The Tested Genuiness of Your Faith

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.”

We read in the first two verses that this is addressed to those who are the elect, those chosen by God, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, in turning us from darkness to light, for obedience to Jesus Christ, and for sprinkling with his blood. The elect are those God has called out of the world, and out from their lives of sin, for obedience to Jesus Christ, to live holy lives, pleasing to God.

So, when in verses 3-5 we read that God has caused “us” to be born again to a living hope, the “us” is not everyone who makes a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Not everyone who says he believes in Jesus Christ can claim these promises as their own. The “us” are those who God turned from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, who are walking in obedience to his commands, and who are living holy lives in his power.

It doesn’t mean we are perfect people or that we are sinless (1 Jn 2:1-2). But it does mean that our profession of faith in Jesus Christ is the result of God the Father persuading us as to his holiness and righteousness, and of our sinfulness, and of our need to die with him to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness. And so, by the grace of God, we repented of our sins and we turned to walk in obedience to our Lord in holy living, in his power.

For this is what it means to be born again. The first time we were born, we were born physically in the flesh with sinful natures, separate from God, and unable in ourselves to be approved by God and to share in his holiness. When we are born again (this time spiritually, not physically), our old self is crucified with Christ in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we will no longer be enslaved to sin, but so we will now be slaves of God and of his righteousness.

By faith in Jesus Christ we are crucified with Christ in death to sin, and we are raised with Christ to walk in newness of life in him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. So now we are to consider ourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Sin is no longer to be our master. For if we remain slaves to sin, it leads to death, but if we are slaves of God and to obedience, it leads to righteousness and to eternal life.

But this faith that we have in Jesus Christ, of which repentance and obedience and submission to Christ as Lord are a part, is not a one-time thing that happens in our lives which guarantees us eternal life with God. We must die daily to sin and walk daily in his righteousness, and we must continue steadfast in that faith until the very end of time. Then, when Jesus returns, we will go to be with him, and our salvation will be complete.

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.”

Now, if we have truly been saved by God’s grace, and we are being saved, and we will be saved when he returns, then our lives are to be committed to following Jesus Christ, to doing the will of God, to going wherever he sends us, and to saying whatever he gives us to say (in accord with his word). And when we do that, in truth, we will be hated. We will be persecuted. We will be misjudged and rejected and mocked, etc. for following Jesus Christ.

And in America, at least, a lot of that persecution will come from within the gatherings of what is called “church,” because so much of the church has gone the way of the world, and they are marketing the church to the world, and so they are patterning their gatherings after the ways of the world in order to attract the world to their gatherings. And so they have also altered the gospel message to make it more attractive and acceptable to the world.

So, if we are truly living our lives separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ in holy living, those professing faith in Jesus Christ who have conformed to the world and to living much like the world, are not going to embrace us as their own. They will consider us strange or crazy or hyper-religious or maybe even self-righteous because we are living godly lives in obedience to our Lord.

It is hard enough to be hated by the world, but when those who claim to believe in Jesus Christ, to be your brothers and sisters in Christ, turn their backs on you because you are doing what the Scriptures teach we must all be doing, it is a more painful wound. But we are to rejoice, for this is necessary that we are grieved by various trials so that our faith may be tested and be found genuine, and so it may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ, when he returns for his bride. Thus, tribulations help us to mature in our walks of faith.

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.”

Jesus said that if we love him we will obey him. The Scriptures teach that to love God is to obey him, and that if we do not obey him that we do not love him, and if we do not obey him, we do not know him. Jesus said that not everyone who says to him, “Lord, Lord,” will enter into his eternal kingdom, but only the one DOING the will of God the Father who is in heaven. So, if our faith does not result in repentance and obedience, it is not true faith.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Forever with Us

An Original Work / February 5, 2016
Based off Psalm 46

Be still and know
God is over all things.
Throughout the earth,
He’ll be honored as King.
The Lord Almighty,
Forever with us.
He is our refuge
When we’re in distress.

Therefore, we have
Not a reason to fear.
Trials will come,
But our God is still near.
He is our helper,
So we do not fall.
Mountains will quake,
But on Jesus we call.

Joy to the Church,
Even if sorrow comes.
Enemies rage,
But our faith marches on.
God’s Holy Spirit,
Now living within,
Gives peace and comfort,
And grace without end.

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