Believers Living Under Pressure.

The god of this world seeks to eliminate Christ's influence, which causes even more feelings of crisis and pressure for Christians. Believers are citizens of a greater country, and they walk according to its mission. This can cause conflict with the world.

After discussing our excited expectation of Christ's return (1 Peter 4:7), Peter presents more opportunities and obligations that Christians under pressure can live through grace.

Loving & Forgiving Freely (1 Peter 4:8)

Prayerful expectation compels us to be like Christ. When our thinking and living is connected to His Word and prayer, we will live with spiritual common sense. "Above all" is a participle connecting verse 8 to verse 7.

The word "fervent" conjures up a picture of a horse at full gallop, every muscle striving toward a goal. This is how focused we are to be in our love for the body of Christ, especially in difficult times. This letter was written to local churches living in the crisis of intense persecution.

The phrase "for one another" is reflexive, not reciprocal. This simply means that it is an individual choice to love. Even if the other party is not acting in a deserving manner, you can initiate. This love is practically expressed in forgiving sins in the church body. Ugliness can come out under pressure. But forgiveness will be an automatic response even in crisis if we are devoted to prayer and expecting Christ's return. Jesus Himself gave us an incredible example of this when he loved his family and disciples and forgave his persecutors even in the suffering of the cross. (See John 19:25-27 and Luke 23:34.)

To "cover over" means not to cover up, but to hide out of the way. Grace enables forgiveness as the Spirit grants unity to Christ's body. We forgive to preserve spiritual companionship and protection so we can continue to pursue our Great Commission together. If we are not practicing 1 Peter 4:7, it will be harder to love and forgive in crisis. In turn, the ability to love and forgive flows to hospitality and service in the following verses.

Application Points

  • Are you struggling to devote yourself to prayer, live in expectation of Christ's return, or love freely? Examine your heart to see if you have moved away from full dependence on God and His grace.
  • Is forgiveness hard for you? Check your personal devotion to God in prayer and your expectation of Jesus' return. Both of these will flow into a freely forgiving disposition.
  • Is grace developing you in the area of loving and forgiving in the church family?

Tools for Further Study

Cross References to Explore
  • Colossians 3:14, Philippians 2:1-4, 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, 2 Corinthians 5:21 – Love.
  • John 15:12-13, 2 John 1:6 – Love's ethical devotion.
  • Matthew 18:21-22, Galatians 6:1-2, Proverbs 10:12, Ephesians 4:1-3, 4:32 – Grace enables forgiveness.