3-4: "What a God we have! And how fortunate we are to have Him, this Father of our Master Jesus! Because Jesus was raised from the dead, we've been given a brand-new life and have everything to live for, 4including a future in heaven--and the future starts now!" - Through our belief in the Resurrected Lord, our new lives begin now and our eternal future is assured.
7: "Pure gold put in the fire comes out of it proved pure; genuine faith put through this suffering comes out proved genuine. When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of his victory." - The early Christians were suffering and being persecuted. However, the trials and tribulations they faced would lead them to experience the Glory of God if their faith remained strong.
8-9: "You never saw Him, yet you love Him. You still don't see Him, yet you trust Him--with laughter and singing. 9Because you kept on believing, you'll get what you're looking forward to: total salvation." - Faith is the belief in things unseen yet forever promised.
Points to Contemplate:
What are you living for?
What goals and objectives do you pursue? Are there things you crave and objects you desire? Are you seeking peace, love, or acceptance? How about success, wealth, and good health? Regardless of your situation in life, do you accept that you have everything God has to offer? What more could you need than a new life in Christ? Does your guaranteed place in God's kingdom give you the inspiration you need to live, today, a glorious and Christ-filled life?
Are you facing trials and tribulations? Do you consider these difficult times as God's way of purifying you as a metallurgist purifies gold? Or, are they Satan's ways to draw you away from God? Is it possible that everyone faces difficulties as a fact of life and that your purification is already complete in Christ? Peter was writing at a time when Christians were being dispersed and persecuted for their faith. Do you see that it was their faith that God holds dear, not the outcome of their actions or deeds while being persecuted? Are your actions in life your gold or is God looking more to your belief and faith in Christ Jesus?
In spite of everything, do you keep on believing in Christ? When your beliefs are questioned, do you hold strong or do you begin to waver under pressure? When life seems to be piling up a stack of hardships and when nothing seems to be going right, are you still confident in God's love for you? When you have lost everything including your closest loved ones, when anger begins to swell up inside of you from the open wounds of heartache, are you still solid in your faith in Christ? Do you trust in the promise of salvation regardless if you see evidence of it anywhere in your life? Or do you occasionally need a little proof? Promises of the Gospel:
Our Christian lives are not necessarily defined by our struggles, pain, and suffering. At times it feels that the world is against us until we look around and see that everyone is facing similar challenges in life. In Jeremiah we are told that God has a plan for our lives that is good and yet we tend to look at our hardships as a test that God is sending to purify us in some holy way. In these first verses in Peter's letter it seems that he is guilty of this same kind of thinking. Hardships were plentiful for the first century Christians but so is life for twenty-first century Christians and non-Christians alike. Life can suck. What sets Christians apart from the rest of the world is not our ability to persevere through hardships. It is the fact that we believe in a risen Lord and because of this faith, we are born anew - given new life. Not a life that is free of hardship but a life that focuses on God with our every breath. When our lives end it will be this continued faith in Christ that will shine like gold throughout the heavens.