1 Peter 4

1 Peter 4: Gospel Preached unto the Dead

Peter writes that just as Christ had suffered for our sins in the flesh, we should do “…likewise  with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2) If we cease from sin (or at least do our best) we can please God by doing His will.

Peter then goes on to ask an important question; “Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” (1 Peter 4:6) Why is this important? Because it helps us to understand God’s Plan for us; Remember when Jesus Christ died on the cross and then rose 3 days later? Where did He go for those three days? Jesus Christ went to the Spirit World to teach those who were in ‘Spirit Prison’, who did not hear the word of God or have the opportunity in this life. The dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God;

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God… for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice.” (John 5:25;28)

Peter goes on to explain that we should have Charity; “…for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) Peter is not saying to  go out an sin, but what he is saying is that if we DO sin, we can be forgiven of our sins easier if we are actively engaged in charity.

Peter encourages us to; “Use hospitality one to another without grudging.” (1 Peter 4:9) He also advises that if we suffer in this life, we are suffering like Jesus did… which means that when Jesus Christ reveals His glory in the Second Coming, we will also have part of that glory and joy; “…rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.” (1 Peter 4:13)

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1 Peter 3

1 Peter 3: Christ Preached in the Spirit World

                Peter writes about how wives should be in subjection of their husbands, Peter gives the explain that “…Sara obeyed Abraham, calling him Lord…” (1 Peter 3:6). Some might say that this is sexist, however Peter explains exactly what this relationship between husband and wife should look like; “…husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife… being heirs together of the grace of life… be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another.” (1 Peter 3:6-8)

Wives being subject to their husbands really means that the husband acts as the head of the household… but does so as an equal partner. In the Family: A Proclamation to the World the Apostles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints lay out the roles for husband and wife:

“HUSBAND AND WIFE have a solemn responsibility to love and care for each other and for their children… Parents have a sacred duty to rear their children in love and righteousness, to provide for their physical and spiritual needs, and to teach them to love and serve one another, observe the commandments of God, and be law-abiding citizens wherever they live. Husbands and wives—mothers and fathers—will be held accountable before God for the discharge of these obligations.

THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners…” (Family: A Proclamation to the World – The First Presidency and Council of the Twelve Apostles of theChurch of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints – September 23, 1995)

Peter continues to explain that we need to “…be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in your with meekness and fear.” (1 Peter 3:15) – Peter is telling us that if someone comes asking a sincere question, we should be ready to answer them. However if someone is just trying to fight with you or to argue over different beliefs…then you should not answer them.

Peter explains that “…Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the Spirit: By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which some were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” (1 Peter 3:18-20) Essentially Christ suffered our sins, so why wouldn’t we not suffer for the consequence of our sins in the flesh? Here we also learn that Christ after he was crucified went to teach Spirits in the spirit prison. This is sort of like “purgatory” but not exactly, it is more of a waiting room for those who were not baptized with the proper authority while on the earth or who never learned about Jesus Christ. Once Jesus Christ returns for the Second Coming, then those people will be judged and given their kingdom in heaven. Remember what Jesus Christ said to the thieves that were on either side of Him? “…Jesus said unto him… To day shalt thou be with me in paradise…” (Luke 23:43) After death, and before we pass over into “heaven”, we go to Spirit Paradise or Spirit Prison.

1 Peter 1

1 Peter 1: Trial of Faith Precedes Salvation

                Peter writes to the gentiles that are scattered throughout the world and explains to them; “That the trial of your faith, being much more precious that of gold….though it be tried with fire… be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 1:7) Here we learn that the trial of our faith, even though it be difficult is what we will be judged on in the last days. Gold, silver, jewels… any worldly possession will not help us gain salvation. We must EARN our own salvation through the trial of our faith. Yes, it is true that Jesus Christ died for our sins and therefore granted our Salvation. However, we must remember that Jesus Christ gave us the ABILITY to gain Salvation, but never did we instantly gain Salvation for nothing, and this is exactly what Peter is saying.

Peter goes on to explain, that since the dawn of time Prophets have “…enquired and searched diligently…” (1 Peter 1:10) in order to obtain the necessary information regarding our Salvation, for this purpose having prophets is important. Peter explains that we need to be “…obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts of your ignorance… Be ye holy; for I am [God] holy. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work.” (1 Peter 14;16-17) Peter urges us to be obedient, and put our former lusts and desires in the past. As God is Holy, we being His children should also be holy. Why? Because ultimately God will judge us on our work.

Our Salvation was gained through the “…precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world…” (1 Peter 1:19-20) Peter invites us to be “…born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible…” (1 Peter 1:23) In other words, once we decide to follow Christ, we must do as He would do. We must work diligently daily, doing good works as He would also do.

1 Peter 2

1 Peter 2: Converts want to Learn

                Peter writes to the new converts of the church and tells them that like; “…newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:” (1 Peter 2:2) He emphasizes that it is the job of all members to nourish and strengthen those new converts so that they may grow with the word.

Peter urges us, including the converts to “…abstain from fleshy lusts… that… by your good works… shall… glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12) Jesus Christ died for our sins, and through His Atonement, we have been given the ability to be saved through His grace. However, this grace only works if we also do our best to stay clean and avoid the temptations of this world. By our good works, we shall be saved through the Grace of God.

Peter goes on to explain for new converts or members alike that we should “Submit ourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake…” (1 Peter 2:13) This is very interesting, because the Lord is telling us to follow all of man’s laws, if they be unrighteous, then those who are making the laws will be held accountable. However, we should follow the laws of the land, for it is a commandment of God. Peter explains that if we do well to follow the commandments of God, then we “…may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.” (1 Peter 2:15)

                Finally Peter urges us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ, that we might overcome the world.

Summary of James

Summary of James

                James wrote a series of letters to Jewish believers, but no specific group of people like in the Epistles written by Paul. James is the half-brother of Jesus, who was also persecuted. James is very similar in writing style as the book of Proverbs in the Old Testament.

In Chapters 1-3: James teaches us that if anyone lacks wisdom or knowledge, they can ask God and get an answer. He also teaches that we must be proven in our faith, by putting our faith in action.  “…faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.” (James 2:17) Therefore we must be doing good, and not just speaking of good. James also explains that EVERYONE sins, keeping some but not all commandments is just as bad as breaking them all.

In Chapters 4-5: James explains that if we submit ourselves to God, we will be able to overcome the temptations of the devil. He encourages us to pray, and pray often. We should continue in patience, even as Job continued in patience throughout all his trials. Finally, James explains that if we bring others unto Christ, it will help to offset our own sins.

James 5

James 5: Anointing the Sick

                James explains that we should not focus on riches of the world, but rather riches of the gospel and of things not of this world. He urges us to learn patience, even as Job learned patience; knowing that the “…Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.” (James 5:11)

Are you afflicted? If so pray. Are you merry? Sing a song. “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up…” (James 5:14-16) We learn that we can receive priesthood blessings when we are sick, with the anointing of sacred oil.

James also encourages us to convert others unto the Lord. If we do this, we can also be forgiven for many of our own sins. “Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.” (James 5:20)

James 4

James 4: Wars are Born of Lusts

                James opens up this letter by explaining that wars come from the lusts of the world, and that when we ask God for things, they must stem from righteous desires. James explains that “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” (James 4:3)

Paul addresses the sinners of the world; “Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” (James 4:4) Those who love the world more than God, are enemies of God Himself!

James urges everyone to be humble, so that we might receive the grace of God; “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” (James 4:10) Those who humble themselves and submit themselves to God, will have the power to overcome the Devil; “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

James reminds us that compared to God we’re; “…a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.” (James 4:14) Therefore we need to strive daily to perfect ourselves so that we can become like Him! James explains that anyone who knows good; “…and doeth it not, to him it is a sin.” (James 4:17). Therefore those who know good, but choose to do bad will be given their just reward.