Hello everybody and welcome in to episode #281 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading 1 Peter 1 today and our focus is on If God Protects Us, WIll We Still Suffer in Trials? + Called to Love Each Other, Not Snark Each Other. We are a daily 10ish minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Lebanon, Bahrain, parts unknown China and Russia, Rio Branco, Brazil, Kerala, India, parts unknown Finland and Norway, Alberta, Canada, Quebec, Canada, Quincy, Illinois, Decatur, Alabama, Bloomington, Illinois, Honolulu, Haiwai, and Elmira, New York. Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast! Don’t forget about our web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more– Click here for our Bible 2021 reading plan\
Back in the New Testament today, and we begin almost two weeks in the letters of Peter. 1 Peter 1 is rich – absolutely loaded with deep theological truths. One of the densest chapters in the entire New Testament. We can’t focus in on all of these glorious truths, so we will have to settle for a couple. First, let’s talk about the call to love each other. Right before I began working on this podcast episode, I was browsing Facebook – a dangerous activity – when I came across the post of a Christian leader, who trends towards the progressive side of Christianity. This person had shared a series of posts that he thought very highly of and agreed with, but 75% of them were sarcastic attacks on biblical Christians. Those sarcastic tweets were making points that probably need to be heard, but they were made with a heaping helping of snide snark, and thus they come across as mean-spirited, rather than corrective. Ultimately more harmful than helpful – they will resonate with people who already fully agree with them and repel those who probably need to hear the truth that underlies the snark. Sometimes we Christians can be just as tribal as any other people group – getting along fine with those who agree with us, and firing various kinds of verbal arrows at those who don’t. This is not the kind of ‘love’ we are called to. Instead, Peter places our call to love in the context of the gospel:
17 And if you call on him as Father who judges impartially according to each one’s deeds, conduct yourselves with fear throughout the time of your exile, 18 knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot. 20 He was foreknown before the foundation of the world but was made manifest in the last times for the sake of you 21 who through him are believers in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 22 Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, 23 since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; 1 Peter 1:17-23
Verse 22 is deep – loving each other with unfeigned/sincere brotherly love should lead to earnest loving one another. Both words that describe the love we are to have for each other here are important. First, Peter is focused on brotherly love that is sincere/unfeigned for each other. He says that this kind of love is purifying. That love, the Philadelphos love, refers to warm love that friends and brothers/sisters have for each other. And it must be sincere, says Peter – the word that is translated as sincere here by the ESV is ὑποκρίνομαι hupŏkrinŏmai and it comes from a word that means acting/pretending – Peter is calling us to an unpretendend, unfaked, and genuine love for each other. Then he calls us to a progression, it seems, from Philadelphos/brotherly love to an agape love that is ἐκτενῶς – a Greek adverb that means intense in general use, and the literal meaning is something like stretched out – straining yourself to love and help somebody, is the idea. We tend to make more of the difference between Philadelphos love and Agape love relative to the Bible, but I think the progression here is more along the lines of moving from genuine/sincere/unfaked love into something further – intense/stretching/seeking/straining love. Our love for each other should not look snarky, attacking, critical and like we barely tolerate each other – it should look unfaked and intense, causing us to stretch ourselves.
Second topic. Will Christians of great faith and deeds that are under God’s protection avoid the consequences of painful trials? Put another way, is there a place you can get in maturity and faith where you can simply step over trials, because God’s protection will leave you unscathed in a human sense? I don’t believe so, and Peter is going to tell us why here:
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, 4 to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. 6 In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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. 1 Peter 1:3-7
Let’s parse this section. Peter is saying that God has caused His people to be born again to a living hope – HE is the author and perfecter of salvation – the beginner and the finisher. Furter, the hope of that salvation is being kept for those who are being saved, and they, in turn, are being guarded by God through faith while they await that ultimate salvation in Heaven. This should cause us to rejoice, says Peter, right before pointing out that the Christians that he is writing to have been grieved by various trials. Not one trial – several. Not a trial that doesn’t leave an impact, but a grievous trial. But wait, Peter – I thought you said that Christians were being guarded by God through faith – WHY ARE PAINFUL AND GRIEVOUS TRIALS COMING ONTO PEOPLE GOD IS PROTECTING? And the answer is that these trials are GOOD. Don’t get me wrong. They hurt. They grieve us. They are difficult to go through, but they come to refine and strengthen our faith so that our lives might praise God and give Him glory and honor at the return of Jesus. No trials, probably means no refining for us, and no refining means that we will be dull, impure, unshiny, and immature. Trials are horrible to go through, but God works His good through them. This will not be the last time we hit this theme in 1 Peter – we will return to it very shortly, as we see in 1 Peter 4:
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised when the fiery ordeal comes among you to test you, as if something unusual were happening to you. 13 Instead, rejoice as you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may also rejoice with great joy when his glory is revealed. 1 Peter 4:12-13
So, my friends – if you are going through a trial right now – it does NOT mean that God isn’t protecting you. He is indeed protecting you, if you are His, your hope is secure in Heaven, though now, for a little while, you must suffer through a grievous trial. I’m not saying it will be easy. In fact, It will likely be hard…but one day, in light of eternity, you will be able to look back and see the goodness of God’s hand in the midst of this trial. Let’s read the passage, where Peter says it better than I can.
Bible Memory passage for the month of October: 7 Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God, and everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 The one who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:7-8
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