“A Chosen Generation”
Lesson 43 – 1 Peter, 2 Peter,
The following story was told by Bishop Vaughn J. Featherstone. “Many years ago I heard the story of the son of King Louis XVI of France. King Louis had been taken from his throne and imprisoned. His young son, the prince, was taken by those who dethroned the king. They thought that inasmuch as the king’s son was heir to the throne, if they could destroy him morally, he would never realize the great and grand destiny that life had bestowed upon him.” “They took him to a community far away, and there they exposed the lad to every filthy and vile thing that life could offer. … For over six months he had this treatment—but not once did the young lad buckle under pressure. Finally, after intensive temptation, they questioned him. Why had he not submitted himself to these things—why had he not partaken? These things would provide pleasure, satisfy his lusts, and were desirable; they were all his. The boy said, ‘I cannot do what you ask for I was born to be a king’ ” (“The King’s Son,” New Era, Nov. 1975, 35).
Bishop Featherstone commented: “Our Father is a king, and just as the king’s son was exposed to every vile and perverted thing in this life, so you will be exposed to much of the filth and degradation of our generation. But you… are also born to be kings and queens, priests and priestesses” (New Era, Nov. 1975, 35).
As spirit children of our Heavenly Father, we have divine potential. The knowledge of our divine potential should significantly influence the way we live. As children of our Father in Heaven, we can become like him and inherit all that he has. The epistles of Peter and Jude offer valuable teachings to help us live worthily as children of God.
1 Peter 1:3-4, 18-21 Peter taught in chapter 1 that the mission of Jesus Christ was to redeem man, be an undefiled and incorruptible sacrifice, and give man hope of an inheritance in heaven.
1 Peter 1:8, 13-16, 22-23; 1Peter 2:5 Knowing of the Savior’s mission and sacrifice should affect our daily actions, causing us to love God, be sober and hopeful, be obedient and holy, purify ourselves, follow the Spirit, love one another with a pure heart, be born again by the word of God, and offer acceptable sacrifices to God through worship of the Savior.
1 Peter 1:7; Hebrews 11:6; 1 Nephi 7:12 Faith is “much more precious than … gold,” as Peter stated, because it does not perish, brings rewards from God, and allows the Lord to do all things for our benefit.
1 Peter 1:5, 9 To have our faith tried with fire means to try it under severe conditions and to have our faith purified by a refiner’s fire. The ultimate purpose of our faith is our salvation through Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 1:10 (see also verse 11) Peter taught that the prophets who testify of Jesus Christ have “enquired and searched diligently”. Diligent prayer and scripture study strengthen our testimonies of the Savior as we read of his example, understand his teachings, and seek his counsel.
1 Peter 2:9-10 (and see the quotation below.) Peter spoke of a chosen generation.
Elder Bruce R. McConkie defined a chosen generation as “not those living in a particular period or age, but … the house of Israel both anciently, in the meridian of time, and now in these latter-days. … [It includes] faithful members of the Church who have taken upon themselves the name of Christ and been adopted into his family” (Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. [1966-73], 3:294).
1 Peter 2:9 Our responsibility as a chosen generation is to further the work of the Father and Son by spreading the gospel, administering the priesthood for the blessing of his children, and helping the Lord redeem his people.
Matt. 5:16 We fulfill this responsibility by doing good works in the name of our Redeemer and being examples of Christlike behavior and attitudes.
Peter wrote, “Christ … suffered for us, leaving us an example” (1 Peter 2:21).
1 Peter 2:19-23 We can follow the Savior’s example in responding to trials and persecution by being patient, faithful, and forgiving. We have examples of people who were Christlike in enduring trials such as the Prophet Joseph Smith and many the early saints of this dispensation, as well as current members.
1 Peter 3:13-17; 1 Peter 4:12-19 Peter counseled us on how to respond in such circumstances—by being happy, maintaining our faith, and realizing that those trials will be for our good.
2 Peter 1:4-7 Attributes Peter describes as part of divine nature include faith, virtue, knowledge, temperance, patience, godliness, brotherly kindness, and charity.
2 Peter 1:8 It is important that we develop these qualities to assure that we are fruitful in our knowledge of our Savior.
Peter exhorted the Saints to “give diligence to make your calling and election sure” (2 Peter 1:10). To make your calling and election sure is to receive from the Lord the assurance or promise of exaltation in the celestial kingdom. A person whose calling and election is made sure knows that he or she is “sealed up unto eternal life, by revelation and the spirit of prophecy” [D&C 131:5]. Joseph Smith received this promise from the Lord, as recorded in Doctrine and Covenants D&C 132:49.
The Prophet Joseph Smith taught what we must do to have our calling and election made sure: “After a person has faith in Christ, repents of his sins, and is baptized for the remission of his sins and receives the Holy Ghost (by the laying on of hands), … then let him continue to humble himself before God, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and living by every word of God, and the Lord will soon say unto him, Son, thou shalt be exalted. When the Lord has thoroughly proved him, and finds that the man is determined to serve Him at all hazards, then the man will find his calling and his election made sure” (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, sel. Joseph Fielding Smith , 150).
Jude was a son of Joseph and Mary and a brother of Jesus.
Peter and Jude warned that there would be false teachers among the members of the Church.
2 Peter 2:1-3, 10, 12-19; Jude 1:4, 8, 10-13, 16, 18-19 Some characteristics of false teachers that were mentioned include teaching heresy, denying the Lord, displaying covetousness, exhibiting lust, despising government, being presumptuous, being arrogant, disrespectful of dignities, speaking evil, being corrupt, and having eyes full of adultery, etc. We can recognize false teachers today by the same fruits.
2 Peter 3:11-14, 17-18; Jude 1:3, 20-21; see also Moro. 7:12-17; D&C 45:57; D&C 46:7-8 contain counsel Peter and Jude gave that can help us avoid false teachings and remain faithful as we prepare for the Second Coming. The counsel includes living by the Spirit, praying sincerely, and having hope in Christ.