1 Peter 4:1-11: Two Focal Points
October 22, 2019
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
In order to live effectively as a Christian in a context where the world around is inimical to the Christian faith, it is important – Peter is saying in this passage – to have two particular focal points.
The first is to focus on the past. And in particular, the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and his suffering. Think about what Jesus did on the cross. Realize that this is the Master that you are following. And “arm yourselves also with the same attitude.” We follow the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord who was crucified and died and rose again from the dead. We are to have the same attitude and not expect that the world around is always going to approve of our discipleship of Christ. We have a cross-shaped faith, and it should not be surprising if at times in our lives we have a cross-shaped experience. In the same sort of way, then, the gospel was even preached in the Old Testament (this is the burden of verse 6) because at the heart of the salvation message, in the Old and New Testament, is the gospel that saves us from the judgment to come. And, we now know because of what Christ has done, that the salvation comes through the cross and faith in the cross, and it means taking up our cross and following Jesus too.
The second is to focus on the future. As Peter puts it, “the end of all things is near.” Because God’s salvation plan culminates in Jesus’ work on the cross, we now live with the imminent return of Christ. All that is necessary has been done, and all that is left is to proclaim this gospel to the ends of the earth. And so ‘the end is near.’ And because of that we are therefore to be alert, to be sober minded to pray, to love, to use our gifts to serve others, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.
Focus on the past: Christ suffered and died, and so do not be surprised followers of Christ if you too pick up your cross and experience suffering from time-to-time. But also focus on the future: the future return of Christ must fill us with a sense of commitment, urgency, love for one another, and a motivation to use the gifts that God has given us for the glory of Christ.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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