As we come close to completing our study of 1 Peter, I want to tie together three chief concerns of Peter in his letter. Those three chief concerns are these: 1) the believer’s doing good; 2) the glory of Christ that is ready to be revealed; and 3) the believer’s suffering.
How does Peter tie these three chief concerns together? That’s what our study is about today.
While doing good in this life holds the promise of unjust suffering (“fiery trials”), it leads to the revelation of a greater gladness and glory that is coming soon.
Suffering in any shape is not something that any of us normally seek after, let alone unjust suffering. Peter’s intent is to prepare his readers for a coming fiery ordeal and to bolster them in their faith to hold fast to Christ. Holding fast under trials is not a natural human response, so Peter gives us compelling reasons for believers to remain in the faith…
I. Reason #1: God is in the Fiery Trial (12).
• You may consider Joseph in Genesis 37-50, Daniel 3 and 6, and Hebrews 11 for examples of believers enduring under fiery trials. Just as God was with them, He is with us in the furnace! Don’t melt, hold fast!
- What are the severest trials you’ve faced as a believer for your faith in Christ?
- How have you responded? How might you have lost your footing?
- Consider formulating a spiritual battle plan using God’s Word and prayer to bolster your faith in preparation for more trials.
II. Reason #2: God has promised future gladness (13-14).
- See God’s glory as real and more valuable than all we stand to lose under present pressures
- Taste God’s glory as more satisfying than peace and comfort of this life. And,
- Feel with great assurance that we will rejoice in Christ forever!
- Review Ephesians 1:15-23. Add this prayer to your prayer list for yourself and other believers.
- What are some other scriptures that point us to our future hope as being greater treasure than our present sufferings and trials? Build a catalogue of 3×5 cards and review them and pray them regularly.
III. Reason #3: God’s Refining Fires are more profitable than His fires of justice (15).
- Throughout his letter Peter makes it known that it matters why the believer suffers (1 Peter 2:19-20; 3:16-17). Be sure we suffer for doing good and not for sinning. Verse 15 is another instance. Why does Peter care so much about the reason we suffer?
- We might ask: why does Peter mention these particular sins: murder, thievery, evildoing, and meddling? And is there significance to their order?
- Review Romans 5:1-11, 8:18-39; and James 1:1-18. Make a list of God’s promised purposes for the refining fires that believers face. How has God worked in your life through trials? What has He taught you? How has He conformed you to Christ?
IV. Reason #4: God’s Glory is greater than human approval (16).
How can Christians fight off shame in unjust suffering and glorify God in that name? Let me touch on two ways:
• First, fight against shame by remembering your identity in Christ. See 1 Peter 2:9.
- Spend time reflecting on what God says about believers from 1 Peter 2:1-12 and Ephesians 1:1-14. How does your identity in Christ shape your perspective on trials?
- Do you have a healthy and good conscience before God? Are you teachable? Do you practice repentance on a regular basis? How might a good conscience empower you to persevere?
V. Reason #5: God’s Purpose is worked out in the fiery trials (17-18).
Why does Peter include two rhetorical questions in the text? (see end of verse 17 and 18) The answer to these questions seems obvious: The outcome of those who don’t obey the gospel will be eternal judgment.
- Peter does this to awaken compassion and pity in our hearts for those who remain lost in their sin.
- Peter does this to warn us that sin is not to be taken lightly and neither is God.
- Peter does this also to encourage us that we will ultimately be saved and that our suffering is very short compared to those who die in their sins.
So, Hold Fast in suffering!
- What is your attitude toward sin in your own heart? Are you actively seeking to abstain from the passions of your flesh?
- Do you live with compassion for unbelievers? Are you compelled to evangelize and share Christ with them? What might hold you back from doing so? Commit these issues to God in prayer.
VI. Reason #6: God’s Dominion and glory will be known in our doing good (19).
How do we know that the soul that trusts God will be saved?
- First, Jesus entrusted himself to God the Father and the Father raised Jesus from the dead and received Him into glory and gave Him all authority!
- Second, “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer.” 1 Peter 3:12.
- Third, To God belongs glory and dominion forever and ever (1 Peter 4:11, 5:11). Pray regularly, entrusting your life into the hands of our faithful Creator.