About Jesus Steve Sweetman
starts verse 12 with the words "dear friends."
The Greek word used here incorporates the word "agape"
which is selfless love. Peter
is expecting the believers to be exhibiting selfless love for one another,
especially in the hard times that they are going through from the
anti-Christ culture in which they live.
can tell that Peter is beginning to feel heart broken over his suffering
brothers and sisters in Jesus who were suffering so much from their
anti-Christ culture. I say
that because of the words "dear friends" or "beloved"
as some versions put it.
tells his readers not to be "surprised at the painful trials they are
suffering as if something strange is happening to them."
Peter is saying that persecution in those days was par for the
course for the Christian. It
was something to be expected. Becoming
a Christian in those days meant much more than getting your ticket to
heaven as seems to be the case today.
It meant lots of trouble and possibly the giving up of your life. One
had to seriously count the cost of becoming a Christian.
A quick repeat after me prayer would not do it back then.
A short inspirational message of ask for forgiveness and go to
heaven wouldn't do it either.
the word "painful." This
was not average suffering. This
was painful suffering, suffering beyond normal suffering.
I'm sure Peter must have remembered Jesus telling the 11 apostles that because the world hated Him it would hate them as well (John 16:18). This is the background to what is happening here. Painful trials were normal Christianity for the first generation Christian. It has been the case for many Christians since then. For those of us living in the western world it has not been the case because we were once influenced by Biblical thought. As our culture ignores and disregards this Biblical thought now and into the future, we can expect the same painful trials from our anti-Christ culture. I don't have a martyr's complex when I say these things. I'm simply speaking the truth.
I move on to verse 13 I want to point out one difference between the NIV
and the KJV in verse 12. The
KJV says that the trials these believers were going through were to test
them, or, test their faith. We
saw this back in chapter 1 as well. The
NIV does not say that these trials are a test of faith.
I like the KJV in this respect because it better reflects the Greek
text that clearly sates these trials to be a test for these believers.
verse 13 Peter says that those who are suffering should
"rejoice" since they "are participating in the sufferings
of Christ." What does
that mean? It means that those
Christians were suffering just as Jesus suffered and for similar reasons.
So, Peterís logic is that if Christ suffered and you are
suffering in like fashion, then you should rejoice because you are
following in Jesusí footsteps. Those
first generation Christians viewed suffering for Jesus as a privilege.
That's something that most of us today would have a hard time
getting our heads around.
reason why Peter gives for rejoicing in the midst of such suffering is
because when Jesusí glory is revealed, you can be "overjoyed."
Here is another look into the future.
For those who suffer for Jesusí sake now, on the day of Jesus'
return for them, there will be much rejoicing, both by them and by Jesus.
The term "Jesus' glory being revealed" speaks of His
return to earth.
12:3 tells us that Jesus endured the cross because of all the joy He saw
in the future. This is the
same mentality Peter is encouraging his readers to have. He is reminding
them of all the glories that will be revealed when Jesus returns for His
people. If you want a hint of
what this rejoicing looks like, just read the first part of Revelation 7.
verse 14 Peter says that if "you are insulted" for the sake of
Christ, then you are blessed because the "Spirit of glory and of God
rests on you." The Holy
Spirit can fill people with His presence when they are being insulted.
If not for the Spirit of God, these people would not have survived
their suffering. Thus, we see
the importance of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the believer, especially
during unjust suffering. We
shouldn't be complaining about suffering.
We should be experiencing the presence of the Holy Spirit instead,
something you cannot experience when you complain.
the NIV capitalized the word "Spirit" here, suggesting that
Peter had the Holy Spirit in mind, Greek does not have capital letters.
To suggest that it's the Holy Spirit Peter had in mind is a bit of
an interpretation, although I agree that it is the Holy Spirit.
There are times when the Greek word for "spirit" can be
understood in a generic sense.
repeats himself in verse 15. As
he has said before we shouldnít be suffering for any evil that we do.
This time he gives some examples of such evil.
They are, being a murderer, a thief, or, even a meddler into other
people's business that has nothing to do with you.
It is interesting that he would link a meddler with a murderer.
I don't know of any Christian who has murdered someone but I
believe I have met some Christians who have meddled in other people's
Greek word "allotriepiskopos" is translated here as
"meddler" or in some versions "busybody."
You may notice the Greek word "episkopos" in this word
that is translated as "overseer" in the NIV.
The first part of this word means "to belong to another
person," thus, the meaning to oversee something that belongs to
another person that is really none of your business.
verse 16 Peter continues by saying that "if you suffer for being a
Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that
name." Again, Peter is repeating himself here.
"Bearing God's name" means that we represent God's name
to the world. We should view
ourselves as God's representatives. Since
He is not here on earth in physical form, we are here in His place.
We need to properly bear His name.
thing to note here. The word
Christian is only found three times in the New Testament, once here and
also in Acts 11:26 and 17:28. In
all three cases the word is used in somewhat of a negative sense.
Here it's connected with persecution.
It's my understanding that the name Christian was applied to the
believer by non-believers. It
wasn't a name that they applied to themselves, at least not at first.
says an interesting thing in verse 17.
He says that "it is time for judgment to begin with the family
of God and if it begins with us what will the outcome be for those who do
not obey the gospel of God." Peter
appears to be saying that the time has now come for the family of God to
be judged by God. What is
Peter saying here?
think Peter is still speaking in terms of the nearness to the end of this age has
having already arrived as we saw back in verse 7. If
this is the case, then, it only makes sense that he would think judgment
was being poured out on the family of God.
This end time judgment is seen in the book of Revelation where I
believe we see God's people suffering persecution, or judgment, before the
wrath of God is poured out on the nations of the world.
often think of God judging non-Christians, nations, and empires.
It's clear from what Peter says here that God judges His people as
well. We see this concerning
with His Old Testament people Israel, which by the way, some people
believe is what is being talked about here and also in the book of
Revelation. There's no logic
in thinking that God wouldn't judge His New Testament people as well.
If you believe the church at Laodicea as seen in Revelation 3 portrays the last end time apostate church, as some do, then we as the church can expect to suffer judgment. Jesus said that He would vomit those lukewarm believers out of His mouth. How would He do that? We can't take this literally. I believe Jesus will spit, or vomit, the lukewarm out of His mouth by causing the church to suffer. Those who are lukewarm towards Jesus will leave Him and the church, and in many cases with great negative emotion, which accounts for the word "vomit."
2:5 clearly shows us as well that God can and will judge His people.
This part of Revelation 2 is directed to the church at
2:5 clearly shows us as well that God can and will judge His people.
This part of Revelation 2 is directed to the church at
my thinking, although Peter might well be speaking of God judging His
people during the tribulation period of the last days, whoever His people
may be, it's not the only time God judges His people.
I believe one way that God judges His people is through persecution
and trials. This is meant to
bring purity to a church that has been defiled by the world around it.
I believe western world Christians should be prepared for a coming
persecution, judgment, or purifying of the church.
people believe that purification of the church comes through the outpouring of
the Holy Spirit, but that is not so. The
outpouring of the Holy Spirit as seen in the Charismatic Movement of the 1960's
and 1970's for example was not intended to purify the church.
Like any outpouring of the Spirit, it was meant to give power to the
church in order to be an affective witness for Jesus.
Purifying comes through suffering, and this is exactly why Peter wrote
question should be asked to whom the words "household of God refers to.
The answer may depend on to whom you think this letter is written.
As I said in my introduction, some believe it was written to Christian
Jews while others think it was written to Christian Gentiles.
I tend to believe it was probably written to both.
If you think this letter was written to Christian Jews you might think
the household of God refers to
the word "us" in verse 7.
He relates the household of God to "us', or, "us
Christians" who I believe are both Gentile and Jews.
The word "us" would thus refer to the church and not the Jews,
meaning, it is the church that will be soon judged.
then says in verse 17 that if the house of God is now being judged, how
will it be for those who do not obey the gospel of God.
They will experience much more suffering than the house of God was
experiencing in Peter's day, and that was very severe.
We see this in the book of Revelation during the Great Tribulation.
Some Prophetic Futurists suggest that the first half of the 7 year
tribulation period seen in Revelation is God judging
important to understand that unjust suffering as these Christians were
experiencing, is seen as God's judgment on His people.
This might be what the writer of Hebrews calls God disciplining His
back in chapter 1 verse 7 Peter clearly states that this unjust suffering
was meant to test the believer's faith. This testing is a form of
purification of the church as I mentioned earlier.
think the bottom line to what Peter is saying in verse 17 is that the one
who endures to the end will be saved.
The one who survives the judgment and discipline of God will be
saved. The one who survives
the testing of his faith will be saved. If
you cave into the world's temptations and fall away from Jesus, you will
not be saved.
says, "for", or "because" it is time for judgment to
begin with the household of God. The
word "judgment" means to proclaim a verdict, a sentence of
condemnation" as a judge would sentence a criminal.
We are talking about something very serious here.
Verse 17 is in the context of end time theology as we see from verse 7 and as seen in the injustice to Christians. The book of Revelation speaks to the injustice done to the Christian. It does so when we see Christians being executed for their association with Jesus. Many Prophetic Futurists understand the first part of the 7 years tribulation period to be this judgment while they understand the last half of the 7 years to be the nations of the world being judged. Thus, the people of God are judged first, and then the world is judged. This might well be a Biblical principle that applies to any time in history. Maybe Peter had this in mind when he wrote verse 17. Maybe, because Peter believed the end had already begun, as he said in verse 7, he believes the first half of the tribulation was upon the household of God. That would easily be understood because of the persecution of Christians back then.
the word "judgment" I think there is some misunderstanding.
When we speak of God's judgment as seen in Scripture we're simply
speaking of God proclaiming a sentence or a verdict.
What He does beyond that is a result of His verdict that could vary
from time to time or place to place. We
can't confuse the verdict with the sentencing that comes after the verdict.
Concerning the word "judgment" I think there is some misunderstanding. When we speak of God's judgment as seen in Scripture we're simply speaking of God proclaiming a sentence or a verdict. What He does beyond that is a result of His verdict that could vary from time to time or place to place. We can't confuse the verdict with the sentencing that comes after the verdict.
in verse 18 Peter quotes from Proverbs 11:31 which says this.
"If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will become
of the ungodly and sinner." Is
Peter suggesting that it is hard for righteous people to be saved?
Might he be suggesting that some people who we think are saved
wonít end up being saved? I
think in context what Peter is saying is that the suffering these people
were going through would either make them or break them. Not
all would make it to the end. Some
would turn their backs in unbelief. Really,
without Jesus, it is impossible to be saved, not just hard.
In my thinking, this might suggest that one can lose his salvation.
in verse 19, closes this chapter by saying, "so then, those who
suffer according to Godís will should commit themselves to their
faithful Creator and continue to do good."
Note here that the suffering must be according to Godís will.
You must not be suffering for any evil or foolishness you have
done. Suffering can be God's
will. Peter makes that clear
committing to your Creator suggests giving your life to God in a trusting
relationship, trusting Him throughout the suffering process.
During times of suffering we must especially trust ourselves to the
Lord. It is in those times
when we are tempted to give up; we should trust Him more than ever.
calls God the Creator, which He is. This
tells us that the very God who created all things can certainly help you
through any time of painful suffering.