Lesson 6: Grace That Sanctifies
Devotion: Read 1 Peter 1:1-2. There is a connection between the sanctifying work of the Spirit and obedience to the teachings of Jesus. Keep this idea in mind as you read 1 Peter 4:7-11. Here are wonderful guidelines for living a faithful life: be alert, love, offer hospitality, and serve others using your gifts. We are invited to strive for three goals: 1) let your words be the very words of God; 2) serve with the strength that God provides, not relying on your own strength; and 3) praise God through Jesus Christ in all situations. What are usually your goals when you speak? What situations tempt you to use words Jesus probably would not use? With what attitude are we called to speak? We are called to use gifts to serve others. When over the last month have you served? What are your general goals in life? What role does faith play in setting your life goals?
Personal Worship Option: Spend the next twenty-four hours aware of your language, noting when you use words and attitudes which are not “the very words of God” (4:11). Pray now, making these hours an offering to God, and pray at the conclusion, reflecting on the experience.
Dig A Little Deeper:
1:1 Peter is born “Simon, son of John” (John 1:42), an Aramaic name. Jesus changes his name to the Greek, “Peter.” Since he addresses Greek-speaking Jews dispersed around the world, he uses his Greek name. Likewise, Paul does not use his birth name, Saul, in his letters.
The areas listed are districts of northern Asia Minor. The spread of the gospel to these remote areas in only a few decades after the resurrection is a testament to the strength of the Church.
1:2 There are several references to the persecution these believers endure (1:6-7; 3:16-17; 4:12-19; 5:9). Peter writes to provide encouragement and support. Peter sets their suffering in a faith context: they are not beyond the notice of God. They are chosen people, equipped for the difficult mission of remaining obedient in the face of these trials. In fact, their sufferings are actually sanctifying them and enabling them to experience the glory of Christ (4:12-19; 5:9). What is the difference between suffering for someone/something and suffering for no reason?
Notice this passage is written according to a Trinitarian form.
4:7 Peter frequently reminds those who are suffering that the end is near and the final judgment lies ahead (1:5; 4:17; 5:10). He does not want them to give into the temptation to give up on faith because of their circumstances.
4:8 Compare this to Luke 7:47 and James 5:20.