1 Peter 4:8
Above all, keep fervent in your love for one another, because love covers a multitude of sins.
Love covers a multitude of sins. It is the love of God that covers all our sins. This love is revealed in his Son Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 4:10
As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
(a) Each one has received a special gift. You are not qualified or disqualified on account of your pedigree or education; you are qualified by the Lord and empowered by his grace. The grace of God empowered the apostles (Acts 4:33), Stephen (Act 6:8), Paul (Eph. 3:7) and every believer since (Rom. 12:6).
(b) The manifold grace of God refers to the goodwill, lovingkindness, and favor of God that is freely given to us so that we may partake in his divine life. See entry for Grace of God.
1 Peter 4:12
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you;
(a) Beloved; see entry for Rom. 1:7.
(b) The fiery ordeal among you. The church was experiencing a time of severe persecution. See entry for 1 Pet. 4:17.
(c) As though some strange thing were happening to you. Jesus warned his followers that opposition and troubles would be part of the cost of following him. “If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you” (John 15:20).
1 Peter 4:17
For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
(a) It is time for judgment to begin. The church was undergoing state-sponsored persecution, most likely at the hands of Nero.
In the beginning, the New Testament church only had to worry about persecution from religious folk. But by the time of Peter’s letter, the situation had worsened. Now the Rome itself was out to crush the church. Christians were being tortured and killed for their faith in Christ. Paul was likely already dead and Peter would soon be crucified. If you were a follower of Christ, martyrdom was a real prospect.
Peter reminds the church that “the fiery ordeal” means they are sharing “in the sufferings of Christ” 1 Pet. 4:12-13). “If you are reviled for the name of Christ, you are blessed” (1 Pet. 4:14).
(b) The household of God. In the New Testament, believers are often referred to as the family or household of God (Matt. 12:50, Mark 3:35, John 11:52, 2 Cor. 6:18, Eph. 2:19, Gal. 3:26, 6:10). It is those who obey the gospel of God.
(c) What will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? Christians may experience hardships on account of persecution, but unbelievers will ultimately suffer the far worse consequences.
Peter is not saying we have to go through difficulties to prove ourselves righteous any more than he is saying God disciplines his church with punishment. He’s saying choices have consequences. Better to suffer and be reviled for being a Christian, than to be eternally lost and separated from God.
Further reading: “It’s time for judgment to begin with the house of God”
1 Peter 4:18
AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?
(a) If it is with difficulty. Being a Christian is no picnic, especially when the Romans are out to get you.
(b) The righteous are those who have been made right with God by receiving, through faith, the free gift of righteousness. See entry for Righteousness.
(c) What will become of the godless? Again Peter makes the point that it is better to suffer as a Christian now that be lost forever.
1 Peter 4:19
Therefore, those also who suffer according to the will of God shall entrust their souls to a faithful Creator in doing what is right.
(a) Suffer according to the will of God. It is better to be persecuted on account of the gospel, than to suffer the greater consequences of rejecting the life that Christ offers.
(b) The will of God is that you believe in Jesus; see entry for John 6:40.
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