1 Peter 3:13-4:6 Prepare For Suffering

        PREPARE FOR SUFFERING
    1 Peter 3:13-4:6         April 15 2007

    Much of 1 Peter indirectly addresses the issue
    of suffering for the name of Jesus Christ. Peter
    began by reminding his readers of their secure
    eternal salvation in Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:1-12).
    Then he reminded them God had called them to
    live holy lives – lives separated to God’s service
    (1 Pet. 1:13-25). He went on to urge them to live
    out their identity as the people of God
    (1 Pet. 2:1-12). He taught them to refute some of
    the charges against them by living in submission
    to the legal authorities and to their superiors
    (1 Pet. 2:13-25). He taught them to refute other
    charges by living exemplary family lives
    (1 Pet. 3:1-12).

    1. Prepare Your Heart (1 Pet. 3:13-15a)

1Pet. 3:13   Who is going to harm you if you are eager to
do good? 3:14   But even if you should suffer for what is
right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear ; do
not be frightened.” 3:15a   But in your hearts set apart
Christ as Lord. 

    Who. . . Harm you. . . ? As a general rule, people are not
    harmed for acts of kindness. This is especially true if
    one is an enthusiast (“eager”) for doing good. Even if
    you should suffer. In the Greek, this conditional clause
    is the furthest removed from stating a reality.
    Suffering for righteousness is a remote possibility, but
    even if it does occur, it brings special blessing to the
    sufferer (Mt 5:10-12). What they fear.  NIV text note.
    In Isaiah’s context God’s people are not to view things
    as unbelievers do. They are not to make worldly
    judgments or be afraid of the enemies of God. Instead,
    they are to fear God (Isa 8:13). Set apart Christ as Lord.
    An exhortation to the readers to make an inner
    commitment to Christ.

    2. Prepare Your Witness (1 Pet. 3:15b-16)
1Pet. 3:15b  Always be prepared to give an answer to
everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope
that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,
3:16   keeping a clear conscience, so that those who
speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ
may be ashamed of their slander.

    Then they need not be speechless when called on to
    defend their faith. Instead, there will be a readiness
    to answer. With gentleness and respect . The Christian
    is always to be a gentleman or gentle woman, even
    when opposed by unbelievers. Our apologetic (“answer”)
    is always to be given with love, never in degrading terms.
    Ashamed of their slander. Because it is shown to be
    obviously untrue and because the believer’s loving
    attitude puts the opponent’s bitterness in a bad light.

    3. Prepare Your Attiude (1 Pet. 3:17-22)

1Pet. 3:17   It is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for
doing good than for doing evil. 3:18   For Christ died for
sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring
you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by
the Spirit, 3:19   through whom also he went and preached
to the spirits in prison3:20   who disobeyed long ago when
God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was
being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved
through water,  3:21   and this water symbolizes baptism
that now saves you also —not the removal of dirt from the
body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It
saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 3:22   who
has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand —with
angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.

    Once for all. (Heb 9:28). The righteous for the
    unrighteous. Peter, like Paul in (Php 2:5-11),
    refers to Jesus as an example of the type of
    conduct that should characterize the Christian.
    We are to be ready to suffer for doing good (1 Pet.
    1:13-14,17). The thought of Christ’s suffering and
    death, however, leads Peter to comment on what
    occurred after Christ’s death —which leads to
    tangential remarks about preaching to the spirits
    in prison and about baptism (1 Pet.3:19-21). Made
    alive by the spirit. Referring to the resurrection.
    Elsewhere the resurrection is attributed to the
    Father (Acts 2:32; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20) and to the Son
    (John 10:17-18). If the NIV text note is correct, the
    reference would be to Christ’s own spirit, through
    which also “he preached to the spirits in prison”
    (1 Pet.3:19-20 a). Three main interpretations of
    this passage have been suggested: 1. Some hold that
    in his preincarnate state Christ went and preached
    through Noah to the wicked generation of that time.
    2. Others argue that between his death and
    resurrection Christ went to the prison where fallen
    angels are incarcerated and there preached to the
    angels who are said to have left their proper state
    and married human women during Noah’s time ( Gen.
    6:1-4; 2Pet. 2:4; Jude 6). The “sons of God” in (Gen
    6:2,4) are said to have been angels, as they are in
    (Job 1:6; 2:1 ). The message he preached to these evil
    angels was probably a declaration of victory. 3. Still
    others say that between death and resurrection Christ
    went to the place of the dead and preached to the
    spirits of Noah’s wicked contemporaries. What he
    proclaimed may have been the gospel, or it may have
    been a declaration of victory for Christ and doom for
    his hearers.     The weakness of the first view is that
    it does not relate the event to Christ’s death and
    resurrection, as the context seems to do. The main
    problem with the second view is that it assumes
    sexual relations between angels and women, and such
    physical relations may not be possible for angels since
    they are spirits. A major difficulty with the third view
    is that the term “spirits” is only used of human beings
    when qualifying terms are added. Otherwise the term
    seems restricted to supernatural beings.
    WATER SYMBOLIZES BAPTISM. There is a double figure
    here. The flood symbolizes baptism, and baptism
    symbolizes salvation. The flood was a figure of
    baptism in that in both instances the water that spoke
    of judgment (in the flood the death of the wicked, in
    baptism the death of Christ and the believer) is the
    water that saves. Baptism is a symbol of salvation in
    that it depicts Christ’s death, burial and resurrection
    and our identification with him in these experiences
    (Rom. 6:4). Now saves you also. In reality, believers
    are saved by what baptism symbolizes —Christ’s death
    and resurrection. The symbol and the reality are so
    closely related that the symbol is sometimes used to
    refer to the reality ( Rom. 6:3-4). Pledge of a good
    conscience toward God. The act of baptism is a
    commitment on the part of the believer in all good
    conscience to make sure that what baptism symbolizes
    will become a reality in his life. Saves you by the
    resurrection of Jesus Christ. In the final analysis
    people are saved not by any ritual, but by the
    supernatural power of the resurrection.
    Gone into haven. (Acts 1:9-11). At God’s right hand.
    (Heb 1:3; 12:2). Angels, authorities and powers.
    (Eph 1:21; 6:12).

    4; Prepare Your Resolve (1 Pet. 4:1-6)

1Pet. 4:1   Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body,
arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because
he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. 4:2  
As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life
for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 4:3  
For you have spent enough time in the past doing what
pagans choose to do —living in debauchery, lust,
drunkenness, orgies, carousing and detestable idolatry.
4:4   They think it strange that you do not plunge with
them into the same flood of dissipation, and they heap
abuse on you. 4:5   But they will have to give account
to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 4:6  
For this is the reason the gospel was preached even to
those who are now dead, so that they might be judged
according to men in regard to the body, but live according
to God in regard to the spirit.

    Therefore. Since (1 Pet.3:19-22) is parenthetical,
    (1 Pet.4:1) ties directly back to (1 Pet.3:18). The
    aspect of Christ’s suffering that these passages
    stress is suffering unjustly because one has done
    good. Furthermore, it is physical suffering —“in his
    body.” Arm yourselves also with the same attitude.
     Believers are to be prepared also to suffer unjustly,
    and to face such abuse with Christ’s attitude —with
    his willingness to suffer for doing good. (For a
    similar principle in Paul’s writings Php 2:5-11.)
    Because. . . is done with sin. Such suffering enables
    one to straighten out his priorities. Sinful desires
    and practices that once seemed important now seem
    insignificant when one’s life is in jeopardy. Serious
    suffering for Christ advances the progress of
    sanctification. (Some see a parallel between this
    passage and Rom. 6:1-14, but Peter is not referring
    to being dead to sin in Paul’s sense.)
    For evil human desires. . . for the will of God. Now
    that Christ’s attitude prevails, God’s will is the
    determining factor in life.
    Time in the past. The time before conversion. Pagans.
    Lit. “the Gentiles.” Along with the term “idolatry,”
    this suggests that at least some of the readers were
    Gentiles (1 Pet.1:1) who had been converted from a
    pagan life-style.
    They think it strange. . . and they heap abuse on you.
    One of the reasons for the suffering the readers were
    undergoing. Have to give account. (Acts 17:31; Ro 2:5,
    16). Him who is ready to Judge. In the NT both the
    Father and the Son are said to be judge on the great,
    final judgment day. The Father is the ultimate source
    of judgment, but he will delegate judgment to the Son
    ( John 5:27; Ac 17:31). The living and the dead. Those
    alive and those dead when the final judgment day
    dawns.
    For this is the reason.. The reason referred to is
    expressed in the latter part of the verse (in the “so
    that” clause), not in the preceding verse. Was
    preached even to those who are now dead . This
    preaching was a past event. The word “now” does not
    occur in the Greek, but it is necessary to make it
    clear that the preaching was done not after these
    people had died, but while they were still alive. (There
    will be no opportunity for people to be saved after
    death; Heb 9:27.) That they might be judged according
    to men in regard to the body . The first reason that the
    gospel was preached to those now dead. Some say that
    this judgment is that to which all people must submit,
    either in this life ( John 5:24) or in the life to come
    ( 1 Pet.4: 5). The gospel is preached to people in this
    life so that in Christ’s death they may receive judgment
    now and avoid judgment to come. Others hold that these
    people are judged according to human standards by the
    pagan world, which does not understand why God’s people
    no longer follow its sinful way of life (1 Pet.4: 2-4). So
    also the world misunderstood Christ ( Acts 2:22-24,36;
    3:13-15; 5:30-32; 7:51-53). But live according to God
    in regard to the spirit . The second reason that the
    gospel was preached to those now dead. Some believe
    this means that all gospel preaching has as its goal
    that the hearers may live as God lives —eternally —and
    that this life is given by the Holy Spirit. Others
    maintain that it means that the ultimate reason for
    the preaching of the gospel is that God’s people, even
    though the wicked world may abuse them and put them
    to death, will have eternal life, which the Holy Spirit
    imparts.

        Summary: A Godly Life

        The Christians who received Peter’s letter were
being slandered by others (1 Pet. 2:12,15,23; 1 Pet. 3:9,
16; 1 Pet. 4:4,14). Peter told them that the best weapon
against slander was a godly life that nobody could criticize.
Anybody can suffer for doing wrong, but Christians must learn to suffer for doing what is right . Of course , Jesus is the example for us to follow(1 Pet.1 Pet. 3:18; 2:18-25).