Friday, April 28, 2006

1 Peter 3:13-4:6

This passage is one of those which offers the ultimate hope for Christians - Never fear; even if you suffer, you are blessed. There is nothing in our human life that could give us this kind of hope. Any kind of hope that could be derived on earth is based on reliance upon mankind or something man made and, therefore, definitionally could never hold a candle to the hope that is offered through faith in the Lord. Yet, as Christians, we are taught to love each other, even if someone could never be totally relied upon, or put another way could ever meet your expectations. We are supposed to have faith in each other, believe in the best, if you will. This is a real conundrum. On the one hand, since Christ alone can provide blessing through suffering, why should Christians ever rely on people to help us get through the day?

God never intended for man to be alone on earth. We know that from Genesis and from God's instruction to love our neighbor as ourself. I don't believe that God meant love others as much as you love yourself. Some of us don't love ourselves very much. Throughout the Bible, we are instructed how to act as Christians. In 1 Peter 3:15, we are told to answer people who ask why we have hope and faith and we are suppled to answer them with respect and gentleness. In other words, we are supposed to love ourselves and everyone else as children of God, as God loves us. And just as God has hope in us that we will follow His commandments and listen to Him and walk with Him, so are we to have hope and joy in the foibles of mankind while knowing that our ultimate resting place with the Father in Heaven is only acheivable through our faith in God and in the arisen Lord.

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