Partakers of the glory of Jesus Christ
In this passage that I will be going over which starts in verse fifteen the Apostle Peter begins by saying four specific sins but he phrases this in an interesting way but for a purpose. He says let none of you suffer as a murderer, thief, evildoer or a busybody in other men's matters. You probably are thinking this is pretty obvious. We must go to the next verse to understand why he started out with sins to go into his point which is if any man suffer as a Christian let him not be ashamed. At this point the Apostle Peter goes in the exact opposite direction. He said we actually have a responsibility to glorify God on this behalf. Of course if we are a murderer or thief we should be punished because we did something wrong.
Peter goes on to write the time is come that judgment must begin in the house of God. This practice begins with Christians. The churches today have believers in Christ living with each other without a marriage license, thieves and all other sorts of sinning. They better repent and forsake their sin/sins. Remember God is holy and we should be living holy. Then and only then can we talk to the world about Jesus Christ. If we are not right with Jesus Christ how can we convert other persons to the Son of God. If a Christian is living like this as a lifestyle (and I know many) and do not repent with the motive of forsaking their sins they are not going to heaven but many will look you straight in the eye and say, "I'm saved." No they got saved past tense but they neglected their present tense salvation so as a result they will not possess future tense salvation. If they never got redeemed through the shed blood of Jesus Christ to begin with then the flesh is the only road they can pursue because they do not even have the ability to understand spiritual truths according to 1 Corinthians 2:14.
We are not going to get to heaven because of our overabundance of righteousness because Peter says if the righteous scarcely be saved where shall the ungodly and sinners appear. If I see one overwhelming problem among Christians it is we do not have a reverential fear of God. We do not live our lives shaking and trembling before Holiness and Righteousness. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding." Proverbs 9:!0. If we have the proper fear of God we will fear nothing else.
I do believe in eternal security through Jesus Christ as long as I am abiding in Him. John chapter 15 is very clear that if Christians do not engage in this precious practice the branch will be cut off from the vine and cast into the fire. This is referring to eternal separation from God for all eternity. Jesus Christ is my God who created me and can throw me into hell for all eternity. I do not wake up in the morning fearing this because I am doing my best to obey God but the Bible does say, "And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:28. The only one that can throw anybody in hades is Jesus Christ. This is why Peter writes 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. Notice Peter says according to the will of God. I will review this principle later in the article.
The first verse in chapter five the Apostle Peter exhorts the elders but you have to understand that Peter was also an elder. He knew they needed encouragement. Once again the Apostle writes about suffering again but this time calls himself a witness of the sufferings of Christ and reminds us again that we as Christians are a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed.
Peter then talks to the teachers and tells them to feed the flock. He writes do not do this by constraint but willingly not for filthy lucre or sordid gain but of a ready mind. I am a teacher and it is never a problem to give you a presentation from the Bible. Peter continues by writing do not lord over the heritage of God but on the contrary being examples to the flock. I have always said the greatest bosses I ever had were the servants. When the chief Shepherd shall appear the consistent teachers of the word of God rightly dividing the Bible will receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. This particular reward will be given to a certain select after the rapture of the church. There are many rewards in heaven but the Apostle is just going over one. Notice it fadeth not away because nothing dies in heaven. In this future tense of salvation we will not be able to sin. Let me quote the original text so you can read the passage and perhaps make reference to it if need be in this particular study of the Bible.
(15) "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. (16) Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf. (17) 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? (18) And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear? (19) 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." 1 Peter 4: 15 - 19. (1) 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: (2) 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; (3) Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock. (4) And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." 1 Peter 5: 1 - 4.
As I look at verse fifteen it seems probable to me that these particular believers were being accused of being evil - doers for something they did not engage in as a practice. Their enemies probably charged them with foul crimes. The Apostle was very concerned and cautioned them if any man suffer for the cause of Christianity with a patient spirit this believer in Christ should not consider this as shame. If this does happen to us we ought to be glorifying God. If we did commit these sins/crimes that is something different but if we are innocent we are being persecuted for the cause of Christ. This is why judgment must begin in the house of God. If we are sinning we are not right with God nor can we give the gospel of Jesus Christ to an unbeliever. We can but would probably do more harm than good. This is why Peter exhorts us to be patient because there is a connection with this characteristic and not sinning before God.
Our afflictions are very short compared to the end of those who obey not the gospel of God. If we did wrong we should be very open to the chastisement of God. This is why judgment does begin in the house of God. If we are a true Christian our worst things will happen in this life. Our worst condition is tolerable and will soon be over. Remember the Apostle Peter is not talking to the disobedient Christians but the obedient children of God. This is why he asked a question --- what shall the end be of those that obey not the gospel. The Apostle says the wicked will be doomed.
Peter is also talking about the sinners that make the righteous suffer. Our salvation in Jesus Christ has to be balanced with inevitable persecution. This comes in different forms through our circumstances. God will give us grace and help in our difficulties. Suffering is a call based on the will of God but we need to commit our afflictions to Jesus Christ. It is our responsibility to keep our souls in Jesus Christ. Preserving our bodies is an exercise in futility because God is in perfect control and is in control of this area of our life. We need to commit our souls to God (before the trial, during the trial and after the trial) because He is our Creator and faithful in all His promises.
Remember this Apostle wrote these letters to the elders and then they read this to the congregation. Peter was an elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ. He was also a partaker of the glory that shall be completely enjoyed at the rapture of the church. Peter and many in this body of believers were witnesses of the sufferings of Jesus Christ.
Peter explains the duties of the pastor. It is to feed the flock by preaching to them the sincere word of God. The pastors of the church are overseers and examples to the flock. they must practice holiness and teach it to their listeners. The Apostle writes take pleasure in your service to God but do not do it by constraint. Money should in no way be the center of your ministry but spiritually having a ready mind. Your flock is not a fleece but hungry for the word of God. You and your congregation are redeemed by God through the shed blood of Jesus Christ. He is our great Shepherd. Peter, the elders and the true Christians he was writing to were and still are the heritage of God. We are children of Jesus Christ and should treat our brothers and sisters with love, meekness and tenderness for the sake of who we belong to because we are in the possession of the Son of God.
In the last verse that I will be going over Peter explains that if you are a faithful minister for the right motive of obeying God and serving the flock you will receive from the great Shepherd a crown of glory that fadeth not away. We need to do our assignment for the right motive but do not try and measure your reward because we are completely unequipped to do this math. We do not even deserve a reward but in the goodness of God He will be giving many rewards in heaven. If you read Revelation chapters four and five we are giving our rewards back to Jesus Christ. In the presence of God we do not need anything.
If you have not accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior and Lord now may be a good time to repent of all your sins and invite the Son of God into your life. Do you know what I like about the Bible --- this book tells the truth. Christians will go through hard times but so will unbelievers. Do you think hell is easy? This eternal place is a never ending horror. I would rather do the will of God and go to the grand place. I hope and pray that you just made the right decision for your eternal salvation.
God bless you,
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