1 Peter 1:3-9
1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
1:4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you,
1:5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1:6 In this you rejoice, even if now for a little while you have had to suffer various trials,
1:7 so that the genuineness of your faith–being more precious than gold that, though perishable, is tested by fire–may be found to result in praise and glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
1:8 Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,
1:9 for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Whether you are a new believer or have been a Christian for some time, our faith can be easily shaken and thrown off course. Peter here is encouraging a group of believers to never loose hope because of the true hope we have in Salvation. The Gospel is what keeps our feet firmly grounded on solid ground and when we fix our eyes on Jesus, we will remain upright and steady.
Our faith will at times face the fire and the flames will often either engulf us or test our faith and refine what is already rooted in Christ. Peter is not trying to sugar coat the Christian walk. There will be moments of hardships, trials and at times we will think we are actually being defeated. However, in verse 7, we see that through those hard times, Jesus Christ still walks with us and gives us the strength we need to face those hard times head on. The end result is that we come out with a faith is stronger and can rejoice in a God who is mighty to save.
The goal of this life is to keep pressing on and pursuing Christ no matter what we face. Our faith is often able to prove its genuine quality when trials are brought in and we choose to keep clinging to the promises of our God. He is always there to offer us joy, comfort, and strength. Through various hardships we can be sure that when we walk through the fire, those flames will not engulf us. Instead, the peace of joy will give us strength to cool off and keep pressing on.
By the time that Peter was writing his epistles, the Roman government had grown impatient and unimpressed with the Jewish territories. This was especially true for the Christians that were among them. The Jewish religion was tolerated in Rome but the new group (the Christians) posed a major threat to the government. As a result the Roman leaders began to dismantle and murder Christian leaders. The churches and the Christian families were intimidated and sometimes driven from their homes. Eventually, Peter himself, would be imprisoned by Herod.
However, in the midst of the trials Peter encourages Christians to remain strong. The those who endure the trials will have a stronger faith once they get through. Moreover, for those who finish the final race, there is a home waiting above with the Lord that is unfathomable, imperishable, and unfading. Yet, in order to get there we must first endure this earthly existence, here. But do not be discouraged, for the prize will be worth the wait.
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