J. Gordon Duncan

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In the midst of so much recent discussion of trials and God’s intentions, I found myself reading I Peter and musing…

I Peter 1:3 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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

The work of Jesus is about more than a secure home in heaven. It is about that of course, but there are great benefits on this side of Jesus’ work as well. Because Jesus has been crucified for sin and resurrected to new life, we experience a great mercy that causes us to be born again. That mercy is secure. It is not something it future. It is now.

That work is so complete that it is an inheritance for all who have faith in Jesus. This is not an inheritance that fluctuates with the stock market or the whims of an old man. Salvation is an inheritance that is imperishable meaning it cannot die. It is undefiled which means it has been secured through Jesus’ perfection. It cannot fade no matter what we do. Even if we sin or even sin a lot, it cannot fade. How do we know?

Verse 5 says that it is God’s power that guards this salvation through the faith that He has gifted you with. God Himself secures and holds your faith guarded until the end of all things. These realities are intended to give you great hope even if you are going through the most difficult of trials on this earth.

6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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.

What God grants His children is a living hope in the midst of difficulty and life. And through God’s bolstering and support, He intends for you (through those trials) to grow in genuineness of faith. Your trials show you the depth of your faith.

So ask yourself, do difficult times ultimately draw you to God and the hope of Heaven? You have a genuine faith. Do difficult times draw you away from God and Heaven is not even an afterthought? Your faith might not be genuine at all or at best, it might be very weak.

Sometimes, we might be tempted to think it would all just be easier if we could have been with Jesus and walked with Him instead of having to rely so much on faith. If you have ever experienced that temptation, read verse 8.

8 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, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Verse 8 reaffirms why now is better than then. We did not see Jesus back in the day, yet we love Him. We do not see Jesus now, yet we have faith in Him. Despite having not seen Him then or now, He gives us great joy filled with a desire to give Him glory because we know that the outcome of our faith in a secure salvation of our souls with Him in Heaven.

One of the intentions of your present trials (whether it be marital, occupational, parental, educational, or anything else) is to show you the depth of your faith and to cause your heart to long for the more beautiful day when we see Jesus in Heaven. Don’t wish away these trials too quickly. They have a heavenly purpose.

We so flippantly say during difficult times, “Well, God has a purpose and a plan in everything.” Well, yes He does, but God is not the cosmic janitor that cleans up our messes. Our trials and difficulties are God ordained and decreed individual glories intended to strengthen your faith and cause you to love Jesus more.

This article appears at the Raleigh Examiner. Read it there and help me earn a penny.

December 9, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment