SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
- I and II Peter were written by one of Jesus's disciples, Peter, whom we met in the book of Mark. Peter was writing to Christians who were scattered to different towns because of persecution and were suffering for their faith.
- The primary goal of this chapter is to remind Christians of Jesus' resurrection, which results in an eternal inheritance of immortality for those who believe. He reminds the reader that, as a result of the resurrection, any pain or suffering we endure is only temporary. We are just strangers on the earth, waiting for our heavenly home.
- "The coming of salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time" refers to the "second coming" of Jesus. This is when he is going to return and those who believe will follow him into heaven.
- Peter encourages Christians to have faith, obey, and be patient. We should have faith and believe in the mystery of the resurrection. Faith will lead to obedience, or holy living. The word "holy" simply means to be "set apart." To live holy is to avoid sin and temptation with God's help. And finally, living obediently for God might result in suffering. But, if we suffer in the name of Jesus, Peter encourages us to be patient and remember that suffering isn't forever. Eternity with Jesus is. Suffering can even make our faith stronger, just like a piece of gold that is tested by fire and comes out clean and pure.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
- Being a Christian does not save a person from suffering. It saves them from their sin. In fact, Christians may suffer more in this life. But suffering is not in vain because of our hope in eternity with Jesus Christ.
- When we say yes to Jesus we are "set apart" to live a different kind of life. Our life should be one of self-control, not conforming to our desires, but to God's. We should seek to honor God in all we do and love one another greatly.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
- As Americans, we are blessed with freedom of religion as a part of our bill of rights. However, 75% of the world's population live under severe religious persecution. Men and women around the world are beaten and killed everyday for choosing to follow Jesus Christ. Take time today to pray for these men and women who are willing to put everything on the line because of the hope they have in Jesus.
- Although you may not suffer physically for following Jesus, have you experienced persecution for your faith? What did it look like? Are you experiencing it now? When you suffer, focus on the fact that Jesus suffered and triumphed over it. Thank God that you get to identify with Jesus' sufferings, and that because of Jesus you will triumph over this life as well.
- Are you living a holy life? Are you exhibiting self-control and strength over temptation? Where are you struggling with God's command to live holy as he is holy? Jesus shed his blood and paid the price of his life to set you free from your sin because it's an empty way of living. He has so much better for you. Focus on the grace of God, his undeserved love for you, and with God's help start saying no to sin and yes to him.