InTouch.org with Dr. Charles Stanley
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Read | 1 Peter 1:6-7
A Living Hope, and a Sure Salvation
1Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen
2according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.
3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
4to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you,
5who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
6In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials,
7so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
8and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory,
9obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls.
10As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries,
11seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow.
12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven–things into which angels long to look.
13Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
14As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,
15but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;
16because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
17If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth;
18knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
19but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.
20For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you
21who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
22Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart,
23for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable, that is, through the living and enduring word of God.
“ALL FLESH IS LIKE GRASS,
AND ALL ITS GLORY LIKE THE FLOWER OF GRASS.
THE GRASS WITHERS,
AND THE FLOWER FALLS OFF,
25BUT THE WORD OF THE LORD ENDURES FOREVER “
And this is the word which was preached to you.
On occasion, every one of us will go through troubling times, and when that happens, it’s easy to get disheartened. But the Bible indicates that even during periods of challenge and adversity, God expects His children to respond correctly. And His word equips us to do so.
What does a right response look like? Today’s passage teaches us to rejoice during difficulty. Of course, this does not mean that we must be glad about the hardship. But we can be joyful because we know that God is using the circumstances to prepare and grow us. Even though having a positive attitude during something so negative does not seem logical, it actually makes sense for several reasons.
First of all, through difficult experiences, the Lord teaches us endurance. Our natural reaction to pain is oftentimes to run in the opposite direction—and as fast as possible. However, God wants us to “hang in there” so that we can derive the full benefit of whatever lesson He has for us.
Second, the heavenly Father uses trials as a refining fire to purify His children and bring them to greater spiritual maturity. He has a plan for each believer, and hardship is one of the tools necessary to prepare us to do His will. In the process, we will find that our faith has been strengthened.
As we realize God brings benefit from our adversities, we’ll begin to face challenging times with confidence that He always has our best interest in mind. This leads to joy, because we know He is building our endurance, purifying our hearts, and making us people with unshakeable trust in Him.