How Christians Respond to Mistreatment: What I Noticed When I Study 1 Peter

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1 Peter, like most of the books in the New Testament, can be study in a matter of minutes. When you study it in 1 sitting, I propose reading two or 3 occasions in that identical sitting. This is 1 of these books that challenges a lot of our American approaches of pondering. What would our lives appear like if we truly took the complete book of 1 Peter seriously?

Your Time of Exile

Peter calls his audience “exiles of the Dispersion.” This notion normally referred to Israelite individuals who had been scattered all through different nations right after the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires conquered and exiled them. Even the Jews who came back to Jerusalem had been, in a sense, nevertheless exiles mainly because a foreign empire ruled more than them and occupied their nation. Becoming an exile wasn’t just about exactly where you had been living, but about the state in which you had been living.

According to 1 Peter, all Christians have turn into aspect of the “Dispersion.” We are all exiles, waiting for our exile to be lifted and for all of us to be gathered with each other to acquire our inheritance. But it is incredibly crucial to note that Peter does not speak about us getting our inheritance by flying away to heaven. He appears to assume we will acquire our inheritance by the issues in heaven coming to us.

Peter by no means makes use of words that indicate we will GO anyplace when our exile is ended. He makes use of words like “appear” and “reveal.”

  • Our faith will “result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
  • Our inheritance that is guarded in heaven will be “revealed in the final time.”
  • When Jesus “appears,” we will “receive the unfading crown of glory.”
  • We will rejoice and be glad when Christ’s “glory is revealed.”

Like the Hebrew writer, Peter appears to image Jesus, heaven, and our inheritance as issues that are now hidden or unseen, but 1 day they will seem, turn into visible, be revealed. According to Peter, it does not appear Christians ought to be waiting to “go to heaven,” but that we ought to be waiting for the heavenly issues to seem. This is when our exile will be more than, when the “chief Shepherd appears” and gathers his dispersed sheep.

Responding to Mistreatment

The vast majority of this book offers with how Christians ought to respond when they endure mistreatment. Modern day readers, particularly these in the United States, appear to have a incredibly tough time taking these commands seriously. We attempt to insert our personal caveats, making excuses for why we shouldn’t have to obey the guidelines Peter provides to his audience.

There are no caveats. There is no nuance. No matter what sort of mistreatment a Christian is suffering, Peter tells them to respond the way Jesus responded, “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” That is the basic and undeniable message of 1 Peter, do not respond in type to these who revile and mistreat you.

But it even goes beyond just not retaliating. Peter writes, “Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you had been referred to as, that you could acquire a blessing.” Peter tells his audience to “bless” (speak and do excellent to) these who do evil to them. Why ought to we be shocked 1 Peter is a book about undertaking excellent to persecutors and not responding violently to these who mistreat us? The complete New Testament preaches this message without the need of fail.

This is the message of the cross. This is how Christians are to join with Jesus in overcoming evil: when we are mistreated we bless these who do evil to us, hate us, revile us, and even kill us. I admit, this is not incredibly American. It surely is not John Wayne or Clint Eastwood. It is Jesus. This is what it appears like to stick to Jesus.

The Word of God

Practically as a side note, we have to have to be incredibly cautious when we study the phrase, “word of God” and mentally replace it with, “the Bible.” These two phrases “word of God” and “the Bible” are connected, but not synonymous. When the biblical authors are speaking about the “Scriptures,” they will say they are speaking about the “Scriptures.” But when they are speaking about the “word of God,” they are speaking about a thing far much more precise than all of the Scriptures.

Peter tells his audience they have been born once more by way of the “imperishable seed” of the word of God. Peter references Isaiah 40:six-eight, “All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. The grass withers, the flower fades…but the word of our God will stand forever.” In other words, God normally delivers on his word. Peter is telling his audience that even even though they are suffering ideal now, they can take self-confidence in the reality that they will be rescued from their suffering mainly because God has spoken.

So when you study “word of God” or “word of the Lord,” do not generalize these phrases by interpreting them to imply “Bible” or “Scriptures.” Fully grasp that “the word of God” is a thing incredibly precise, a guarantee or command that proceeds from God and accomplishes his will in the planet. It is this “word” that John says “became flesh” (John 1:14). Jesus is not the Bible, but he is the word of God.

Saved by Baptism

When Peter tells his audience that baptism now saves them, what does this have to do with his general theme of, “You’re suffering ideal now as exiles, but mainly because you have been born once more by the imperishable word of God, you ought to have confident hope”?

When we pull 1 verse out of context that says baptism saves us, we may believe it indicates we are forgiven of our sins mainly because of baptism. We are forgiven when we are baptized, but that is accurate mainly because other passages say it (Acts two Romans six), not mainly because this passage says it.

In this passage, Peter appears to have a slightly distinctive emphasis. He tells his audience they are becoming saved ideal now by the water of baptism the identical way Noah and his family members had been saved by the waters of the flood. From what was Noah saved? Following the logic of Peter’s argument, Noah suffered mistreatment by disobedient individuals, “while the ark was becoming ready.” The water of the flood came and saved Noah from these disobedient individuals.

In the identical way, mistreated and suffering Christians can take heart that their rescue has currently begun. The waters of baptism are now saving us. The waters of baptism separate these of us who are becoming saved, from these who are rejecting the message of Jesus. So we can confidently and peacefully reside with mistreatment mainly because we are becoming rescued from this life of suffering and our new life will quickly be revealed.

I adore you and God loves you,

Wes McAdams

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