The Way - Day 174 (1 Peter 1)

Daily Reading:
1 Peter 1
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
Highlight how the Gospel is shared in 1st Peter 1.  Go through the chapter and call out each section as you read them.  Spend some time summarizing how you would explain that to someone today.  Practice on each other.
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 82:3-4
OPTION 2: Proverbs 21:1
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:27-28
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for 1 Peter 1 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Introduction to 1 Peter
The author of this letter was a fisherman before Andrew, his brother, brought him to meet Christ (John 1:40-42). Peter was the son of Jonah(s) and was also known as Simon (Greek) or Simeon (Hebrew). Jesus changed his name to Cephas (Aramaic), meaning stone or rock, which signified how Jesus would use him in the future to establish the church. Some of the details we know about Peter is that he was married, he was an apostle, and seemed to be the leader of the apostles. Most of his ministry is documented in the first twelve chapters of Acts. Peter's life ended in martyrdom when he was crucified upside down (AD 67-68). This first letter of Peter was written a couple years before his death during a time of severe persecution of Christians. The emperor Nero was ruling over Rome (AD 64-65) and he had an uncontrollable desire to build. When he ran out of room, he purposely set fire to the city in order to be able to build again. The Roman citizens were furious as they had lost everything. Nero quickly realized the mess he had created so he blamed the fire on the Christians. Followers of Christ lived in fear each day as the Roman citizens sought revenge upon them. It was under these circumstances which Peter wrote this letter to encourage the Christians to be strong and holy amidst persecution. Themes such as hope and trust in God make their way to the surface as Peter seeks to comfort those who are being persecuted.

1 Peter 1:1-12
As Peter begins writing to what he calls "the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia" (1:1) the reader can assume he is addressing those who don't feel like they "fit in" on earth. Have you ever been to a place where you felt out of you didn't belong? This is the way the recipients of this letter felt as Peter is reminding them that they are foreigners in this strange land. Since Peter was writing to primarily Gentiles who had been dispersed as a result of persecution, it is safe to assume that these Christians had also turned their back on all the immoral festivities and idol worship of the culture. At one time they were joining in these drunken parties, but now their lives were changed because of faith in Jesus Christ. Those who lived next door and across the street from these believers criticized and even persecuted them for their new-found "religion." The followers of Christ refused to include themselves in the sinful practices of the city and others took notice. Instead of respecting them, they became antagonistic toward them. If the historical situation with Nero burning the city had already taken place at the time of Peter's writing, this added more persecution for those worshiping Christ. However, Peter did not instruct Christians to overthrow those who were mistreating, but he rather reminded them about what awaited them beyond this life. Peter writes "God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ...has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible [does not pass away] and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you..." (1:3-4). The living hope Peter writes about is eternal life where the Christian will experience peace, righteousness, and God's everlasting presence. Although the follower of Christ will face trials on earth, the "end of your faith" results in the "salvation of your souls" (1:9). "The prophets...prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow" (1:10-11). Although the Old Testament prophets did not understand all the details about God's plan to save mankind from sin, they had faith and that alone brought salvation. Now those of us who have lived following the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for our sins clearly understand God's plan of redeeming sinners (1:12). These truths should provide hope in the midst of persecution because we know that eternal life awaits those who put their faith in Jesus Christ.

1 Peter 1:13-21
Since those who evidenced faith in Jesus Christ had the hope of eternal life, Peter told them to "gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ" (1:13). Girding up the loins carried the idea of gathering the loose parts of one's robe in order to avoid hindrances while running or in battle. When Peter commands them to "gird up the loins of your mind" he is telling them to get their thoughts in order. Obviously these believers were facing a lot of physical as well as mental persecution and they needed to step back and gather their thoughts. The main thought which should bring mental peace is the fact that Jesus Christ was returning and would grant them eternal life. Although this fact provided hope for the future, what were Christians supposed to do in the meantime? Should they give up and just "fit in" with the culture around them? No. Peter writes that they should be "obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written 'Be holy, for I am holy'" (1:14-15). Holiness means to be separated from sin. God is holy means that He is perfect and has always remained separate from sin. As His followers we are required to live holy in all manner of life - attitudes, actions, and words. God redeemed us through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ, releasing us from the power of sin and making those who have faith in Him His children (1:17-21). This truth provides the basis for us to live holy lives before the world. Our actions should reflect the very nature of God, which is holiness. Are you living a life separate from sin?

Dear God, help me to live a holy life before others. May I look to You for the perfect example of being separated from sin and seek to live the life You lived so that others will see You through me.