1 Peter
1-9 Formerly and Now 10-13 Serve One Another As Good Stewards 14-19 Judgment Begins With the House of God
Formerly and Now

1Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God. 3For the time already past is sufficient [for you] to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4In [all] this, they are surprised that you do not run with [them] into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign [you]; 5but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to [the will of] God. 7The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober [spirit] for the purpose of prayer. 8Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins. 9Be hospitable to one another without complaint.

V11Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin,. The first verse of chapter 4 is directly in connection to what is previously said. You can derive that from the word “therefore”. That word makes clear that a conclusion follows. When Christ was on earth He “suffered in the flesh”. That does not refer to His work on the cross, but to His life in the midst of people who were hostile to God, how religious as they may have been. He did not give in to their carnal desires and in no way He could be tempted to sin. The will of God was decisive for His life and to Him He entrusted Himself. The result of that was that He had to endure sufferings. He suffered, because He was fully focused on God and did not want to have anything to do with sin. He did not want to do anything independently from His God. That is the thought you should arm yourself with.

The appeal to arm yourself proves that there is a battle to be fought. If you want to win the battle like the Lord Jesus has won, you are to arm yourself. The weapon is not a material weapon, but it consists of a thought. The content of that thought is Christ and that He has suffered in the flesh. When you are being tempted to sin, then you should take out this weapon: the thought that Christ has suffered in the flesh. He has suffered and He has endured and has overcome.

The essence of this thought is that Christ has endured the suffering in the flesh, because He lived in the full confidence of His Father in doing His will. Satan tempted Him by offering Him the kingdom without having to suffer for it (Mt 4:8-108Again, the devil *took Him to a very high mountain and *showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory;9and he said to Him, “All these things I will give You, if You fall down and worship me.”10Then Jesus *said to him, “Go, Satan! For it is written, ‘YOU SHALL WORSHIP THE LORD YOUR GOD, AND SERVE HIM ONLY.’”). Men have tempted Him by trying to make Him King without Him having to suffer for it (Jn 6:1515So Jesus, perceiving that they were intending to come and take Him by force to make Him king, withdrew again to the mountain by Himself alone.). The Lord has rejected each temptation and chose to suffer, because this was God’s way to glory.

A person who in this view looks like the Lord Jesus is Joseph. Joseph also suffered, because he did not want to have any part in sin. He was not willing to cooperate with the sins of his brothers and he neither wanted to cooperate with the sin that Potiphar’s wife wanted to tempt him with (Gen 37:2b2These are [the records of] the generations of Jacob. Joseph, when seventeen years of age, was pasturing the flock with his brothers while he was [still] a youth, along with the sons of Bilhah and the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives. And Joseph brought back a bad report about them to their father.; 39:99There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?”). Due to that he suffered like the Lord Jesus for the sake of righteousness. You are to arm yourself with the same mind, meaning that you choose to suffer instead of sinning.

The point is that you do not give in to sin, what the world continually seeks to tempt you to. When you suffer in the flesh, that is in the body, it is clear that you have dealt with sin and that you do not surrender yourself to it. When you do surrender to it you do not suffer. Enjoying sin in not suffering. You can choose to enjoy sin (Heb 11:2525choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,), but you must consider that it is a passing pleasure that has a bitter and often permanent after taste. Christ did not have anything to do with sin and due to that He suffered. The same goes for you, who follows Him, as you have confessed, as I hope, with your baptism.

V22so as to live the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for the lusts of men, but for the will of God.. With your conversion and baptism “the rest of the time” has come to live “for the will of God”. You have thrown away enough time in the past by trying to fulfil your lusts. May I ask you how you spend your time now in contrast to the past? It cannot be the case that you just go on to excessively consume movies and other kinds of entertainment, can it? You should have ceased being obsessed with sports and recreation together with the world, shouldn’t you? You are not continually occupied anymore with making your house more and more comfortable, are you?

It is not always about things that are wrong in themselves. The point is that these things determine the life of people who do not consider the will of God, but live after their own desires.

V33For the time already past is sufficient [for you] to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries.. You also belonged to those people in the past and you also lived the way they do. That must have changed when you converted to God and when you surrendered yourself to the Lord Jesus, hasn’t it? Since then your life has had a totally different principle and a totally different content and a totally different purpose. When that is reality for you, it will be seen by a real change in using your time.

For you have spent enough of your past lifetime in carrying out “the desire of the Gentiles”. Away with that! That is past tense now! Peter reminds us of that time. Sometimes it is necessary and useful to be reminded of the past. That is not to blame you again for your sins, but to show you from where you have been redeemed, from what kind of a horrible pit you were saved. It will help you to increase in gratefulness towards God and in your devotion to the Lord Jesus.

Just look at the will of the Gentiles, what they desire and compare that to the will of God, what He has planned for you. The Gentiles live in total rebellion against God and they fully follow their own will wherein they satisfy their lusts in the most perverted way. They do not allow anyone to tell them to do anything and they swallow all unrighteousness like water. They surrender themselves to everything that can satisfy the physical and spiritual needs. Thereby they have no respect with anyone and they also sacrifice the health of their own body. Unlimited sex, uncontrollably consuming food and drink and a total surrender to demons are the ingredients of this life of debauchery.

V44In [all] this, they are surprised that you do not run with [them] into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign [you];. They find it strange that you do not join them in “the same excesses of dissipation”. Your new conduct is very strange and incomprehensible for those who used to be your friends in the past. Because you do not have part in their dealings anymore, they will talk all kinds of evil about you. They do not understand that God takes care of you. When you have received something they may for instance talk around that you have stolen it. Do not mind about that at all and do not worry about it.

V55but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.. You can surrender it to Him Who judges righteously (1Pet 2:2323and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting [Himself] to Him who judges righteously;). He is ready to “judge the living and the dead”. The judgment about the living will be carried out by the Lord Jesus when He comes to establish His kingdom (Mt 25:3131“But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne.). He will carry out the judgment over the dead between the expiration of the millennial kingdom of peace and the beginning of the eternal condition (Rev 20:1111Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.). Both the dead and the living will have to “give account” to Him with Whom they did not want to have anything to do and they therefore mocked, persecuted and slandered those who confessed Him.

V66For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to [the will of] God.. With a view to that judgment a joyful message was already proclaimed in the past. The Scripture calls that the “everlasting gospel” (Rev 14:6-76And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;7and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”). The content of that gospel is that each one who acknowledged himself guilty before God and accepted God’s judgment over his life as a man in flesh as just, was made alive by the power of the Holy Spirit. So through all ages it has been the Holy Spirit Who gives life and in that way enables us to have part in the resurrected Christ and His future. This is an encouragement for the believers to whom Peter writes and that is also an encouragement for you who also has accepted the gospel, though it is both for those and for you in its richer form: the gospel of grace.

In verse 55but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. you have read that the Lord Jesus is ready to come and judge all ungodliness (cf. Jam 5:99Do not complain, brethren, against one another, so that you yourselves may not be judged; behold, the Judge is standing right at the door.). That means that the end of all things is near. That is already the situation when Peter writes this letter. How much more does that apply to the time we live in. That it has not been yet, is due to the patience of God, Who does not want that anyone should perish (2Pet 3:99The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.).

V77The end of all things is near; therefore, be of sound judgment and sober [spirit] for the purpose of prayer.. When you think of the end that is near, it may encourage you. It will not last long anymore and then all boasting of man will cease. Also everything, in which a man may put his hope, will come to an end. Hereby you may think of his self-made religion with his self-shaped imaged of God. Materialism and spiritualism will be judged at the coming of the Lord Jesus. Then also all slandering, mocking and persecution will come to an end for those whom have put their trust in the Lord Jesus.

When the Lord Jesus comes and when He has judged all unrighteousness, the millennial kingdom of peace can begin. When you focus on that, it will give you strength to bear and to endure what otherwise you are not able to bear and endure. Don’t allow yourself to be fired up by the news of the day, through which you may take a wrong action.

“Be of sound judgment”, respond calmly and consider. Let yourself be led by God’s Word. Keep your eyes fixed on the coming of the Lord. Then you will be able to see all things around you in its true perspective.

Be of “sober [spirit]” too, meaning that you do not allow the spirit of times to blur your view, but that it remains pure. See everything that comes towards you in the light of God and of the future, so that you may see the things as they really are and not as they seem to present themselves to you. That watchfulness does not make you overconfident, but it leads you to “pray”. The real awareness that you live in the end of times will lead you to a deep dependence on God.

V88Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.. After having presented the relation to God like that, attention is now being paid to the relation of Christians to one another. What is important “above all”, is that they have “fervent … love for one another”. A real and firm relationship among Christians is especially noticeable by the interest in one another. Then you also get to know each other, regarding both the strong characteristics and the weaknesses.

In the end of times it is more than ever important that the company of believers meet and encourages one another (Heb 10:24-2524and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,25not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging [one another]; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.). Real love seeks what is for the benefit of the other. Then they do not dig up the weaknesses and sins (Pro 16:27a27A worthless man digs up evil,
While his words are like scorching fire.
), but on the contrary, they cover them (Pro 10:1212Hatred stirs up strife,
But love covers all transgressions.
). Seeing other people’s mistakes and enlarging on them is not the love of the Lord. He does not see sins anymore in those who are His, but He covers them with His love.

That does not mean that you should not call evil by its name. It certainly does mean that sin is to be judged as soon as possible and after that there is also forgiveness. Love cannot live with sin. When a person commits a sin, love will do everything to convince the brother that has sinned about that, so that the sin can be confessed and be put away (Mt 18:1515“If your brother sins, go and show him his fault in private; if he listens to you, you have won your brother.). The devil will always try to cause disharmony among believers, often by using small matters. He will absolutely not succeed when we have fervent love for one another.

V99Be hospitable to one another without complaint.. That love will also be expressed by being “hospitable”. That is not only regarding your friends, but also and especially people who you do not know. ‘Hospitality’ literally means ‘love for strangers’. When a believer, whom you do not know, comes to you, you not only ought to offer him a meal, but also a home. Let him feel to be welcome and that your whole house is available to him. That doesn’t mean that you should be naive, but that you must have such an attitude.

It is also for a reason that Peter adds to it that you must do it without grumbling, for that can easily happen. An unexpected guest can actually disturb your program enormously. You may find it also awkward, because you may just have cleaned up and put everything in the right order and now have to fetch everything back for that strange guest. And not to mention the costs that this visit may possibly bring. Therefore take account of this word and do not take action by grumbling or by even trying to figure things out, but show an abundance of hospitality. Invite one another, receive one another and serve one another.

Now read 1 Peter 4:1-9 again.

Reflection: What is the most important thing in the end of times?


Serve One Another As Good Stewards

10As each one has received a [special] gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11Whoever speaks, [is to do so] as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves [is to do so] as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen. 12Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; 13but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

V1010As each one has received a [special] gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.. The Lord has given something to each one to serve to the other. With your gift you can serve those, who are the most important people on earth to God: the companionship of believers. What was given to you, in order for you to be able to do that, is called “gift” as a grace of God. Grace plays a major role in this letter. The Lord wants to use His own to pass on His grace to His own.

You are able to pass on the grace that you have received, to other believers. The Lord has distributed the gifts in such a way that you are able to serve all believers and that you can be served by all believers. Therefore you are not supposed to keep the gift that you have received, for yourself, but you ought to pass it on. Your gift is not given to you for your own pleasure or for your own honor or importance, but it ought to be useful and for the joy of the other. In that way there is an interaction between the believers. Each of the believers is a gift to all others (Eph 4:77But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.).

When you use the gift that you have received from the Lord in such a way that the Lord has intended you to, you are a ‘good steward’. A steward is someone who manages something that belongs to another person. What you have received is from the Lord and He expects you to be faithful in making use of it (1Cor 4:1-51Let a man regard us in this manner, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.2In this case, moreover, it is required of stewards that one be found trustworthy.3But to me it is a very small thing that I may be examined by you, or by [any] human court; in fact, I do not even examine myself.4For I am conscious of nothing against myself, yet I am not by this acquitted; but the one who examines me is the Lord.5Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, [but wait] until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of [men’s] hearts; and then each man’s praise will come to him from God.). In future he will demand your accountability on that (cf. Lk 16:1-131Now He was also saying to the disciples, “There was a rich man who had a manager, and this [manager] was reported to him as squandering his possessions.2And he called him and said to him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an accounting of your management, for you can no longer be manager.’3The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do, since my master is taking the management away from me? I am not strong enough to dig; I am ashamed to beg.4I know what I shall do, so that when I am removed from the management people will welcome me into their homes.’5And he summoned each one of his master’s debtors, and he [began] saying to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’6And he said, ‘A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’7Then he said to another, ‘And how much do you owe?’ And he said, ‘A hundred measures of wheat.’ He *said to him, ‘Take your bill, and write eighty.’8And his master praised the unrighteous manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light.9And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.10“He who is faithful in a very little thing is faithful also in much; and he who is unrighteous in a very little thing is unrighteous also in much.11Therefore if you have not been faithful in the [use of] unrighteous wealth, who will entrust the true [riches] to you?12And if you have not been faithful in [the use of] that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?13No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”).

What God has given of His grace is “manifold”. Hereby you should consider a diversity of His grace. Haven’t you already experienced in your life how much grace you have received? Has the Lord not often used brothers and sisters then?

Just try to think about everything you owe to brothers and sisters and thank God for the ways He made that all happen. Have you not often been richly blessed at the gatherings and have the meetings in the homes not often been encouraging for you?

The fact the God has arranged things like that at the same time makes clear that a ‘one-man-ministry’ in the church is not according to His will. God did not concentrate all gifts in one person, but He definitely gave a great diversity of gifts. Thereby He for instance gives to one a word of wisdom and to another a word of knowledge (1Cor 12:8-108For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit;9to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,10and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another [various] kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.).

V1111Whoever speaks, [is to do so] as one who is speaking the utterances of God; whoever serves [is to do so] as one who is serving by the strength which God supplies; so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belongs the glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.. The gifts are divided in two main categories by Peter. The one category is ‘speaking’, the other category is ‘serving’ (cf. Acts 6:2-42So the twelve summoned the congregation of the disciples and said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the word of God in order to serve tables.3Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task.4But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”). First he deals with ‘speaking’. What an encouraging and edifying effect can words have on a person! This speaking for edification especially happens in the meeting. Of course it should be a speaking “the utterances of God” and not by giving one’s own opinion on certain things. It should undoubtedly be in accordance with God’s Word, but it should also be according to God’s will that it is said at the right time.

When it happens like that in the meeting it will be to a great blessing of all attendants. Each attendant will feel himself to be personally addressed. That may imply that you are comforted or encouraged or exhorted by what is said (1Cor 14:33But one who prophesies speaks to men for edification and exhortation and consolation.). It is just what you need, and God, Who guides the speaker by His Spirit in speaking ‘the oracles of God’, knows that. That, however, doesn’t raise the speaker above criticism, for he remains in himself a fallible person. Therefore everything that has been said must be tested whether it is according to God’s Word (1Cor 14:2929Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others pass judgment.).

The ‘serving’ is distinguished from the ‘speaking’. ‘Serving’ regards to the sharing with others of the material goods. We can all serve others with the means we have. That must happen with sincere motives and not for attaining a good reputation. It should not be for one’s own honor, but to God’s honor. Therefore God has to give the power to do it, He has to work in your heart.

When you are open to the will of God in both your speaking and serving, He will make clear to you what you should say or do. He gives the gifts and also the power to use those gifts. He first gives you an order to do something and then He gives you everything you need to execute that order. It is a service that in no way can happen in one’s own power, in the power of the flesh. Only then it can happen to the glory of God. The Lord Jesus is the One through Whom you are capable to do everything to God’s glory. He will give the power for that forever and ever.

V1212Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;. Peter comes back to the suffering. By addressing his readers as “beloved”, he makes them feel his warm love. With this word “beloved” he certainly does not only indicate his own love, but he also means by that, that they are beloved of God. They may have been doubting about that because of the persecution they have to endure.

There is still more warmth besides the warmth of love. That warmth is more of a heat. It is the “fiery ordeal” of the persecution that they are experiencing in their midst. The enemy wants to intimidate them and wants to bring them to deny the Lord Jesus as the glorified Lord. That persecution can cause them to start doubting the love of God. However, the suffering that comes in their midst, they should not see as something that accidentally happens to them and less as something that God sends in order to make their life miserable.

When people kindle a fire, it destroys everything that it comes into contact with. When God kindles a fire He also keeps it in control, so that it only affects those matters He allows to be consumed by the fire. The fire in which the three friends of Daniel found themselves, chose, under the guiding hand of God, only the ropes of the three friends, while it did not affect the other parts of their body; not one hair of their head was singed (Dan 3:24-2724Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.”25He said, “Look! I see four men loosed [and] walking [about] in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of [the] gods!”26Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the furnace of blazing fire; he responded and said, “Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego, come out, you servants of the Most High God, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego came out of the midst of the fire.27The satraps, the prefects, the governors and the king’s high officials gathered around [and] saw in regard to these men that the fire had no effect on the bodies of these men nor was the hair of their head singed, nor were their trousers damaged, nor had the smell of fire [even] come upon them.).

The fire is used by God to test the believer. The test of your faith is necessary because it purifies your faith from the elements that may cloud the faith in one way or another. Faith is being clouded by, for instance, still trusting in your own power or by thinking that you need to fulfil certain conditions in order to gain favor of God. That all has to be removed, for you must learn to unconditionally trust in God alone.

The idea that as soon as a person comes to faith, all difficulties and worries become past tense, is a serious misconception. The gospel is not a success formula for a life without problems. False evangelists may want you to believe that by accepting the gospel you will be healthy and wealthy and that you will gain prosperity and a good reputation. Those are liars, who bring a message that they themselves invented. If you believe such foolishness you will surely find it strange that you as a believer still have to face suffering.

The reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ is different. If you believe in it and you desire to live in that faith, you will on the contrary have to do with sufferings. Such a life identifies you with Christ. And what was His part on earth? It was nothing more than suffering, was it?

V1313but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.. Peter is trying to encourage you. Instead of being discouraged by suffering which is your part, because of your relation with Christ, you are allowed to rejoice in it. You may share “the sufferings of Christ”, which of course only refers to the sufferings that men did to Him and not to the sufferings for the atonement of sins. Sharing the sufferings of Christ, meaning going through something of which you know He also went through, gives a deeply inward joy (Acts 5:4141So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for [His] name.; Lk 6:22-2322Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man.23Be glad in that day and leap [for joy], for behold, your reward is great in heaven. For in the same way their fathers used to treat the prophets.). Paul very much wanted to share the sufferings of Christ (Phil 3:1010that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death;), because he wanted to look like Christ as much as he possibly could. The more you share the sufferings of Christ the deeper you can rejoice in the joy of it now already.

This joy will extend to “rejoice with exultation” when the Lord Jesus comes in His glory. Then He will reveal Himself and will be seen by all (Rev 1:77Behold, He is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.). They will be present at that time and accompany Him with exceeding joy. The situation will be completely changed. From being suffering Christians they will be changed to glorified Christians. Though, the joy of the sufferings has not been changed, but has been expanded to an expression of a joy that in no way can be reduced. It’s an exuberant expression of joy. The time of suffering is over. The time of singing has come (Song 2:11-1211‘For behold, the winter is past,
The rain is over [and] gone.
12‘The flowers have [already] appeared in the land;
The time has arrived for pruning [the vines],
And the voice of the turtledove has been heard in our land.
). The glory has come in the Person of Jesus Christ Who reveals Himself to the world as the Conqueror.

Now read 1 Peter 4:10-13 again.

Reflection: How could you serve to others and be served by others?


Judgment Begins With the House of God

14If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. 15Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler; 16but if [anyone suffers] as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17For [it is] time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if [it begins] with us first, what [will be] the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner? 19Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.

V1414If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.. The glory that is spoken about in verse 1313but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation. has not come yet. At present you may still be reproached “for the name of Christ”. It is the same suffering as the suffering that is called ‘Christ’s sufferings’ in the previous verse, but with another emphasis. There the emphasis is more on the suffering itself; it is a suffering that also Christ has endured for doing the will of God. It is a part of each who follows Him. With the suffering ‘for the name of Christ’ the emphasis is more on the relation with Himself.

To be reproached for His Name is a suffering that is a direct consequence of coming out for His Name in word and in deed. The world sees in the believer the representative of Christ, Whom Himself, when He was here, was the great Representative of God. Due to that He experienced: “The reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me” (Psa 69:99For zeal for Your house has consumed me,
And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
). To Him it was no disgrace and that goes also for you when you are reproached for His Name. Peter even says “you are blessed” when that happens.

Christ’s sufferings and the suffering for the Name of Christ are an exceptional way of the revelation of “the Spirit of glory and of God”. In the suffering you experience that the Spirit brings you in your inner being into contact with ‘the glory’ that is His home. He is also the Spirit ‘of God’, the Spirit Who gives you the awareness of God’s full interest and support in the suffering you find yourself in.

That is without a doubt a wonderful encouragement to endure this suffering with joy. You go through an unprecedented experience of God’s presence that others will also notice, for that Spirit “rests on you” (cf. Acts 6:1515And fixing their gaze on him, all who were sitting in the Council saw his face like the face of an angel.). While you’re enduring suffering on earth, you possess something that comes from the glory which connects you to it. You not only have a promise of a coming glory, but you have Him Who belongs there.

I have read the biography of a Chinese church leader who had spent twenty years in detention barracks, because of his faith in the Lord Jesus. In that book he speaks all the time about God as ‘the Presence’. To him the presence of God and His Spirit was nearly a tangible reality in the midst of the suffering. They were ‘present’, he was sure of Their presence. That gave him the strength to do the heavy forced labor and to testify of his Lord and Savior towards his fellow prisoners.

V1515Make sure that none of you suffers as a murderer, or thief, or evildoer, or a troublesome meddler;. After presenting the privileges of suffering, because of the relation with Christ, Peter warns of a form of suffering that ought not to happen to you. That form of suffering is the suffering because of the sins you have committed. Peter mentions some of them. The “murderer, or thief, or evildoer” are people who take or damage the life or possessions of other people (materially or spiritually).

The “troublesome meddler” doesn’t look to fit into this row, but Peter still puts him next to these other crystal clear sins. The busybody is someone who meddles unasked in other people’s affairs. Meddling limits the room for others, it takes away the freedom of others to act according to what the Lord makes clear. The busybody is doing a work of which the devastating effects often become visible in the longer term. The world has no appreciation for it, like it has not for the other three. It is shameful when a person, who calls himself a Christian, has to endure such suffering.

V1616but if [anyone suffers] as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.. However, a person may possibly suffer, because he really behaves as a Christian, after the meaning of the name ‘Christian’. That is because he shows features of Him to Whom the name ‘Christian’ refers, that is Christ. The name ‘Christian’ appears only here and in Acts 11:2626and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. And for an entire year they met with the church and taught considerable numbers; and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch. and Acts 26:2828Agrippa [replied] to Paul, “In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.”. In both places in Acts the name is used by unbelievers who refer to those who testify of their faith in Christ. Therefore it is the world that came up with that name. By what Peter writes here we see that the Spirit acknowledges this name formally.

A Christian is therefore a true follower of Christ. When you suffer “as a Christian”, thus because you are known as a follower of Christ and act as such, you do not have to be ashamed of it. On the contrary, you are allowed “to glorify God in this name”. Christ has always suffered for the Name of God and glorified Him therein. You are allowed to follow Him therein. That is a great privilege.

V1717For [it is] time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if [it begins] with us first, what [will be] the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?. There is another reason why God uses the suffering of the persecution on behalf of His own. The time of the judgment over the world is still to come. Peter speaks about that in his second letter. We shall see that when we read and examine that letter together. In this first letter it is about God’s reign over His children. Therefore Peter speaks now about God’s judgment over His house, which is the church, but seen as a whole that consists of all believers who are held responsible for their own behavior.

That you are a member of the church is not only a privilege, but also a great responsibility. That’s the issue here. That responsibility is greater than that of the world. The church as the people of God and the house of God, as a matter of fact, confesses to know God and to obey Him. Therefore God’s judgment has to begin here before He executes His judgment over the world (cf. Jer 25:2929For behold, I am beginning to work calamity in [this] city which is called by My name, and shall you be completely free from punishment? You will not be free from punishment; for I am summoning a sword against all the inhabitants of the earth,” declares the LORD of hosts.’; Eze 9:66Utterly slay old men, young men, maidens, little children, and women, but do not touch any man on whom is the mark; and you shall start from My sanctuary.” So they started with the elders who [were] before the temple.).

God first judges what is the closest to Him, what is most responsible (Lev 10:33Then Moses said to Aaron, “It is what the LORD spoke, saying,
‘By those who come near Me I will be treated as holy,
And before all the people I will be honored.’”
So Aaron, therefore, kept silent.
; Amos 3:22“You only have I chosen among all the families of the earth;
Therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities.”
), in order to remove what is not according to His will. He wants that the wrong should be confessed and be put away. For that reason He uses the world in her persecution of His own. Therefore persecution is besides a test of faith also a speaking of God to the conscience of His people. He wants to bring His own to have the same judgment as He has. That will cause them to judge what He judges, so that they may not be judged with the world (1Cor 11:31-3231But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged.32But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord so that we will not be condemned along with the world.).

By speaking about “us” Peter puts himself under the judgment that God executes over His house. “For [it is] time” for that judgment while the church is still on earth. To the unbeliever the time has not come yet to be judged, but that will happen in future (Pro 11:3131If the righteous will be rewarded in the earth,
How much more the wicked and the sinner!
). The execution of God’s judgment over the world contains a serious warning for us not to catch up with her, doesn’t it? The judgment over the world is still to come and it will be terrible and definite. There will be no way to escape.

V1818And if it is with difficulty that the righteous is saved, what will become of the godless man and the sinner?. You are a righteous one and just take a look at the effort God is taking to lead you saved to that final goal. In the midst of all trials He continues His work in you. He guards you from falling away and from sliding into the world and He purifies your faith, so that you continue to respond to Who He is. Therefore “difficulty” here is with regard to all efforts of God in order to lead you safely through all dangers to finally give you the inheritance that He reserves for you (1Pet 1:4-54to [obtain] an inheritance [which is] imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.). That is a great encouragement.

To the world it is a great warning. That is embedded in the question “what will become the godless man and the sinner”, thus those who live without God and only for themselves. The answer to that question is: they will appear before the great white throne to be judged there according to their works (Rev 20:11-1511Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them.12And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is [the book] of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds.13And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one [of them] according to their deeds.14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire.15And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.).

V1919Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.. If you are aware of the previous you will be able to understand the admonition to, when you are suffering to God’s will, entrust your soul to the faithful Creator. You will surely not think of escaping the suffering by adapting yourself to the world and entrust your soul to her. The world, consisting of the ungodly and sinners, speeds to meet the judgment. Therefore it is not wise to take refuge in the world in order to escape the suffering. You speed to meet your inheritance. Therefore consider that the extent of suffering is the basis for the joy that you will have when you can take possession of the inheritance at the revelation of the glory of Christ (see verse 1313but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.).

The “faithful Creator”, your Maker, He Who completely knows you and knows how you feel, guides everything to the goal for which He has created all things. He is faithful and will achieve His goal with the world, with the inheritance and with you. On the way to His goal you are allowed, by doing good, to show that you have entrusted your whole life to Him. You do not seek to adapt yourself to the world, but you neither rejoice in the judgment that will come over the world. As long as you are here you are allowed to seek the good for the people in the world, so that, through your good works many more will get to know Him on behalf of Whom you work.

Now read 1 Peter 4:14-19 again.

Reflection: What does your suffering as a Christian consist of?


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