Moving on to living the Gospel standards. If you love life and want to see good days, learn to master your tongue. No evil or guile. I try really hard not to swear. Nor say crude words. There are times I have slipped up but as I have strived to keep my language clean and uplifting, I have received respect from my peers as well as trust. It’s also a confidence builder because if you can control your tongue when you really want to say something mean, you can control anything. It’s the same principle of self-mastery all across the board.
Avoid evil, do good, seek peace, and pursue good. The eyes of the Lord are over the righteous and his ears hear their prayers. But his face is turned toward those who do evil. The footnote for 12a says “eyes” can be a reward or an abundant life. When you are good, you have an abundant life and the Lord hears your prayers. But what does it mean when it says, “The face of the Lord is against them that do evil”? Does that mean he is looking at you? He is aware of you?
Be Ready to Give a Reason For Your Hope
Verse 15 was used in October 2013 Conference! Sanctify the Lord in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear. The Greek translation makes “sanctify” reverence and holy. And “an answer” to a defense. How true it is! We are indeed a peculiar people and do stick out. As I have said in other writings, church members shine. There is something about us that is different. People want to know what it is. This is why we need to be able to answer those people when the questions come, and they will.
Christ Taught in the Spirit World
Christ taught in the spirit prison (v19). Some of these spirits had been in prison since the time of the flood. That’s a long time! I don’t know what the year is on the flood, but let’s say around 3000 BC. That’s a long time in Earth years to wait. If God’s time is 1000 Earth years to his day, the spirits in prison would have only had to wait three days. Not too long.
Does the spirit world go by our time or the Lord’s time? Because if the spirit world is all around us, then wouldn’t they be subject to our time? Perhaps there is no concept of time because they no longer have bodies and aren’t constrained to fatigue. The preaching that occurs there is probably 24/7.
Christ opened the doors for temple work. The people in the spirit world can be taught and accept the gospel and then people on Earth can do their temple work. This allows the spirits as the scripture says, to have a clear conscious before God. Not putting away filth but having a clear conscious and finally having that peace they have sought after for so long. I imagine this like the Charles Dickens story, A Christmas Carol. They don’t have that peace and roam around with a guilty conscience of how their life could have been had they been better and accepted the gospel.
It talks about a person who riotously lives and gets into lots of bad things. He dies having all these things upon him still. Who is going to give an account to him (of the gospel) so he can be judged? This is the reason that we preach to the dead in the spirit world. All those who did not have the opportunity in life to hear of it will have a chance to accept it. Then they can be judged fairly, having accepted or rejected the gospel.
A Smorgasbord of Teachings
Have fervent charity. Charity preventeth a multitude of sins. Cross reference Moroni on charity. Charity suffereth long, is patient…etc. Indeed, charity is the pure love of Christ. If you purely love Christ, you better bet your bottom dollar that charity will prevent a multitude of sins.
Use hospitality with grudging. I love this one. I’m not sure whether this verse is talking to the host or the guest. Probably both. Don’t mooch off other people. Don’t have any subtle motivations for using someone’s hospitality. This reminds me (the word hospitality) of my grandparents. They are so nice whenever my siblings and I come to visit. They always make sure we are comfortable and have enough to eat. The whole nine yards. Even here in Malaysia, they are wonderful at it. Every time we come to someone’s house, they offer us some type of food or drink. I know that as they open their doors to the Lord’s servants and feed them, they are blessed with food in return.
If you have received the priesthood, minister to one another as stewards of God. The priesthood should not be held back. Use it freely to bless the lives of those around you.
If any man speaks, let it be with the authority and spirit of God. Do it through the ability which God giveth you (priesthood?). That God may be glorified in all things. Let us be men of God. The priesthood is to be exercised righteously to bless the lives of others. That all may see that God is manifest in all things and that he has power over all things.
Trials as a Means to Salvation
Don’t be surprised when trials come upon you, even if you are righteous, thinking it is a strange thing. Rejoice because you get to take part in Christ’s suffering. That when his glory is revealed, you will have joy also. Cross reference Jeffrey R. Holland’s on saying salvation isn’t easy (There is also a wonderful video made from parts of this talk. Watch it here). We may have to walk a little bit of the path of Christ and feel a little of what he felt. The righteous will be tried and tested in all things. Trials, tribulations, disappointments, all these will give you experience should you rise above them all and turn them into stepping stones instead of keeping them as stumbling blocks.
Keeping our Stewardship
Elders, tend the flock of God. Oversee it, watch it, guard it. Not with a grudging heart and filthy priestcraft, but with a willing and joyful heart. Don’t be as lords over them but be an example. If you are faithful in this thing, when Christ comes again, ye shall receive a crown of glory (exaltation) that shall not fade away.
Humble yourselves before the Lord that he may exalt you in due time. Humility leads to perfection. Be willing to submit to the teachings of the Lord. The footnote for 6a says, contrite heart. Have this, learn, and all will be well with you.
Stay Away From the Lion
Be watchful. The adversary, who is the devil, is like a roaring lion walking about seeking those he can devour. This imagery is really good. It puts into it into perspective. The Devil really does want to eat you. He wants you dead in any way. Or snared up under his control. It doesn’t matter really, just as long you aren’t doing what God wants you to do. Every day you get up and go about doing good and being righteous, the Devil is having a fit. He’s losing and he knows it. Because we have bodies and he doesn’t. Every day we are righteous, we get a bit stronger and resilient to his temptations.
The next verse adds on to what I said and is very comforting. When you are going through trials, be steadfast and take comfort that others before you have endured the same things. They have overcome and accomplished them. You can too. The Devil is not all powerful.
The last part of verse 10 finishes it off. After you have suffered a while, Jesus Christ will make you perfect, make sure you are more stable, strengthen and settle you. God is the all-powerful one. He is the master. He knows what you need to be and how to get you there. Trust in him always and you will overcome all.
That’s the end of 1st Peter. Next will be 2nd Peter. Stay tuned!