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Douglas Wilson – Surveying the Text: 1 Peter

Posted On March 12, 2016

Introduction

There are three great themes in the epistle of 1 Peter. Those three themes are not unrelated—they tie together harmoniously. As you read through the epistle, meditate on these three things. The three things I have in mind are holy living, suffering, and the meaning of Christian baptism.

Keep in mind that this letter is also from Silas, a long-time companion of Paul. This helps account for stylistic differences between 1 and 2 Peter, as well as for how “Pauline” the epistle feels.

The Text:

“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” (1 Pet. 4:14).

Summary of the Text:

When we are baptized, this identifies us with Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the holy one, and that means that baptism identifies us with His holiness. Jesus is the one who suffered for us, and so baptism identifies us with His suffering. Jesus Christ identifies with His people, and so when we are united with Him, we are identified with all His people as well. When we are slandered for His sake, the spirit of glory rests upon us.

One of the common taunts in our day is that we in the West don’t know anything about persecution — one writer said that we tend to complain about “paper cut persecution.” While it is true that we have not yet resisted to the shedding of blood (Heb. 12:4), and we want to do nothing but honor those saints elsewhere in the world who suffer imprisonment or death for the gospel, we still need to let the Bible define persecution for us. Slander and false report is certainly part of it (Matt. 5:11), and so Jesus says that being reviled for His sake clearly qualifies. And one more observation should be made about this — those who minimize the insults borne by “well-placed” first world Christians will be the first to topple over when actual hot persecution starts in here. The cool kids never do well in this sort of thing.

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