Peter is writing this letter to believers who have been scattered to encourage them. These people would have had little influence in the places where they were scattered and wouldn’t have had much in terms of affluence but Peter reminds them the most important thing – they are not forgotten but are a chosen people – chosen by God. This is true for all of us believers – whatever you are facing God is with you and has not forgotten you.
Peter is refocusing us in this passage on the most important things. When we have really grasped and are focussed on the truth Peter is talking about here we can live life with the right perspective, whatever we are facing. Straight away, (v3-5) Peter reminds us of the great mercy and grace shown to us by God in sending Jesus to die for us to enable us to be born again (made into a brand new creation) into a living hope of eternal life. This is our inheritance kept for us by God in heaven and made possible by the salvation Jesus has brought us.
After reminding us of this incredible truth Peter tells us ‘May the thought of this cause you to jump for joy’ (v 6a TPT). We should never stop rejoicing in this incredible truth whatever we may be going through or facing.
V6-7 go on to mention the trials that we face. I think it’s safe to say this year there isn’t anyone who hasn’t faced trials! But the wonderful news is that when we go through the trials our faith is being strengthened – ‘These reveal the sterling core of your faith’ (v7a TPT). Just as gold is purified through being heated so trials strengthen, purify and prove the genuineness of our faith. It does this because our faith is in ‘a wonderful joy ahead’ (v6a NLT).
V8-9 remind us what faith actually is. It is a love for God though we have never seen Him physically. It is believing and trusting in Him which causes us to be able to ‘rejoice with a glorious, inexpressible joy’ (v8b NLT) in the midst of whatever life may look like for you. It is this faith that enables us to receive God’s wonderful gift of salvation. ‘Obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls’ (v9b ESV).
Peter reminds us to keep focused on the grace God has shown us that enables us to live our lives as new creations, no longer slaves to the things that once held us back. It is God who enables us to live in holiness and righteousness – Jesus gave us His righteousness when He died for us. So we don’t have to try and strive to achieve an unattainable goal. He has done it! God redeemed us and paid the ultimate price for our ransom – Jesus’ blood – and in doing so has freed us from futile, empty lives we had before we knew Him. Instead He has given us a rich, satisfying abundant life that Jesus promised. (John 10:10)
I know right now, life may not feel rich, satisfying, abundant and enjoyable but this passage also reminds us that because of all Jesus has done for us, this life is temporary and we have an amazing future to look forward to with God forever.
‘Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared. And the sea was also gone. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven like a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. I heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.” (Revelation 21:1-4)
We can endure and even thrive in the trials we may be facing now when we have God’s perspective – the eternal perspective – one of a future that will be more amazing than we can ever even begin to hope for or imagine right now.
So why not spend some time today thanking God for this and all the other things He is doing in your life and see how it changes your perspective and strengthens your faith, filling you with joy.