1 Peter 4 opens reminding us again of Christ's suffering. Peter than mentions that we should identify with Christ's sufferings when we suffer. There is an aspect to suffering that is connected with our fight against our indwelling sin. Peter says that we are to live no longer for human passions but for the will of God. That entails suffering. As we fight against our human passions there is going to be be suffering, especially when sin wins and you come under the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit. We should always know that the Holy Spirit does not come and bring anguish to the point of feelings of complete abandonment by God, He draws you to repent, He brings you back to God. Satan wants you to run from God. I am not saying that we do not feel the loss of close communion with God when we sin - we do and it is that loss that draws us back to God.
Peter says that the end of all things is at hand. The whole period of time between the Resurrection of Christ and His Second Coming is seen as the last times. Peter says that we need to be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of our prayers. We, Christians have a wonderful privilege, and that is prayer. Christ when He was in Gethsemane warned Peter and the other Apostle to "Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak." (Matthew 26:41) We cant pray with any fervency if we are not walking, living right, in fact, we will loss the desire to pray. Christ warns us to watch and pray. That is sound advice for us to live by - if we are watching, we are on alert, we are keenly attentive, we are doing helpful things to reinforce our spiritual well-being.
Peter also instructs us to love one another earnestly, when we love we are not marking down when our friends wrong us, we forgive, because we have been forgiven much. He also states again that the gifts we have received from Christ are to be used for others within the Body of Christ, for we are to serve one another - we are to give ourselves in the service of the Church - to be spent in the service of the Church is a high calling - God supplies us gifts, spiritual strength so that we might serve one another through the grace God has given us through Jesus Christ. So that God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. The right worship of God makes much of God. The improper worship of God makes much of man. God is worthy to receive all Glory and Honor! Eyes covered in darkness will never see this, they will always be selfish eyes and will certainly not even consider God having first place instead of self. The Spirit opens our eyes to the truth. God is worthy, and He will get His Glory, every knee will bow to Christ. To Him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen, Peter says.
If you have ever been mistreated because people knew you were a Christian, Peter says you should rejoice and be glad because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. We need to pray for strengthen grace to stand for Christ in the face of any suffering we must go through because we are Christ's.
Peter says if the righteous is scarcely saved, what will become of the ungodly and the sinner? Christians are scarcely saved? this means not that the certainty of our salvation is in question but that it is through hard discipline (Matt. 7:14, Acts 14:22)
In whatever suffering we must endure we need to do just as Christ did - entrust our souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.
Hebrews 5:7 tells us this about how Jesus dealt with His suffering - In the days of His flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His reverence.
This is how we deal with our Christian walk, we pray and we must pray as Christ prayed, is what we are praying for serious enough to us that we pray with loud cries and tears? Do we believe that the one we are praying to is able to save us from the crisis we are facing? and are we praying with reverence?
The Bible says that Jesus when He was in the garden of Gethsemane praying about the upcoming separation from God that must take place because He would be covered with our sin (imagine it, Christ would be the focus point of so much sin (the sin of all the elect) as Christ prayed about that, we are told that His sweat was bloody, He was praying with such intensity.
Hebrews also tells us "In your struggle against sin you have not resisted to the point of shedding your blood."
We are to pray with fervency, only God's Spirit in us can lead us to that place.
1 Peter 5 next time