More Precious Than Gold

 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials 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” (I Peter 1:6-7).

What is the result of God ordained tests? The answer is that the tested genuineness of one’s faith (trust, commitment; dependence; worship) in and of Christ would result in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

In the midst of this revelation, Peter inserts a dependent clause illustrating the importance and value of an individual believer’s faith in Christ. God views our trust, commitment, dependence and worship of Him through Jesus Christ as being “more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire.”

Peter distinguished the believer’s purified faith with purified gold. Faith is more precious, or of greater value, than gold. Even purified gold, though it lasts quite a long time, eventually deteriorates and loses its value (cf. 1 Peter 1:18; cf. James 5:3). It will be without value in eternity. But faith in Christ is an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade (I Peter 1:4).

Even believers in Christ can often evaluate worth by something as temporary as gold. How often do we see commercials touting the value of this precious metal and how important it is to possess it? In God’s eyes, your faith in Christ is far more valuable and eternal. Regard your faith in Christ today as something precious. It truly is! Today read Matthew 6.

Soli deo Gloria!

Praise, Glory, & Honor

 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials 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” (I Peter 1:6-7).

While God never tempts us to sin (James 1:13-15) He does allow, or even sends, trials into our lives when He perceives them to be indispensable. Such was the case with Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 50:20). Why would God do such a thing? Why would the Bible teach such a doctrine? Why are trials necessary?

The answer is given in vs. 7. “So that the tested genuineness of your faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The phrase “so that” indicates a purpose for the reality of trials in our lives. They are to test us in order to prove the authenticity of an individual’s faith in Christ. Anyone can say they believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. It is quite another thing to be tested by the fires of persecution to see if you really are a child of God. This is why God sovereignly permits trials.

What is the result of this God ordained tests? The answer is that the tested genuineness of one’s faith (trust, commitment; dependence; worship) in and of Christ would result in praise, glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Praise (ἔπαινος; epainos) means the excellence of a person. Glory (δόξα; doxa) means splendor and greatness. Honor (τιμή; time’) means respect and high status or value. The ultimate result of our trials and sufferings is that Christ would eternally be praised, glorified and honored as the One of whom we faithfully served, even when the going got tough.

Believers often restrict the praise, glory and honor of Jesus Christ to only to a worship service during the week. Peter instructs us that our praise, glory and honoring of Christ our Lord is about a lifetime of tested faith which will magnify Christ when He returns.

May we live today with this eternal perspective.

Soli deo Gloria!

Tested Genuineness of Your Faith.

 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials 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 (I Peter 1:6-7).

The blessings we have from God, which Peter spoke of in 1:3-5, are eternal. This is in contrast to the problems believers face here on earth. These problems, or various trials, are only for a little while. That is to say they last for only a short or brief time.

While God never tempts us to sin (James 1:13-15) He does allow, or even sends, trials into our lives when He perceives them to be indispensable. Such was the case with Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 50:20).

There are some believers who recoil at the idea that God would ever be directly, or even indirectly, involved in sending His children trials. Yet Peter, and James (1:2-4), teach this important truth. Why would God do such a thing? Why would the Bible teach such a doctrine? Why are trials necessary?

The answer is given in vs. 7. “So that the tested genuineness of your faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” The phrase “so that” indicates a purpose for the reality of trials in our lives. They are to test us.

The phrase “tested genuineness” is from the Greek word δοκίμιον; dokimion meaning to prove the authenticity of an individual’s faith in Christ. Anyone can say they believe in Christ as Savior and Lord. It is quite another thing to be tested by the fires of persecution to see if you really are a child of God. This is why God sovereignly permits trials.

What is the result of this God ordained test? We will examine this in our next time together. Until then, take the opportunity to thank God for the tests He brings into your life. Some of the hardest tests I have ever experienced proved to provide the greatest benefits. What about you?

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

Various Trials (Part 3).

 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials 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 (I Peter 1:6-7).

The blessings we have from God, which Peter spoke of in 1:3-5, are eternal. This is in contrast to the problems believers face here on earth. These problems, or various trials, are only for a little while. That is to say they last for only a short or brief time.

Today, I want us to examine the two word phrase found in I Peter 1:6. It is the expression “if necessary.” What does Peter mean by this statement?

The verb “if necessary” is one word in the Greek (δεῖ; dei). It means that which must take place or that which is essential, needed, required, crucial or indispensable. The context in which Peter uses this word means that God sees that the various trials which grieve us are absolutely necessary for us as believers to experience.

While God never tempts us to sin (James 1:13-15) He does purpose, or sends, trials into our lives when He perceives them to be indispensable. Such was the case with Joseph and his brothers (Genesis 50:20). This refers to the providence of God.

There are some believers who recoil at the idea that God would ever be directly, or even indirectly, involved in sending His children trials. Yet Peter, and James (1:2-4), teach this important truth. Why would God do such a thing? Why would the Bible teach such a doctrine? We will answer that question when next we meet. Read today Genesis 50, James 1 and Romans 5.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

Trials

 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (I Peter 1:6).

The blessings we have from God, which Peter spoke of in 1:3-5, are eternal. This is in contrast to the problems believers face here on earth. These problems, or various trials, are only for a little while. That is to say they last for only a short or brief time.

The adjective “various” comes from the Greek word ποικίλος (poikilos) meaning diversified or many. This word is used throughout the New Testament (Matthew 4:24; Mark 1:34; Luke 4:40; 2 Timothy 3:6; Titus 3:3; Hebrews 2:4; 13:9; James 1:2; 1Peter 1:6; 3:7; 4:10). I read somewhere that poikilos may be the word from which we derive our English expression Polka Dot.

Believers in Christ do not encounter just one kind of trial or persecution. On the contrary, we experience many different kinds of trials in all shapes, sizes and durations. It is not a one size fits all kind of teaching or reality.

The word trial (πειρασμός; periasmos) refers to a test or examination. The word is in the plural form which means that there is more than one trial or test we will face as believers in Christ. One person may experience physical persecution, while another believer faces emotional suffering. Still another may encounter social or relationship persecution because of their faith.

Regardless of the kind or type of trials we face, they are temporal. We will experience them for only a little while. Yet, make no mistake we can and are grieved by them. They irritate us and cause us heartache. They are painful and there is no timetable as to when the grieving will end.

So what do we do? We rejoice in the eternal blessings from God. Remember, God’s blessings are eternal and our various trials causing us grief are temporary. The trials will eventually end. Thankfully, God’s blessings are eternal. Read today James 1:2-4.

Various Trials

 “In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (I Peter 1:6).

I Peter 1:6 builds upon what the Apostle Peter has already written in 1:3-5. What is Peter referring to when he writes, “In this you rejoice?” What is the “this” of which believers are personally and presently to be glad about, to be joyful, and to do so in their behavior, specifically with singing?

What believers are to rejoice in is the mercy of God, our new birth, and our living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1:3). We rejoice in an inheritance from God which is imperishable, undefiled and unfading which is kept in heaven for us (1:4). We rejoice in God’s powerful protection of each believer until Jesus Christ returns to earth (1:5).

The fundamental characteristic of all which we rejoice before God is that all of these blessings are eternal. God’s mercy is eternal. Our new birth is eternal (John 3:16). Our living hope is eternal. Every blessing we receive from God, through Christ, is eternal for it is grounded in Jesus’ resurrection from the dead (I Corinthians 15).

Contrastingly, what we experience here on earth, the good, the bad and the occasional ugly, is temporal or temporary. The problems we face are temporary. Even the happiness people seek in and from this world is temporary. In other words, nothing in this world lasts. But the blessings from God do last. For eternity!

Take time today too consciously thank God for His mercy, your new birth in Christ, your salvation and God’s powerful protection of you and each and every believer. Read today Romans 8.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

Eternal Mercy (Part 2).

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, 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” (I Peter 1:3-5).

God is not only eternally merciful and eternally generous, He is also eternally protective. Our inheritance, or eternal salvation from God, is not some inanimate object we receive when once we arrive in heaven. Rather our salvation, our complete and future deliverance from sin, is linked together with our individual and personal souls. They are joined as one. So when we say that God is eternally protective, it is not “what” He is protecting, but rather “who.” He is protecting us.

First, God is protecting believers in Christ by His power. God is keeping or protecting each believer. This is particularly significant when you consider the believers Peter specifically had in mind were those who were being persecuted. God wanted them, and us, to know that regardless of the trials we encounter here on earth, we are eternally protected and our salvation is secure. No one can steal that away, no matter what our enemies endeavor to do.

This protection is through the faith we have in Jesus Christ. Our trust in, dependence upon, commitment to and worship of Christ as Savior and Lord will soon be revealed and we will comprehend our salvation at that time it in all its fullness. This will occur when Jesus returns and He delivers believers from all that oppose us.

Once again, may each of us rejoice that our troubles here do not begin to compare to the eternal salvation we have in Christ. Read today Revelation 19-22.

Soli deo Gloria!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eternal Mercy

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” (I Peter 1:3-4).

God is eternally merciful. According to His mercy and grace, He has made us His children who once were His enemies (Romans 5:8-10) and objects of His wrath (Romans 1:18; Ephesians 2:1-3). We have new life from Him and in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). This has resulted in a confident expectation or hope that what God has promised, He will fulfill. This is because He is faithful (I Corinthians 10:13; Daniel 3:17; 2 Peter 2:9).

God is not only eternally merciful, but He is also eternally generous. He has granted each believer in Christ an eternal inheritance. This provided possession that God has promised to give, which is eternal life and all its blessings, has several characteristics with which we must become familiar.

First, our inheritance from God in Christ is imperishable. It will not decay. It is not liable to corruption. It lasts forever. It is eternal life. It is salvation.

Second, our inheritance is undefiled. Our salvation is unspoiled and free from anything which can deform it.

Third, our inheritance will not fade away. Salvation is perennial. It is continual.

Fourth, our inheritance is reserved in heaven by God for us. God watches over and carefully takes care of our salvation. He does not just save us and leave us alone. He is continually protective. This reservation is in heaven. Like Israel’s inheritance was a “Promised Land” on earth, for each and every believer our Promised Land is in heaven.

All of this is because God chose to be merciful to sinners like you and me. Rejoice and rest today in your inheritance and the person and work of Jesus Christ which provides it. I encourage you to read Romans 8.

 

Soli deo Gloria!

He Alone is Worthy

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, (I Peter 1:3).

The last time we met, we briefly examined that according to I Peter 1:3, God and God alone is to be the object of the believers worship, honor, praise and celebration. Rather than ourselves, or anyone or anything else for that matter, He alone is worthy to receive our worship. Peter briefly tells us why?

First, it is because of God’s great mercy. Peter says that God’s mercy is great. It is a big deal. What is meant by mercy? The word for mercy in the Greek is ἔλεος (eleos) meaning compassion, or showing kindness to someone in need.

Second, what was our need as fallen sinners? The Bible says we were dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). Spiritually separated from God. What we needed was new life. This is what God has provided through regeneration (Titus 3) or being born again (John 3:1-8; I Peter 1:23; James 1:18) by the Holy Spirit.

Notice that we are not the cause of our new birth in Christ. There is no magic or prescribed formula whereby we are the cause of our new birth. Being born again is not a commandment to obey. Rather, our new birth in Christ is due to God’s great mercy whereby He sovereignly brings to life those whom He chooses. These are the elect, or chosen, to which Peter referred to previously (1:1).

Third, this new birth results in a living hope. Hope (ἐλπίς; elpis) is not a wish but rather a confident expectation that what God has promised He will fulfill. God has promised eternal life in His Son, Jesus Christ, and this is a promise, along with all the other promises God has made, that He will keep.

Fourth, the singular act involving Jesus Christ assuring God’s promise of eternal life for the sinner is the resurrection. Preceding the resurrection of Christ is the virgin birth, sinless life, and His substitutionary death. But climaxing the work of Christ is the victory over sin, death and hell (I Corinthians 15) by His bodily resurrection.

I Peter 1:3 gives us but a few reasons to praise, honor, worship and bless the Lord today. But oh my, what a list.

Take time throughout your day today to thank and praise God for His great mercy which resulted in Him giving you new life, and a living hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Read today John 3, Titus 3 and Ephesians 2:1-10.

Soli deo Gloria!

Blessed Be…

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!” (I Peter 1:3a)

There is a lot of confusion regarding the subject of praise. Confusion reigns regarding who we praise, how we praise, when we praise, where we praise and why we praise. Praise, from the Greek word εὐλογητός (eulogetos) from which we derive the word eulogy, means to bless, worship, honor and glorify.

There has been much discussion, or arguments, regarding the types of music with which believers praise: ranging from traditional, contemporary or blended. Everybody wants what they want and no one seems to be willing to compromise and understand the other person’s point of view.

Then there are the questions raised regarding traditional worship sanctuaries vs. multipurpose auditoriums. Pews vs. stackable, padded chairs. Communion every Sunday vs, only observing the ordinance occasionally. Don’t let me get started regarding fog machines.

What about worship service times? Is 8:00 am too early, 11:00 am too late? 10:30 am just right? Saturday evening instead of Sunday morning? After all, if you have an 11:00 am service, the critics say, Sundays are pretty well shot regarding anything else to do. Therefore, have a worship service on Saturday late afternoon and get it out of the way. Makes sense, right?

Lots of questions needing biblical answers. There is, however, one question which can be addressed here today. That is, who is to be praised? I Peter 1:3a, along with the rest of Scripture, leaves us with no confusion regarding this matter. The only object of our praise, worship, honor and glory is God.

Christians are called and commanded to only worship God. This does not mean God primarily, and entertainers, athletes, politicians and pastors secondarily. No! God and God alone is to be the object of our worship. Worship and praise is to be accomplished with our whole heart and according to Scripture (John 4:24).

This worship can only be accomplished through the person and work of Jesus Christ. It is through the imputed righteousness of Christ that believing sinners have the privilege and responsibility of worshiping the One, True God. That’s right! Worship and praise is a privilege and responsibility. Worship is not to be an afterthought, but our primary thought. Worship is not an intrusion into our schedules but rather the priority to our schedules. Worship is not just one day a week but everyday of the week.

Examine your thoughts and attitudes about worship today. Repent of any casualness or complacency towards approaching the One, True God of our salvation. Replace complacency with reverence and awe. God is worthy of our worship. Read John 4, Exodus 20 and Psalm 150.

Soli deo Gloria!