Study #6 – 1 Peter – Futility

Study #6 – 1 Peter 1:14-21

Futility

“14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 17 And if you call on Him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

There is so much richness in this passage. There is so much theology and doctrine. It touches the subjects of salvation, Jesus’ perfection, His foreknowledge, His perfect timing, God as judge, God as holy, the state of humankind without God, the resurrection and more. My encouragement is for you to read this passage four or five times slowly, taking it all in.

With so much goodness in this passage, I asked God how I could apply this passage to our lives as the sick and suffering children of God. What jumped out to me was the concept of adoption and transformation, and how those things affect our outlook. In other words, we were adopted by God, changed by God, and therefore how we handle the trials and pain we experience should be different than the world too.

God says through Peter in verse 18 that we humans inherited futile ways from our forefathers. In other words, we are born into the line of Adam and we are all sinners. We have futile thoughts. He also says our ways before God were ignorant. Then we received the salvation of Jesus Christ through His death and resurrection and we were adopted into the family of God. We were delivered from the futility and the worldly thinking. We were saved from the lusts of the flesh, lusts of the eyes and the pride of life…not that we never fall back into them but that we are not ruled by them. We repent and are forgiven and free. This adoption takes us from being sons and daughters of the world and transfers us to official sons and daughters of God Almighty! And you can say hallelujah to that!

So we no longer belong to the world. As children of God, He begins and works in and through us, transforming us into who we will be in His kingdom. We put off the old desires and thinking. We take on God’s ways and thinking by studying the Bible and praying….walking closely with Him. This means everything is different. God says, be holy for He is holy. Holy can mean pure, but it also means apart. He is apart from evil in every way. He is love, hope, goodness, truth…basically every pure and holy thing. So, as He is apart from evil and darkness, we also should be apart from the futility of this world’s way of thinking.

What that means for me, friends, is that we need not look at the struggle of our lives with the same despair and hopelessness that those without Christ exist in. No matter how hard our lives get, or how sick we are, or how much pain and suffering we endure, we have an assured hope because we know how this story ends. It ends with us in paradise with God. It ends with an eternity of joy and peace and bliss. God says that the sufferings of this present time aren’t worthy to be compared to the glory that’s coming. He says He works all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. He says He will deliver us and that we will be healed when we leave this world (if not sooner).

Beloved, we belong to God. We are His kids. So let us think like His kids and not like children of the world. We know where we are going. We know God loves us, even if we don’t always feel it in our suffering. I pray that our pain be taken away, but even more importantly I pray that we are holy like He is holy, and that people would see us handle the pain and suffering with such steadfast strength (God’s strength), joy (God’s joy) and peace (His peace that surpasses understanding), that they too will be compelled to seek out this Jesus that changes lives. That’s my prayer.

God bless you!!!!

Study #5 of 1 Peter – Set Your Hope

“13 Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

 Set your hope fully on the grace that is coming at the revelation of Christ. These are good words indeed. Let’s face it, what else can we set our hope on these days?
Can we put our hope in doctors? I know I, for one, have been really let down by many of the medical professionals from which I have sought help. I can’t set my hope in them. They are still learning too. They don’t know everything. They are oftentimes just as lost as we are. If I put my hope in doctors, I’d have given up a long time ago. I’m grateful for the doctors that do help me, but I don’t put my hope in them.
Can we place our hope in our health and strength? God forbid! I can’t depend on myself. Some days I can barely pull myself out of bed. I’m weak. I’m hurting. If I hope in my health, I’ve already lost the battle. I also want to declare here that we are not promised perfect health in the Bible. Jesus does not heal everyone at that moment or even on earth. If we were promised perfect health, Christians would never die. Ah, but sin entered in and with sin came sickness and decay and death. So we can’t “claim” health or “command” health. We can ask God humbly for healing and wait on Him. We can’t put our hope in health, but rather on the God who knows the very intricate workings of our body.
Can we set our hope on our relationships? Well that’s a tough one. I think many of us, who have experienced pain and suffering, have also experienced relationship struggles. Whether it’s in marriage or friendships or family relationships, sickness puts a strain on people and how they relate. We have to remember that people are sinners…WE ALL ARE. So our loved ones are sinners too. Our spouses are sinners. Our mothers and fathers and brothers and sisters and children and “besties” and our pastors are all sinners too. (Catch that last one?) We can’t set our hope on people because people are imperfect sinners and we will all let each other down. We have to have grace on one another, forgive and work on mending relationships, but we can’t set our hope on them.
So what can we set our hope on? JESUS CHRIST and the glory and grace that is coming with Him at His revelation. Notice in verse 13 that it says the grace that “will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ”? That’s talking about the great revelation. When Jesus comes back, everyone’s going to know about it. Every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Amen? That’s what’s coming.
So set your hope on what’s coming. Set your hope on Jesus Christ. No matter what happens to you, your circumstances, your illness, your pain, your suffering, financial struggles, divorce, abandonment… if you set your hope on Jesus you’ll never fail. He will never fail us, my friends.
Romans 12:12, “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.”
Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Psalm 39:7, ““And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you.”
Psalm 71:14, “But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more.”
Titus 3:7, “So that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
Praying your hope abounds today!!!

Study #4 of 1 Peter – Though We Don’t Yet See

Study #4 of 1 Peter – Though We Don’t Yet See

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.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.

10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.”

 

We talked in the last study about the idea of going through various trials and how it is a testing of our faith. It’s not that God is trying to measure our faith for His own knowledge. He already has perfect knowledge. He knows all about us and our faith, or lack of faith sometimes. The testing is for our benefit. God says it purifies our faith and our lives. It reveals to us areas of weakness and how much we need Him.

In dealing with chronic pain and illness, it can feel like an endless trial. I think most of us can say that there’s been a point where we’ve questioned God as to why He is allowing us to suffer, how long He will allow it, if He will bring us healing on earth and what His purpose is in all of it. I know I’ve asked it…sometimes inquisitively and sometimes with a tone of anger. Praise God that He has so much grace! He knows our hearts. He knows our pain and, as a loving Father, He does not reject us when we fail. I’m so grateful for that. I’ve failed so often during this painful season.

God says that as we get through these horrible trials in His strength, that He gets the glory and the honor. That means that our life is a testimony to His goodness and His glory; even our broken lives. As God carries us, weak and tired, through the desert places of sickness, others are watching. They are seeing that we suffer, just like them, and that just like us they too can have a Savior who will carry them through their deserts. It’s something that we need to remember. Our lives are a testimony to His goodness. So, just like Job, I want to declare my commitment to the Lord, “even if He slays me.”

So we have these questions. I felt as I studied verses 8-12 I really felt something of an answer there for us. See this section is about believing without seeing. “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him…” Peter is saying that these believers haven’t see Jesus Christ in person, but they believe and rejoice. It’s the same for us today. We haven’t seen Him face to face, but we believe in Him and love Him. But I think there’s a beautiful way to apply that to our situations today as well. We may not be able to see yet what God is doing, but we can trust Him and rejoice knowing that He has it under control. Though we don’t yet see, we believe. Amen?

We don’t know why God is allowing it. We know that He has given mankind free will and that sin entered the world and sin brought death and disease and decay. So we all suffer from the consequences of that original sin (not to mention the many since). I don’t believe God has thrusted illness upon us but we do know He is sovereign. Could He heal us? YES! Absolutely. Should we ask for healing? I ask for it for myself and you everyday. Can we demand it? We ought not. We are not sovereign. God is. We are not all-knowing. God is. He knows what’s best. Whether He heals me now or later or when I get to be with Him in Paradise, I will trust Him. The point is, only God knows the whole picture. We don’t yet see, but we are called to believe.

Interesting that we see another example in verses 10-12. “10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.”

The prophets of old were given the Word of God and the promise of the Messiah. They knew about the salvation that was coming and the mended relationship with God that mankind would be offered. They did see what was coming but they also realized they would not see it in their lifetime but rather they were serving a generation to come. Wow!

We too know that there are some wonderful promises coming, my friends. Yes, these are hard days. There is so much suffering. There is pain and depression and frightening symptoms and long, sleepless nights. I know it’s horrible, but we have to keep our heads up and know that God says it’ll all be worth it. We don’t yet see what’s coming but we can trust Him that He will bring about what He has promised. Here are a few promises to cling to.,..

Christ is coming back…Hebrews 9:28, “So Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.”

Glory is coming…Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

New bodies are coming…Philippians 3:21, “Who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

Our inheritance is coming…1 Corinthians 2:9, “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”

Paradise is coming…Luke 23:43, “And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

Friends, there are is so much more. There are loads of promises that God has for us. These are just a few. God has so much in store for those of us who love Him and believe in Him. Though we do not yet see, we believe. Though we can’t yet understand why He allows all He does, we can trust that the plan is good. There is glory coming. There is healing coming. Christ is coming back for us. We do suffer now, but we can get through this with the help of God.

I’m praying tonight that God makes His promises really come alive to us . I pray that the pain is relieved today by the knowledge of what’s coming. I pray that you are encouraged and feeling like rejoicing, despite all you’re going through, because God is with us and He loves us.