1 Peter 1:3-5 ESV
“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.”
The “us” being spoken of here are God’s elect, who are exiles in this world, “according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood” (vv. 1-2).
The elect are those who are called of God out of the world to be his holy people, set apart (unlike, different) from the world of sin because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ, by the Spirit. Via Jesus’ blood, shed for us on the cross, he bought us back for God (he redeemed us) so that we would now glorify God with our lives (1 Co 6:19-20; 2 Co 5:21).
By God’s grace, through God-given faith in Jesus Christ, we are those who have died with Christ to sin, who have been born anew of the Spirit of God, and who are now being empowered of the Spirit to walk in obedience to our Lord. We are now walking (in conduct) according to the Spirit, by the Spirit, and no longer according to the flesh (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
All this comes from God! Not any of this is generated in our own flesh. We can do nothing to earn or to deserve our own salvation. In the flesh we will never be approved of God, and we will never be righteous in his sight. So, we can only turn from our sins and submit to Christ and obey the Lord because of what Jesus did for us and only in his power and strength.
Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And he died that we might no longer live for ourselves, but for him who gave his life up for us. So, our purpose here on this earth is to live for God, for Jesus, according to his will, and for his glory and praise (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15).
But we aren’t saved from our sins just for this life on the earth. If we remain in Christ, and we are steadfast in our faith until the end of time, and we walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh, we have a future home with God for eternity where sin will be no more, and death will be no more, and where suffering will be gone, too (Rom 8:1-17; Col 1:21-23).
1 Peter 1:6-7 ESV
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if 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.”
When Jesus walked this earth, and he ministered to the people of the earth, although he had some committed disciples, and he did have crowds following him, though many of them superficially, he was hated and persecuted, largely by the religious leaders and rulers in the temple of God.
They hounded him left and right, criticized him, mocked him, falsely accused him, tried continuously to trip him up with his words, called him crazy, and even accused him of being of the devil. Eventually they had him arrested falsely, beaten unmercifully, and given a mock trial. Then they had him crucified on a cross, although he had done no wrong, but only good.
Jesus said that if we follow (obey, submit to) him with our lives, we will be treated as he was treated. If they hated him, they will hate us. If they persecuted him, they will persecute us. So, we will have people, even professing Christians, and even pastors of churches, who will mock us, call us crazy, accuse us of being of Satan, and who will try to trip us up, too.
But our response to this mistreatment is not to be to get even, or to be spiteful or hateful. But we are to love our enemies, pray for them, do good to them, and say and do for them what is beneficial for them, especially what will bring them to genuine faith in Jesus Christ. And we are to rejoice.
For, in all of these trials and tribulations (and more), we are being tested to see (to reveal) whether our faith is genuine. And testing will try our faith, and it will reveal it to be fake, to be weak, or to be strong in the Lord. But the purpose of the trial, then, is that we might strengthen what is weak, and that we might grow stronger in our walks of faith.
When we respond to our trials by humbling ourselves before the Lord, with a willingness to let him grow us and change us where we need to be changed, then God will get the glory and praise for the change brought about in our lives as a result of the trial he allowed us to endure.
1 Peter 1:8-9 ESV
“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.”
We believe in Jesus Christ even though we can’t visibly see him with our eyes or touch him with our hands. But there are other ways to feel him and to see him other than with physical eyes and hands. We can feel his presence with us. We can hear his voice speaking in our spirits. And this all comes through the Holy Spirit who lives within us.
So, when we believe in Jesus, we aren’t believing in a concept or a religion or a historical figure that we can’t see or touch. We are believing in God who we can feel and hear, and we can see his mighty works in our lives. We are in relationship with a friend who is closer than a brother, and we can have conversations with him, too, just not audibly.
So, we love him because we are in relationship with him and because he is God and because of all the things he has done for us. And we love him even when he allows us to go through trials, too, because we know he is allowing them for our good, to grow us in him, and to make us into the people he wants us to be for his purposes, and according to his will.
Now here, in closing, is something we need to understand. Our salvation isn’t complete yet. We are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future) when Christ returns providing (if) we continue in Christ and we remain in him and we walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.
We are in the process of being saved, of obtaining the outcome of our faith, which is the salvation of our souls, but it won’t be complete until Jesus returns for his bride and we go to be with him for eternity. So, don’t get this idea that you can get “saved” and then live how you want until you go to heaven one day. It doesn’t work that way. So, know the truth, and live the truth. And then you can have that hope of eternal life with God.
In the Sweet By and By
Sanford F. Bennett / Joseph P. Webster
There’s a land that is fairer than day,
And by faith we can see it afar;
For the Father waits over the way
To prepare us a dwelling place there.
We shall sing on that beautiful shore
The melodious songs of the blessed;
And our spirits shall sorrow no more,
Not a sigh for the blessing of rest.
To our bountiful Father above,
We will offer our tribute of praise
For the glorious gift of His love
And the blessings that hallow our days.
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore;
In the sweet by and by,
We shall meet on that beautiful shore.