Faith in Christ, our Living Hope, will Produce Joy
1 Peter 1: 1-12
We have the privilege of delving into the first 12 amazing verses of 1 Peter together. Christ as our Living Hope. Inexpressible Joy in Him. We get to explore WHY He is our living hope and HOW we can have joy despite hardship. And let me just say it out loud, THIS IS HARD STUFF. And it is GOOD STUFF. This is the WHY and the HOW we keep on going! Oh how I need this message right now!
These verses are so rich in teaching that what you are reading today is Part 1 of 2.
When the resurrected Jesus appears to Peter in John 21, Peter’s hope comes back to life and his faith is strengthened as never before. His life is changed forever as he begins to grasp a deeper understanding of Christ’s purpose. And in his renewed faith, Peter begins his letter to the saints with the excitement and encouragement of these words…
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade— kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4
Because Christ is alive, our hope is living. Our certainty in Christ is rooted in the fact that He was crucified, buried, and raised to life! He is alive and thus our hope is real and secure.
However, having hope does not mean that all things will work out like we think they will, or even think they should. We have hope in our security and heaven, and we also have hope because of the blessings God promises us IN THIS LIFE. The promised blessings are not material blessings, but spiritual blessings! The blessings of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
We will all suffer hardship in this fallen and sinful world. As Christians, we should not be surprised by grief and pain. We should expect it. And when it comes, we must remember to lean into Christ. How we respond to trials and the choices we make during trials will, in large part, determine the blessings.
It is beautiful that in this book, Peter spends much of his time not delving into the CAUSE of hardship, but speaking to the PURPOSES of suffering. One of the purposes in suffering is to make us more beautiful!
I love the symbolic nature of how Peter describes our faith of greater worth than gold. Gold will perish even though refined by fire, but WE WILL NOT PERISH. Instead, we will be refined and become more beautiful!
“In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith- of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire- may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” 1 Peter 1:6-7
Did you know that gold starts out as impure gold ore? From the outside, it doesn’t look like anything spectacular. In order to make the ore beautiful, the process requires intense heat. The goldsmith carefully chooses when to put the ore into the fire and, just as carefully, decides when it should be removed. The smith pays close attention to the ore, removes it to shape it and work with it, then returns it to the fire to continue to refine it. It is a process.
Just like the gold, we face fiery trials. And like the ore, we are refined by the heat. God never takes His eye off of us and He never leaves us. He is in the fire with us! He is carefully molding us into His image. In the end, He wants us to shine brightly. When looking into a piece of gold at the end of the refining process, the smith should see his reflection in it. God is doing the same with us, His children. He wants to see His reflection in us. By surrendering our will to His, we remain in the fire as He wills, and we seek to glorify God with our thoughts, words, actions, and choices.
When I am faced with a trial, I have the choice to turn toward or away from God. I have a choice to listen to Him and meditate on His Word or rebel against it. In my flesh, I want to run away. I want to deny my God.
As children of God, we pray fervently for the Holy Spirit to give help us persevere through the trial. We ask for strength and patience. Even if we don’t FEEL like being in the Word, we can still turn to it. HIS WORD DOES NOT RETURN VOID. It is ALIVE. The Holy Spirit lives within us. He provides everything that we cannot.
There was a time in which I was too tired to persevere. Too tired to pick up my Bible. My community, my sweet sisters in Christ, prayed for me daily. They sent me scripture verses to hang on my wall and put by my bedside. I made a choice to read each one.
At night, I made a choice to listen to worship music and just cry out to God for help. Only God could discern the prayer of my heart. In my weakness and imperfect desire to connect with God, I received peace and joy. And He drew near to me.
When we are weak, He is strong. We can call upon Him. Ask for help. And He draws near…. (continued in Part 2).
In His Grace,