v1-6 - Christianity is not just a spiritual pursuit. You need to arm yourself with the same attitude that Jesus had, because there will be physical costs associated with living for Christ as our society devolves.
Whereas we used to be insulated here in the upper midwest from truly 'pagan' lifestyles, that's no longer the case as that way of living becomes more and more normal.
We often seemed shocked that society is what it is, but we really shouldn't be.
In fact, it's these godless people who are shocked at the fact that Christians like you don't join them and that you would dare to call what they're doing sin.
Understand that as time goes on, you will get more and more abuse heaped on you for daring to live out Biblical values.
But rest assured, those who heap this abuse "will have to give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead (v5)."
v7-11 - This passage opens with the ominous phrase "the end of all things is near..." But this doesn't mean what you probably think it means.
The common understanding of 'the end' is that all things will be over and done with, like when The End comes on the screen after a movie.
There are multiple Greek words Peter could have used if that's what he meant, but instead he used a word that we still, albeit rarely, use in English: telos.
It means 'goal / completion.'
So we could translate v7 this way: "the goal of all things is near [and that goal is the salvation of your soul and the resurrection of your body].'
In this sense, the end is just the beginning!
That's why v8-11 encourage you to start living with this ultimate goal in mind right now, because it's near.
v12-19 - Once again, you are reminded not to be surprised that things don't seem to be going well for Christians in this world.
The early Christians Peter wrote to, who lived in far flung regions of the Roman empire, were undergoing tremendous persecutions.
These were the Christians who were forced to meet in underground catacombs so as not to be noticed.
Accordingly, they were surprised that, even though their faith was solid, they were not enjoying physical blessings in their lives (quite the opposite, in fact).
This passage reminds us that suffering for Christ in this world produces blessing in the world to come. Here's how Peter puts it:
If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you... So then, those who suffer according to God’s will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good (v14 & 19).
OLD TESTAMENT REFERENCE:
If the righteous receive their due on earth, how much more the ungodly and the sinner!
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions:
EYE FOR DETAIL—From what you recall seeing in this chapter, try answering the following question without looking at your Bible: In the opening verse of this chapter, what attitude or purpose does Peter tell us to arm ourselves with?
What's encouraging to you about this chapter? What's discouraging?
Question 1 taken from The Complete Bible Discussion Guide: New Testament
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Praise God that you bear His name (v16).
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray for the grace and strength to "arm yourself with the same attitude as Christ (v1)."
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: