Have you ever wondered what men of God like Peter, Paul and John might say to churches today? No better answer could really be given than what they’ve already said to us through the Holy Spirit and revealed in the New Testament! While we can and must appreciate the occasion(s) that initially prompted the writing of each of the books of the New Testament, there also is a timelessness to God’s word that must be loved and respected by all people of every age and place.
Using Peter and the book of 1 Peter as an example, what might Peter say to churches today? Let’s answer this by examining 7 keywords of 1 Peter.
- 1 Peter is a book about GRACE. Notice 1 Peter 1:2, 10 and 13. In fact, the word occurs in all 5 chapters of the book (10 times in all). How we all desperately need greater awareness of God’s grace! What has been given so freely in Jesus is amazing indeed; however, it came at infinite cost to God Himself! 1 Peter says much about God’s grace and how we should respond to it. Grace is unmerited favor at Christ’s expense when anger was owed us due to our sin.
- 1 Peter is a book about GLORY. Peter constantly holds before the weary, suffering hearts of his readers both God’s glory and the glory that awaits His people (again, 10 times in the book. See for example 1 Peter 1:7, 11, 21 and 24).
- 1 Peter is a book about what is GOOD. No less than 7 times in this brief book, Peter exhorts people to consider and pursue what is good (cf. 2:18; 3:10, 11, 13). We can get so weighed down by sin and trouble we fail to keep the “good” before us as we ought. Peter wants to help us here.
- 1 Peter is a book about SUFFERING. Trial and suffering are found in all 5 chapters of this book. The Greek word for suffering is found 12 times in the letter (cf. 2:19, 20, 21 and 23). God cares when His people hurt! Peter, with the wisdom of a lifetime of service and the Holy Spirit’s inspiration (of course), offers encouragement and instruction as God’s people wrestle with suffering and trials
- 1 Peter is a book that masterfully deals with SUBMISSION. The expression is found at least 6 times in the book (cf. 2:13, 18; 3:1; 5:5). Properly yielding to God and others often is one of the most difficult aspects of Christian development! Following the example of our Lord, Peter helps us better see the importance of “Your will be done” in our lives.
- 1 Peter is a book about CONDUCT / BEHAVIOR. We never say more about ourselves and our God than by the way we respond to suffering, trials and difficulties. Peter specifically mentions this 7 times (see 1:15, 17, 18; 2:12; 3:1, 2, 16).
- 1 Peter is a book about being PILGRIMS / FOREIGNERS. See passages like 1 Peter 1:1 and verse 17. Truly, this world is not our home. We ARE just passing through! It is not wrong to enjoy life here on earth, but Peter powerfully exhorts us not to get too comfortable here. We need to prepare for our real home!