THE JOY OF OUR LIVING HOPE
1 Peter 1:3-9 Princeton Christian Church 05 January 2022
The Christian has a joy in our life. We rejoice in the hope we have in Jesus Christ. That hope lives clearly and brightly in our hearts. But, as Peter points out in verse 6, we will have to suffer grief in all kinds of trials even as a Christ-follower. Our joy is often interrupted by tears. Suffering is the lot of mortal man. And, as Christians, we do have our own trials.
In Acts 14:22 the early disciples were encouraged by Paul and Barnabas as they taught the new Christians in Derbe. They were told that “we must go through many trials to enter into the Kingdom of God.” These Christians, to whom Peter was preaching, were told the same thing. They would suffer great trials. But Peter comforts them as well, encouraging them to look away from earthly troubles.
We, as Christians, can rejoice because the joy of the Lord is our strength in times of trouble. Knowing this helps us to comprehend what those words mean. They are but for a moment in time. They are necessary. They come from our Father in Heaven, and He does not willingly afflict or grieve the children of men.
The writer of Hebrews, in chapter 12, verse 10 tells us He sends them “for our profit, that we might be partakers of His Holiness.” An event that is not heavy on us or is easy to endure or work through are not trials. The Christian’s cross to bear must at times be heavy and sharp.
Without those cross-bearing times we cannot share in the suffering of Christ. Even so, the Christian should rejoice in sorrow. Trials are necessary for purifying our faith. Gold is precious to man. Faith is precious to God. Gold perishes – Faith continues. Gold is tried in the fire. Faith is tried in temptations.
Temptations that we have overcome and rejected prove our faith to be real and true. Temptations actually refine our faith as it removes harmful impurities from our human character. As our faith is refined, we can overcome pride, confidence in self, and worldliness. Trials that we have overcome keep us humble, allowing us to trust in God alone.
As mentioned earlier, trials in our lives are necessary. They are a part of our discipline of sonship.
Occasionally, we have medicine prescribed by a doctor for an illness we are experiencing. On the directions, it may instruct us to “take as needed.” That is sometimes how God allows the trials which come our way. He administers them “as necessary.” And if that trial is necessary to strengthen our faith, God is willing to inflict it upon us.
Those times when God allows trials to interrupt our lives may be the preparation necessary for some other future chastisement or even a future blessing. Our reaction to that trial must be such that we remain in the state of salvation because our faith has not wavered in the face of trial.
From the late ’60s to mid 70’s I worked in the accounting department at ALCOA. My office was in the ingot plant. In that plant huge furnaces “cooked” the metal into liquid form. The impure materials are skimmed off, leaving the remainder of pure aluminum to be formed into ingots. This is a refining process resulting in the pure metal product.
That product, after going through a rolling process, is sold to producers who manufacture many different products. And so, there is a purpose for the fire, the unbearable heat.
Our Father God is the Refiner. He sits at the crucible, regulating the heat blowing out of the hot blue flame, drawing off the harmful impurities.
This is why Peter says in 1 Peter 1:6: “In this, you greatly rejoice, even though now (for a little while,} if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials.”
Joy grows out of distress and trials. When we have overcome a trial, we have proved our faith with that conquering. In times of trial, we show who we really are.
We must remember that we, as Christians, are being watched. Unbelievers, or skeptics, enemies of the cross, are looking at and examining our lives to see if we live up to who we claim to be – the children of God through Jesus Christ His Son. How they see us will determine if they listen and see the reflection of Christ in us. When they witness our faith, though tested, remain strong, that is when they may realize we have something greater than self to bring us through the trials of life. Our reaction and behavior in times of trial may determine whether they come to Christ or not.