was chosen to explain to everyone this mysterious plan that God, the Creator of all things, had kept secret from the beginning.

10 God’s purpose in all this was to use the church to display his wisdom in its rich variety to all the unseen rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.

11 This was his eternal plan, which he carried out through Christ Jesus our Lord.


The Old Testament believers looked ahead by faith and saw, as it were, two mountain peaks: Mount Calvary, where Jesus was crucified and died (Isaiah 53), and Mount Olivet, where He will return in glory (Zechariah 14:4). They could not see the valley in between, which is the present age of the Church. Even the angels are interested in what God is doing in and through His church. [13]


The same Holy Spirit who taught the prophets and, through them, wrote the Word of God, can also teach us the truths that are found within it (John 16:12–15). Furthermore, we can learn these truths from the Old Testament as well as from the New Testament. You can find Christ throughout all of the Old Testament Scriptures. Listen to the words of Christ in Luke 24:25–27 NLT:


25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures.
26 was not it clearly predicted that the Messiah would have to suffer all these things before entering his glory?”

27 Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.


In times of trial, you can turn to the Bible, both the Old and New Testaments, and find all that you need. When we trusted Christ, we were born again and this time born for glory. We are being kept for glory. As we obey Him and experience trials, we are being prepared for glory. When we love Him, trust Him, and rejoice in Him, we experience the glory here and now. [14]


1 Peter 1:13 NLT:

13 So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.

The revelation of Jesus Christ in verse 13 is another expression for the “living hope” and “the appearing of Jesus Christ.” Christians today live with the expectation of one day seeing Jesus Christ. When you focus your thoughts on the return of Christ, and live accordingly, you are able to divorce yourself from worldly attractions that would lead you into all kinds of unnecessary temptations which could bring many unwanted

consequences. What you think about most generally determines what you will do. What you put in your mind is what you become. A Christian who is looking for the glory of God has a greater motivation to do what is right in the eyes of God than a Christian who ignores Jesus’ eventual return. The contrast is illustrated in the lives of Abraham and Lot. [15] Abraham had his eyes focused on the throne of God, so he had no interest in the world’s real estate. But Lot, who had tasted the pleasures of the world in Egypt, gradually moved toward Sodom to take all the land he could. Abraham brought blessing to his home, but Lot brought judgment. What each of these men allowed themselves to think about determined what they practiced in their everyday lives.


The fact that Christ is coming again is cause for confident assurance in the way we live each day (1 Peter 4:7). The fact that Satan is on the prowl is another reason to keep our minds under control (1 Peter 5:8). We should also have a positive outlook on life. The result of submitting one’s mind to the control of the Holy Spirit will bring the grace of God into that person’s life. we will experience grace when we see Jesus Christ upon His return. We can, however, also experience that grace today as we look for Him to return. We have been saved by grace and we need to depend on that grace every living moment. Thinking frequently of the return of Christ will strengthen our faith and hope in our times of trial and provide us joy in the good times. I feel that Titus 2:11–14 NLT states this as well as it can be said:


11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people.
12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God,
13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed.
14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.


The assurance of Heaven is a great help to us today. As Dr. James M. Gray expressed it in one of his songs, “Who can mind the journey, when the road leads home?” If suffering today means glory tomorrow, then suffering in a way becomes a blessing to us. The unsaved have their “glory” now, but it will be followed by eternal suffering away from the glory of God (2 Thessalonians 1:3–10). In the light of this, let us close by reading 2 Corinthians 4:7–18 NLT and rejoice: [16]


7 We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
8 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.
9 We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.
10 Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies.
11 Yes, we live under constant danger of death because we serve Jesus, so that the life of Jesus will be evident in our dying bodies.
12 So we live in the face of death, but this has resulted in eternal life for you.
13 But we continue to preach because we have the same kind of faith the psalmist had when he said, “I believed in God, so I spoke.”
14 We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself together with you.
15 All of this is for your benefit. And as God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.
16 That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.
17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!
18 So we do not look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.




1 Peter 1:14-25


Standards—what are they? you have probably noticed a little slip of paper in a product you purchase that reads, “Inspected by such and such.” Most manufacturers have standards for their products. As the product comes off the production line it is inspected. If it meets the standard it is approved for packaging and distribution for sale. If it does not, it is put aside. Schools have standards for grades—students must demonstrate a certain level of achievement in order to qualify for promotion to the next grade or for graduation. Society has certain standards for behavior. Even though we may wonder about some of those standards today, it is still considered inappropriate to punch someone in the nose if they disagree with you. And what about standards for the Christian life? If you have been a Christian for a long time, you have probably noticed a shift in those. For instance some years ago “good” Christians did not go to movies or dances, drink or smoke. Today those standards have changed and we find some Christians who do engage in those behaviors.  The standards of cultural Christianity have changed, but do you think God’s standards have changed? Let us take a look at what the Apostle Peter had to say about some of those standards.


1Peter 1:14,15 NLT:

14 So you must live as God’s obedient children. do not slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You did not know any better then.
15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy.


More often than not children inherit the behavioral patterns of their parents. God is holy. Therefore, as His children, we should live holy lives. we have “inherited the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4) and ought to reveal that nature in godly living.


Peter reminded his readers of what they were before they trusted Christ. They had been disobedient children (Ephesians 2:1-3), but now they were to be obedient children. They had been living to satisfy their own wants and desires just as all unbelievers do. True salvation always results in obedience. Jesus Himself said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (John 14:15). In fact, He felt so strongly that we show our love for Him through our obedience to Him that He said it at least three times in John chapter 14. When we truly love Christ, we will obey Him.


The root cause of such behavior is a lack of knowledge of the Gospel message. And the reason for this lack of knowledge is foolishness and pride. Such a mindset usually leads a person to satisfy the desires of the flesh and live a selfish, self-destructive lifestyle (Ephesians 4:17ff). Since we were born with a fallen nature, it was natural for us to live sinful lives.


We would still be living in that prison if it were not for the grace of God. He called us out of that and to Himself. In Mark 1:16-20 NLT we read:


16 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living.
17 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”
18 And they left their nets at once and followed him.
19 A little farther up the shore Jesus saw Zebedee’s sons, James and John, in a boat repairing their nets.
20 He called them at once, and they also followed him, leaving their father, Zebedee, in the boat with the hired men.


These men responded by faith to Jesus’ call, and their faith completely changed their lives. we are called to be holy in 1 Peter 1:15. we are called “out of darkness into His marvelous light” in 1 Peter 2:9. we are called to suffer and follow Christ’s example of meekness in 1 Peter 2:21. In the midst of persecution we are called “to inherit a blessing” in 1 Peter 3:9. Best of all, we are called to “His eternal glory” in 1 Peter 5:10. God called us before we called on Him for salvation and it is all because of His grace. [17]


But God’s call involves responsibility and not just privilege. He has chosen us in Christ according to Ephesians 1:4: “that we should be holy and without blame before Him.” God has called us to Himself, and because He is holy; we should strive to be like Him. Peter quoted from the Old Testament Law to back up what he was saying. [18]


God’s holiness is an essential part of His nature. John writes: “God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5). Any holiness that we demonstrate in the way we live our lives is the result of the Holy Spirit working in us combined with our willingness to submit our will to His. We are to steer clear of anything which is immoral, or that even appears to be sinful (2 Corinthians 6:14—7:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:22). We are to conduct ourselves as ambassadors of the King in a foreign land. We are to demonstrate to people what our King is like by being like Him in everything we say and do so that whatever we do reflects the holiness of God. Even such ordinary activities as eating and drinking can be done to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31). If something cannot be done to the glory of God, it is a good sing that we shouldn’t do it. Would that be a great test to run by everything we consider doing, thinking, or saying? “Would this (thought or activity) glorify God?”


1 Peter 1:16 NLT:

16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”

“It is written” is the way this verse begins in the NAS translation. These three little words have all the power of God behind them. Jesus used the Word of God to defeat Satan, and so can you. We should remember how Jesus used the Word of God to keep from giving into temptation. We should simply copy Jesus’ behavior as described in Matthew 4:1–11 NLT:


1 Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
2 And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry.
3 Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
4 But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”
5 Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple,
6 and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written: ‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’ and, In their hands they shall bear you up, Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
7 Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
8 Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
9 And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.


The Word of God can also light our way in a dark world as we are told in Psalm 119:105 NLT: “Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path,” and 2 Peter 1:19:


19 Because of that experience, we have even greater confidence in the message proclaimed by the prophets. You must pay close attention to what they wrote, for their words are like a lamp shining in a dark place—until the Day dawns, and Christ the Morning Star shines in your hearts.


In Matthew 4:4 Jesus said: “The Scriptures say, ‘People do not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Those who love God’s Word, study it, and seek to obey it will experience God’s guidance and blessing. Psalm 1:1-3 NLT:


1 Oh, the joys of those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners, or join in with mockers.

2 But they delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night.

3 They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do.


The Word of God given to us in the Bible is God‘s way of communicating with us. When we read the Bible, God speaks to us. So you cannot know what God expects of you if you do not have a thorough working knowledge of the Bible. Every part of our being should be controlled by the Word of God.


If we really want to obey God, we will study the Bible every day, and take those principles and apply them to our lives. God remains the same and His spiritual principles never change. We do not study the Bible just to get a lot of head knowledge about what is in it. We study the Bible in order to get to know God better and allow Him to change our lives.


1 Peter 1:17 NLT:

17 And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time as “foreigners in the land.”


We better realize sooner rather than later that God takes sin very seriously. He will not allow anyone who is stained with sin into Heaven. God will not compromise with sin. Because of His mercy and grace He is willing to forgive the sins of those who confess and accept Jesus’ death on the cross as payment for their sins, and for those who do that He opens the door wide to Heaven. But while we are still living on this earth we can expect God to be a loving disciplinarian who will not allow His children to enjoy sin.


What is this judgment that Peter refers to in verse 17? It is the judgment of a believer’s works. It has nothing to do with obtaining salvation. Salvation comes as a gift from God when one accepts Christ’s death as payment for their sins (Ephesians 2:8-10). However one’s salvation should then motivate them to do good works. This is an area where Satan has deceived many, by causing teaching that leaves out the faith in Christ part and emphasizes the good works part. How often do you hear someone say, “I’m a good person.  I do good things. So I’ll go to heaven.” Or, “I think my good deeds outweigh my bad ones, I’ll make it past the pearly gates.” They have been deceived by taking one part of Scripture and not looking at the total doctrine, the one that says specifically we are saved by faith in Christ alone. But after we are saved, we will demonstrate our faith by our good works.


Listen to James’ words as he writes in James 2:18-26 NLT:


18 Now someone may argue, “Some people have faith; others have good deeds.” But I say, “How can you show me your faith if you do not have good deeds? I will show you my faith by my good deeds.”
19 You say you have faith, for you believe that there is one God. Good for you! Even the demons believe this, and they tremble in terror.
20 How foolish! cannot you see that faith without good deeds is useless?
21 do not you remember that our ancestor Abraham was shown to be right with God by his actions when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?
22 You see, his faith and his actions worked together. His actions made his faith complete.
23 And so it happened just as the Scriptures say: “Abraham believed God, and God counted him as righteous because of his faith.” He was even called the friend of God.
24 So you see, we are shown to be right with God by what we do, not by faith alone.
25 Rahab the prostitute is another example. She was shown to be right with God by her actions when she hid those messengers and sent them safely away by a different road.

26 Just as the body is dead without breath, so also faith is dead without good works.


Paul wrote on this subject as well in his letter to Titus in Titus 2:7,14 NLT:


7 And you yourself must be an example to them by doing good works of every kind. Let everything you do reflect the integrity and seriousness of your teaching.

14 He (Jesus) [19] gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.


Then in Titus 3:8,14 NLT:


8 This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good.

14 Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.


Do you get the idea? When we trusted Christ, God forgave our sins and declared us righteous in His Son. [20] Our sins have already been judged on the cross (1 Peter 2:24), and therefore they cannot be held against us (Hebrews 10:10–18). But when the Jesus returns, there will be a time of judgment called “the Judgment Seat of Christ.” [21] Each of us will give an account of our works and each will receive an appropriate reward. This is a judgment where the Father is dealing with the children He loves dearly. The Greek word in verse 17 which is translated judge carries the meaning “to judge in order to find something good.” [22] God will search our motives for what we have done as Christians. He’ll X-RAY our hearts. But God’s purpose in doing so is to glorify Himself in our lives and ministries. Then this wonderful promise in 1 Corinthians 4:5 NLT:


5 So do not make judgments about anyone ahead of time—before the Lord returns. For he will bring our darkest secrets to light and will reveal our private motives. Then God will give to each one whatever praise is due.


If one of His children disobeys, God must chasten them (Hebrews 12:1–13). But when His child obeys and serves Him in love, He keeps a record of that and prepares an appropriate reward.


In view of the fact that the Father lovingly disciplines His children today, and will judge their works in the future, we ought to develop a healthy fear of God. This is not the kind of fear some have of God because they believe he is always looking to hit them with a 2 x 4 in harsh judgment. But rather it is the loving reverence of a child before his father. It is not fear of judgment but rather it is the kind of fear a child would have of disappointing a parent. John tells us in 1 John 4:18 NLT:


18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.


It is “godly fear”  that we are speaking of according to 2 Corinthians 7:1 NLT:


1 Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.


Now let us go back to our passage in Peter.


1 Peter 1:18-21 NLT:

18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And the ransom he paid was not mere gold or silver.
19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.
20 God chose him as your ransom long before the world began, but he has now revealed him to you in these last days.
21 Through Christ you have come to trust in God. And you have placed your faith and hope in God because he raised Christ from the dead and gave him great glory.


This is why we should live holy lives and do good things. Here Peter is reminding people of what Christ did so that they might have salvation. This is the primary reason we take part in the Lord’s Supper. We do this to remember what He did for us until He comes again.


In the first-century Roman Empire there were probably somewhere around 60 million slaves. Many of these slaves became Christians and joined local assemblies of the church. So Peter used language they could relate to. A slave could buy his own freedom if he could get hold of enough money or if he could convince his master to sell him to someone who would pay the price and set him free. [23] Redemption was considered a precious gift back then. it is still a precious gift today. For those of us who have been redeemed by Christ’s substituionary payment on the cross, we must not forget that we were once slaves to sin. Not only were we slaves to sin, but we were also living a life of emptiness according to verse 18. These people thought they were living rich, full lives when in truth they were really empty and miserable. Unsaved people today are living in a state of denial and emptiness and they do not realize how meaningless a life is without Jesus Christ. How sad. In fact it is more than sad, it is catastrophic if they die in that state because of where they will spend eternity.


Peter not only reminded them of what they were, but he also reminded them of what Christ did. He shed His precious blood to purchase us out of slavery to sin and set us free forever. To redeem means “to set free by paying a price.” A slave could be freed with the payment of money, but no amount of money can set a lost sinner free. Only the blood of Jesus Christ is a sufficient price for that.


Peter was a witness to Christ’s sufferings (1 Peter 5:1) and mentions His sacrificial death often in this letter. [24] In calling Christ “a Lamb,” Peter was reminding his readers of an Old Testament teaching that was important in the early church, and that ought to be important to us today. It is the doctrine of substitution (an innocent victim giving his/her life for the guilty party). This concept of sacrifice begins in Genesis 22:1, when God substituted a ram to die for Isaac. [25] A Passover lamb was slain for each Jewish household in Exodus 12. Messiah was presented as an innocent Lamb in Isaiah 53. Isaac asked the question, “where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” in Genesis 22:7; and John the Baptist pointed to Jesus and said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” in John 1:29. In Heaven, the redeemed and the angels sing, “Worthy is the Lamb!” as we read in Revelation 5:11–14.


Peter made it clear that Christ’s death was planned by God before the foundation of the world (Acts 2:23). It is true from an earthly perspective that Jesus was brutally tortured and murdered. But it was God’s plan all along for Jesus to die so that sinful mankind could be reconciled to God. Listen to the words of Jesus Himself in John 10:17–18 NLT:


17 “The Father loves me because I sacrifice my life so I may take it back again.

18 No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”


Jesus laid down His life for sinners in the greatest act of love ever demonstrated. But as that served as Good News, the equally Good News was that He was raised from the dead. Now, anyone who believes Jesus’ death and resurrection was on their behalf will be saved for eternity. When we think about the sacrifice Christ made for us we should be moved to live good and holy lives so that He will be glorified. Frances Ridley Havergal, as a young woman, saw a picture of the crucified Christ with this caption under it: “I did this for thee. What hast thou done for Me?” She was moved to sit down and write a poem, but was dissatisfied with it and threw it into the fireplace. Somehow the paper did not burn. Her father discovered it and at his suggestion she had it published. [26]


“I gave My life for thee,

My precious blood I shed;

That thou might ransomed be,

And quickened from the dead.

I gave, I gave, My life for thee,

What hast thou given for Me?” [27]


You might want to give some thought to how you would answer that question. We must not ever forget the great price paid for our salvation: the “lifeblood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb.” God has been planning our salvation from before the dawn of time (Ephesians 1:1–6). [28]

1 Peter 1:22 NLT:

22 You were cleansed from your sins when you obeyed the truth, so now you must show sincere love to each other as brothers and sisters. Love each other deeply with all your heart.

As trials refine faith, so obedience to God’s Word refines character. A person who has purified themselves by living according to God’s Word has found the joy that comes by living a life of obedience. Part of that new obedient personality should  make itself evident in the way a person treats his/her fellow believers. A purified life allows one to sincerely love those who share the same faith. All unkind thoughts and feelings regarding one’s fellow believers must be removed. This kind of love (agapēsate, from agapē) can only come from a changed heart, from one whose motives are pure, and who seeks to give more than he/she takes. Such love meets other people at the point of their need.


Peter used two different words for love: philadelphia, which is “brotherly love,” and agape, which is godlike sacrificial love. It is important that we share both kinds of love. We share brotherly love because we are brothers and sisters in Christ and we are therefore  family because we have the same Father. We share agape love because we belong to God and therefore can overlook differences. [29]


By nature, all of us are selfish; so it took a miracle of God to give us this kind of love. Let uss go back for just a moment and look at Romans 5:1-5 NLT:


1 Therefore, since we have been made right in God’s sight by faith, we have peace with God because of what Jesus Christ our Lord has done for us.
2 Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory.

3 We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.

4 And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation.

5 And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.


Because we obeyed God through the power of the Holy Spirit He placed within us, God poured His love into our hearts. Love for other believers is  evidence that we truly have been born of God. Let us read together 1 John 4:7-21 NLT:


7 Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.
8 But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.
9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him.
10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.
11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
13 And God has given us his Spirit as proof that we live in him and he in us.
14 Furthermore, we have seen with our own eyes and now testify that the Father sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 All who confess that Jesus is the Son of God have God living in them, and they live in God.

16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love. God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.
19 We love each other because he loved us first.
20 If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we do not love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?
21 And he has given us this command: Those who love God must also love their Christian brothers and sisters.


Now we are “obedient children” (1 Peter 1:14) who no longer want to live in the selfish desires of the old life.


It is not a pretty situation when people pretend that they love each other because the evidence of such behavior is pretty obvious. We do not know about you but we generally can spot this kind of phoniness a mile off.


David speaking of his enemy in Psalm 55:21 says, “His words are as smooth as butter, but in his heart is war. His words are as soothing as lotion, but underneath are daggers.”  There is an attitude at work in the world today that encourages people to manipulate others in order to get what they want. If our love is sincere and from a pure heart, we could never use people for our own advantage. The love that believers share with each other and with a lost world, to be sincere, must be generated by the Spirit of God. Believers love with a pure heart. Our motive for loving is not to take but to give.


Love is something we have to work at. Christian love is not a feeling; it is a matter of the will. We show love to others when we treat them the same way God treats us. God forgives us, so we forgive others. God is kind to us, so we are kind to others. When we read 1 John 4:17 a few minutes ago, we heard, “we live like Jesus here in this world.” Do we? Especially in the area of showing love? Christian love involves our actions and sometimes gets very practical. Perhaps you have heard the story about the elderly Mrs. Diamond, who was seriously ill? Several women were visiting her one day. After a while, they rose to leave and told her, "Esther, we will keep you in our prayers."

"Just wash the dishes in the kitchen," the ailing woman said, "I can do my own praying."

The Word of God and the Spirit of God will help us to generate this kind of love. It is impossible to love God‘s Word and hate a fellow believer. The Spirit of God produces the “fruit of the Spirit” in our lives, and the first of these is love (Galatians 5:22–23). If we are filled with the Word of God (Col. 3:16ff) and the Spirit of God (Ephesians 5:18ff), we will make evident the love of God in our daily lives. [30]

1 Peter 1:23-25 NLT:

23 For you have been born again, but not to a life that will quickly end. Your new life will last forever because it comes from the eternal, living word of God.
24 As the Scriptures say, “People are like grass; their beauty is like a flower in the field. The grass withers and the flower fades.

25 But the word of the Lord remains forever.” And that word is the Good News that was preached to you.


The only way to enter God’s spiritual family is by a spiritual birth through faith in Jesus Christ (John 3:1–16). Just as there are two parents in physical birth, so there are two parents in spiritual birth: the Spirit of God (John 3:5–6) and the Word of God (1 Peter 1:23). The new birth gives to us a new nature (2 Peter 1:4) as well as a new and living hope (1 Peter 1:3).


Our first birth was a birth of “flesh,” and the flesh is corruptible. Whatever is born of flesh is destined to die and decay. This explains why mankind cannot hold civilization together: it is all based on human flesh and is destined to fall apart. Like the beautiful flowers of spring, mankind’s works look successful for a time, but then they start to decay and die. All the way from the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11, to “Babylon the Great” in Revelation 17–18, mankind’s great attempts at unity are destined to fail. If we try to build unity in the church on the basis of our first birth, we will fail; but if we build unity on the basis of the new birth, it will succeed. Each believer has the same Holy Spirit dwelling within them (Romans 8:9). We call on the same Father (1 Peter 1:17) and share His divine nature. We trust the same Word, and that Word will never decay or disappear. We have trusted the same Gospel and have been born of the same Spirit. [31]


Unredeemed human life will fade like a fallen flower, but God’s Word is everlasting, as are all who put their trust in it. As lifetime members of God‘s kingdom we should love each other with a genuine and sincere love. [32] This is God’s standard for us.




1 Peter

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