1 Peter 1:3-12

Read 1 Peter 1:3-12
We have two guinea pigs, Cookie and Brownie. They are old and close (at least I hope) to death. They are my daughters’ pets! A few weeks ago, my daughter went down to change their bedding and clean out their cage and we heard this exasperated scream. She ran upstairs crying that Brownie was not moving and that he was dead. A rush of extreme relief went through my soul; I don’t like guinea pigs. But as the father, and resident hunter, I was tasked with disposing of the body, so I went down and took her little hideout out of the cage and here is Brownie, looking up at me like ‘what is your problem?’ Brownie was perfectly fine. I still have no idea what my daughter saw, but there was nothing wrong with Brownie. That whole story kind of makes me think about this passage. Without Christ, our death has no hope, but in Christ's death, we have a living hope.

Peter was writing to the ‘elect exiles’. Most of the early church had been kicked out of their tribes, nation, homes, and not only were they political refugees, but also religious refugees. When Peter talks about an ‘inheritance that doesn’t fade that is found in Jesus’, they can understand because much of their inheritance had been stripped from them. Peter assures them the trials they have gone through are not a waste. The fact that they have experienced suffering and have not stopped looking to Jesus has proven the genuineness of their faith, which is more ’valuable than gold’ (gold would have been very valuable to a refugee). The picture Peter uses is intentional; gold becomes purer when heated, and the impurities form at the top can be skimmed off. In a similar sense, faith that has been heated to a high temperature by suffering, removes impurities and enables us to grow to be more like Jesus.

We’ve been through a lot in 2020. It might be hard to relate to the fellow believers that Peter is writing to because for most of us, even in our worst trials this year, we weren’t stripped of our inheritance (maybe a bit in the stock market), homes, or families. We weren’t forced to leave our country and travel to another country because of our tribe or our convictions. But at the same time, it’s been a stressful year, you know? It definitely qualifies as a ‘kind of trial’. We could easily give up, throw in the proverbial ‘towel’ of our faith, be tempted to believe that God isn’t who he says he is, that maybe he isn’t all powerful, or all loving, or all knowing. But a better way is to allow your faith to be refined in the fire of trial, all while keeping your eyes fixed on Jesus.

Questions for reflection:
  1. What is hope? If our faith produces a living hope, what does a dead hope look like? 
  2. How has 2020 impacted how you view God? 
  3. Ask God what might be impurities in my faith that need to be purified like gold?
  4. Peter talked about his hearers believing Jesus, and how he filled them with an inexpressible joy. How have you seen that in your life?
David Flug | Community Life Pastor

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