Reading: 1st Peter 1:3-9
Verses 3-4: “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.”
Peter writes to “God’s elect” who are spread throughout the known world. These scattered Christians are experiencing an uptick in persecution under Emperor Nero. They are afraid and they are questioning the living of their faith in the public arena. Their suffering is driving these thoughts.
Today’s 7 verses pack a powerful punch. Peter begins his encouragement with these words: “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.” Through their faith in Jesus Christ these exiles have received the promise of salvation and with it the gift of eternal life. They have been born anew, now living with hope as brothers and sisters of Christ. This new relationship and connection with Jesus brings with it an inheritance. Peter reminds them that this inheritance will “never perish, spoil, or fade.” It is eternal. It is “shielded by God’s power.” There is nothing more powerful. Living as elect exiles , as Christians in a pagan world, this reminder of Christ’s living presence and of God’s power over them would have been great encouragement to these believers.
In verse 6 Peter touches on another part of their inheritance. Here he writes, “though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.” While this may make some consider going underground with their faith, Peter is being honest. Trials will come. Testing is assured. Living as hope and light in the world will draw fire. But, take heart, Peter says this will refine our faith so that it “may be proved genuine.” This too is a new birth. Although uncomfortable and often painful, this refining yields a stronger faith now and one day will result in “praise, glory, and honor” when we come face to face with Jesus Christ. Thanks be to God!
Prayer: Lord God, what a great reminder of the power and presence that you offer to us in this life. Though the trials come, we are always under your shield. Though the suffering may be painful and hard, it works for our good now and for glory to come. You are the God of all time, of all places, and of all situations. Praise be to you, O Lord! Amen.