Father, thank You for Your plan of salvation in Jesus Christ that gives us a living hope, as well as current and future blessings that will last forever. Remind me that in Christ my future is secure so that I may rejoice even in the midst of present sufferings. Help me live as one who has been born again for obedience to my Heavenly Father and His Word. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Read 1 Peter 1
Peter reminds these scattered believers of the gospel that was preached to them and that they believed. This gospel, he reminds them, should sustain them even in the most difficult times. Often, we need to remind one another of the gospel and its benefits.
1 Peter 1:1–9 Peter and Silvanus (5:12) wrote to followers of Jesus who have been scattered throughout Asia Minor. Due to persecution, these believers seem to have lost much, including their property and their identity. To a people experiencing suffering and misunderstanding as a result of following Jesus Christ as Lord, Peter invites them to praise God with him for the new birth, the gospel, which is a living hope. Because God Himself shields His chosen ones, they may rejoice even in the midst of trials and suffering. To a people whose faith was under attack, Peter explains that endurance through suffering shows their faith in Jesus is genuine.
Watch a video that discusses God’s goodness in your pain. (9:00)
By Thabiti Anyabwile. Copyright © 2016 The Gospel Coalition, Inc. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org. Used by permission
The Old Testament prophets predicted the suffering of the Messiah.
1 Peter 1:10–12 The Old Testament prophets predicted through the Holy Spirit a suffering Messiah whose life pattern was suffering first, then glory. That’s usually the pattern of Christian discipleship, too.
1 Peter 1:13–25 Because God has guaranteed, through Christ’s resurrection, the future reward of all His people, believers must live differently even in times of trial and loss. God is the One to fear because our current troubled existence is only temporary. Those whom God has chosen have been set apart by the Holy Spirit (1:2) for obedience, that is, to live holy and transformed lives since they’ve been bought (and sprinkled, 1:2) with the precious blood of Jesus.
God’s plan of salvation started before creation when the eternal Son of God was chosen to be the sacrifice for sins. Now, in Peter’s day, God’s eternal plan to bless all peoples through Jesus His Son has finally been revealed. These scattered believers have been born again through the living and enduring word of God, so they should give themselves to a sincere love for their fellow Christians, remembering that only people and God’s Word will last forever. Everything else perishes.
1 Peter 1:3-4
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.
- As we set our hope on the grace God will certainly give us in the future, we are enabled to live differently and not be conformed to wrong desires. Instead, we are set apart to fear God and love fellow believers. Loving others purifies us from living according to wrong desires. In other words, we cannot simultaneously “use” someone and love someone. Choosing to love others drives out our evil desires.
- In good and bad times, it’s easy to forget that the gospel is God’s eternal plan and that its benefits and rewards are only fully realized in eternity. The Holy Spirit seems to have especially aimed Peter’s gospel explanation at the particular concerns of these “temporary residents” of Asia Minor. He wants them to focus on what’s eternal and enduring. During trials and hard times, we also should give this kind of counsel rather than urge fellow believers to hope in their changing circumstances.
- Those who have been born again are to love deeply and sincerely from the heart. There is no such thing as a born-again believer who does not love others. According to Peter, loving deeply from the heart is part of the gospel truth that was preached to them.
- Explain the gospel and its benefits to at least one fellow believer. Talk together about how this good news helps us obey God and love others.
- Review your Spiritual Health and Family/Single Health. Do the below two general assessment portions again. What has changed over the last six months? Are there any new habits you would like to continue after this study is finished? Discuss with your accountability partner. Plan to put your new habits into action next week (if you aren’t already) and tell your accountability partner which habit/activity you started or plan to continue and ask them to check up with you about it. [Being a Disciple, Spiritual Disciplines, Healthy Relationships]
- Are you confident that God has transformed your heart, that you have turned from your sin and trusted in Jesus as your Savior?
- How would you rate your overall spiritual health right now? Over the past year?
- Make a note of your spiritual discipline habits over the past year: prayer, fasting, reading the word, giving, outreach, worship, etc.
- Describe your relationship and community with other people? Are you content with your current routines in relating to others?
- In what ways are you stewarding your gift of singleness for God’s purposes? Watch or read the Singleness and the Next Generation. and discuss with your accountability partner.
- Marriage: how would you rate (1-10) your marriage right now? over last year? Use the marriage evaluation questions and discuss with your spouse. Note any areas of concern.
- Parenting: How are you encouraged in your parenting? Are there any areas needing growth? How is each child doing? Note any areas of concern.