The Story: Peter will say almost the same thing at the end of this epistle (5.12). He has been going on about suffering and its benefits and how we as believers should respond to it; about getting our minds rightly focused and ready to act in good works of love; about pursuing holiness in the fear of God; about the primacy of love as the way to show God’s glory to the world; and about the indwelling Word that never fails those who have been truly redeemed in Jesus Christ. And all this, Peter now says, is the “Good News.” This is the Gospel. The Gospel is life in a totally different framework. The Gospel is Good News that Jesus Christ can bring us into that framework, by grace through faith. The Gospel is that all who would enter that existence must lay aside their former passions and ignorance and get their minds in gear for glorifying God in good works of love. The Gospel is that all who obey the Lord, even in the face of hardship, will never fade or perish, but will, in His Word – in His Gospel – abide with Him forever.
The Structure: Anything short of the whole Gospel is not the Gospel at all, but a form of “near Christianity,” easy to hear and profess because it demands nothing of us. The Gospel, on the other hand, demands the pursuit of holiness and a life of devotion and love even when outward circumstances would seem to make these impossible. The reason the Church in America today is so weak is because we have not been preaching the Gospel that Peter outlined in this first chapter, but a gospel meant more to appeal to the needs of people than to demand their obedience and to effect their transformation into the image of Jesus Christ. We need to measure the gospel we preach and teach – and have believed – against the Gospel as Peter – and all the apostles – taught it.
How would you assess the Gospel as it is preached and taught in your church?
Each week’s studies in our Scriptorium column are available in a free PDF form, suitable for personal or group use. For this week’s study, “This is the Gospel: 1 Peter 1.12-25,” simply click here.
T. M. Moore
Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.