1 Peter 1:6-7, Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
The first thing Peter says in this section is, “Wherein ye greatly rejoice.” As you experience trials, remind yourself of the things “wherein ye greatly rejoice.” The dilemma is that when these trials come, all we think about are these trials and how miserable we are. Let’s go back to just before Peter talks about this “heaviness” and “manifold trials” in 1 Peter 1:3-5. When all you can see are your trials and misery, read this passage, “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, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Say to yourself, “I acknowledge these things are happening to me and seem to be coming from all directions, but I will not give up. Rather, God is good and I know Christ died for me, I know I belong to God, and I know my inheritance is in His kingdom. I can’t see it now, but I know it’s there. I know God is preserving it for me and nobody can ever take that out of His mighty hands, not even the Devil.” Then go on to the ultimate statement in verse 7 and continue saying, “It’s coming, and I don’t know when, but the day of the Lord is coming, and I will be there. Therefore, I know everything that happens to me in this earthly life has the revelation of Jesus Christ as its ultimate objective. So I will trust Him with my life and my circumstances.” That is what we have to rejoice in—the revelation of Jesus Christ and everything He has done to save us. Remember the promise in Christ and rejoice in that promise. Remember these words also, “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of My hand. My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one” (John 10:28-30).
Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:1-4, “This is how one should regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.” Similarly, in his book, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning writes, “But we cannot apply human logic and justice to the living God. Yahweh does not conform to this model. If Israel is unfaithful, God remains faithful against all logic and all limits of justice because He is” (101). Thank God He doesn’t judge us as we would judge each other. If any human being were to look at my life and my past and current sins, through human logic they would condemn me and sentence me to life imprisonment in Hell (indeed, we all deserve this sentence). But God the Father looks upon His children with bountiful mercy and grace as He sees us covered in the blood of Christ. People are quick to say, “God’s not fair!” And they’re right. Thank God He’s not fair because we justly deserve condemnation and punishment in Hell! That would be fair treatment! If He were fair, He would’ve just let us rot on this earth with the inevitability of spending eternity in Hell, or He would’ve destroyed all creation, but against all logic and reasoning and all fairness He sent His only begotten Son to die for our sins! Praise the Lord! Rejoice! It’s not logical to us because we don’t deserve such a marvelous gift, but in spite of all logic, God did it anyway! That is the grace of Jesus Christ, the greatest gift of all.
Next time I will conclude this Facing Trials series with what we have to look forward to.
Manning, Brennan. The Ragamuffin Gospel. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2000.