The American Wisdom Series

Pamphlet #4647
1 Peter 4:7  ¶But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto praye
My highlighted verses:1 Peter 4:8  And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

The word translated "charity" is: agape, Greek #26: love, i.e. affection or benevolence, and is most often rendered "love" except in 1 Cor. and the books of Peter and Timothy where it is usually rendered "charity".

Personal Note: I always force my mind to convert the word "charity" to "love" in the New Testament because my concept of charity has been corrupted by The United Way. Please don't be offended if you're a big contributor. It's not that they don't do some good things, like provide a $400,000 per year benefits package to their head honcho, but asking businesses to give "pep talks" and then solicit payroll deduction charitable contributions somehow loses the concept of what charity is all about, which is "giving" not "taking". (Maybe it's just me.)

Nevertheless, we all know that flesh is sinful, don't we?

Well, Peter is saying that if a person has a lot of love in his or her heart, that love will overshadow many of the sins and weaknesses of the flesh.

And the same applies to a group or a church, such as the body of Christ.

Where there is the love of Christ, there is patience and sacrifice and understanding, which is why Love is a commandment [precept] of Jesus Christ for each one of us.

John 13:34-35
A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. [35] By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
You see, love is more powerful than any other "force" in the universe because it totally eliminates the need for "force".

Where there is love there is voluntary compliance to the natural laws of God!

If you love your spouse you will not cheat on him or her.


Because you DON'T WANT TO be unfaithful.

If you love your boss you won't steal from him or her or from the company.


Again, because you don't want to cause harm or injury to your boss or company!

Can you force people to obey the command not to steal from the company?

Yes you can.

You can have cameras and security measures in place to force compliance.

But if it is not in a person's heart not to steal, you must always have the cameras turned on, because when you turn them off, there goes a three-hole punch or maybe a laptop computer.

Now, since love is far more powerful than law and the enforcement of law, it cannot therefore be brought into subjection by either of the lesser two.

In other words, you cannot make a law that says you will love your boss and by that decree make it so, nor can you force someone to love you.

Love must come from within a person and be generated from their "free will", their "own" desire to love.

Now you know the problem our Father has with His children who were all created with "free will".

He can't [read "won't" if you have a problem with "can't", though "can't" is correct] force His children to love Him anymore than you can force your children or your employees to love you.

If you understand that and think about it, you can begin the see the purpose and the incredible wisdom of this flesh age whereby in sinful vessels that do sin we can experience the love and grace of our Father and grow to love Him ever so much that our hearts cannot contain the pouring out.

And so it is that there is nothing so important and powerful and wonderful as love.

Consider the perspective in which the apostle Paul placed it, in what has come to be known as the "love chapter" in 1 Cor. 13.

1 Cor. 13:1-4
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. [2] And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. [3] And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. [4] Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
Notice that Paul places charity [love] as the greatest of all gifts just as Peter said "above all things" have fervent charity.
1 Cor. 13:13
And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
One more thing!

Charity [love] does not expect anything in return, neither gain nor recognition.

Would you like to test your gift of charity?

Here's how.

Do something "good" for someone [other than yourself] for each of the next 7 days.

That's not too difficult, is it?

 But here's the catch: DO NOT under any circumstances let anyone, including the recipient of your kindness, know about it! Got it?

That means NEVER! (Few can pass this test.)

9  Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
10  As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
11  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
12  ¶Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:
13  But 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.
14  If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
15  But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men's matters.
16  Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
My highlighted verses: 1 Peter 4:17  For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
18  And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

[17] For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

Just so we are clear on who the "house of God" is:

1 Tim. 3:15
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.
Are you a Christian?

Then you are one of those "living stones" which make up the temple of God, of which Christ is the Chief Cornerstone, and so you are part of the "house of God"!

So Peter says that means you're first in line for judgment!

And what about those who "obey not" the gospel of God?

Remember back in chapter 2, verses 7 & 8, who the "disobedient" are?

They are those who stumble at the Word of God and follow the traditions of men instead of the oracles of God.

So what shall be their end?

That's simple!

They will go to the end of the line, which means they will go through the Millennium and be judged last at the great white throne judgment.

1 Pet.4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?
Have you gathered by now that being a Christian doesn't mean you are exempt from trials and tribulations?

It can get a little hot!

In fact, Nebuchadnezzar had the furnace stoked 7 times hotter than normal, so be aware that it can get "7 times hotter" for Christians than for others.

So Peter now says that if the righteous scarcely [meaning with difficulty] be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

At the end of the line!

19  Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

To study the Bible is the noblest of all pursuits; to understand it, the highest of all goals.
We pray that with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, you accomplish both.

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