Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Bible Study - 1st Peter 4

Welcome back, fellow sojourners on the path of salvation. I'm doing my best to finish the blog posts on the book of 1 Peter about the time that my Bible Study Group moves on to the Catholicism Series by Fr. Robert Barron. That looks to be an interesting series, and it has a study guide and videos, so I don't have to lead it. Always a win for me! Let's see if we can knock out all of 1st Peter in this post.

Verses 1-6 deal with Christian Restraint. Christ suffered in the flesh, so we are called to do that as well. Why? Because if we suffer in the flesh, we are not focusing on our own human wants and desires that lead to sin, but focusing on the coming Kingdom. St. Peter then lists a litany of sins the Gentiles (not-Christians) still commit and that they are surprised Christians don't commit. St. Peter says they will be held accountable to God on the last day, meaning that we shouldn't judge them as it is not our place. And then he tells us again that Jesus preached to the dead, who died before His death and resurrection, to give them a chance to be saved.

Verses 7-11 deal with Christian Charity. St. Peter immediately starts off this section reminding the hearers of this letter that the end is near. Near to us and near to God are two completely different things. We are living in the last days, but so were the people in Peter's time, because the last days began when Jesus ministry was over. Also remember, that to God a day is like a thousand years.

He then goes on to tell us to be serious and sober with our prayers and love everyone intensely. The key here is intensely. We're not just supposed to be passive about our neighbors, but love them so much and want them to go to Heaven. We are then called to use our gifts to help others. These gifts he lists in verse 11 are preaching and serving and we are to perform these gifts under God's power not our own, so that God will get the glory and not us.

Lastly, verses 12-19 deals with the Trial of Persecution. No Christian wants to think about these verses, but we all need to hear them. St. Peter warns his audience (and us) that we are about to experience a trial by fire but to rejoice in those sufferings we experience that Christ also experienced. We then see a beatitude in verse 14, calling us to be blessed if we are insulted for the name of Christ, because the Holy Spirit and God rests upon us. We are then told that if we suffer as a Christian, we should glorify God.

Lastly, we see that the time of judgment on the household of God (The Church) is about to begin. And if the judgement is going to begin with us, then those who aren't Christians will be judged next. It will not be good for those who aren't Christians to be judged, because we are barely saved and only saved by God's grace and Christ's death, so those who don't believe in God and Jesus and follow Him, will not be saved. But again we are reminded that if we suffer according to God's will, our soul is in His hands and that should be of extreme comfort!

That's all I have for my readers today. Next week, we will work on Chapter 5 and hopefully finish 1 Peter. Until then! Have a blessed day.