Today Will Be a Good Day to Read First Peter
- Alex Crain Alex Crain is editor of Christianity.com
- 2012 7 Nov
I have a bit of a weak spot for the old "letter to my future self" writer's technique. It grabs me and pulls me in just about every time. Collin Hansen at The Gospel Coalition makes good post-election use of it today. Twenty-four hours prior, before anyone knew what the outcome of the election would be, he sat down and wrote a letter filled with biblical truths that he would want his future self to remember and apply regardless of who emerged victorious after the votes were counted. Here's an excerpt:
Today will be an especially good day to 1 Peter 1:1. By professing trust in the God who makes rulers rise and fall, whether we understand his purposes or not, we “honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you” (1 Pet. 3:15). Gentleness and respect have been almost totally absent from the campaign. Slander begat slander. Evil has been celebrated as freedom. But you can in good conscience put to shame even the vile by doing good in Christ. You must not, under any circumstances, return evil for evil. “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Pet. 3:17).
Nothing you will endure under the leadership of either leader—who both thumb their nose at God’s Word in many respects—can compare with the hardships faced by the elect exiles of the dispersion. Yet the chastened, impassioned apostle Peter told these harried believers, “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Pet. 2:17). You may be rightly concerned that President Obama, if re-elected, will continue to restrict religious freedoms that, while protected by the Constitution, conflict with progressive priorities to redefine marriage and fund abortion. But not even your worst-case scenario can compare to what Jesus Christ has already endured. In fact, all who have been called to Christ have been called to suffer, “because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps” (1 Pet 2:21). Unlike you, “he committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet. 2:22).
If we suffer political defeat like those who have no hope but politics, we do not even commend ourselves, let alone the God who hung the moon and stars. But if we grieve as those who hope in the return of the King, those who trust in flawed politicians may one day see our good deeds and praise our Father in heaven. Jesus did not give his life so we could watch cable news as if our lives depended on it. Jesus submitted to death ordered by rulers so we might never fear them. “He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness” (1 Pet. 2:24.)
Read the whole thing here.