God’s Faithfulness to His People Part 1 – The Nation will live Again
Can these dry bones live? The nation was destroyed, no land, no settled people, no Temple. All had been lost. But not even such devastation could thwart the redeeming purpose of God. The people will return . They will live again. God’s purposes will not fail.
A day came when the apostle Peter could say: “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you slew and hanged on a tree. Him God has exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins. And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey him.” (Acts 5:30ff.) In this One the bones most surely came to life as sons and daughters of Israel embraced their Messiah and found true forgiveness and a place in God’s eternal kingdom to be joined, as promised, by those from the nations whom God would call to himself.
God is continuing to gather his people from every tribe and nation
New People, New Life-style
1 Peter 4:1-11
Peter’s intentions in this passage are clear. The people who have been baptised into Christ share his death and his life. His death and theirs (though different) are both a death unto sin. The consequence is the effort to live a life that seeks to please God in all things.
A community that lives by a different understanding of life and it’s meaning to the larger community in which it exists can expect to be under pressure. It’s never easy to be different and maintain difference.
Of verse 6 the IVP – New Bible Commentary says: “The gospel was preached even to those who are now dead anticipates a possible objection to the gospel by the opponents of the Christians—‘If you speak of the return of Christ, and possessing eternal life here and now, why do your people die like the rest of us? Surely you are suffering exactly the same judgment as we are, for you say that death is the wages of sin.’ Peter’s answer is that those who are now dead have been judged according to men in regard to the body by suffering physical death but, because the gospel was preached to them (while alive, and they responded to it), they are now living according to God in regard to the spirit. According to men… according to God could refer to judgment in the flesh as being the common lot of humanity, and life in the spirit as the distinctive characteristic of God. Alternatively, the preposition according to may mean ‘in the sight of…’. Either translation makes little difference to the meaning. Another possible translation is ‘by men’ but this is unlikely and does not fit easily with the parallel according to God”
Verses 7-11 are worthy of thoughtful prayer and a practical resolve to do what they encourage us to do.