Would you die for a three-letter word?
The apostle Peter wrote a book to give Christians words to die on. At the foundation, it is “the good news that was preached to you” (1 Peter 1:25), the gospel of Jesus Christ. By understanding what’s “good” about the gospel, Christians fortify their souls to withstand even the most terrible suffering the world can produce. And that good news hangs on a three-letter word.
Peter tells us that “it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil” (1 Peter 3:17), and the reason he gives for this — the reason Christians should prefer suffering, pain, even death over evil — is signaled in the word “for.” It is better to suffer faithfully than to turn away from God for “Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).
If we could slip away from God’s anger, or enter heaven, or get our sins forgiven but still not get to God, the Christian hope would be worthless. Suffering pain or death would not be worth doing good and remaining faithful to God. Yet this is precisely what God gives us in the gospel: Christ suffered to open a way to God.
Look at the Book is John Piper’s latest effort to help teach people to read the Bible for themselves. It’s an ongoing series of 8–12 minute videos in which the camera is on the text, not the teacher.
As part of this initiative, Desiring God is putting on regional events focused on certain passages of Scripture. This is Part 9 in a series on 1 Peter called “Hoping, Singing, and Loving in the Refiner’s Fire.” More parts will be released in the coming weeks.