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Praise to God for a Living Hope April 21, 2014

Posted by flashbuzzer in Books, Christianity.
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Here are my thoughts on 1 Peter 1:3-12.

Summary: Peter begins by acknowledging God’s goodness, as He has mercifully adopted all believers as His children; this stems from the fact that Christ has risen from the dead. Moreover, He will give them an inheritance that:

  • cannot come to nothing
  • cannot be stained with the smallest spot
  • is immutable

as it is safe in God’s hands. Since He preserves them until the time when they have full possession of that inheritance, they rest on His power – enabling them to be joyful while they are afflicted in many ways. Indeed, He has allowed them to be afflicted so that:

  • their faith, which endures and comes from heaven, may be revealed for what it is
  • they may be glorious in Christ at His Second Coming.

Now while they have not seen Christ in the flesh, they promote His glory and delight in Him; moreover, they can view Him spiritually – and so they rejoice in God’s infinite and excellent goodness. They are certain that He will completely deliver them from their afflictions and give them full possession of their inheritance.

Peter then expands on this point by asserting that the Old Testament writers, who foretold the Gospel message, diligently searched the mysteries about salvation – as they desired to see the day of the Messiah. The Holy Spirit made them aware, though, that the day of the Messiah would not occur in their own times; thus, their writings were part of God’s plan to build up His church – as the apostles conveyed these writings to them. Peter concludes by asserting that the angels themselves delight in the Gospel message that was foretold by the Old Testament writers.

Thoughts: In verse 6, Peter notes that his readers are joyful in the midst of many afflictions. Leighton offers some challenging thoughts on this point:

It is not hard to have an occasional trial, with plenty of respite between attacks. But to be faced with one attack after another, to have them crowding in after each other, is often the experience of people who are especially loved by God. See Psalm 42:7.

Leighton’s thoughts compelled me to review the trials that I have experienced over the years. It is safe to say that I have endured the “occasional trial” that he notes, and I have been granted sufficient time after a given trial to process it and gain a better understanding as to how God worked through it. Yet I wonder if Leighton is correct in stating that God has a special affection for those whom He regularly tests. If so, then God has not shown that special affection to me. Should those believers who are only tested infrequently desire that God would test them more often? Should we heed the adage, “be careful what you wish for,” before praying to God in that regard? What if God – out of His sovereignty – has decided to test some believers more often?

In verses 10-12, Peter notes that the writers of the Old Testament sought earnestly to determine the time when the Messiah would appear. Leighton offers some thoughts on this point:

It was their constant duty to search into divine mysteries through meditation and prayer and through reading holy writers who already existed. Daniel did this: “In the first year of his [Darius’] reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the Lord given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years” (Daniel 9:2).

I must admit that even though I have read through Daniel, I completely overlooked that verse, and so I was unaware that Daniel actually studied Jeremiah’s writings. If we had lived in the Old Testament theocracy, then we would have a better grasp of the prophets’ longing to know when the Messiah would come to redeem Israel. Perhaps modern-day preachers are attempting to follow the example of the prophets by diligently studying the Old and New Testament to determine the time when the Messiah will appear again. Of course, one could argue that these preachers, including Harold Camping, are conducting fruitless searches, since only the Father knows when the Son will appear again. Also, none of the Old Testament writers knew exactly when the Messiah would appear – they simply knew that He would redeem Israel at some point; modern-day preachers would do well to follow their example in that regard.

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