There were several dangers that the Christians in our day must be aware of, these are exactly the spiritual hazards that the early church had to contend with. Throughout Peter’s two letters he reveals what some of these dangers are.
1: Giving up in time of trial
“Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is come to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you” (1 Peter 4:12). The believers were undergoing persecution, and probably were thinking that following Christ was too difficult and costly. Just like some today they found it easier to backslide than to keep believing.
Peter tells us to “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9). These trial and persecutions are not an indication that God has forsaken His people, but that the devil is trying to defeat us.
He urges believers to keep on trusting in the Lord, because “The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptation” (2 Peter 2:9). Instead of giving up we should “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18).
2: Living Worldly Lives
Throughout the Church age some have found it acceptable to live like the unsaved and to structure their lives on worldly principles rather than on God’s truth. This is very evident today, but Peter advises, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Peter 1:14-15).
Why should we want the filth of the world if God has given us so much? “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). The world’s pleasures are designed to destroy Christian faith, “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Peter 2:11). To is a great danger in feeding our minds with the things of this world. Though the sin is the same as in
Peter’s day, there are vastly more ways for the world to penetrate our minds and corrupt our devotion to Christ (TV, Radio, Magazine, Cinema and other forms of worldly entertainment).
3. Being Evil Minded
A part of behaving like the world is that we quickly become like them in thoughts and attitude as well as action. Peter warns us from having an evil mind. “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speaking, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2). He enlarges on this theme in 1 Peter 3:8-12 and offers a way of overcoming such ungodly attitudes towards others, “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion on one another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile: let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and His ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.”
4: Bad Citizenship
There are those who believe that they are above the law, as Christians they can do as they please. Peter did not condone but rebuked such an attitude towards government and those in authority. Bad citizenship is the result of rebellion in one’s heart. Peter knew that the government of his day was persecuting believers, but that did not give them the right to become rebellious. Even if a believer is being persecuted for his faith today he must be respectful and obedient, “For this is thankworthy, if a man for his conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully” (1 Peter 2:19). Christians will be outcasts for their faith, but there is no blessing in being punished for ungodliness, “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. 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” (1 Peter 4:14-15). Anarchy can never be part of the Christian lifestyle; “But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities” (2 Peter 2:10). Those Christians who lobby Parliament for various reasons must be careful to keep everything peaceful and respectful.
5: The Love of Money
Peter speaks about the love of money to those who are involved in leadership. There has always been a great danger of finances being abused by the ministry of the church. The Prosperity Movement of today have fallen into this snare. When money becomes the driving force then we have forsaken God. Peter encourages those in leadership to “Feed the flock of God, which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3).
6: False Prophets
The Church has always been in danger of infiltration by false prophets and false teachers. Today, as we approach the final hours of the Church age, we have multitudes of false teachers in the Church corrupting the minds of believers even of many years saved. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you” (2 Peter 2:1-3).