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Book of First Peter

Lyn Mize

Peter, the disciple of Jesus, wrote the book of First Peter from Rome during the reign of Nero in about AD 62-64. The epistle was written to the churches of the provinces in Northern Asia Minor. This is modern day Turkey. The letter was written to convert Jews and Gentiles, and it is likely that the majority were believing Gentiles. The purpose of the letter was to encourage persecuted believers to hope in God’s ultimate deliverance for those who are steadfast in faithfulness. Thus, the book pertains to the hope of soul salvation and the reward for faithfulness in the face of great persecution.

I.                   Customary Salutation (1:1-2)  

A.     Identification of the Author (1:1a)  

(1 Pet 1:1 KJV)  Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,

Peter addresses those persecuted Christians whose stand for Jesus makes them strangers or aliens in a pagan society. It is the same today for Christians who would be disciples of Christ. The main body of the Church today walks in step with society and the desires and lusts of the flesh. Faithful Christians are denigrated as extremists, fanatics, or believers that have “gone to seed on Bible prophecy.” The main body of the Church today does not understand the concept of soul salvation, as it relates to the doctrine of reward for faithfulness. First Peter is an epistle about soul salvation. It is addressed to believers already born-again spiritually.  

Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia were provinces in Asia Minor or modern day Turkey.  

B.     Identification of those Addressed (1:b-2)  

(1 Pet 1:2 KJV)  Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

Those “strangers” in the provinces of Asia Minor are here described as the “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father….” Foreknowledge simply means that God chose us and loved us before the foundations of the earth were laid. It is not that He saw we would become believers, but He elected us and arranged for us to become believers (Doctrine of Election). It was not by chance or human design that we were elected for salvation, but by God’s sovereign, unconditional choice of us. God foreknew or loved us before we had done anything.  

II.                Chosen for New Birth (1:3-2:10)  

A.     The New Birth’s Living Hope (1:3-12)  

                        1. The future inheritance (1:3-5)  

(1 Pet 1:3 KJV)  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,

Christians are begotten or quickened in their spirits by the Holy Spirit because of the “abundant mercy” of God. We are made spiritually alive “unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead”. It is important to note that this is a living hope that we have and the hope is because of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. A hope is not a certainty as many preachers attempt to prove. The hope is for soul salvation, and this salvation occurs when we die to self and allow the resurrected life of Christ to live in us. The death of Christ brought about our spirit salvation, and the life or resurrection of Christ in our lives can bring about the salvation of our souls. We already have spirit salvation, but soul salvation is a “lively hope” that we have in our lives. Soul salvation requires us to act. It is an active salvation and not a passive salvation. 

We look to the death of Christ for our spirit salvation, and we look to the resurrected life of Christ for our soul salvation. Our spirit salvation is what gets us into heaven, but it is our soul salvation that realizes our inheritance or reward in the coming kingdom, as stated in the following verses:  

(1 Pet 1:4 KJV)  To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

The inheritance for the Christian is in full force and effect, even after 2000 years, and it will not diminish in value. It is reserved in heaven for certain Christians, but not all Christians, as explained in the following verse:

(1 Pet 1:5 KJV)  Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

This verse clarifies that the inheritance is reserved in heaven for those Christians “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time”. This salvation is the salvation of the soul, and it is achieved through faithfulness “unto salvation” that will be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The conditional nature of this salvation is seen in verse 7 below where our faith “might be found” worthy of praise, honor and glory.  

                        2. The Present Joy (1:6-9)  

(1 Pet 1:6 KJV)  Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:

We have reason to rejoice in the prospects or hope of this future salvation and realization of this inheritance, even though we may be grieved or sorrowful because of the diverse temptations that we are encountering. A Christian’s joy should be independent of his circumstances, and should be focused on the age to come. As seen in the next verse, the temptations that we are encountering are serving a purpose in proving or testing our faithfulness. This is not a test to see if we are spiritually saved, but it is a test or proving of our faithfulness in living the Christian life. The conditional aspect of this trial is confirmed in the following verse.

(1 Pet 1:7 KJV)  That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

The trial of our faith is more precious than gold, since gold perishes, but our faith “might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.”  

(1 Pet 1:8 KJV)  Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

Even though we have not seen Jesus Christ face to face, we love him, and our believing in this inheritance allows us to have unspeakable joy and cause for rejoicing. This faith in our inheritance in Jesus Christ gives worth to our suffering for him. “Full of glory” means that our success in these trials of our faithfulness is an honorable thing that has great worth. Our success in these trials of our faith will result in great reward in the salvation of our souls, which is seen in the following verse:

(1 Pet 1:9 KJV)  Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.

The end of our faithfulness through these trials and temptations will be the salvation of our souls. The salvation of our souls is the end result that we are seeking in our faithfulness to the Lord. As stated above, it is a living hope that we have and the prospects of receiving this inheritance is reason for rejoicing now—even though we are subject to great persecution.  

                        3. The Mystery of Soul Salvation (1:10-12)  

(1 Pet 1:10 KJV)  Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:

The Old Testament prophets that prophesied of the coming Age of Grace even inquired and searched diligently into this salvation of the soul. Even they did not understand it, but they knew enough about it to inquire and search for it.

(1 Pet 1:11 KJV)  Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

The Old Testament prophets inquired as to what this salvation was and when it would be realized. They inquired or searched the “Spirit of Christ” which gave them sign to its existence for a future time and place. We know more now about soul salvation and the time that it will be accorded to the faithful ones of God. Jesus explained soul salvation in detail, which is recorded in the New Testament, but the Old Testament prophets did not fully understand it. Most in the Church today do not understand soul salvation because they have not studied the Scriptures enough to understand it. As stated above, soul salvation will be realized at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ and the Judgment Seat of Christ. Spirit salvation is something that occurred in the past for those who are already born-again Christians.

The prophets testified beforehand of “the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow” for those believers who suffer for Christ. The phrase “sufferings of Christ” is correctly translated “sufferings for Christ”. It is talking about the Christian’s sufferings for Christ, and not Christ’s sufferings. If we suffer for Christ, then glory will follow. If we do not suffer for Christ, then glory will not follow.  This is seen in the conditional phrase “glory that should follow.” The “sufferings of Christ” have already been completed and His glory is a certainty. Our glory still hangs in the balance and it is dependent upon whether we endure “sufferings for Christ.”  

(1 Pet 1:12 KJV)  Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

Soul salvation was not fully revealed to the Old Testament prophets, but the New Testament prophets that speak in the power of the Holy Spirit have revealed it unto us. Even the angels of God desired to understand soul salvation, which has now been revealed to the Church, since the Holy Spirit was sent down from heaven to teach us. Soul salvation was a mystery in the Old Testament, but it has been revealed in the New Testament. It is necessary to understand the difference between spirit salvation and soul salvation in order to grasp the full meaning of this epistle of Peter to Christians. Spirit salvation is past tense but soul salvation is present tense. Please read my article To Perish or not to Perish for an in depth understanding of the difference between the two.  

B. The Attainment of Soul Salvation (1:13-2:10)  

                    1.  Preparation for Attaining to Soul Salvation (1:13-16)  

(1 Pet 1:13 KJV)  Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

In this verse, Peter begins to exhort the addressees of this epistle in regard to soul salvation. The clause “gird up the loins of your mind” means to prepare their minds for action, and “be sober” means to be self-controlled. He also tells them to hope to the end for the gift or benefit (i.e., grace) that is to be presented at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Peter is telling these Christians to work hard and maintain their focus on the gift that will be presented at the Second Coming of Christ. The gift is soul salvation (i.e., eternal life), and it is something that must be attained to or laid hold on in accordance with the following Scriptures:

(1 Tim 6:12 KJV)  Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.  

(1 Tim 6:19 KJV)  Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.  

Eternal life pertains to soul salvation and the inheritance in the kingdom of heaven. It is not the same as spirit salvation. The following Scripture confirms that eternal life is conditional, and it pertains to the inheritance.

(Titus 3:7 KJV)  That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.  

(1 Pet 1:14 KJV)  As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:  

This verse continues the thought that obedience to the new nature is necessary to realize the hope, and it also requires that we not fashion ourselves after the old nature that is within us. The key point is made that Christians who fashion themselves after the former lusts of the flesh do so out of ignorance. They are ignorant in regard to soul salvation, and the fact that eternal life is a hope and not a certainty.  

(1 Pet 1:15 KJV)  But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

Just as the One who called us is holy, we should also be holy in everything that we do. This means that we are to strive to be physically and morally pure in everything that we do. This is work.  

(1 Pet 1:16 KJV)  Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Peter then quotes a Scripture to nail down the fact that Christians are to strive to be holy (i.e., morally pure & blameless), if they are to receive the gift that will be presented at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

                        2. The Price of Our Salvation (1:17-21)  

(1 Pet 1:17 KJV)  And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:  

In our striving to be holy, we are to call upon the Father to help us in this work of faith. If we call upon the Father to help us, we will fear God during this brief stay upon earth. The appositive about the Father judging our work without partiality confirms that our fear of God will greatly assist us in our efforts to be holy and to live a morally pure and blameless life.

Holiness is something we strive to attain, but we often fail in our efforts. This is why we have 1 John 1:9 (KJV) for Jesus to cleanse us from unrighteousness when we fail:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Some say that we cannot live morally pure and blameless lives. This is not true since we have the blood of Christ cleansing us daily and even hourly when we confess our sins.  

The life of a Christian can be compared to a dining table that is to be kept clean and spotless. The table can be kept clean and spotless, but it depends upon the family wiping up the crumbs and spills that occur as the family eats. If everyone in the family immediately wipes up the spills that occur, the table can always appear shining and spotless. The effort required to clean the table should inspire every member of the family to produce fewer and fewer spills. The Christian life is similar. The harder we strive to keep the table clean, the fewer spills that are made, and the more frequent the cleansing. The truth is that the table can be kept clean and sparkling with effort. In like manner our lives can be kept holy and blameless before Almighty God.  

(1 Pet 1:18 KJV)  Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers;

As the Christian strives to be holy, he should remember the price that Jesus paid to make soul salvation possible. It was not silver or gold that made a way for us to live holy and blameless. The phrase “vain conversation” refers to the life that a Christian lived previous to his conversion. This life was handed down from our fathers in the tainted blood that we all share in common.  

(1 Pet 1:19 KJV)  But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

It was the “precious blood of Christ” that made it possible for us to live a holy and blameless life. These verses are referring to the continual cleansing that Christians receive based on the blood of Christ.  The blood of Jesus Christ was not tainted through “tradition” since He did not have an earthly father. His blood was pure and undefiled and provided a way for us to live a morally pure and blameless life.  

These verses are still referring to soul salvation and not spirit salvation. The precious blood of Jesus Christ must cleanse us regularly for us to be morally pure and blameless. 

(1 Pet 1:20 KJV)  Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,

The death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ was “foreordained” by God before He created the earth, but it was fulfilled or manifested at the end of four thousand years.  

(1 Pet 1:21 KJV)  Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

Christ is the reason that we have the faith to believe in God, and it was God that raised Jesus Christ from the dead and gave him glory. Our faith and hope for the attainment of soul salvation is in God. As Christians, we do not hope that we are spiritually saved or that we will be physically resurrected. These are certainties and they will definitely occur. Soul salvation is a hope that Christians have, and this hope depends upon the resurrected life of Christ being lived in us. I will state it again for clarity: Our spirits are saved by the death of Christ, but our souls are saved by the life of Christ. For the Christian to realize soul salvation, he must be resurrected into newness of life with the life of Christ being manifested in the Christian. Unfortunately, this does not happen with all Christians.  

Baptism by immersion is the sign that a Christian intends to die to self and allow the life of Christ to be resurrected in him. Unfortunately, many Christians are baptized and never strive to die to self and allow Christ to live in them. They have been born again spiritually, but they never lay hold onto eternal life, which pertains to the soul and not the spirit.  

                      3. Soul Salvation Requires Obedience for Purification (1:22-2:3)  

(1 Pet 1:22 KJV)  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

Peter points out that these Christians have purified their souls by their obedience to the truth, which is the Word of God. This obedience has occurred through the power of the Holy Spirit, and has resulted in “unfeigned love of the brethren”. Peter then exhorts them to continue in their love of one another with a pure heart. Unlike spirit salvation, which is eternally secure, soul salvation requires that we remain pure and undefiled until the end, which is death or resurrection. This is why our sojourn upon the earth should be in fear of God (1:17), for soul salvation depends upon our faithfulness until the end.  

(1 Pet 1:23 KJV)  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.

We have the ability to live a holy, pure and blameless life because we have been born again by the incorruptible seed of God that indwells us. Since we have the incorruptible seed of God in us, we have the Word of God—both the Living and the Written—and both are living and continue to abide in us. The Living Word lives in us via the Holy Spirit, and the Written Word must be made part of us in order to continue to abide in us.  

(1 Pet 1:24 KJV)  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away:

All things pertaining to the flesh nature is compared to grass (i.e., herbage) and the blossoms of the grass or herbage. All flesh and the glory of man will wither and pass away. This is why the old soul must perish, for it is the life lived under the old flesh nature. The life of the Christian that lives in accordance with the old flesh nature will certainly perish. The life of the Christian that lives in accordance with the new spirit nature in him will survive. The life lived in tune with the Holy Spirit is eternal. It shall never pass away. It will result in glory, honor and immortality. This is why the Christian that lives like this has laid hold onto eternal life. Eternal life pertains to the soul and not the spirit of man. The following Scripture passage provides the definition of eternal life:

(Rom 2:5-11 KJV)  But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; {6} Who will render to every man according to his deeds: {7} To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: {8} But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, {9} Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; {10} But glory, honour, and peace, to every man that worketh good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: {11} For there is no respect of persons with God.  

It is very important to note that “eternal life” is contingent upon works (vs. 6) and it is something the Christian seeks (vs. 7).  Also, it depends upon obedience to the truth (vs. 8), and glory, honor and peace will be granted for good works (vs. 10). This is “eternal life”, which is dependent upon the works of the Christian. Please read my article To Perish or not to Perish for more details and Scriptures on eternal life. The meaning of eternal life is one of the most misunderstand Biblical concepts in the Church.  

(1 Pet 1:25 KJV)  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Even though the flesh nature and the glory of man passes away, the “word of the Lord endureth for ever.” This word is the Written Word and the Living Word.  

(1 Pet 2:1 KJV)  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,

The first thing for the Christian to do is to put aside the old flesh nature. We do this when we lay aside all malice, which is the desire to harm others or see others suffer. Guile is deceitfulness and hypocrisies are the practice of beliefs, feelings or virtues that one does not hold. Unfortunately, many Christians have malice in their hearts, practice deceitfulness and live hypocritically. These attitudes must be laid aside or overcome, and then the Word of God must be taken into the life of the Christian.  

(1 Pet 2:2 KJV)  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

As newborn converts to Christianity, we must desire the unadulterated simple truths of God, so that we can grow in our faith. This verse is speaking of new Christians seeking the pure truths of God. Unfortunately, the Church has perverted the pure doctrinal truths of God to the point that few Christians grow in their faith.  

A friend of mine once stated that the Church has rejected the meat of the word and it is feeding on clabbered milk. The Church today has departed from the pure simple truths of the Word of God, and it is not growing into maturity.  

(1 Pet 2:3 KJV)  If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.

Christians that have experienced the grace of the Lord are the ones that should put aside all malice, deceitfulness and hypocrisy.  

                        4. The Practice of Holy Living (2:4-10)  

(1 Pet 2:4 KJV)  To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,

The Lord is the living stone (i.e., the Living Word) that Christians are to seek in their lives. He is the One that has been rejected by man, but He is the One chosen by God.  He is a Precious Living Stone.  

(1 Pet 2:5 KJV)  Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Christians that follow the exhortations above in laying aside malice, deceitfulness and hypocrisy, and seek after the pure Word of God (i.e., the Written Word) will be living stones also and will built up into a spiritual house. These Christians will be a holy priesthood and will offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God.  

(1 Pet 2:6 KJV)  Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

Peter quotes the Old Testament in stating that Jesus Christ is the Chief Cornerstone or Capstone. He is the Anointed, Precious One, and the Christian that entrusts his spiritual wellbeing to Him will not be disappointed. The Christian that does not entrust his spiritual wellbeing to Jesus Christ will be “confounded”. This means this Christian will be frustrated, ashamed and brought to ruin. His life or soul will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Many Christians’ lives can and will be brought to ruin at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Arminians are partially correct about the Five Points of Arminianism. The soul can be lost if a Christian does not remain faithful to the Word of God. However, the soul is not the spirit. The Five Points of Calvinism are correct in regard to the spirit of man.  

The whole context of this passage pertains to the Christian that lays aside malice, deceitfulness and hypocrisy and partakes of the pure Word of God, which is both the Written Word and the Living Word.

(1 Pet 2:7 KJV)  Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,

This verse is for those who highly esteem Jesus and highly cherish him. Peter goes back to use the rejection of Jesus Christ by the Jews as the example not to follow. They were disobedient, and they were the builders that that rejected the capstone. The image is that of a pyramid with a Capstone. The pyramid represents the Kingdom of heaven and Jesus will be made the leader (i.e., Capstone) of this kingdom.  

(1 Pet 2:8 KJV)  And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.

Jesus was a “stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence” to the Jews that rejected him at his first coming, and he will be the same to the Christians who are “disobedient”. The rejection of Jesus Christ by the Jews and him being “a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence” was ordained or appointed by God.  

(1 Pet 2:9 KJV)  But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:  

Peter goes on to exhort the Church that they are a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people”, and he warns them that they “should show forth the praises of him” who called them into the light. The word “should” is conditional. The members of the Church should do this, but they might not do it. Verse 11 below shows that Peter is making an earnest request for these Christians being addressed to abstain from the lusts of the flesh “which war against the soul”.  

(1 Pet 2:10 KJV)  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

In the Old Testament the Gentiles were not God’s people, but now the Church has become an elect people. The Church has obtained mercy now even though they were not the people of God “in time past”.  

III.             Exhortations to Holy Living (2:11-3:7)  

The Christian is to manifest Christ to others and Peter offers specific instructions on how Christians can live righteous lives. The righteous life is composed of good deeds.  

A.     Requirements for Holy Living (2:11-25)  

Peter challenges Christians to take a stand against sin, to submit to the lawful authorities that God has placed over us and to endure with patience the harsh masters that are over us. This kind of life will silence the critics and result in great reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Peter addresses real issues in the world for Christians to overcome in living a life that is set apart.  

                        1. Christian Attitude on the Earth (2:11-12)  

(1 Pet 2:11 KJV)  Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

Peter warns the Church that fleshly lusts war against the soul. He addresses them as “strangers and pilgrims” upon the earth. The earth is not the Christian’s permanent home, as we are just passing through. This attitude of being a stranger or pilgrim upon the earth is the correct attitude of the faithful Christian. There are many unfaithful Christians who are recognized as pillars in the Church, but they have settled down and gotten comfortable in the world. Many seek after wealth and the things of the world more than they seek after God. The faithful Christian seeks in accordance with the following Scripture:  

(Mat 6:33 KJV)  But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.  

(1 Pet 2:12 KJV)  Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.  

Peter is speaking to faithful Christians who are living virtuous or worthy (i.e., honest) lives among the Church (i.e., Gentiles). The word for Gentiles is the word used for Gentile Christians. If the faithful Christian lives an honest (i.e., virtuous or worthy) life among the Church currently, these same members of the Church who slander us now will glorify God in the “day of visitation”. The “day of visitation” refers to the day when the Firstfruits Rapture takes place.  The Greek word for “visitation” refers to the time that God will closely examine the lives of all Christians to see if they are “accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” The word for “visitation” means inspection into the ways, deeds, and character of Christians to see if they are to be accounted as worthy. It is the time of the Firstfruits Rapture. Those that are found worthy in character and deeds will be taken, but those that are found unworthy will be separated to go through the tribulation period.

Those Christians who are currently speaking against these faithful Christians as “evildoers” will suddenly start glorifying God after the separation (i.e., day of visitation).

                        2. Christian Conduct on the Earth (2:13-17)          

(1 Pet 2:13 KJV)  Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

Peter cautions these faithful Christians to submit themselves to the laws of man “for the Lord’s sake.” Christians are to obey the laws of the top leader (i.e., Federal laws). Philadelphia Christians do not rebel against Federal laws. Philadelphia Christians are law-abiding citizens. They pay their taxes and they do not disobey the orders of Federal courts.  

(1 Pet 2:14 KJV)  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

Christians are also to obey the local laws (i.e., state and county laws). They do not run stop signs or stop lights. They do not speed or drink and drive. Christians are to submit themselves to Federal, State and Local laws.  

(1 Pet 2:15 KJV)  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

It is the will of God that Christians obey the law. We are not to steal, cheat or do crooked things. Our obedience to the laws of man may very well put to silence the ignorance of foolish Christians living in accordance with their old flesh natures. These are the same Christians that speak of Philadelphia Christians as evildoers. When the Firstfruits Rapture takes place, these ignorant criticisms by foolish Christians will be silenced. The Olivet Discourse in Matthew 25 refers to these “foolish men” as the five foolish virgins.  

(1 Pet 2:16 KJV)  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

Christians are to use their freedom in Christ to perform good works and obey the law. We are free to obey the law and perform good works. We are no longer in bondage to the old flesh nature as the unsaved are still in bondage. We are to use our freedom in Christ to obey the law and be faithful servants of God, and not as an excuse to act maliciously. Many Christians use the grace of God “for a cloak of maliciousness.” They steal, curse, and perform all manner of evil behavior, thinking that the grace of God has absolved them from accountability. These Christians are very mistaken to think that they can trample on the grace of God without repercussions. All Christians must account for their lives and their behavior as Christians. Every idle word and everything done in secret will be accounted for at the Judgment Seat of Christ. There are many ignorant and foolish Christians who think they are doing okay, since they are born-again Christians. There will be shock, along with the weeping and gnashing of teeth when these Christians get to the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

(1 Pet 2:17 KJV)  Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

The New International Version translates this verse very well.  

(1 Pet 2:17 NIV)  Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

Unfortunately, many Christians do not do any of these commandments. We are to show proper respect to everyone, regardless whether they are saved or not. We are to love our brothers in Christ unconditionally. We are to fear God, and we are to show honor to the supreme leader of the land—even if he is a vile, wretched man. It is his position that we are to honor and not his personality.  

                        3. Christian Conduct as Employees (2:18-25)  

(1 Pet 2:18 KJV)  Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

We as faithful Christians are to submit ourselves to our employers, our supervisors, the policemen and those placed in positions above us. We are to be fearful of their authority over us. We are to do this whether these persons are good, kind and gentle, or even wicked, perverse, unfair and downright mean.  

(1 Pet 2:19 KJV)  For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.

If those in authority over us cause us grief and suffering because they are evil, then we will be rewarded for enduring the grief and suffering with patience.  

(1 Pet 2:20 KJV)  For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.

If the faithful Christian is treated poorly because of his own faults, then there is no glory in this, but if he suffers because of his good behavior, then this is acceptable to God, and he will receive honor and glory for it.  

(1 Pet 2:21 KJV)  For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps:

We are to follow the example of Christ who suffered the death on the Cross for us. As Christians we are also to take up our cross and die to self.  

(1 Pet 2:22 KJV)  Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:

Jesus committed no sin, and nothing deceitful came out of his mouth.  

(1 Pet 2:23 KJV)  Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:

When he suffered abusive language, he did not respond with abusive language. When He suffered unjustly, he made no threats to those who caused him suffering. Instead, he submitted himself to the judgment of God the Father, who ordained the suffering of Christ for the salvation of the elect.  

(1 Pet 2:24 KJV)  Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Jesus died on the Cross (i.e., the tree) for the elect that were dead in sin. We have now been cleansed of our sin because of his “stripes”, and we “should live unto righteousness.” The healing that has occurred in us is the regeneration of our spirits. This guarantees that one day we will have a new body that is not subject to disease and death, but this is not a guarantee that these current bodies will be free from sickness and disease.  The misrepresentation of this passage by the Laodicean church as referring to the healing of our present bodies is in grave error. It has caused many Christians to become angry with God when their bodies have not been healed, as promised by these Laodicean Christians.  

(1 Pet 2:25 KJV)  For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

The recipients of this epistle were once gone astray as lost sheep, but they had now returned to Jesus Christ who is the “Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.” Jesus Christ is the One Who watches over our souls and helps us to live worthy and blamelessly. Without his oversight and daily cleansing of our sins, we could not live pure and blameless lives before God. It is required that we live holy lives, and we must walk with Jesus in order to do this.    

B.     Christian Conduct in the Family (3:1-7)  

Peter now extends the Christian principles of respect and submission from conduct in the world to conduct in the family. He is exhorting the recipients of this epistle (i.e., Christians) to become submissive wives and considerate husbands.  

                            1.      Christian Conduct as Wives (3:1-6)  

(1 Pet 3:1 KJV)  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives;

This verse carries the force of a commandment for wives to be submissive to their own husbands (See Ephesians 5:22 & Colossians 3:18). The command explicitly commands women to be subordinate to their own husbands. The wife is to accept her place in the family under the leadership of the husband, since God has placed the husband as the leader of the home. Wives are to be submissive to their husbands, even if they are unbelievers. The behavior of a godly woman can soften the hardest hearts among men and bring them to soul salvation. The woman who wins her husband in this manner demonstrates the unfading beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit. This is in sharp contrast to the typical nagging wife guilty of verbal abuse to her husband and children. The wife with the quiet, meek and gentle spirit has God as her protector from the abusive and mean husband. The husband who abuses a godly woman who has placed herself in submission to him is in grave danger from the wrath of God.  

(1 Pet 3:2 KJV)  While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

The husband can be won over to serving Christ by the godly wife’s behavior when it is coupled with the fear of the Lord. The wife that legitimately fears the Lord will conduct herself in moral purity. The wife that has a deep and reverential sense of her accountability to God will conduct herself in a chaste manner. I have never seen a woman with a quiet, meek and gentle spirit who suffered physical and verbal abuse from her husband. I have seen many nagging, hateful, bitter, resentful, angry women who were both physically and mentally abused by their husbands.  

(1 Pet 3:3 KJV)  Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

The woman’s adornment is not to be from the outside in the braiding of the hair, or the wearing of jewelry or clothes.  

(1 Pet 3:4 KJV)  But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

The woman’s adornment is to come from the inside in a heart that is incorruptible. The wife with the meek and quiet spirit is precious in the sight of God. It is a well-known fact that precious things are not generally found in abundance. Neither are there many Christian wives adorned with the meek and quiet spirit addressed in this passage.  

(1 Pet 3:5 KJV)  For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands:  

In the Old Testament the holy women that trusted in God adorned themselves by being in subjection to their husbands.  

(1 Pet 3:6 KJV)  Even as Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement.  

The example of Abraham’s wife Sara is given. Sara even called her husband Abraham “lord”, which means master. The Christian wife who conducts herself in this manner of living a holy, quiet and meek life in subjection to her husband does not have to be afraid of her husband. In essence, the wife that fears God and acts accordingly does not have to fear her husband. Show me a wife who lives in fear of God, and I will show you a wife who does not live in fear of her husband.  

                            2.      Christian Conduct as Husbands (3:7)  

Peter exhorts Christian husbands to give their wives two gifts of love: understanding and respect.  

(1 Pet 3:7 KJV)  Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

Peter exhorts the husband to dwell with his wife “according to knowledge”, and this means with understanding. The husband is to understand his wife’s spiritual, emotional and physical needs. He is to honor his wife and this means to respect and to esteem her highly. Paul elaborated on the responsibility of the husband to protect and care for his wife “just as Christ does the church” (Ephesians 5:28-30).  

The husband is to understand that the wife is “the weaker vessel”. He is to understand that they are heirs together of the gift of eternal life. They are to work together to lay hold onto eternal life. If they work together to realize this inheritance, then their prayers will not be hindered in attaining this end. This verse states that the husband and wife must work together to realize eternal life. If they work separately or in opposition to each other, then their prayers are hindered in realizing this inheritance.  

The wife is “the weaker vessel” physically, emotionally and mentally. It is commonly accepted that women are generally physically weaker than men are. They are also emotionally weaker and cannot withstand the same stresses that men can. Men are also mentally stronger in their reliance upon the reasoning powers, while women rely upon the emotional over the rational. Mental superiority does not mean intellectual superiority. The mean IQ of women is the same as men (i.e., 100), but women tend to cluster around the mean. Women do not tend toward having very high IQs or very low IQs as men do.  

IV. Cautioned for New Persecution (3:8-4:19)  

In the first two chapters Peter addressed “manifold temptations” (1:6) for Christians, accusations of being “evildoers” (2:12) by other Christians, the “ignorance of foolish men” (2:15), and the necessity for Christians to “endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (2:19).  These persecutions had already occurred, but Peter warned that more severe persecution and suffering was close at hand. Peter cautioned Christians to maintain a clear conscience when facing injustice, and to endure the future suffering with Christlike courage.  

                A. Overcoming injustice (3:8-22)  

Peter uses the example of Christ and Noah to emphasize that the right response to rising persecution results in blessing.  

                1.      A Compassionate Conduct (3:8-12)  

(1 Pet 3:8 KJV)  Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

The word “Finally” introduces a new section rather than serving as a summary of previous exhortations. Peter now exhorts the whole Church to live harmoniously with each other in having compassion toward each other, and to love one another with brotherly love, kindheartedness, and courtesy. Verses 8 and 9 following are Peter’s exposition of Psalms 34:12-16 and verses 10-12 quote this same passage.  

(1 Pet 3:9 KJV)  Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.

Christians are not to return insult for insult or slander for slander, but we are to return blessing to those fellow Christians that treat us spitefully and make slanderous statements against us. Christians are called to endure persecution and we will receive a blessing if we return good for evil.  

(1 Pet 3:10 KJV)  For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:

This verse is speaking about eternal life (i.e., soul salvation) in the coming age (i.e., “good days”). The Christian who desires to lay hold on eternal life and enjoy life for the coming age must “refrain his tongue from evil” and he must not speak deceitfully and falsely. Only truth must emanate from the mouths of Christians that would “inherit eternal life”.  

(1 Pet 3:11 KJV)  Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it.

The Christian who desires soul salvation in the coming millennial kingdom must depart from evil and perform good deeds (i.e., righteous acts). He must seek after peace and act in accordance with it. This does not mean perfect righteousness, but it does mean the Christian seeks after the righteousness of God. The Christian who seeks after soul salvation seeks to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. His life goal is to depart from all evil and to seek after righteousness. He may fail occasionally but he will confess his sin and continue in his efforts to live righteously.  

                        2. A Good Conscience (3:13-22)  

(1 Pet 3:12 KJV)  For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

The Lord focuses on Christians who live righteously, and he hears their prayers. The Lord turns his face away from Christians who do evil things. The Christian who lives a life of sin and expects God to answer his prayers will be greatly disappointed.  

(1 Pet 3:13 KJV)  And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?

In general people do not seek to harm Christians who seek after truth and righteousness. The following verse indicates that there are exceptions to this principle.  

(1 Pet 3:14 KJV)  But and if ye suffer for righteousness' sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled;

If the Christian behaves in the manner required and still suffers for his right behavior, then he should be happy about it for it will result in great reward in the coming kingdom. Christians are not to be afraid of what man can do to them, and we are not to be disturbed or concerned about it. It is the Lord who will take revenge against others who treat us wrongfully. We should not let it disturb our peace of mind.  

(1 Pet 3:15 KJV)  But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Christians are to set Christ apart as Lord in their lives, and they should always be ready to explain to others the hope that is within them. The hope is for eternal life in the coming kingdom. The way to realize eternal life in the coming kingdom is to allow Christ to live his life in the Christian. This is the meaning of  “sanctify the Lord God in your hearts”. Christians are to make Christ preeminent in their lives, and they are to explain this to others who ask about this hope in Christ. Christians are to explain this to others in meekness and fear. The fear is that of the Lord and not fellow men. The Christian should explain his desire to inherit eternal life with meekness and the fear of the Lord, and not with an arrogant, self-righteous attitude.  

At this point it must reemphasized that eternal life pertains to soul salvation, and it is not a certainty, but a hope that the Christian should maintain.  

(1 Pet 3:16 KJV)  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

“Having a good conscience,” means that Christians are to have the awareness of a moral or ethical aspect to their conduct, and they are to prefer right over wrong. It does not mean that Christians are never to feel guilty. On the contrary, Christians should feel guilty when they have acted in accordance with the old flesh nature. It is the feeling of guilt that leads one to repentance and the confession of sin. If a Christian behaves in accordance with his conscience, then his fellow Christians who speak evil against him should be ashamed for their false accusations against his Christlike behavior.  

(1 Pet 3:17 KJV)  For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer for well doing, than for evil doing.

God prefers that Christians suffer for well doing and not for evil doing. If Christians do that which is right in the sight of the Lord, then it matters not what others think. Christians should be concerned with what Christ thinks and not what others think.  

(1 Pet 3:18 KJV)  For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

Peter sums up the exhortation to eternal life by stating that Christ suffered to pay for sins, “the just for the unjust” so that Christians “might” be brought to God having put to death their old flesh natures and having new lives via the Holy Spirit. This verse is not talking about spiritual rebirth but about souls being made alive by dying to the old nature. Peter desires that each Christian put to death the old soul (i.e., old flesh nature), so that the Holy Spirit can make his new soul in the image of Christ. This is conditional as seen in the conditional word “might”. This verse addresses soul salvation and not spirit salvation.  

(1 Pet 3:19 KJV)  By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;  

When Christ suffered death for us, “the just for the unjust”, He went down to hades and preached to the spirits in prison there. At this time “paradise” was in the center of the earth in a place known as “Abraham’s bosom”. Jesus went down into paradise to preach to the human spirits detained in this place.  

(1 Pet 3:20 KJV)  Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.

God’s people were detained in paradise (i.e., Abraham’s Bosom) prior to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. After his resurrection He transferred paradise into heaven. Many of God’s people who lived disobedient lives died in the flood and went down into Hades or Paradise when they died in the flood. Only eight were found faithful and they came through the flood and were saved. This is a type or picture of soul salvation through baptism. Water baptism is a picture of the perishing of the soul in this life and the resurrection of the new life in Christ Jesus.  

(1 Pet 3:21 KJV)  The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

This verse confirms that baptism does save us, but it is our souls or lives that are saved and not our spirits. It is not the actual water that cleanses the dirt from our flesh, but it is the new life in Christ, which is the response of a “good conscience toward God.” A “good conscience toward God” is moral consciousness. It means the person behaves with moral consciousness. He performs righteous deeds and acts. He lives in accordance with a conscience that is guided by the Holy Spirit. He does this by dying to his old flesh nature and allowing the life of Christ to be lived in him. Thus, figuratively, baptism does save our souls. It is not the literal dunking in the water that saves our souls, but the living of the resurrected life, which the baptism signifies. Many baptized Christians live despicable lives and will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ. They do not have a good conscience toward God. It is not the literal dunking that saves the soul but the living out of the resurrected life symbolized by the dunking. Water baptism symbolizes putting off the old man and putting on the new man. A man may be baptized a dozen times, but if he never lives the resurrected life of Christ, then he will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

As a figure, the flood wiped away the old sinful world, and the death of the old man wipes away the old sinful life of the Christian who lives his life in accordance with the Word of God.  

(1 Pet 3:22 KJV)  Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

After his resurrection and after walking the earth for 40 days, Christ went into heaven and is now on the right hand of God the Father. As a reward for his faithfulness, He has been exalted to the position of supreme ruler over all of creation. Christ is over the angels, both fallen and faithful. He is over all authorities in the physical and mental realm, and He is over everything in the supernatural realm. Thus, Christ has been exalted to the supreme leadership over heaven and earth and all the inhabitants of both realms.  

            B. Enduring Suffering (Chap. 4)  

This chapter is the focus of Peter’s exhortation for Christians to endure suffering. As Christians, we should arm ourselves with a Christlike attitude, Christlike service and Christlike faith.  

1.      Christlike Attitude (4:1-6)  

(1 Pet 4:1 KJV)  Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;

Christians are to arm themselves with the same attitude of Christ in suffering in the body. Christ suffered in his body, and Christians must also suffer in their bodies. The Christian who goes through physical suffering because of his Christlike attitude is the one who refrains from sin. It does not mean that this Christian never commits a sin, but it means that he lives his life determined to avoid sinning. The Christian who suffers for Christ will reign with Christ in his kingdom.  

The meaning of “arm yourselves” is the same as a soldier who puts on his armor with the determination to ward off the attacks of the enemy. The Christian who puts on the whole armor of God is the one who has determined to ward off the attacks of Satan. He has determined in his heart to refrain from sin. The determination to stop sinning is a mindset adopted by only a relatively few Christians.  

(1 Pet 4:2 KJV)  That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

The Christian must determine in his heart that the remainder of his life in the physical body must be lived in accordance with the will of God, and not in accordance with the lusts of the old nature.  

(1 Pet 4:3 KJV)  For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:

The Christian’s past life was lived to satisfy the old flesh nature, and it was enough time lived in accordance with the sinful lusts of the flesh. Lasciviousness is unbridled lusts, and lusts are the cravings of the old nature. Excess of wine is drunkenness, and revellings are wild parties where participants do not restrain the lusts of the flesh. Abominable idolatries pertain to the earthly seeking after wealth, status and position and the subordination of the things of God to these desires. Anything placed in a more important position than God is an idol.  

(1 Pet 4:4 KJV)  Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

The pagans with whom Christians used to associate speak evil of Christians who seek after the things of God. The Christian who seeks to please God will not be popular in the worldly setting. Other Christians who live in accordance with their old flesh natures will dislike the faithful Christian intensely. The faithful Christian makes the unfaithful Christian very uncomfortable. The faithful Christian serves as both salt and light to other Christians. Salt prevents putrefaction and the faithful Christian restrains evil. The faithful Christian spiritually enlightens other Christians just as light enhances the physical sense of sight.  

(1 Pet 4:5 KJV)  Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead.

Jesus Christ, who will judge both the living and the dead, will judge these Christians who live in accordance with their old flesh nature. All Christians will give an account of their lives at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Judgment Seat of Christ is not a judgment to see if a Christian enters heaven, but it is a judgment to see if the Christian enters into the reign and rule of the kingdom of God with Jesus Christ as King. Many Christians will fail to enter. Their lives (i.e., souls) will not be adjudged as worthy and they will perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Please read my article To Perish or not to Perish  for a deeper understanding of the perishing of the soul. The old soul or life of every Christian must be put to death. It either dies in this life or it will die at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Christian who does not crucify the old nature in this life will lose it at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Many Christians who go to heaven will lose their souls at the Judgment Seat of Christ. They will still enter heaven, but they will not enter the kingdom of heaven. They will enter heaven with a new soul or life, but they will lose their inheritance in the kingdom of heaven. This is the meaning of the following verse.  

(1 Pet 4:6 KJV)  For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

Many believers who lived in accordance with their old flesh natures will perish, and they will live in accordance with their new spirit nature after the resurrection of the body. All believers get a new quickened spirit, a new soul or life obedient to the spirit and a new physical body. Christians have not yet received their new physical bodies and many Christians have not yet realized the resurrected life in Christ. The Christian who lives the exchanged life in Christ is realizing the salvation of his soul. The Christian who lives his life in accordance with his old flesh nature will have this life (i.e., soul) perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

The Christian who is a drunkard will have his life perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The Christian who lives a life characterized by lying and deception will have that life perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Every Christian who lives his life indulging the old flesh nature will have that life perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Many pastors, elders and deacons who lived their lives seeking after the riches of the world are going to be greatly surprised at the Judgment Seat of Christ when their lives are burned up as wood, hay and stubble. There will be much weeping and gnashing of teeth at the Judgment Seat of Christ when the lives (i.e., souls) of Christians are reduced to ashes. This is described in the following passage of Scripture:

(1 Cor 3:13 KJV)  Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is.

(1 Cor 3:14 KJV)  If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.

(1 Cor 3:15 KJV)  If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.  

                        2. Christlike Service (4:7-11)  

(1 Pet 4:7 KJV)  But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

When Peter states “the end of all things is at hand” he does not mean the end of a period of time, but the end of a state of existence for the Christian. He wrote the epistle in late 64 AD or early 65 AD at the beginning of Nero’s persecution of Christians. The Christian’s life was about to change greatly. It is rumored that Nero set the fire of Rome in 64 AD and blamed it on Christians. He used this as the excuse to begin the Roman persecution of Christians. Peter was martyred himself two years later in 67 AD when he was crucified upside down. The end of the Christian’s way of life was certainly at hand when Peter wrote this epistle. He was not speaking of the Second Coming of Christ.

The Greek word for “end” is the transliterated Greek word telos, and it refers to the end of a particular state of existence and not the end of a period of time. The state of existence of the Church was about to change drastically and Peter was warning Christians about this change. It is likely that the persecutions had already begun in Rome and they were also being implemented in the Roman provinces. Peter was in Rome at the writing of this epistle even though he refers to it as Babylon (vs. 5:3). This was a prophetic utterance as Rome is the seat of Ecclesiastical Babylon at the time of the Second Coming of Christ. The heart of the ecclesiastical aspect of Mystery Babylon moved from ancient Babylon to Pergamum during the Pergamum church age and then to Rome during the Thyatira church age. It remains in Rome until the end of the Church Age and its present location is presently a separate state in Rome known as the Vatican. We must not confuse the Thyatira church, which is the Catholic Church, with religious Babylon, which is the Papal worship system.  

(1 Pet 4:8 KJV)  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

In anticipation of great persecution for all Christians, Peter exhorts his fellow Christians to stretch out their love (agape) for the brethren. The Greek word for fervent was used to describe the stretched or taut muscles of the athlete who strains his muscles to win a race. A Christian’s unselfish love and concern for the brethren should be exercised to the point of being sacrificial. Peter is saying that it takes great effort to have agape for the brethren. He also makes the point that agape will cover a multitude of sins.  

(1 Pet 4:9 KJV)  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.

Peter also exhorts Christians to have hospitality toward their fellow Christians. This means that Christians should be cordial and generously receive their fellow Christians in a friendly manner or disposition. The faithful Christian is friendly and cordial to his fellow Christians. The faithful Christian is friendly, courteous and kind towards the brethren. The faithful Christian is even kind to those who are unkind to him.  

Peter also states that this hospitality should be without grumbling or murmuring. The faithful Christian should do all things without complaining in accordance with the following passage of Scripture:  

(Phil 2:13 KJV)  For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

(Phil 2:14 KJV)  Do all things without murmurings and disputings:

(Phil 2:15 KJV)  That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world;  

Christians who grumble and complain are setting themselves up for rebuke at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  

(1 Pet 4:10 KJV)  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

Since every Christian has received a spiritual gift, he should exercise his gift in ministering to other Christians. The Christian who exercises his spiritual gift in ministry is being a good steward of the varied gifts that God the Holy Spirit has distributed among the Church. The current active gifts of the Holy Spirit are administration, serving, giving, mercy, exhortation, teaching, and prophecy.  

(1 Pet 4:11 KJV)  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
The word for “speak” in this verse refers to individual expression in words or deeds. It refers to the manner that a Christian expresses himself in utilizing his spiritual gift to minister to others. When a Christian ministers to others he should do so in the power of the Holy Spirit and not in the power of the flesh. The Christian who ministers in the power of the Holy Spirit glorifies God, and there will be great reward to this individual. All the good works that a Christian does must be in the power of the Holy Spirit. The faithful Christian is filled or controlled by the Holy Spirit, and he ministers in the power of the Holy Spirit.  

                        3. Christlike Faith (4:12-19)  

(1 Pet 4:12 KJV)  Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

Peter warns the recipients of this epistle concerning the persecutions of Rome that were already underway at the time this letter was written. Peter was preparing them for the persecutions that were coming, and he was exhorting them to remain faithful in spite of these fiery trials.  

(1 Pet 4:13 KJV)  But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Peter tells these Christians that they are to be partakers of Christ’s sufferings. The reason given is the reward that is to follow at the Second Coming of Christ. This is when Christ will be revealed in his glory, and Christians who endure the persecutions and remain faithful will share in that glory. They will be exceedingly glad with great joy. The time of this great joy and gladness is the millennial kingdom, which is the prophetic fulfillment of the Feast of Tabernacles. The Feast of tabernacles is known as the “season of our joy”.  

(1 Pet 4:14 KJV)  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

If a Christian receives disapproval or criticism because he is operating in the power and authority of Jesus Christ, then he should be happy about this, since it means the Holy Spirit is actively working in his life. Others may see you as being evil, but it will result in glory and honor at the Judgment Seat of Christ. The faithful Christian should concern himself more with what Christ thinks than what other Christians think.  

(1 Pet 4:15 KJV)  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.

It is one thing to suffer reproach because of Christ, but it is entirely a separate matter to suffer for doing evil. The Christian who suffers as a drunkard, murderer, thief, evildoer or busybody will not be rewarded for this suffering. The Christian who lives a life of decadence will receive no reward for his sufferings as a result of this decadence.  

(1 Pet 4:16 KJV)  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

If a Christian suffers for his faithfulness to Christ, he should not be ashamed for this suffering. Instead, he should praise and glorify God for his suffering, as there will be great reward.  

(1 Pet 4:17 KJV)  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

The verb phrase “is come” is not in the Greek.  The translators added it. This verse states simply that the time of judgment will begin with the “house of God”. Judgment will begin with the Firstfruits of the Church at the time of the Separation. In fact, the Separation is itself a judgment from God, since all Christians will be judged on their worthiness to participate in this rapture of the faithful. The Separation is referred to as “the day of visitation” in verse 2:12 above. The Greek word for “visitation” refers to the time that God will closely examine the lives of all Christians to see if they are “accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” This is the beginning of judgment in the house of God. It is the end of the Church Age for the faithful, but it is not the end for the unfaithful (i.e., “them that do not obey the gospel of God”).

This verse is clear that the end for the ungodly and the disobedient is not the same as for the faithful. We already know and understand that the end for these Christians will be the Main Harvest Rapture at the middle of the tribulation period.

(1 Pet 4:18 KJV)  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

This is referring to Christians who live righteously and have their souls or lives saved at the time of the Firstfruits Rapture. The phrase “scarcely be saved” refers to being saved with great difficulty and great effort. Of course, the verse is speaking of soul salvation at the beginning of God’s judgment of his household, which is the Firstfruits Rapture. Those who are saved at this point will be saved with much effort and difficulty on the part of these Christians. Since they are saved with great exertion and effort at the Firstfruits Rapture, “where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?” The question is rhetorical, as it should be understood that ungodly Christians who live sinful lives will appear at the Main Harvest Rapture for their judgment.  

(1 Pet 4:19 KJV)  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

The summation of this exhortation for Christians who suffer in accordance with this guideline states that Christians must commit the keeping of their souls to Christ. In simple terminology, Christians who suffer correctly for Christ must allow Christ to live his life in them. The lives or souls of Christians must be committed to Christ. It takes great effort to be committed to Christ. This is why only Christians who have exerted much effort will be “saved” at the beginning of God’s judgment. Judgment begins with the Church at the Firstfruits Rapture, described in verse 3:12 as “the day of visitation”.  

V. Responsibilities of Church Members

In this chapter, Peter exhorts the elders in the Church to shepherd the people, while the young men are to submit to the elders, and everyone is to stand firm in the faith.  

            A. Elders Are to Shepherd the Flock (5:1-4)  

(1 Pet 5:1 KJV)  The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed:

Peter exhorts the elders in the Church to feed the flock of God. He identifies himself as an elder and as an eyewitness to the sufferings of Christ. He also describes himself as a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed. Although not stated, the timing of this revelation is at the Second Coming of Christ. In order to be a partaker in the glory to come, the Christian must also be a partaker in the sufferings of Christ. Peter was definitely a partaker in the sufferings of Christ, and he was martyred about two years after writing this epistle.  

(1 Pet 5:2 KJV)  Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;

Peter exhorts the elders to feed the flock of God and to oversee their spiritual maturity. The elders are to do this voluntarily or willingly and not by compulsion. The elders are not to do this for the primary purpose of gain or greed (i.e., filthy lucre), but with alacrity or cheerful willingness (i.e., a ready mind).  

Unfortunately, the flock of God is starving in the local churches today. Very few pastors or teachers have any basic understanding of the primary doctrines of the Bible. The truth of the Five Points of Calvinism for the spirit of man is considered heretical. Only a relatively few pastors have any understanding of the difference between spirit and soul salvation. The Judgment Seat of Christ has been reduced to the question, “Why should I let you into heaven?” The phased rapture of the Church into both the Firstfruits and Main Harvest raptures is rejected or completely ignored by 99% of the pastors and teachers. The primary teachings in the Church today revolve around how to manage one’s finances and how to improve one’s marriage. Pastors simply do not spend time studying the Word of God. Numerous pastors with advanced degrees in divinity and theology have very little understanding of the Bible. Of course, this should not be a surprise to the true student of the Bible, since the prophetic Word states that the whole Church will become leavened with evil and false doctrine at the time of the end of the Church Age.  

In short, THE ELDERS ARE NOT FEEDING THE FLOCK OF GOD. The big question now is who is the faithful and wise servant who SHALL BECOME RULER OVER THE MASTER’S HOUSEHOLD. He is the one who is providing MEAT IN DUE SEASON. The “faithful and wise servant” is feeding the flock in accordance with the following Scripture:

(Mat 24:45 KJV)  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

(Mat 24:46 KJV)  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

(Mat 24:47 KJV)  Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.  

(1 Pet 5:3 KJV)  Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.  

The elders in the Church are not to control, subjugate or exercise dominion over the ones who are to inherit eternal life, but they are to serve as examples to the flock of God.  

(1 Pet 5:4 KJV)  And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.

The elders who do perform these duties as outlined in this passage of Scripture will receive the “crown of glory”. The crown of glory is the highest crown received by Christians, so it will go to the “faithful and wise” servants. There are two levels of servants in the kingdom of heaven below the faithful and wise servant. These two levels consist of (1) the good and faithful servant, and (2) the good servant.  

            B. Young Men Are to Submit to the Elders (5:5-7)  

(1 Pet 5:5 KJV)  Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.

Peter turns his attention from the undershepherds over the flock of God to the sheep. The responsibility of the sheep is to submit themselves unto the elder who has been placed over them. Peter exhorts “all” of the younger Christians to subject themselves to the “elder” who has been placed over them. This means that they are to listen to and learn from the elder. They are to yield to his admonitions and advice and they are to do this with an air of humility and not pridefully. This verse explains this attitude of humility by stating that God is opposed to the proud and arrogant Christian, but God rewards the humble and contrite Christian.  

(1 Pet 5:6 KJV)  Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:

The sheep of God are to humble themselves under God by submitting to the teachings of the elders. If they do this, then God will exalt them at the proper time.  

(1 Pet 5:7 KJV)  Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

Peter tells the sheep to throw or cast all of their cares and anxieties upon God for He cares for the sheep.  

            C. All Are to Stand Firm in the Faith (5:8-11)  

Peter now turns his attention on the whole Church, including the elders and the sheep. The exhortation to all is to stand firm in the faith, and he warns that the devil is seeking to destroy the brethren.  

(1 Pet 5:8 KJV)  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Peter warns Christians to be sober. This means that Christians are to be marked by seriousness, gravity, or solemnity of conduct or character. They are to be temperate, dispassionate and circumspect. This means they are to be moderate in all things, unaffected by their earthly passion and emotions, and they are to pay attention to what is happening around them.  

Christians are also warned to be vigilant. This means they are to be watchful and alert, since their adversary the devil is seeking every opportunity to destroy them. The devil can do nothing about our spirit salvation, but he can do something about the salvation of our souls. He can cause the Christian to perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ by causing him to fail in his Christian walk. If the devil could not cause us to lose our souls or to perish at the Judgment Seat of Christ, then this Scriptural warning about destruction would not be necessary in the Bible.  

(1 Pet 5:9 KJV)  Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

Peter warns Christians to resist the devil in a rigid or strong sense, and he states that these same afflictions and sufferings are imposed on all Christians who live in the world. We must suffer afflictions in the world just as Christ suffered afflictions.  

(1 Pet 5:10 KJV)  But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

Peter consoles us in our sufferings by stating that after we have suffered for an allotted amount of time, the God of all rewards will make us into mature, strong and stable Christians. The connotation in this verse is that the suffering in this life will not end, but we will become better equipped to handle the temptations of the devil.  

(1 Pet 5:11 KJV)  To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The passage ends with the statement that glory and dominion belongs to the Lord forever, but this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. It is still future, but it will definitely happen. Satan is still the god of this earth, but his time is very, very short.  

VI. Conclusion (5:12-14)  

(1 Pet 5:12 KJV)  By Silvanus, a faithful brother unto you, as I suppose, I have written briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God wherein ye stand.

Peter wrote these last three verses himself and he acknowledges Silvanus (i.e., Silas) as his amanuensis. This is almost certainly the same Silas that accompanied Paul on his second missionary journey.  

(1 Pet 5:13 KJV)  The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

As stated earlier, Peter refers to his location in Rome as “Babylon” and he states that “she” in Babylon “elected together with” the recipients of the letter salute them. The “she” is clearly a reference to the church in Rome. Peter also acknowledges that Mark, the author of the gospel of Mark, is with them in Rome. Paul in Colossians 4:10 placed John Mark in Rome on an earlier occasion.

It is interesting that Ecclesiastical or Religious Babylon began in Babylon, but it was transferred to Pergamum during the Church age of Pergamum, but it transferred to Rome during the Church age of Thyatira.  It has remained in Rome—the city of seven hills—until the present time. Religious Babylon is finally destroyed in its present location at the Vatican. It is important not to confuse Religious Babylon with the Church of Thyatira. The Church of Thyatira consists of Catholic Christians, while Religious Babylon is the Papal Worship System with its headquarters at the Vatican in Rome. The heresies of Religious Babylon have become intertwined with the whole Church. These heresies are part of the leaven that has leavened the whole Church.  

(1 Pet 5:14 KJV)  Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity. Peace be with you all that are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Peter ends by telling the Christians to greet each other with a kiss of agape as a sign of fraternal affection. He also wishes the peace of God to all the brethren “in Christ Jesus”. As the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ is the only one who can give us the peace of God.