Joy in Suffering

March 22, 2021

1 Peter 1:1-9

Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ,
To God’s elect, exiles scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood:
Grace and peace be yours in abundance.

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. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all 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 the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Devotion

Peter wrote his letters after Paul had written his letters, somewhere between A.D. 64 and 67, after Nero had come to the throne and persecution was already breaking out. Peter himself had gone through quite a transformation from the time he met Christ to the writing of this letter. Peter was an important leader in the early church and according to tradition, he was martyred for his faith in Christ.

The theme of 1 Peter is Christian hope in the face of adversity and trials. This letter puts a great emphasis on hope. He also addresses suffering and the marvelous grace of God. Peter writes this letter from personal experience. It is important to note that while Peter writes concerning suffering, he emphasizes joy!

In the opening verses of chapter one, Peter dives deep into doctrinal waters. Immediately he presents the doctrine of the Trinity: the foreknowledge of God the Father, sanctification of the Spirit, and the shedding of the blood of Jesus the Son of God. In order to follow Peter’s theology, we must recognize that God is sovereign and that this Universe is His. He can do anything He wants that is consistent with His character.

Peter takes us deep when he writes, “who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father”. Peter is basically telling us that God is moving forward according to His plan. God is able to carry out His plan because He knows everything. The doctrine of divine election is a weighty matter that one cannot adequately address in a short devotion. Suffice to say, we are dealing with an infinite God. We have finite minds.

Now Peter reminds us that as believers we have been born again “into a living hope”. This hope is based on the resurrection of Jesus. Since Christ has been raised from the dead, we have HOPE! Jesus died that you and I might live. Peter has described to us what God has done for us in the past and now he moves into the future.

As believers, we have an inheritance that can never “perish, spoil or fade”. These would be encouraging words to Christians who were suffering trials and persecution for their faith in first century Rome. These are also encouraging words for us today. God has reserved for us an inheritance in heaven. In our day, so much attention is placed on the present that we often lose sight of the future and all that God has promised.

In verse five, “shielded by God’s power” emphasizes the keeping power of God. The only way we can live the Christian life is by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are “kept” by the power of God from the day of our salvation until the day we are delivered to Him in heaven.

Verse six is a key verse in this text. What Peter is saying is that the suffering and security of the believer produces JOY! Peter gives an important reason for enduring trials. He writes, “now for a little while”—the trials will not be long compared to eternity. Once again, we see that believers are to live with eternity in view. Our trials are only temporary. The things of this world do fade away. The things we cannot see are the eternal things. They are of real value.

QUESTIONS TO PONDER

Are you able to rejoice in the midst of trials? Where do you find hope in this world? Are you able to experience the grace of God when everything around you is falling apart? What is your main source of joy in this world? Why is the resurrection of Jesus so important to the Christian faith? How do you feel about an eternal inheritance that can never “perish, spoil or fade”? What does it mean to say that believers are “kept” by the power of God? Do you find security in this statement? Why or why not? Are you living with eternity in view?

Prayer Points

  • Worship the Lord for being Sovereign, All Knowing and Wise. He is our Hope of Glory!
  • Thank Him for His glorious grace, mercy and for giving us His Holy Spirit.
  • Pray for the trial or suffering you (or those you know) are going through. Pray for the Lord to grant encouragement, endurance and even joy.
  • Pray that He will enable you to yield to His Holy Spirit each day as you live for Him.

Suggested Prayer
Everlasting Father, I praise and worship You, I confess You are holy, just, good and powerful. You are the strong tower I run into, faithful and abounding in love. Lord I pray for myself and Your church, I ask that You would enable us each day to remember that we are citizens of heaven, earth is not our home. Help us to shine brightly for You. I ask that we would be ones that invest in eternity, lead us in Your truth oh God. Thank You Lord that even when we feel weak, You are strong and Your power is made perfect in our weakness. Thank You Lord that You provide for every season of our soul. Great is Your faithfulness. In the Name of Jesus Christ I pray.

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