Sometimes it seems that every problem hits you at once. The car breaks down, the washing machine breaks, your hours get cut at work, and the mortgage is due. That’s hard enough, but sometimes the problems hit you in your very soul. You lose a loved one to death, a close friend turns against you, or there is conflict in your marriage. Sometimes, all of those problems hit at once. 1 Peter 1:6 calls these “manifold temptations.”
The Apostle Peter wrote 1 Peter to Christians who were scattered by persecution. These people had been driven from their homes, families, jobs and hometowns by a government that was openly hostile toward them for their faith. Peter’s goal in this epistle is to comfort those Christians by showing them how their suffering mirrors the suffering Christ endured for us, how suffering refines us, and by reminding them of the blessings of salvation in Christ.
He begins this endeavor in 1 Peter 1 by reminding us of who we are in Christ, by referencing our suffering in relation to our transformation, and by encouraging us to move forward in faith.
1 Peter is for any Christian who feels as if the world is collapsing upon them. It offers hope to those who face a multitude of problems, who see no way out. This book helps us put everything into perspective.
Peter starts out by reminding us of who we are in Christ.
In verse 2, he says we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”
The word “elect” simply means chosen. We are chosen according to God’s foreknowledge.
Scripture is clear. God chose to save us. Salvation and redemption were His ideas, His values, and His work. It was He that had the idea to redeem man from sin and give us hope of eternal salvation. It was not our idea. Mankind did not have a global summit and elect to request salvation from God. Instead, God authored salvation without even consulting us.
That’s why Romans 5:8 says that God demonstrated His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. While we were still lost in sin, rebelling against God, and doing our own thing, God conceived the plan of redemption and sent Christ to the cross to purchase our salvation.
Hebrews 12:2 puts it this way:
Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith, Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus is the author of our faith. Our salvation was His idea, and salvation began with Christ. He is the finisher of our faith, the finisher of our salvation. He completed our salvation. He did the work. There is nothing that we can do to complete, or enhance our salvation. Jesus Christ did it all.
The only thing we can do is to accept that free salvation by trusting Him to save us by the work He did on the cross.
God saw us. He loved us. He redeemed us. It was His choice. Whenever you feel discouraged, hurt, or anxious, remember that the God who created the universe loved you, and chose to redeem you.
God loves you.
It’s a simple phrase my Christian classmates from high school would write on the blackboard during down time. “God loves you.”
When I was a lost teen in the 1990s, “God loves you” was a pithy saying Christians would say in an effort to influence you to be like them. At least, that’s how I interpreted their words. It wasn’t until I turned 24 in the early 2000s that I came to understand God’s grace as I turned from sin and trusted Jesus Christ for salvation. At the age of 41, I am still learning about God’s inexplicable love toward me, and toward all people.
It was the love of God that prompted His choice to redeem us. Thus, in 1 Peter 1:2, Peter writes that we are “elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father.”
That word foreknowledge has a two-fold meaning. It means (1) God knew us before we were ever created, and (2) He loved us. This concept is perfectly illustrated in God’s words to Jeremiah in Jeremiah 1:5, where God says, “Before I formed the in the belly, I knew thee, and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”
God loves us, and chose to redeem us. In times of trouble, remember that the God Who loves and redeemed you will not leave you to be crushed by life. Remember who you are in Christ.
1 Peter 1 goes on to say that we are begotten again to a lively hope, thus telling us that we are new creations once we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. Peter continues by explaining that the sufferings of life refine our faith and transform us into people who glorify God. We are then encouraged to move forward in faith.
For further encouragement from God’s word, listen to the audio posted above, or click here. Both links will play audio from this Sunday’s sermon from 1 Peter 1 at Life Point Baptist Church.