- As you prepare your heart for study, know that God desires to reveal Himself to you, and He has given you His Holy Spirit to guide you into truth. Before you open in prayer, consider Jeremiah 9:23-24. “This is what the Lord declares: ‘Let not the wise man boast of his wisdom or the strong man boast of his strength or the rich man boast of his riches, but let him who boasts boast about this: that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” Pray for this understanding and knowledge of God with the Holy Spirit as your guide.
- Read 1 Peter 4:17-18
- What is the “judgment” that is beginning with the household of God (4:17)? Given the overall context, WHO do you think is executing this judgment on God’s people (and for what reason)?
- STUDY NOTE: It seems that Christians were experiencing judgment/persecution from the world because of their faith in Christ. This might have tempted some Christians to wonder if it was really worth it to believe in Christ . . . since it had led to their struggle while their non-Christian friends avoided the persecution. Peter here argues, however, that though Christians suffer now at the hands of the world, they will experience eternal glory. In a converse way, those who have rejected Christ may glory now, but they will experience a much more severe judgment in eternity.
- Notice that though the struggle of Christians at the hands of the world PRECEDES (judgment “begins at the household of God” (4:17)) the judgment of the world before a holy God, the judgment from God to the world will be more intense and final. How does this encourage you to have compassion on those who are persecuting Christians?
- In 4:18, Peter loosely paraphrases Proverbs 11:31. The argument is one of the lesser to the greater. In other words, if this lesser situation happens, we can be even more certain that the greater will happen as well! The point Peter is making is that each persecution in this life can serve as a reminder that if the world enacts justice as they see fit, certainly God will enact justice as He sees fit in the end times. Have you ever been tempted to think that “evil wins”? If so, how does this perspective help encourage you?
To access the entire “True Grace” study of 1 Peter, click here.