26/7/11 Isaiah 46-49, 1 Peter 5
S: 1 Peter 5:8-14 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your Christian brothers and sisters all over the world are going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. All power to him forever! Amen. I have written and sent this short letter to you with the help of Silas, whom I commend to you as a faithful brother. My purpose in writing is to encourage you and assure you that what you are experiencing is truly part of God’s grace for you. Stand firm in this grace. Your sister church here in Babylon sends you greetings, and so does my son Mark. Greet each other with a kiss of love. Peace be with all of you who are in Christ.
O: The reference to the current suffering might mean that 1 Peter was written after the commencement of Nero's Great Tribulation. The Great Fire of Rome, which Nero is suspected to have started in order to give him an excuse to rebuild Rome in his own image, was in AD 64. It was after that that Nero blamed the Christians for the fire and started the Great Tribulation. According to Wikipedia, Margherita Guarducci, who led the research leading to the rediscovery of Peter’s tomb in its last stages, concludes Peter died on 13 October AD 64 during the festivities on the occasion of the “dies imperii” of Emperor Nero. Which leaves very little time for 1 Peter and 2 Peter to be written, if 1 Peter was written after the great tribulation started. However, Guarducci could be wrong. But also, there were more minor persecutions before Nero's Great Tribulation, so perhaps Peter was referring to those.
1 Peter was written in good Greek, while 2 Peter was written in unpolished Greek. This has led to most liberal scholars concluding that 2 Peter was not written by Peter.
However, right here in verse 12 we see that Silas helped Peter with the letter. Peter was an uneducated Galilean fisherman, so it is quite natural for his Greek to be not very good. The fact that Silas helped him with the letter is probably why 1 Peter is written in good Greek -- Silas probably corrected Peter's unpolished Greek. 2 Peter, on the other hand, was written without the help of such editing -- 2 Peter concludes without any such note, unlike 1 Peter.
A: When I was a university student, my best friend had this joke statement, "Be alert! The world needs more lerts!" シ But joking aside, this is an important principle.
Whether or not we face active persecution for our faith from humans, the devil is still prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
That's why "the price of freedom is eternal vigilance". Thomas Jefferson wrote that regarding American political freedom, but it's very applicable to us as believers living in a fallen world. I find that my flesh still desires many of the old sinful things.
For the last couple of weeks, I had been enjoying a time of less temptation, and I think I got lax. Recently, I gave in to temptation again and have had to confess and repent and get back up and follow Christ. I cannot let down my guard.
Thanks be to God His grace! "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
P: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to pay the price we could not pay. Help me to stay alert and watch out. In Jesus' name, amen.