Thursday, January 28, 2010

Fixing Your Hope On Christ (1 Peter 4) #Suffering #Hope #Christ


Theme: Fix your hope on Christ

5) By arming yourself against suffering [Con't] (3:13 - 4:19)

Chapter four shows several more reasons and ways to arm yourself against suffering.

A) Reasons to arm yourself against suffering

Because Christ died to sin (1-3)

Sin causes suffering, but living according to God's will helps reduce it. Christ died for the kind of suffering which sin causes, and now lives for God's service. Since you were baptized into this death and resurrection by the Holy Spirit, you too, should arm yourself against the kind of suffering which comes as a result of sin (cf. Rom. 6:1-14), because Christ died to sin and lives for God.

Because Christ will judge the lost (4-7; 17-19)

Those who run after their sinful lusts will give an account for their conduct. Christ is ready to judge the living and the dead (cf. James 5). The end of all things is at hand (cf. Rev. 20). Even the righteous are chastened for sin during their life on earth (Heb. 12; 1 Cor. 11:30), and the lost will suffer much worse (2 Thess. 1:8ff.). You should arm yourself against suffering with the knowledge that Christ will judge those who cause you misery.

Because suffering purifies your faith (12-13)

Both chapter one and this passage says that one purpose for suffering is to "test" (purify?) your faith. James said God tempts no man, and only sends us things which are good and perfect. Testing is not to make you sin, but to refine your faith. Testing will also result in glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ, and with this reason you should arm yourself against suffering.

Because suffering glorifies God (14-16)

When you suffer for doing wrong, it is of no value. But 1 Peter 2:20 said that when you suffer for doing what is right, this is favor from God. It is when you endure suffering for doing what is right, that God is showing His grace and power in your life. Knowing this should arm you against suffering.

Because God does what is right (19)

Christ kept on putting His case into the hands of God (2:23), rather than return abuse, when He suffered unjustly. God is a "faithful Creator in doing what is right" (cf. Rom. 8:28ff.), and with this fact, you should arm yourself against suffering.

B) Ways to arm yourself for suffering

By yielding to God's will (4:1-6)

Christ died to sin and lives to newness of life. You were baptized or placed into this work, so you too should consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God. By the power of the indwelling Spirit, you may now yield your members as instruments of righteousness to God, rather than sin (cf. Rom. 6:1-11).

These verses say you have already spent enough time living for your lusts before you were saved, and should therefore no longer pursue the course of the Gentiles. Sin invites suffering, but yielding to God avoids unnecessary misery. You should arm yourself against suffering by yielding to God's will.

By staying sober (7a)

"Sober" comes from roots meaning "salvation", or "to reign in", and "mind, or midriff". Being sober is like holding the reigns in on your mind, or midriff, and generally seems to mean that you think in a way which will result in salvation, rather than loss or destruction.

The reason to stay sober is because "the end of all things is at hand". Christ will severely judge the inhabitants of the earth during the Tribulation (Rev. 4 - 19), and then send the unsaved, spiritually dead people of all ages to an eternal destruction away from the presence of God (Rev. 20; cf. 2 Thess. 1:8ff.). Even God's own people are disciplined up to the point of physical death during their life on earth (1 Pet. 4:18-19; cf. 1 Cor. 11:30; Heb. 12; James 5; 1 John 5).  You should arm yourself against suffering by staying sober.

By loving the brethren (7b-11)

This includes hospitality, avoiding complaints, and applying your spiritual gift to the needs of the body. When you show love for the brethren, this helps ease their suffering, and any suffering you might otherwise endure due to a conscience which convicts you of failing to love your brother (cf.  1 John 3:16-20). You should arm yourself against suffering by loving the brethren.

By rejoicing in trials (12-16)

Trials should not surprise you, they are designed to purify your faith (cf. chapter 1). The degree of suffering you endure should be the degree to which you continue to rejoice, since Christ will bring saving grace at His appearing. God's Spirit of glory rests upon those who are reviled for the name of Christ. You should arm yourself against suffering by rejoicing in trials.

By entrusting your soul to God (17-19)

Judgment day is coming. Even the righteous are chastened by God for disobedience. God is the righteous Judge, so you should arm yourself against suffering by continuously putting your case into God's hands, as Christ did when suffering unjustly (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-25).

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Have you heard Christ died for our sins, and God raised Him from the dead? Did you know God saves you from hell and gives you eternal life through faith in this finished work alone, not your merits (Jn. 3:16; 1 Cor. 15:1-3; Eph. 2:8-10; 2 Thess. 1:8-9)? This is so man cannot boast, and God alone gets the glory (Eph. 2:8-9).

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