“1 Peter 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his 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. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.”
(1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)
The living hope that Peter refers to in 1 Peter 1:3-9 is not like the hope we have for good weather for an outdoor event, or that we will find a career that suits us; it’s much bigger than that. The hope that Peter writes of here is what we cling to that takes us beyond this life, beyond our present struggles, hardships or concerns, to eternity in heaven with God. We are, by the grace of God, born again into a living hope with an inheritance that is “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.”(ESV) We rejoice in this hope even though we may be experiencing the difficulties that come with this life, because our hope in Christ takes us beyond this life. In verses 8-9, Peter reminds us that though we don’t see Him yet, we love Him and believe in Him, and trust that He will complete what He has promised, “the salvation of your souls.”(ESV)
When Jesus went to the cross, He had more than this earthly life in mind. He was looking ahead to what His life, death and resurrection would accomplish for those who believe in Him. He was looking ahead to our being spared the proper penalty for our sins, of our being made one in Him, and our enjoying the place of matchless purity and beauty that He has prepared for us.
Just as when a butterfly breaks forth from the cocoon and experiences the beauty and freedom of flight, so we look forward to breaking the bonds of this earth with its hardships and disappointments, and break free into eternal life in glory.
Peter writes of this hope as being “more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire”. Do we place the importance of our relationship with God as being more precious than gold? If so, does our life, our checkbook, our calendar reflect that? How much time do we invest in our hope, in the knowledge of God, in studying His Word, not just on our own, but with others in the family of faith?
Let’s take a look at verses 6-7 again. “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, as was necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” How has the genuineness of our faith stood up to the tests we’ve experienced? Have they made us stronger, as was God’s plan, or have they cast doubts on what we thought we believed?
My prayer is that the testing of your faith will produce strength and depth in your relationship with Him, and that you will find a great sense of joy in serving Him in the time we have left on earth.
(The portion in italics was preprinted from an article I was asked to write for the Living Word Bulletin Series for Sunday, April 23, 2017; the image on the bulletin was of a butterfly on a flower.)
By His Grace Alone,
Pastor Bruce Jacobsen