Thursday, December 18. 1 Peter 3 – 5

This morning’s newspaper brought a surprising article on self control (see Ann Lukits, “The Secret to Resisting Temptation” in The Wall Street Journal (November 25, 2014) D1). The surprise was that it was in the newspaper at all, but here was the “latest study” finding: “People who excel at resisting temptation . . . deliberately avoid situations in which their self-control might fail. . . The finding suggest high self-control is associated with avoiding, rather than overcoming, distraction.”

Peter closes his first letter with a command to be self-controlled and alert. He is not, however, the only person to mention this in the New Testament (Paul mentions it 3 times in 1 Thessalonians and 2 Timothy), but it seems to be of special interest to Peter for he refers to it three times in this book alone (1:13; 4:7 and here).

We cannot rush headlong through life without thinking about where we are going. We must consider the paths most traveled and note where they lead from the lives of those who have taken them. We must consider the paths less traveled and note the same thing of them. We must also consider the path of Christ, lit by scripture. It some cases, it will be the path most taken. In others, the path least taken. But either way, we must resist the temptation to be lazy, popular, or contrarian and instead, lay aside everything that would weigh us down and travel the road to God. While God has provided us an inheritance reserved for us in heaven, it can be lost without proper attention to discipline and self-control.

Reading Through the Bible, Sunday, December 18. 1 Peter 2 – 5

    Any presentation of a New Testament document that does not address practical behavior misses by wide margin the intent and content of the book.  This point is easily seen in the shorter books like James and Peter’s letters.

    Peter is the best known of the twelve apostles and the most often mentioned in the New Testament.  But while much is written about him, we have only a little written by him – just two letters comprising a total of eight chapters.  Both letters were written near the end of his life.  Tradition holds that Peter was crucified upside down in Rome about 68 AD.

    First Peter was written to Christians in Asia Minor who were undergoing great persecution.  If you look up “suffer” in all its forms in a concordance, you will find the terms mentioned twice as often as any other book in both Old and New Testaments.  Peter reminds his brethren that Christ also suffered at the hands of unjust men and therefore, they are simply following in Jesus’ footsteps.  Peter reminds his readers who they are:

* God’s elect, chosen according to God’s eternal plan to be obedient to Him.

* Called to be holy, because God is Holy.

* Royalty and priests entrusted with the task of declaring the praises of God.

    Considering their high calling, Peter reminds his readers they should act accordingly, and tells them precisely what is expected of them.  Peter does not tell his readers that their troubles will soon be over, or that God will deliver them in this life.  Instead, he reminds them that deliverance  will be found in the life to come.