1 Peter 3-5 Passport to Glory

TMS 2 Corinthians 4:5 Talking About Jesus
2 Cor 4:4 “the god of this age has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, Who is the image of God, should shine on them.

5 For we do not preach ourselves,
but Christ Jesus the Lord,
and ourselves your bondservants
for Jesus' sake.

6 For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Observations: 4:5 We should serve the needs of others for the sake of Jesus. We should talk about Him, rather than ourselves, except to authenticate the message. If we call Him our Lord, then we should live like His servants, and serve others in His name. The surrounding context (see post on 2Cor 4-5 details the motivation for such self-denying behavior, namely the reception of the glory of God.
Application: When we talk about our Lord, we should live like His servants.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, may I serve and love others as You have loved and served me, so I may be effective in sharing Your truth with them. Amen.

1 Peter 3-5 There is a lot to digest and apply in these chapters for those who seek to be recipients of the glory of God. From submissive and humble relationships to suffering and spiritual warfare, there are many ways we can be tripped up on our path to glory. Peter gives some commands and instruction to help us get to where God wants us to be. For those of you who want to take your Bible Study skills to the level of being able to trace an author's argument through a book, there are some 10MinuteBible.com YouTubes on these chapters. I started using video to answer questions I would get from folks in our church who were doing exegetical Bible Study, beginning with chapter 3 of 1 Peter, so that one starts out fairly slowly. You might want to view the video Fun with Dick and Jane first to understand the method. The videos contain information not in the post, and one which traces the argument through the first half of the book to understand the Noah and baptism section in 3:20-21. Whatever you do, don't skimp on mastering 1Peter; it is both a intensely practical book, and immensely important theologically. It is your passport to glory.

1 Peter 3 Sanctification for Glorification
3:1 In the same way, wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; so that, even if any don’t obey the Word, they may be won by the behavior of their wives without a word; 2 seeing your pure behavior in fear/reverence. 3 Let your beauty be not just the outward adorning of braiding the hair, and of wearing jewels of gold, or of putting on fine clothing; 4 but in the hidden person of the heart, in the incorruptible adornment of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God very precious. 5 For this is how the holy women before, who hoped in God also adorned themselves, being in subjection to their own husbands: 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose children you now are, if you do well, and are not put in fear by any terror. 7 You husbands, in the same way, live with your wives according to knowledge, giving honor to the woman, as to the weaker vessel, as being also joint heirs of the grace of life; that your prayers may not be hindered.

8 Finally, be all like-minded, compassionate, loving as brothers, tenderhearted, courteous, 9 not rendering evil for evil, or insult for insult; but instead blessing; knowing that to this were you called, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For, "He who would love life, and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him turn away from evil, and do good. Let him seek peace, and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears open to their prayer; but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."
13 Now who is he who will harm you, if you become imitators of that which is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousnesssake, you are blessed. "Don’t fear what they fear, neither be troubled." 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts; and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason concerning the hope that is in you, with humility and fear/respect: 16 having/holding a good conscience; that, while you are spoken against as evildoers, they may be disappointed who curse your good way of life in Christ. 17 For it is better, if it is God’s will, that you suffer for doing good than for doing evil.

18 Because Christ also suffered for sins once, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring you to God; being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which he also went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who before were disobedient, when God waited patiently in the days of Noah, while the ark was being built. In it, few, that is, eight souls, were saved through/by (dia) water.
21 This is a symbol of baptism, which now saves you—not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the pledge/inquiry of a good conscience toward God, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who is at the right hand of God, having gone into heaven, angels and authorities and powers being made subject to him.

Observations: 3:1-7 With the same trust in the God who judges righteously and rewards those who suffer for doing good, a wife should submit to (line up under the God-given authority of) her husband. Even if the guy is a spiritual dolt stumbling in darkness, he can be won to the light by the radiant behavior of his wife, without a nag, whine, or word. The word for “fear” is the same as that in 1:17; 2:18; 3:14, and 15, and is probably a reference to fear of God, rather than of man (which yields the respect translation). A wise woman would not find herself in the situation, of having to win her husband to obedience, being careful to seek God's will in a mate, and only developing a relationship with someone they would be willing to follow (see Prince Charming on truthbase.net). A woman's adornment should not be merely (appropriately added by translators) external, but priority should be given to the inner radiance which outshines any perishable externals, and is also very attractive to God (and godly guys). This is how holy women adorned themselves, with a gentle/meek and tranquil/peaceable spirit vis-a-vis their husbands. The model is Sarah submitting to Abraham, probably in Genesis 20 where she put herself in danger to protect Abraham, carrying out his plan to say she was his sister, a half-truth (although the only time she specifically called him “lord” was Gen 18:12). NT believing women are her “children,” sharing in her blessings, by following her example, doing what is good, and not fearing the consequences, since God will take care of them.
Husbands are not the “lords of their castle,” since only Jesus is Lord, but the husband has the responsibility to take the lead in following the Lord. In a similar way, doing what is good, and trusting that God is watching, husbands need to live with their wives in an understanding manner, giving honor to them as the “weaker” (without power) vessel. This is not a reference to physical or emotional strength, but in the context to the “subordinate” position God has assigned to the wife. Therefore the husband must “honor” her by seeking her input and preferences, and then do what is in her best interest (regardless of whether he or she likes it). Paul expressed this as husbands loving their wife as Christ loved the church and sacrificed Himself for her highest benefit (see Eph 5:25 comments and the Family Life Resources on Truthbase.net). God might assign a temporary functionality that is subordinate (see Submission: The S-word if you haven't already done so), but He gives an eternal status that is total equality, joint heirs/inheritors of the grace of life/dominion (which Peter told them to fix their hope on in 1:13). If a husband fails to heed God's command to give honor to his wife, his prayers will be hindered (literally “cut off” as in having one's heavenly hotline disconnected).
3:8-12 All believers should live in a harmonious manner with each other in the fear of God (Eph 5:21) knowing that they were called to inherit a blessing, and bad behavior forfeits one's blessing. Peter quotes Psalm 34:12-16 to make the point that blessing (life, glory, dominion) requires being blessable, in behavior and speech, because the Lord listens to the righteous (those who are careful to do what's right in His sight), and opposes those who do what displeases Him. People who are ignorant of this reality don't have vibrant prayer lives.
3:13-17 If we are doing what is good, we shouldn't be harmed, but sometimes we do have to suffer for doing what is right. In such cases of smart suffering (persecution, martyrdom, and the general opposition one experiences swimming upstream against the world and carnal Christians), God promises to make it up to us with blessing (Matt 5:10-12; Heb 11). Therefore, we need not fear, nor be troubled, but we need to set apart (sanctify) the Lord as God in our hearts (where we make our decisions, His will rules), and be always ready to make a defense/answer (apologia) for the hope that is in us. This is not about making the case for the existence of God, necessity and reliability of Scriptures, etc., (although you should be able to do that, if not see the 7QUESTIONS in the Sidebar), but the apologia is for the hope of blessing/reward that is in us, which motivates us to endure suffering for doing good. Chapter 1 is a good place to start your “defense.” Our response should be in humility and fear of God (or respect towards the questioner, both are good ideas). Peter elaborates that we must hold on to a good conscience (sensitive and obedient to God's will) so that if accused, the accusation will be unjust and undeserved, which paves the way for blessing and witness. It just could be God's will that we suffer for doing good (like Jesus did), which is far better than suffering for doing what is evil. Note that these are instructions to born-again believers.
3:18-22 The reason it is better to suffer for doing good is because it not only follows the example of Christ, but results in blessing in the presence of God. Verse 18 is a great verse to memorize and use in sharing the Bridge to Life Illustration. Christ was totally righteous and suffered once (on the cross) for our sins so that He might bring us into a relationship with God. He was put to death in the realm of the flesh, and made alive in the realm of the spirit. Note the parallelism. There are a couple of 10MinuteBible.com videos (part 1) on YouTube that explain the context and passage in more depth than I'll do in this post, so click on them (part 2) for more. (There are also sermons on 1Peter on Truthbase.net.) In the realm of the spirit, Christ preached through Noah to those who were disobedient in his day (Noah, the preacher of righteousness -2Pt 2:2) Peter singles out those of Noah's day, because he wants to use the audience and ark illustration for the present day. Those persecuting the NT believers were those to whom Christ had preached directly and through John and the apostles but they rejected the message. So He is patiently waiting until the day of judgment, when believers will reap the final aspect of their salvation, and those who reject God will be negatively judged. The ark might correspond to the church (1Pt 2:5-6). Noah and his family were saved through or by the judgment of water, which destroyed the evildoers around them. The preposition dia denotes the channel or means by which an action occurs. The salvation was accomplished by means of the water (not the ark). If Peter wanted to say the ark saved them from the water, he would have used ek or apo. The righteous NT believer would be saved from their corrupt generation, just like Noah was from his, by the water. So much for the audience allusion.
Next Peter says that baptism is an anti-type (antitupos), something that corresponds to an image or type in the OT (only other use of the word is Heb 9:24 to refer to the OT sacrificial system). Corresponding to the water that saved Noah from his generation, baptism saves us from our generation. It is not getting wet (which means it is not referring to the immersion or sprinkling of water that gets the external dirt off us, but the “pledge” or seeking (the word means to make an inquiry rather than “answer”) of a good conscience toward God, based upon the resurrection of Christ. Keeping in mind the context of the book (always a good thing to do) believers who have their hope fixed upon their reward, which they gain by faithful behavior and forfeit by bad behavior, pledge or seek a good conscience which results in God rewarding them, as He did Jesus (Phil 2:9-12). To live holy lives, one must distance themselves from their pre-Christian behavior and those who live just for this world (the generation of the Christ-rejecting Jews who were persecuting them). The way to do that in the early church was baptism, the first step of discipleship for those who were born-again by faith in Christ's death for them. Paul elaborated on the picture in Romans 6, that one died to the old way of life, when they were buried with Christ in baptism, and then rose up from the water to walk in newness of life. Peter is clearly writing to born-again believers (1:3), instructing them that they need to live righteously if they want to reap the reward God has planned for them. That will involve suffering for doing what is good, which requires a death to self so one can live for God. Baptism is a picture of that, not the getting wet, but the seeking of the heart which motivates the obedience in getting wet. When believers were baptized, the persecution normally intensified. But the holy living would result in their salvation/glorification. The opening verses of the next chapter should validate this interpretation if you're not already convinced.
Application: Die to your old values, and pledge to live for what God values, particularly in your relationships with those around you.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, Amen.

1 Peter 4 Mental Armor and Obedient Behavior
4:1 Forasmuch then as Christ suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind; for he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin; 2 that you no longer should live the rest of your time in the flesh for the lusts/cravings of men, but for the will/desire of God. 3 For we have spent enough of our past time doing the desire/will of the Gentiles, and having walked in lewdness, lusts, drunken binges, orgies, carousings, and abominable idolatries.
4 They think it is strange that you don’t run with them into the same excess of riot, blaspheming: 5 who will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For to this end the Good News was preached even to the dead, that though they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but they might live according to God in the spirit.
7 But the end of all things is near. Therefore be of sound mind, and watchful for the purpose of (eis) prayer. 8 And above all things be earnest in your love among yourselves, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gracething, employ it in serving one another, as good stewards of the grace of God in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, let it be as it were the very words of God. If anyone serves, let it be as of the strength which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.
12 Beloved, don’t be astonished at the fiery trial which has come upon you, to test you, as though a strange thing happened to you. 13 But because you are partakers of Christ’s sufferings, rejoice; that at the revelation of his glory you also may rejoice with exceeding joy. 14 If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed; because the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. On their part he is blasphemed, but on your part he is glorified. 15 For let none of you suffer as a murderer, or a thief, or an evil doer, or a meddler in other men’s matters. 16 But if one of you suffers for being a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God in this matter. 17 For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God. If it begins first with us, what will happen to those who don’t obey the Good News of God? 18 "If it is hard for the righteous to be saved, what will happen to the ungodly and the sinner?" 19 Therefore let them also who suffer according to the will of God in doing good entrust their souls to him, as to a faithful Creator.

Observations: 4:1-3 Since Christ suffered in the flesh in order to receive glorification by the Father (exalted to the right hand, ready to rule the future Kingdom), those who follow Him should arm themselves with the same mindset. Those who have died to their old values, and suffered in the pursuit of glory, have ceased (perfect tense, action completed in the past with ongoing results into the present) from sin. Mental armor is necessary since the battle is won or lost in our thinking. Peter tells his readers that they've had enough time to do what those who don't know God do, and realize it's not worth it. Some people are slow learners. It took Solomon a while to figure out that there was nothing under the sun that gave lasting pleasure apart from God (Ecclesiastes), but then he forgot his own advice. We need to keep this truth central in our thinking.
4:4-6 The former companions of the believers think it strange that those who learned to delight in God aren't as attracted to playing in the mud, and speak against them. But all will have to give account to God, who will judge (1:17) the living and the dead. The edited translation above is more in line with the Greek and context than most you'll find. In preparation, the Good News of the coming Kingdom was preached to all, including those who are now dead (possibly as a result of persecution) so that (purpose statement), even though they might or may be judged (subjunctive mood is that of uncertainty) on the one hand (a Greek particle, Strong's #3303 omitted by most translations) according to the standards of men in the realm of the flesh (by being martyred), they might live according to God's standards in the realm of the spirit (by believing the good news about the Kingdom). Note that “judged” is parallel to “live,” and the additional parallelism of “according to” and “in” is taken into account; as well as the immediate context of the Good News being proclaimed to them, the further context of living, and holy life, and the book context of gaining glory. It would be difficult to find another interpretation that takes the argument, grammar, syntax, and contexts into account.
4:7-11 The culmination of all things is near (which is how every generation should view things so as not to get complacent), therefore believers need to govern their life and actions by the objective of doing well at the judgment seat (be sound-minded), and have an accurate view of reality (sober) so they can pray appropriately and not just dribble meaningless words. Particularly believers need to be obeying the command to love each other, for such a love corrects and covers/hides (as in prevents) a multitude of sins (Js 5:20). Greater love has no one than this, that they risk rejection and ridicule and a diminished relationship by reproving (bringing to light) the flaws of a self-deceived believer. Hell knows no fury like a hypocrite exposed. Believers should use whatever gracething (charisma) they have for the benefit of their fellow believers, so that God is glorified. That means being a good steward of God's grace and using whatever the Spirit has given (see 1Cor 12) to accomplish His purposes in building up others, be it speaking God's words, or serving with the strength God supplies.
4:12-19 Recalling the opening theme of their faith being refined by trials so they will gain greater reward (1:7), Peter reminds them that suffering frequently is the will of God for those who follow Christ to glory. But it is worth it, for to the degree they suffer, they will share in the glory. This is clearly teaching differential rewards for different levels of service (1Cor 15). Those who aren't suffering outward trials can join in the fun by daily denying themselves for the benefit of others. There's plenty of abuse to go around for those who seek to spur others on to Christlikeness. If one is insulted for the name of Christ, they are actually blessed, because the Spirit of Glory (note the name) rests upon them. The Holy Spirit is the first installment of our inheritance (Eph 1:13) which implies that future payments will be additional bestowals of the Spirit, to do God's will in the Millennium and beyond. The glory or power or energy of God is the only imperishable thing in the universe given to us. Note too, that the Spirit rests upon and remains with the faithful believer. The unfaithful and unbelieving will always speak against those serving God because faithful servants make the unprofitable servants feel guilty, and blame is a good way to balance out the guilt (repentance would be a better way). But on the part of the faithful, God is glorified, because when He pours out His glory as a reward, He is displaying it, which is what God being glorified is all about (He is inherently glorious). So if a believer is going to suffer, they should do so smartly or meritoriously, not stupidly or deservedly. The reason is because the time is coming for judgment to begin with the household of God, those who are His servants in His household. If the good guys are judged, what will be the outcome for those who don't obey (not don't believe) the gospel? The Good News is that Christ is coming to judge and reward His faithful followers (Isa 40:10). Believing that Jesus is the Messiah is one thing. Obeying Him is another. It is hard for the righteous to be saved/glorified, because it requires sacrifice and self-denial (see the Sermon on the Mount Mt 5-7). This salvation of which Peter speaks, is of works, hard work. Those who take the broad and easy road cannot look forward to glory, but to unpleasantness. The ungodly and sinner are those among the believers who don't know and do what God wants, but instead do their own thing. To fail to see this is to fail to receive one's eternal reward. Those who can't see that this passage is intended to motivate believers to obedience are demonically deceived and in all probability living in disobedience. But those who live in obedience, and suffer according to the will of God, should continue to do good, and commit their souls/interests to their faithful Creator, who created them in Christ Jesus for this purpose.
Application: One needs the same mental armor that helped Christ live sound-mindedly (knowing God would justly reward) to keep on the path of obedient suffering which is the only route to glory.
Prayer: Lord, may I be strong and focused on doing Your will, and not my own, on my way to happily ever after. Amen.

1 Peter 5 Glory for the Vigilant and Humble
5:1 I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and who will also share in the glory that will be revealed. 2 Shepherd/pastor the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not under compulsion, but voluntarily, not for dishonest gain, but willingly; 3 neither as lording it over those entrusted to you, but making yourselves examples to the flock. 4 When the chief Shepherd is revealed, you will receive the crown of glory that doesn’t fade away.
5 Likewise, you younger ones, be subject to the elders. Yes, all of you clothe yourselves with humility, to subject yourselves to one another; for "God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." 6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time; 7 casting all your worries on him, because he cares for you.
8 Be sober and vigilant/self-controlled because your adversary, the devil, walks around like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9 Withstand him steadfast in your faith, knowing that your brothers who are in the world are undergoing the same sufferings.
10 But may the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you. 11 To him be the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen.
12 Through Silvanus, our faithful brother, as I consider him, I have written to you briefly, exhorting, and testifying that this is the true grace of God; stand fast in it. 13 She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you, greets you; and so does Mark, my son. 14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace be to you all who are in Christ Jesus. Amen.

Observations: 5:1-4 Peter addresses the elders (who, as leaders, were singled out for grief by the external opponents and internal rebels), exhorting them as a fellow-elder (not pope). He saw the sufferings of Christ, and knows that he will share in the glories that follow (1:11) because he has been faithful (following his own advice). Peter tells the elders, to shepherd and oversee the flock, the same two tasks Paul entrusted to the elders in Acts 20:28 (see comments there, and in Ephesians 4). To shepherd is the word for pastor, and to oversee is the word for bishop. Both tasks are entrusted to elders (plural). There is not a separate “office” for each. He doesn't give the qualifications for elders that Paul gave Timothy and Titus for the Greek churches, since Peter is writing to a Jewish audience that had an elder leadership structure in both the villages and synagogues. Governance was carried out by the mature, who served and shepherded those under their care. When the chief Shepherd (this is the only legitimate occurrence of ”Senior Pastor”) is revealed with His glory -1:7 He will share it with those who have obediently done His will. He might not feel as gracious toward those who have used the flock as a source of worth and value (ego and monetary) nor those who've usurped His title when He's been away. The glory is described as a crown (rulership) that doesn't fade like earthly crowns of leaves.
5:5-7 The younger folks are commanded to be subject (imperative) to the elders and submissively (participle) be humble (imperative) to each other (cf Eph 5:21). The reason is because God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. James quoted Proverbs 3:34 to his readers (4:6) with an emphasis on the temporal grace, but Peter stresses the future grace/glory that God gives the humble obedient.
Proverbs 3:32 "For the perverse person is an abomination to the LORD, But His secret counsel is with the upright. 33 The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked, But He blesses the home of the just. 34 Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble. 35 The wise shall inherit glory, But shame shall be the legacy of fools."
One humbles themselves by yielding their will for the benefit of another, rather than proudly questing for temporal worth and value. God will exalt the humble in due time, but in the meantime, they can cast the cares and concerns for the current and future well-being upon God (as Jesus did), because He cares for them.
5:8-11 Like James, Peter links pride with waving a red flag in front of the devil. If a lack of humble trust in God's goodness could trip up the highest created being, then we mere mortals are even more susceptible. (The same warning applies to the desires of the flesh from the life of world's wisest man, Solomon, in 1 Kings 10-11). Therefore believers need to be on their guard against the devil, having an accurate view of reality (a drunk person doesn't see clearly, nor accurately assess risks and rewards). Our adversary, the devil is described as a roaring lion, who roams about, seeking to devour the proud and disobedient. He also surreptitiously takes believers captive to do his will (2 Timothy 2:26) and inveigles false teachers into the church (Acts 20:29-30). Satan was defeated at the Cross, but is a lame duck ruler until the Messiah comes back, imprisons and finally destroys Him (Revelation 20:1-3). See Spiritual Warfare: Defense Against the Dark Arts on Truthbase.net for resources, so you don't become a statistic. Peter gives another piece of mental armor in addition to those in verse 8. Believers should resist him, firm in their faith (1 John 4:4), knowing that suffering isn't something strange and alien to the Christ-following life, but rather the common experience of those who please God.
However, the suffering is temporary, and after what will seem like a very short time from the perspective of eternity (although suffering can seem to go on forever), the God of all grace/glory, who has called/invited them to the glory of the Messianic Age (same word as eternal) will perfect (bring to completion as in glorify them), establish, strengthen,and establish them (most likely a reference to their placement in the Millennial kingdom based upon the order and introduction to the prayer/benediction).
5:12-14 Peter writes through Silvanus, testifying that the glory believers will receive is the “true grace” of God. Then he commands them to stand fast in it (imperative according to the oldest manuscripts but distorted by many translations). Peter is not telling them the glory of God is something they all automatically have, but rather something they need to take their stand in by obeying his instructions in the epistle. Most people who bandy about the term “grace” haven't a clue about the true grace Peter described in this epistle, and will most likely miss it. See a Survey of Grace on Truthbase.net for the whole picture. Commentators are divided regarding the identity of “she who is in Babylon, some arguing for the literal city on the Euphrates, others seeing a veiled reference to his location at Rome. John Mark, Barnabas' cousin is considered to have written the second gospel under Peter's direction. Paul normally ended with an exhortation to a holy kiss to express affection among believers; Peter uses the term agape kiss, underscoring the self-sacrificial behavior they should have toward each other rather than superficial relationships. He concludes with a wish for the covenantal blessing of peace for all those who are in union with Christ Jesus.
Application: Believers who live in humble unity and obedience will experience Satanic opposition, but eventually reach their final destination as glorified servants in the Messiah's Kingdom.
Prayer: God, thanks that You care for me, and I can entrust all my concerns to You; may I be vigilant and victorious in my faith until I realize my hope of Your glory. Amen.

Digging Deeper

God in a nutshell: God will judge both the living and the dead, to reward those who are faithful to Him. In this judgment, the righteous are saved/glorified with difficulty, the outcome for those who don't obey the good news isn't positive. God resists the proud and gives grace and glory to the humble.

Build-a-Jesus: Jesus suffered to bring us into a relationship with God, so we could be blessed. He is coming back to reward those loyal to Him.

Us in a nutshell: We are invited/called to inherit a blessing, but will only receive it if we are worthy of it, by demonstrating Christ-like behavior. Submissive suffering for the sake of Christ and righteousness is meritorious, and results in Millennial glory. Believers need to draw upon the strength God provides to do His will, and lovingly serve each other. Those who don't will miss out.

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