Midweek Reflection (1 Peter 1:10-12)

Midweek Reflection (1 Peter 1:10-12)

Imagine having to cope with the uncertainties of life purely on the basis of what other human beings say…– relying upon our political leaders best promises for the future – banking on the economic forecasts of good times as usual – taking comfort in the fact that family assure you all will be well – holding onto the doctor’s diagnosis that all is going to be ok…

We naturally tend to assume many things in life but as we have seen, even on the big scale something can come along that nobody was really ready for!

1 Peter 1 reminds us that as Christians though we are of all people – ready. Not because we are in control, but because the God who rules all things has set His love upon us to give us an eternally secure relationship with Him. Whatever we might be experiencing and feeling, the way forward and onward is to grow in trusting that our Father saving love is all encompassing and all-sufficient. In fact, the very trials we find so hard and so difficult to accept and persevere through are precisely the means our Father uses to mature us into the heirs He has saved us to be. This maturity is seen in us slowly but increasingly reflecting His wisdom and His good purpose in how we relate and serve. While we may be strangers in the world we are not strangers to God, and while we suffer in this fading and spoilt world it is within a greater saving purpose fulfilled in the new eternal world of perfect righteousness. We are particularly reminded in 1 Peter 1:10-12, that the truth we are trusting in was being prepared and prophesied long before it was fully revealed. In other words, the Bible in its entirety is the unified, consistent and reliable revelation of God that has culminated in the coming of Jesus Christ and all He accomplished through His life, death and resurrection. The Prophets spoke – but by ‘the Spirit of Christ in them’. This means that as Christians our hope is grounded in what God has said. Just as He is unshakeable – so we are as those united to Him through faith in His Son. When we understand and appreciate all of God’s word like this and read it accordingly, we are enabled by the Spirit to be strong in faith. Instead of our focus shrinking in trials – to us and our ‘strength’, we are able to wisely respond according to God and His strength. As Peter says, we are even able to ‘be filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy because we know we are receiving the goal of our faith, the salvation of our souls’ (1:8-9). Verses 10-12 are simply more ‘good food’ for us to recognise that we are so privileged as Christians even in suffering. Our whole perspective is new because we have ‘been mercifully given a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead’ (v3). Let us consider further our privilege in these verses. It is one which the prophets could only search out but not find. In our day we take for granted knowing the layout and detail of the globe. Remember though the European explorers of a few centuries ago gradually trying to piece it together as they explored with the ‘tools of knowledge’ they had’. For so long God had been unfolding His plan in more and more detail even giving words to the prophets to speak ‘better than they knew’. In this the prophets were also serving Christians like us, by pursuing and proclaiming God’s plan though dying without receiving its fulfilment (e.g Hebrews 11).

The centrepiece of God’s plan was the sufferings and glories of Christ. This is what is emphasised in the Gospels regarding Jesus’ life / ministry. It was in coming to suffer, die and rise again that the glory of Jesus is seen. It is through this faithful fulfillment of God’s word that Christ has been exalted, and as the glorified King He will return to usher in the perfected New Creation – the goal of it all. The privilege which we enjoy has been revealed and received by us through the Gospel preached ‘today’. Imagine again going through the trials and sufferings of life without ever having heard the Gospel, or having heard it but never receiving it! We have so much to be thankful for – God has changed everything for us His children. In Ephesians 3:5-13 we read Paul dwelling on the amazing position we have as those who have now had the Gospel fully revealed to us and this should mean we don’t baulk at suffering for it! We should not only love hearing it but love serving it. The Church is to be the glad witness of the glory of the gospel. The heavenly authorities are even to ‘be told’. In 1 Peter we are reminded that even the angels have not been privy to the revelation give to us – they were in a sense ‘peering over the edges of heaven’ trying to fathom God’s plan! This incredible truth is expressed well in the song ‘We have the words of eternal life’…

We have come to see – to know and understand, things the very angels long to see. God who owes us nothing, has spoken to us all. Christ the word of God Himself has been…’

(You may like to look it up on YouTube – Emu Music).

Application Questions:

How privileged do you feel… and how does that match up with the privilege you actually have in Christ?

What tends to diminish or distort your sense of the enormity and all- encompassing nature of your salvation?

How can you respond in times when…

your mind is cultivating depressing thoughts.. when your heart is looking to be satisfied in temporary pleasure… when your faced with pain or hostility to the truth…

Read 1 Peter 1:1-12 again and spend time thanking and praising God for His mercy in saving you – in revealing to you the reality of His wonderful purpose. Spend time praying for the strength you need to address well whatever trials you are facing and how in them you can bear witness to others of His grace. Finally, consider how you could pray for others facing particular trials. To help – Ephesians 3:14-21 is a prayer that fits well with our theme. Marcus