Sunday night, our church finished a very timely study of 1 Peter. Please allow me to share with you five things Peter teaches us in the five chapters of this letter that was written to a group of persecuted Christians dispersed throughout Asia.
Your salvation is God’s work; therefore, it is secure.
“According to his (Christ’s) great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:3-5)
You were granted salvation solely because God wanted you to be saved, and that salvation is kept for you by God’s power- it can never be lost! This truth should comfort and encourage you when faced with an uncertain future- no matter what happens, nothing can take away that wonderful gift of salvation, and that gift is the most important thing about you.
Your identity is in Christ; therefore, it is certain.
“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.” (1 Peter 2:9-10)
You might not always feel like you are the things listed in 1 Peter 2:9, but if God says it, then it must be true! In fact, if God says it, then it is certain. He didn’t save you and then abandon you; He saved you and then transformed you into a wonderful, new creation that has great purpose. He chose you to be His special child, at odds with the world, but accepted by God-wow! He assigned you position as both a priest and a king or queen- amazing! He cleaned you up and set you aside to do His work- awesome! He has adopted you and considers you just as much a chosen child of God as He considers those born into Abraham’s lineage- can you believe it??? Yes, you have received mercy from God, along with a new identity- get used to it!
Your call to suffer is God’s will; therefore, it is blessed.
“But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” (1 Peter 3:14-17)
A study of the New Testament shows that suffering is one of the clear marks of the Christian. Yes, if you take seriously your call to follow Christ, it will cost you. While it might not always make sense to us that it could be God’s will for us to suffer, we trust in His goodness and know that He is doing something for our good and His glory, even when He allows us to suffer. And suffering for the name of Christ comes with its perks; it results in the blessings of God. Can you think of any kind of blessing that a man could offer that would be better than the blessings that God is able to give? I can’t. Those blessings don’t always come now, and they don’t always look like you thought they would (or should), but they are immeasurably precious. They are to be treasured above all else. When you consider how marvelous God’s blessings are, you can rejoice even in the sufferings.
Your passions are not the same; therefore, they please God.
“Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God.” (1 Peter 4:1-2)
You used to live for yourself because you used to be selfish. The passions and desires of your old sin nature craved the things of this world that Jesus died for and put you at odds with your Creator. Now that you’ve been transformed, though, you crave different things. You now want to do what God wants you do. Not only that, but you are now empowered to do what He wants, something that wasn’t true of you before you were born again. You might still sin at times, but you no longer live for sin- it no longer rules you. Instead, God rules you as your Lord and helps you to live for Him.
Your future is with Christ; therefore, it is glorious.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 11 To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” (1 Peter 5:10-11)
It has already been established that your life in this world will be hard at times. This life isn’t everything though; in fact, it is a rather insignificant thing when weighted against an eternity with Christ. He has called you to be with Him forever, and forever with Him will be glorious. You will no longer be broken, because He will make you whole. Your faith will no longer waver, because by Him your faith will be made sight. You will no longer be weak, because He will make you strong. You will no longer stand on shaky ground, because He will plant your feet on His firm foundation. Yes, this life can be troubled and tiresome, but, thank God, your eternal future with Christ is glorious indeed.