We live in a world in desperate need of the gospel. We also live in a world that, at times, is hostile towards that very same gospel. Rather than throw my hands up in desperation, I find comfort. This world was hostile to Jesus. This world was hostile to the early church. Should we expect anything less than hostility? As committed followers of Jesus Christ, we should expect our faith to be challenged, confronted, and tested.
1 Peter is a letter written to churches facing persecution. We could learn a great deal from deep reflection on its content.
Take the time to read 1 Peter 1:1-12
Trails Prove Genuineness
I read this passage and many things grab my attention. Perhaps the first thing that forces me to sit my Bible down and say “hum” is the truth that trials will prove the genuineness of faith.
For the people receiving this letter scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, that meant persecution, real persecution. They faced violent opposition to their faith. Peter tells them: “rejoice.” At first, Peter sounds like a Hallmark card. Just a bit too cheery. Yet, it doesn’t take long for Peter to share the substance of his message. These trials faced by the churches will do a great work. These trials will reveal the genuineness of faith. Or on the other hand, these trials will expose counterfeit faith.
- Counterfeit faith is talk but no action.
- Counterfeit faith is self-centered and not Jesus-centered.
- Counterfeit faith turns and runs and doesn’t stand firm and faithful.
A person with counterfeit faith prays until they don’t get what they want. Then they shake their fist at God and walk away.
A person with counterfeit faith praises God in good times but abandons God and the church in the difficult times.
A person with counterfeit faith knows God on a superficial level but never seeks to know God on a personal, intimate level.
Trials reveal the genuineness of faith or expose counterfeit faith. For the churches spoken to here, the trial was violent opposition. What’s it for you?
We don’t counterfeit faith. No. We want the real deal. Amen?
What does genuine faith look like?
- Genuine faith is talk and action.
- Genuine faith is Jesus-centered not self-centered.
- Genuine faith stands firm and faithful.
A person with genuine faith prays, not for their own will to be done, but for the will of God.
A person with genuine faith praises God in good times and praises God through tears and heartache in the difficult times.
A person with genuine faith is not satisfied with a superficial understanding of God but wakes up each day and seeks after God with everything.
Core Of Our Faith
At the core of our faith is the mercy of God. How is the mercy of God demonstrated? He provided us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This salvation provides for us an inheritance that will never perish, spoil or fade. It’s kept in Heaven for us.
Those who place their trust in Jesus Christ are rewarded with new birth, living hope, an inheritance, salvation. There is no way around it: Your faith will be tested. Will you turn and run? Or will you stand firm and faithful?
The reward is far greater than any hostility, adversity, trial or test.
When (not if) you face a trial … Rejoice. This trial is an opportunity to show genuine faith.
When (not if) you face a trail … Rejoice. For you have God’s mercy.
When (not if) you face a trial … Rejoice. For you have a new birth.
When (not if) you face a trial … Rejoice. For you have a living hope.
When (not if) you face a trial … Rejoice. For you have an inheritance that will never fade.
When (not if) you face a trial … Rejoice. For you are receiving the salvation of your souls.
When (not if) you face a trial … Rejoice. For the rewards are far greater than the trials.