Human nature loves to feel in command. It is the fleshly delusion that we can determine the security and prosperity of our future by controlling today's circumstances. Of course, we are responsible to make wise decisions each day, and they will affect what happens tomorrow: but the future is never in our hands, but God's (Psalm 31:14-15). When believers were facing persecution, Peter’s letter was written to encourage readers to submit to God and to each other in loving service, and to resist the devil (1 Peter 5:8-9). But suffering is not the end: God, who has called us to glory, will ensure that our journey ends securely in His presence (Psalm 73:24).
And along the way, He will give us windows onto the glory to come. Every time He lifts the scourge of suffering, new strength returns to refresh the battle-weary (Isaiah 40:31). Every time we receive faith to overcome, we can hold fast to what is true with confidence. These are God's encouragements that the glory He has promised, will come … with its fullness of love, joy and peace. But it is only by God's power that this can happen; and God is determined to exercise His power on behalf of His children so that it will happen!
At no point in his letter does Peter say that the problems will go away. The troubles have a purpose, “These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:7). Every trial is a test of faith which provides God’s love in suffering and gives hope of His eternal reward. As we overcome, we demonstrate to the powers of darkness that our confidence is in the supreme grace of God (Ephesians 3:10-11).
Peter is in full agreement with what the Holy Spirit is urging him to write. That is why he puts, "Amen" at the end, meaning, 'it is true' or 'I agree', and uses it in the sense of 'let it happen'. If we cannot say 'Amen', or if we do not want God to exercise His power like that - to bring us through and establish us in His kingdom - then something is wrong. Perhaps we have not yet submitted to His grace (see www.crosscheck.org.uk), or we may have become back-sliders, or have been serving the Lord in the flesh and not the Spirit. If that is so, we must ask for mercy and seek His grace to be re-established as faithful soldiers and servants. When we do, we can be fully confident that, "He who has begun a good work in us, will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus" (Philippians 1:6). Amen?
© Dr Paul Adams