Each morning I offer a short devotion to the men under my care in the dorm. This is the spot where I share them with you, and keep a record of them for myself on the off chance I ever need them again.
There is a passage in 1st Peter I find myself captivated by: 1 Peter 1:3-9. Particularly stirring for me is this phrase in verse 5: “[You] are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). Allow me to set the stage for us; perhaps you’ll see why I find this thought so compelling.
Most of the letters—epistles—we find in Scripture were written to one particular church. This letter, however, was not. The Apostle Peter (yes, the same Peter who continually stuck his foot in his mouth throughout the gospel narratives) wrote this letter not to any one church, but to various churches and believers scattered throughout the Roman empire. These believers lived as exiles, a persecuted minority in a pagan society whose ruler was famous for using Christians as human torches to light his dinner parties. Many of the believers who heard Peter’s letter were probably beginning to ask some hard questions. Was being a Christian really worth it? Wouldn’t be better just to go back to being a pagan or a Jew? At least then they wouldn’t be living in fear for their lives! Even if they weren’t questioning their faith, they may well have been questioning themselves. With the possibility of martyrdom looming large in their minds, many may have wondered wether they were really strong enough to stand up under the weight of persecution without being utterly crushed. Maybe you’re asking some similar questions today
To both these groups of people, as well as to you and I, Peter offers a gracious answer pointing us away from ourselves to the finished work of Christ, who bore the full weight of God’s wrath against his rebellious people at the cross. Peter reminds us of two precious realities: The power of God, and the heavenly city
First, the power of God. The fact is that we are frail beings. Our natures are weak and corrupt; wether we face affliction or simply wrestle against our flesh, we are more likely to cave in then to stand firm. Thanks be to God that he does not abandon His children to face trials and temptations alone! If you belong to Christ, He who created faith within you will be faithful to sustain that faith, regardless of what kind of trials or temptations you walk through. Hurl yourself upon His grace whole-heartedly and without reservation; He is more than capable of carrying your weight.
Second, the heavenly city. One grace God has given to his suffering people in every generation is the sure promise of a heavenly city. He has sworn to return one day and set all things right, and He will. He has promised us new heavens and a new earth with no more suffering sorrow or pain; eternity lived fully in His presence–free from the very presence and power of sin. In suffering and temptation, fix your eyes upon this sure promise; if you belong to God, through Jesus Christ, by faith, and you have forsaken all else for His sake, this is your birthright. Rejoice in it, and by it may God give you the strength you need to face whatever He ordains in your life.