5 They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
The tough part of this passage is ” the gospel was preached also to those who are dead”. The verses after that SEEM to indicate a chance to turn to Christ after death. This is found no where in scripture. So we need to take a closer look at the verses before and after and try to tie them together so that this statement is consistent with the rest of scripture. As we look back at verse 5 -“They will give an account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead.” Remember the “they” are those who are not saved and “they” will be judged by Him(God) and will give an accounting of themselves to God. God is judge of the living and the dead. Verse 6 opens with the Phrase”for this reason the gospel was preached also to those who are dead” There are at least four views on what this verse means.
1. The dead could be those who lived in pre-Christian times and this is Christ offering them salvation. – this not likely since no where in scripture is anyone given a “second chance” to accept Christ after death
2. That this refers to Christ preaching to only the righteous of Old Testament times.
3. That Peter is speaking of the gospel which was preached to believers who are now dead. They died just like others but are now living with God.
4. That Peter here is referring to the spiritually dead and the gospel was being preached to them so that they could become spiritually alive.
I think the last view is probably the most likely. based on the verses that precede it and on the verses that follow it , they put it right in proper context. With many difficult passages you may have to read back as much as two chapters and as far ahead as two chapters to see the passage in proper context. It has often been said that to properly interpret and understand the Bible you need to keep three things in mind, context, context, and context.
Ok, now that we have that somewhat cleared up this move on to Verses 7-11.
7 But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers. 8 And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.”[c] 9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. 10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability 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.
But the end of all things is at hand;-Christ could return at any moment. It could be tonight, it could be before I finish this post- it could be tomorrow, it could be next week, next month, or it may not be for another 2,000 years, the point is we have been in the last days since the resurrection. We should be ready to give a reason for the way we have lived our lives because we will have to give an accounting to the Lord. Will He say to you,”Well done, good and faithful servant!” or will He say to you,”Depart from me, I never knew you”?
therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers-We should curb our sinful desires and be sober minded and disciplined in our lives so that we can offer up powerful and effective prayers. Doing this in anticipation of the Lord’s return.
And above all things have fervent love for one another, for “love will cover a multitude of sins.- Peter here is quoting from Proverbs 10:12. Peter is in no way suggesting that our brotherly love for one another atones for our sins, but the idea is that love does not stir up sin. We show our love for one another by sincerely forgiving our brothers and sisters in Christ past sins and by not openly discussing those sins.
9 Be hospitable to one another without grumbling-In NT times being hospitable meant housing and feeding those who were traveling and their stay could have been two or three days long. This was to be done with no charge. Sometimes this meant a personal sacrifice and at tines those who provided this kindness to strangers complained about them behind their backs. This is a charge from Peter to serve others cheerfully.
10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. –Each and every believer has been given gifts or skills , talents and abilities to serve God with. A steward is a manager or trustee that is held accountable for how these gifts are used. We are the managers of our gifts and we will be held accountable by the One who has blessed us with our gifts.
11 If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability 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.-Those who teach God’s truth should do it in a reverent manner so that those who hear will respect God’s Word. We do not do the will of God through our own power or strength but it is through the power of God that He works His will through us.
We will pick up next time in Verse 12.
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