Sermons & Sunday Schools

Introductory Matters for First Peter

Pastor Babij introduces the first book of Peter and demonstrates the practical subject of Peter’s letter: how Christians are to live in this world while preparing for the next. Christians are to live in the world as citizens of heaven, which means that Christians must prepare to experience temporary suffering and persecution as they live holy lives, leaving all judgment and vengeance to God.

Full Transcript:

As my goal, right now, I will be preaching through 1 Peter and 2 Peter. Let’s bow together in a word of prayer:

Father, as we come before You, in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, and as we break open the bread of life, the Word of God. Lord, as we enter this epistle, I pray, Lord, that You would teach us the things that are contained therein. I pray, Lord, that You would weld them upon our soul, and I pray, Lord, that they would be there permanently. That we would learn how to deal with life, the difficulty of life, in the right manner. I pray as we do that, Lord, we know that You get the glory, but we also know, Lord, we have promises that cannot be taken away from us that have been given by You. So, Lord, I pray You would help us to look forward to that, especially, Lord, in times of trouble. I pray this, in Christ’s name. Amen.

I am going to look at some introductory matter in 1 Peter. The epistle of 1 Peter is a rich, theological message of the practical presentation of the Christian life while we are living on this planet as aliens and temporary residents in the world. Before I get into the exposition of the epistle of 1 Peter, I must deal with some fundamental, introductory matters. Anytime you are looking at a new book, you want to understand from the epistle who wrote it, when it was written, why it was written, where was it written from, and things of this nature, which will give us some sense, as we get into the epistle, of what it’s going to be teaching. Then, we will look at the details in the exposition.

The Apostle Peter, of course, most likely wrote this letter to the scattered church shortly before or after the burning of Rome. The Apostle Peter was a member of Jesus’ inner circle, and was a spokesman for the twelve other Apostles. His ministry from Pentecost until the Jerusalem Council was recorded in the book of Acts. After that, he seems to disappear. Tradition says that he was crucified upside down by Nero, approximately at 67 AD. However, we cannot know for sure if Peter was, in fact, martyred under Nero. Though, some conclude, from several passages of Scripture, that Peters death is prophesied. John 21:19:

Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He said to him, “Follow Me!”

From that passage of Scripture, some indicate that he knew what kind of death he would die. Of course, historians surmise that Nero had Rome burned, and then he blamed it on the Christians. Therefore, Peter is present in Rome from 62-65 AD, where he penned 1 Peter between 62-63 AD. Then, 2 Peter was written between 63-64 AD, so Peter did pen this epistle from Rome shortly before or shortly after when Nero burnt Rome. 1 Peter 1:1:

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen.

This passage indicates the audience Peter penned, and these providences were primarily gentiles with many Jews living in them. Therefore, both groups are addressed as forming the church of Jesus Christ in these regions. At Pentecost, in the book of Acts, there were pilgrims from the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, and Asia. Out of these, both the Jews and Gentiles were scattered from the Jerusalem area all the way up through these regions.

Now, the occasion of the writings arose from a report, received by Peter, that these believers were experiencing sharp opposition and persecution because of their faith. At that point, the church entered a two-hundred-year period of Christian persecution. The Christian’s Asia-Minor were distressed because of the hostility and persecution they were experiencing. As a result, they were deeply discouraged and distraught.

Whenever we experience suffering, it has many forms to it, and it could either be physical abuse, emotional abuse, social outcast by a group, or persecution that takes many different colors in its level and degree. However, pain or suffering does cause anguish in our soul, and of course, pain, suffering, or persecution can be a temptation for people to turn their back on Christ by surrendering to the Christian life. Some will give in and say, “I became a Christian and never thought there would be persecution or suffering. I thought it would just be a bunch of roses or a smooth path right into heaven,” but we find out that life happens.

Suffering and persecution is part of the Christian life, and it could be that persecution comes when we believe in Christ. We come to Christ, and suddenly, our friends don’t want anything to do with us. Suddenly, our family is pushing us away or organizing something knowing we will be in church on Sunday, and they organize it just on Sunday, hoping that you would be there, but you don’t show up. Suddenly, on the job, you may not get a promotion because you are a Christian. You’re asked to do menial tasks because they know you are a Christian, and they expect you, as a Christian, to do those things without complaint. See, many forms of persecution can come into our life.

What do we do when being torn, overwhelmed, devastated, and even crushed by the suffering of life where we are marginalized because we know Christ? Because we are believers of this world, how do we have a proper perspective on suffering? Really, suffering is the test, the acid test, of your faith. If things are going well, you can rejoice and have fun. As soon as problems come, then you grumble, complain, and show a side that isn’t necessarily a Christian one, but this is coming out of your heart. In 1 Peter, the people were really under persecution where they were becoming disillusioned and deeply discouraged, so the Apostle Peter writes a well, thought-out theology of suffering.

Moreover, he wasn’t only writing for the people back then, but for us too. He was writing it so, in their marginalized position in this world, they would be brought into a perspective on suffering that is completely and truly biblical. Now, Peter really wanted to communicate to God’s children several things in the light of persecution.

First, he wanted to communicate to God’s children that they were special by referring to them as God’s chosen and His temple. Christians are to be assured that they have a special status in the Kingdom of God. In the last part of verse one, it says “who are chosen,” so those who have been scattered throughout these regions are going out there knowing something – they have been chosen by God.

Looking back at the Doctrines of Grace, part of being chosen is election, and electus is the Greek word meaning being chosen by God, so Peter is saying when persecution comes, to not forget that you are special to God. Before the foundation of the world, He knew that you were going to be His children because He chose you in Christ Jesus. Before that time, He knew you would have suffering. In fact, God ordains the persecution and suffering. 1 Peter 2:4-5:

And coming to Him as to a living stone which has been rejected by men, but is choice and precious in the sight of God, 5you also, as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.

Because God dwells in His people, through His spirit, His children are special since they are this new temple of God. Therefore, Peter’s theology of suffering is to assure them that they are special.

Second, Peter wants to communicate that their residency in this world is only temporary. We belong to heaven, so our future is secure. As Christians, it is good for us to know that we are just passing through this world and we’re heading for home. 1 Peter 4:13:

but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.

In other words, while you are going through suffering, you have a present rejoicing. When you look to the future, when you are in the presence of God, you will have a future rejoicing. Of course, it is odd to connect rejoicing with suffering. It seems like those two don’t go together, but, in the Christian life, they go together. You have not only been chosen to be saved, but you have also been chosen to suffer in this world.

In fact, we are the real aliens, and we’re the real alien movie. We are only here temporarily, and it’s good to know that we are just passing through. Our bodies are growing old, things that we have break and fall apart, and the whole world has gone nuts, so why would we want to put our investment here? Our investment ought to be in heaven, and it is good to know that we are only here for a short period of time.

However, while we are here, if we’re going to live properly, we must learn to rejoice when it’s going bad, good, and when life seems to not be joyful, but we must be joyful anyway. We have another worldly reason to be joyful. Even though there are many things to cause joy in our life, our joy is not to be found here. Luckily, we have available to us present rejoicing and future rejoicing.

Third, Peter ensures that our Lord, Jesus Christ, has won the battle, and ensures their victory, their vindication, and their reward. 1 Peter 1:7:

so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Considering these truths, Christians must live as children and citizens of heaven. In saying that, in the epistle of Peter, Christians are given a responsibility, which demands a lifestyle of holiness, and you cannot separate genuine conversion to Christ without including a holy life. The Spirit of God is making us holy, different, and separated unto God, so for the child of God, holiness is to take on a noticeable difference in how they live, which becomes visible when God’s people are becoming abused, mistreated, misunderstood, and marginalized by others. To all this opposition, the people’s response is to be rich in good works, and to have attitudes of blessing even on those who are persecuting you. 1 Peter 2:12:

Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

In that passage of Scripture, they will not immediately glorify God, but in the end, they will glorify God. In other words, Christians, because of your present position in Christ, and the future blessing guaranteed to you, let your lives be as witnesses for Christ in this hostile world. Meaning, Scripture’s affirm the inevitability of persecution against the true church, which is comprised of the disciples of Jesus Christ. Christians bring the exclusive message of the gospel, and bear the ever-growing characteristic of a transformed life to their work place, families, neighbors, and places they end up.

Because the Holy Spirit is making them holy, the Christian brings to the world the standard of Jesus Christ, which is clearly different from the persons of the world. Then, the Christian is a kind of conscious to any society in which it exists. The world and its system does not like when its conscious is pricked by truth, especially when it goes against their philosophy of life, or their world view. Remember, the Apostle John told us, John 3:19-20:

“This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil. 20“For everyone who does evil hates the Light, and does not come to the Light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.

Clearly, we are to live a life that is completely different than our old way of life, and that different lifestyle becomes evident for one reason. The reason being, you became a believer in Jesus Christ, and now you are truly redeemed by God with the Spirit of God living in you, the Word of God in your hands, and God is changing you. In 1 Peter 4:3-4, Peter mentions the difference in lifestyle after one comes to Christ:

For the time already past is sufficient for you to have carried out the desire of the Gentiles, having pursued a course of sensuality, lusts, drunkenness, carousing, drinking parties and abominable idolatries. 4In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you.

If you were partying with them, nothing was wrong, but now you are a goody two shoes, holy-roller, bible thumper. Now, you are so different that you are considered weird, brainwashed, and no longer fun to be around. My friends told me, “when you get over your religious phase, come look us up and we’ll get drunk or high together,” when I tried to witness to them after I gave them the gospel. Of course, rightfully so since I used to party with them.

All those things Peter listed, we used to do that, but now that we have come to Christ, those days have ended. If they have not ended in your life, there is a real big problem. If the Spirit of God is living in you, you will be under such heavy conviction about the way you live your life that you will have to get rid of things. Mark this truth on your calendar, Christians, followers of Christ: the very goodness of God is in your life, and that goodness is an offense to the world. They regard your goodness as a handicap, not as something beneficial.

Therefore, the purpose statement that Peter has in Scripture is that he calls persecuted Christians to live a holy life as children of God and citizens of heaven, pointing them to the example of Christ and their future hope. Christ is our example in living a life when it comes to persecution and suffering, and our future hope is our motivation in life while we’re going through trouble. The literary style that Peter uses in his writing is an end-time view of life, and the centrality of the end of all things is all over 1 Peter.

Therefore, 1 Peter is focused on eschatological salvation, the result. Salvation is really a present experience, but it progresses through life, and the end, or goal, of one’s life, of one’s faith, is the salvation of the soul. 1 Peter 1:9:

obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.

For Peter, this is the result, and you must know that whatever we’re going through between now and the end has been ordained by God. We are not left alone, and this passage of Scripture, along with others, have an outlook that looks at the end of all things. In other words, believers live in a tension between the here, now, and the future. While we live in the here and now, the current sufferings prepare us for both final judgement and final salvation. While we traverse this world, with all its instabilities and uncertainties, Christians have a strength, a hope, a certainty for the future that no one else has, and this is the way we must live our lives. We must live our lives with this hope and understanding intact. We must live this way because of the primacy of two major end-time events. One has taken place already, and one is yet future.

The first primary, major future event is the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the basis of our salvation. 1 Peter 1:3:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.

Christ’s resurrection is the basis for our salvation and hope, which took place. Jesus’ sacrifice was accepted by the Father. Meaning, Jesus won the battle against all the evil forces, Satan, and death, and proclaimed defeat after His resurrection. Therefore, the Christian can resist the human opponent as well as the demonic forces against them. 1 Peter 5:8-9:

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

Then, we live considering the second major end-time event, which is the second coming of Christ. The major event where its future is emphasized in this epistle. It’s called the revelation. 1 Peter 1:13:

Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Therefore, it is bringing our minds to think about what is yet in the future for us, so the afflicted saints are to have their eyes on the end-goal, especially since it is the second coming of Christ, where the final victory, completion, and consummation of our salvation will come. In this world that we live, Peter is saying to all of us to keep on rejoicing at the revelation of His glory.

In this epistle, there are several major themes we will run across, and the first one is God is used thirty-nine times. The primary thing about God is His absolute sovereignty and control over this world. The center of God’s plan is His chosen, redeemed people, who are called out of darkness into light, and many times into suffering situations. In there, they maintain their eternal life and salvation. While they are there, they’re to perform good deeds, and, of course, they are going to be vindicated by God for living that way.

In other words, God gives grace to His people during suffering, and He graciously gives His own life. In Him, even suffering is part of God’s grace to us. At the end, God is the judge and the only one who can take vengeance fairly. God has never given us the authority, at all, to take vengeance on anyone regardless of what the crime may be. Meaning, believers leave vengeance to God, who will bring fair justice, so that they are free to return blessing and good works when they are slandered or entered suffering.

A second theme is Jesus Christ, election, and salvation, which all go together. There are five core blessings that Peter brings out as far as Jesus Christ is concerned. First, Christ is the ransom and redemption payment as the perfect Lamb of God, who’s sacrificial blood made salvation possible, which is the basis of our trust in God.

Secondly, Christ is the living cornerstone of God’s final temple, the church, on whom we are living stones erected into God’s new house. Thirdly, Jesus is the sinless person, who personally carried our sins in His body on the cross, so we, the wondering sheep, can be dead to sin and turn to the Shepherd of our souls, the Lord, Jesus Christ. In Peter, the purpose of Christ death for our sin is to bring us safely home to God. 1 Peter 3:18:

For Christ also died for sins once for all, the just for the unjust, so that He might bring us to God, having been put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit.

Our response to that should be worship, which is to worship Christ as the Lord of our life. 1 Peter 3:15:

but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.

That should be something we are considering every day. Sin is no longer our master, no one is our master, but God is my master and Christ is my master. So, Jesus is how we share in God’s eternal glory. Then, in Scripture, we will see glimpses of the trinity and Holy Spirit. 1 Peter 1:2:

according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.

The Father is the one who foreknows, the Holy Spirit is the one who sanctifies, sets us apart, makes us holy, and we cooperate with that holiness by being obedient, and the Son, the one who cleanses with the blood sacrifice. Primarily, this was Jesus’ job, but He left this world and went back to heaven. Then, He sent the promise of the Father, the Holy Spirit to us. Also, we have a new community, and we’re the new community. We are the aliens, yet the special people of God.

According to the Apostle Peter, there is no reason for Christian’s to be discouraged. They need to reflect on who they are in Christ, and how they can live considering who they are in Christ. In Scripture, they have a responsibility to think correctly based on the Word of God. There are some things that should dominate the mind of the followers of Christ, and as we go through life, what should we be thinking about?

First, we should be thinking about how we don’t belong here. We are the true aliens, true strangers, and passing through the land heading home. Secondly, we will have little here, but await a priceless inheritance. 1 Peter 1:4:

to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you.

Therefore, our real inheritance is in heaven. Yet, we know that God gives us many things in this world. I would consider all Americas to be blessed, and even on the poverty level, you are wealthier than most people who live in the world. So, we have many things to thank God for, but don’t put your tent peg stakes too firmly in the ground. Don’t cement them in, but leave them in the sand. We’re going home, and we’re not staying here. Thirdly, while we are here, we’re protected by God’s power. 1 Peter 1:5:

who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

Again, there is the last time view, and it’s all over this epistle. Subsequently, we are protected by God, and we are God’s special possession. Therefore, God promises us that He will always protect us, but that doesn’t always mean that God’s going to protect our physical life. We may die for the sake of Christ, but no one can take away the eternal salvation and inheritance that is reserved for you in heaven. We are protected for eternity.

Next, while we are here, by faith, we must grasp that we are God’s own possession. While we are here, we have our brothers and sisters in Christ to pray with, to serve with, care with, worship with, live considering the imminent return of Christ with, and we are to do that together, which is why we have the church. If we are not practicing thinking like this, of course, we will find some other way dealing with the rough road, called life on this disposable, cursed planet, which is due to the sin that entered the world.

There are plenty of drugs out there that can mask the pain. However, they produce no lasting results, and usually lead to all kinds of other problems further complicating life. Anytime I deal with people, whether it’s in a good way or bad way, that gets hooked on illegal or prescription drugs, there is always far reaching, complicated circumstances.

As Christians, we shouldn’t always be running to the medicine cabinets. Not that all those mercies are given to us by God in good ways, but we must be careful and wise in how we use them, especially since they can be very detrimental in our holiness and effectiveness for Christ in this world. Therefore, we must be careful, and examine ourselves of why we are involved in a certain regimen of possibly drugs. Is it to mask the pain, cover up the hurt, or deal with life? That’s not how we ought to be doing it, and we must think correctly as believers. God wants to change our understanding of life, so we can live in a very responsible way.

Also, that means that there is a responsibility for Christians. As I previously mentioned, we are to maintain lives of holiness. Believers belong to God, and are responsible to live differently than their former way of life. We are to be holy in everything we do. 1 Peter 1:15:

but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior

We are never to be perfect, but we are to be holy. Holiness means both to live apart from the world and to live for God. Therefore, the saints are to abstain from all the vices of their former way of life, and to place all their trust in God rather than the world. Bottom line, saints are to be responsible and to live right for God. They are to pursue Holiness for several reasons.

First, holiness is required for our wellbeing, so we are called, and must earnestly strive, for personal and practical holiness in our lives. Meaning, believers are to be set apart from evil, separated unto God, consecrated, and entirely given up to His service. Secondly, holiness is necessary for effective service to God. We must be holy to serve God rightly. 2 Timothy 2:21:

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work.

Set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, and ready for every good works. To be effective in service, you must be holy. You cannot live two-lives. You cannot have something going on secretly, which no one knows about, and give the face of Christianity to those you know, who think you are Christian. God will know that, right? It may not mean that you are not a Christian, but it may mean that you need to get rid of the things that you have been playing with in your mind and your heart to live effectively for God.

Also, holiness is necessary for the assurance of your salvation. If you are not living a holy life, how can you be assured that you are a believer. The only safe evidence that we are in Christ is a holy life. If you know nothing of holiness, you shouldn’t flatter yourself that you are a Christian. Bottom line, it is not those who profess to know Christ who will enter heaven, but those who live holy lives.

So, this brings us to this suffering, but there is a strategy for victory over it in 1 Peter, which is his reason for writing this epistle. Peter gives us a strategy for dealing with the difficult times, the rough roads, the people that are against us as believers, and the tests of our faith. The primary form of persecution may not even be what you would sometimes except. The believers were experiencing verbal abuse, and they were accused as being wrong doers. 1 Peter 2:12:

Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.

They were insulted for being believers. 1 Peter 3:9:

not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.

They were spoken against to others for being believers. 1 Peter 3:16:

and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.

They were slandered for being believers. 1 Peter 4:4:

In all this, they are surprised that you do not run with them into the same excesses of dissipation, and they malign you

They were mocked for being believers. 1 Peter 4:14:

If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you.

Also, they were expecting fiery trials. 1 Peter 4:12:

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you.

So, these persecutions will come, and they were really in the form of vile slander and calamus attacks against them because they were Christians. They were being hated since they withdrew from the sensuous practices and amusements of their pagan neighbors and families. Apparently, they were also charged for being disloyal to the state of Rome.

Under this point of suffering and strategy for victory, these Christians had a lot of pressure to adapt to Roman values, customs, culture, and expectation to follow Rome’s ethical and moral standards, which were totally opposite of God’s standards. Isn’t that what Hollywood tries to do with people? Young people have so much pressure on them because they don’t look a certain way, wear certain clothes, don’t listen to certain music, or don’t follow a certain group. Therefore, the peer pressure in high schools is tremendous on young people, but we are all bombarded by the world trying to get us to think like they think, and to have their ethical and moral standard.

Also, these people had pressure to be Pro-Roman, and show loyalty to Rome. Rome wanted Christians to make a valuable contribution to Roman life. When they didn’t, they were persecuted. Those providences brought many different religious ideas to that region and to believers. Old gods were blended with new gods, which is called syncretism. During that time, the roman cult of the worship of emperor as gods was on the rise. The trade routes also brought many opportunities for pursuing and obtaining wealth, so it was a very wealthy area. The wealth was increasing because of the black sea and costal areas, and so there were a lot of opportunities for wealth.

Therefore, Christians were being tempted in that way. Either they were not able to make wealth because they were believers, or they were pursing it and leaving other things behind that were most important. Also, there was a confusion about what good meant. For the Roman, it meant one’s duties to the state and city rather than a moral and ethical practice of good works. Thus, the Romans were on different spectrums when it came to good works. Even Pilate said, “What is truth?”

However, the Christians understood what goodness was based on the Word of God and their relationship to Christ. Therefore, Christians were citizens of heaven rather than citizens of Rome. We are citizens of the United States, right? The best citizens, though, are Christian citizens. Christian citizens will do things that honor God, and when we honor God, everybody gets honor in some respect. Because Christians are citizens of heaven, in Rome, they were naturally marginalized and rejected, which is like today. Maybe we are not marginalized to the same extent, but in certain parts of the world, Christians are not welcomed in any realm of society. Some are even killed for their faith.

As I come to an end, there are three elements in the Christians end-time perspective of suffering that is brought out. Suffering is a sign of faiths genuineness. 1 Peter 1:6-7:

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, 7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Don’t you know that your faith needs to be tested? All Christians faith will be tested, and the only way it is going to be tested is by trails. At that point, it shows how much you have learned, how much you are putting into practice, how much you have grown in holiness, and how much you honor what God thinks about how you live your life as opposed to what everybody else thinks.

Many things will come out in suffering, but it’s going to be a test as a proof of your faith. I pray that our faith comes out to be as precious gold, which is all the dross of the gold once the heat is brought to a boiling temperature. As the metal is brought to a boil, all the impurities are skimmed off the top. In saying that, as suffering comes in our life, we start getting rid of stuff through all the trails and tribulation. Usually, when things are going well, we don’t take care of things that we ought to, but the trails come, and we must take care of those things.

Secondly, the believer’s faithfulness in suffering leads to eschatological blessing. 1 Peter 4:6:

For the gospel has for this purpose been preached even to those who are dead, that though they are judged in the flesh as men, they may live in the spirit according to the will of God.

In other words, there is an end-time blessing that goes with being a believer in Christ Jesus, who has been living a life through suffering faithfully. Because they are living their life according to the will of God, there is a blessing that comes to them. Thirdly, God guarantees that the persecutors will come to justice. 1 Peter 4:5:

but they will give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

The accuser will give account to Him about their persecutions against God’s possessions. Therefore, believer’s need not to fear their persecutors, but instead they will fear God. They will live for him, not for vengeance. They will leave all vengeance to God since He is the righteous judge. 1 Peter 1:17:

If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth.

1 Peter 2:17:

Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

In other words, God does guarantee that nobody will get away with anything. However, it is not our job to take vengeance in our hands. Of course, every movie that is made is about vengeance, but your vengeance is nothing like God’s vengeance. God will level the playing field, and He promises that to us. If we are being persecuted by people, government, or anything else, we must realize that it is not our job to retaliate, but to leave judgment, justice, and vengeance to God. He may take care of it in the present, but He will take care of everything in the future.

Lastly, the end of the believer is hope and glory. We have hope like no one else had, and we’re going to receive glory like no one can imagine. During difficult times, believers must set their hope on their final salvation when Christ returns. Their faith and hope are in God, who raised and exalted Christ, who will do the same for us. That hope will stand out in a hopeless world, and it will be noticed by people. Remember, we show this hope with gentleness and reverence, and with all removal or vengeance or retaliation. Our different perspective in life is an opportunity to share the gospel, to do good deeds to the person, to have contact with someone who doesn’t see it your way, to be kind to them, and share with them why you have that hope.

If you live that way, those moments will be great gospel opportunities. However, if you live like everyone else around you, and nobody senses anything different about your life, your language, actions, or your dress, they will not ask you anything. They will assume you are just like them. Therefore, being holy is being different because of Christ. May this study of 1 Peter make us holy people, who have a hope for the future and present, which gives us many opportunities to do good and share the gospel. More importantly, God will receive glory and our promised glory in heaven.