The First Epistle of Peter

We are aliens in this world. Though we live and work every day here, we are exiles waiting to go home. People who have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus Christ have a better land, a better life, to claim. We wait here, for now, until Christ is revealed or until God claims us in death. While we are here, there are certain duties that God would have us to perform. These tasks are outlined in general in the First Epistle of Peter.


This letter was written to Christians who were beginning to undergo persecution. We do not know who was persecuting them or what form it took. Peter obviously did not think that this was important. It does not matter who is persecuting Christians. The world stood opposed to our Lord, Jesus Christ, and it will stand opposed to us when Christ lives in us. Nor does the form of persecution matter. Christians have suffered for the name of Christ since the time of his death.


What matters immensely more than who is persecuting us and what form it takes is how we respond. Peter's letter reminds us that faith is the most important response that we can make to the world. Faith in God and faith in the one that was sent, the Lamb of God. Faith is like gold, which must be sent through the fire to be refined. Faith is valuable before it is refined, but it is much more valuable after.


Faith is so important that God allows certain trials to come on His people so that their faith will be strengthened. The trials allow us to see that our faith is genuine. They allow us to see how important faith is and that we can depend on God to endure our trials with us. When we first come to Christ our prayers are that God lift our burdens and our trials from us. As we mature in Christ we begin to see that our trials change us and make us more like Christ. Eventually, we can even come to the point where we realize that our trials and persecutions can be a blessing.


So Peter sets about the task of telling these Christians how they should endure the trials that they must endure. The most important Thing that he tells them is that they must endure together. Not only is God with them, but they must be with each other. We are a royal nation and a chosen people. We are living stones that are being built together into a habitation for God. We must stand and fall together.


The people of God are to depend and support one another during hardships. We must be faithful to each other or we are not being faithful to God. We are God's hands and feet. We must support one another because it is God's will that we do His work. And God's work includes responding to, and taking care of, His own people.


In order to accomplish this, we must put away the sins of the flesh that bring dissension in the body of Christ. Lying, envy and slander are examples of sins that I can commit against my brothers and sisters in Christ. Other Christians must know that they can depend on me to support them. I must be worthy of their trust.


I must also put away the sins that bring the name of Christ into disrepute. Those on the outside must not slander the name of Christ because of me. Christ must be the stone over which they stumble, not my behavior. The same sins that bring disunity to the body can offend unbelievers, but there are other sins that affect unbelievers even more. We must allow the Spirit of God to sanctify our lives so that people on the outside can see the qualities that are different in us. We must not follow after the ways of the world.


We are responsible to God and to one another. If we endure, we will endure together. If we endure, we will inherit the promises of God. God has given us the gifts and the power that will see us through the hardships that will come upon us. We must hold fast to the end. We must hold our faith to the end.


We are not alone. No matter how difficult life becomes, God is with us. He is with us in the form of other believers who will stand with us. Ultimately, He is with us in Spirit. If God is with us, who can stand against us?


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