We love music around the Simpson house, and in our opinion, it doesn’t get much better than The Isaacs. One of our favorite songs by them testifies joyfully in the chorus, “He’s taking care of me; in ways that I cannot see; He’s working it for my good just like He said He would, and He’s taking care of me.” What a glorious thought that the God of the universe, the one and only true God, is working for my good in all things! That’s the exact sentiment that pours out of 1 Peter 1:1-12:
- Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls. As to this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that would come to you made careful searches and inquiries, seeking to know what person or time the Spirit of Christ within them was indicating as He predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories to follow. It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves, but you, in these things which now have been announced to you through those who preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look.
God’s primary goal through the Apostle Peter’s letter is to spur us on to greater and greater Christlikeness in the face of difficult and fiery days. Therefore, suffering is a major concept in this epistle (1 Pet 1:6; 1 Pet 2:19-21, 23; 1 Pet 3:14, 17; 1 Pet 4:1, 15-16, 19; 1 Pet 5:9-10). Of course, we need little encouragement to persevere during the easy, breezy moments of life, but oh how we need it when the fires come!
Indeed, when the fires come, God takes care of us in unseen ways. He is our living hope. You see, our faith is not in faith, as if faith is some force we can wield to protect and provide. The force, the power is found in the object of our faith, namely Almighty God who is jealous for His glory and our good. My goodness, He’s a big God, and oh how He loves us!
These realities push God to graciously work for us. Just look at what all He has done for us according to our text:
- He has chosen us to obey Jesus and be sprinkled with His blood (1 Pet 1:1-2).
- He has caused us to be born again to a living hope in Jesus (1 Pet 1:3).
- He has provided for us an incorruptible, undefiled, never-fading inheritance through Jesus (1 Pet 1:4).
- He protects us through faith in Jesus for salvation (1 Pet 1:5).
With all these massive, God-wrought things in mind, Peter prays in 1 Pet 1:2 that grace and peace would be multiplied to us unto the fullest measure. In fact, I would argue that it’s these four graces that lead to our peace — both with God and within our souls. Paul contends in Romans 8:32, “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?”. The implied answer is: of course, God will freely give us all things if He has given us Christ. You see, God has gone to such great and gracious lengths for us that we should peacefully rest in Him, even in the midst of trials.
What’s more, have you ever thought that that fiery trial is itself a grace from God? You’d better believe it is! Friend, it’s through that crucible, according to Peter, that your faith is proven and your heart is prepared to praise the coming of Jesus (1 Pet 1:7). It’s for these reasons that Paul rejoiced and gloried in the tribulations that came his way, “And not only this, but we also exult in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance; and perseverance, proven character; and proven character, hope; and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us,” (Romans 5:3-5). You see, you come out the other side knowing that you are not a fake and longing to see Jesus. What a blessing!
Friend, even in the midst of terrible trials, may peace abound in you because God is graciously taking care of you.
-This article first appeared in the March 2 edition of the Baptist and Reflector, the official newspaper of the Tennessee Baptist Convention, as a commentary on the March 6, 2011 LifeWay Sunday School curriculum Bible Studies for Life, and can be accessed through the B&R website at http://www.tnbaptist.org/BRARticle.asp?ID=3726. The article has been slightly edited here for westmainbaptist.com.