1 Peter revisited

DiscpicThis 1 Peter reading is turning into more of an interactive Bible study, so if you still haven’t read the first chapter, go grab a cup of Joe and pick up Pete, chapter 1.

I’m using the New Living Translation, second edition, for these observations…

I love the combination of great expectation and priceless inheritance in 1.3-4. I wonder just how much I really expect this priceless inheritance? Heck, I get excited over receiving any gift, big or small. (hint, hint) I’ve never received something beyond estimation of worth before. I’ve never expected to. But Scripture promises it and urges me to count it as fact. Something unimaginably good is coming for me.

How does that affect my attitude, life, actions, and relationships today?

My salvation/inheritance is kept in heaven for me – pure and undefiled. God is protecting me through my faith and by His power until we I receive it. In the meantime, the certainty of that great day should produce joy – trail-conquering joy. Joy in spite of, and to spite all this world flings at me.

Living here, until then, requires me to think clearly and to exercise self-control. It is about perspective, reality, and will. The things I choose to do and say must be chosen in light of spiritual realities. I must seek holiness!

I must choose not to gratify the desires of my flesh.

“Don’t slip back into your old ways to satisfy your own desires.” (1.14)

Here’s a thought: the obvious resurrection and glorification of Jesus was the reason people trusted in God in the first century. (1.21) So often today, we have to trust the Bible that Jesus was raised from the dead and that He ascended to heaven. But it’s clear here that Jesus’ resurrection was a doubt-shattering proof for God’s Word and plan (not the other way around, as it is so often for us) to Peter and those living then. There was no question that it happened.

The real response was since it happened, what does that mean?

First off, Peter says it means we must love another “deeply with all your heart.” (1.22) No hedging here. It requires a sold-out, selfless, pure and earnest love that…

The body of believers that totally gives itself to loving each other will become a white hot furnace of transformation and life. Unbelievers will be inexplicably affected by such love, and this radical love will prove all over again that Jesus’ resurrection really happened, that He is alive and His life is the cause of ours.

In the first century, Tertullian recorded this observation that the pagans had about Christians:

But it is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See, they say, how they love one anotherfor themselves are animated by mutual hatred; how they are ready even to die for one another, for they themselves will sooner put to death. And they are wroth with us, too, because we call each other brethren; for no other reason, as I think, than because among themselves names of consanguinity are assumed in mere pretence of affection.

As a result of this confidence in Jesus’ resurrection, our love, or rather, His, will transform us. For where love is, God is, for God is love.

PrayerWe will see new desires spring up in us that we didn’t have before – God’s desires will surface in our hearts. Our behavior will continually change as we choose to “get rid of all evil behavior.” (2.1) Deceit, hypocrisy, jealousy, and unkind speech will gradually (and in some cases, instantly) become nauseating to us. Blessed is the person instantly convicted by such sins. May we allow immediate conviction to bring instant confession.

As we experience renewed minds and behaviors, we are reminded that we are not the source of our own goodness. It is from God. Therefore, we “must crave pure spiritual milk so that we will grow” into a full experience of our salvation. How many believers stop at salvation, never growing in their love and trust of Christ? They miss the full experience!

Hebrews 5.12-14 encourages us to grow in our diets. Only babes stay on milk. Press on for the banquet!

“Solid food is for the mature, who through training have the skill to recognize the difference between right and wrong.” (5.14)

Questions to respond to in the comments:

  • What two concepts from 1 Peter 1 most impact you?
  • Can you identify any way of thinking you’ve had that needs to change?
  • How does Jesus’ resurrection affect your decisions and lifestyle today? What observations can you make about your own faith in light of this?
  • How’s your love-ability? What are real, practical, and long-term ways that you can express deep love for believers? (in your church? family? city? world?)
  • How excited are you – really! – about your coming inheritance? How does the thought of it impact your view of things you may cling to here?
  • What needs to change in your attitude about this life in new of the fact that you’re a “foreigner in the land?” (1.17)
  • Other general comments……

On this day...

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