Confidence in God When Life’s Unfair (1 Pet 5:10-11)

Sunday, June 12th, 2011
Sermon Series: 1 Peter

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Confidence in God When Life’s Unfair

Assurance when your life is unfair or hard–1 Peter 5:10-11

 

Take this quiz:

1.  Name the three wealthiest people in the world.

2.  Name the last three Heisman trophy winners.

3.  Name the last three winners of the Miss America contest.

4.  Name three people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer prize.

5.  Name the last three Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.

6.  Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

How did you do?  The point is, none of us remembers the headliners of yesterday, and these are no second-rate achievers.  They are the best in their fields, but the applause dies, awards tarnish, achievements are forgotten, accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here’s another quiz–see how you do on this one:

1.  List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.
2.  Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3.  Name three people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4.  Think of three people who have made you feel appreciated.
5.  Think of three people you enjoy spending time with.
6.  Name five heroes whose stories have inspired you.

Easier?  The lesson–the people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards.  They are the ones that care–that is a great truth.

One of the main truths in these last verses of 1 Peter is to remind us that it doesn’t matter what is happening to you as a Christian, but that our God cares for you.  Even when you are persecuted, arrested, tortured and killed for your faith–even when there are health problems, marriage problems, family struggles, financial strain, unstable emotions, God cares for His children.

The Bible assures us that God knows when a sparrow hops, knows the number of hairs on your head, that His thoughts toward you are more than the sand on the seashore.  He cares for us, He loves us, He died for our sins, He made a way for us to be forgiven, cleansed us and we have a home in heaven.  But Peter also has warned us–when life is easy or when life is tough, you Christians and our church are to remain alert in the midst of spiritual war.

Remember what Peter said in verses 8 and 9, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. 9 But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

Last week, God made certain you understood your enemy and the subtle and not-so-subtle way he is trying to destroy you.  Peter taught you to respect our enemy, but resist Him and to be resolved, firm in your stand upon God’s Word.  You are not to take the offense, but you are not to run away, but stand upon God’s Word.  And God wants to encourage you, in that you are not in this war alone–the entire believing brotherhood, at the end of verse 9, are in this spiritual battle with you.

Yet as you look at verses 8 and 9, I am certain you have some questions that are eating away at you, because I do too.  Look again at verse 8, “Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.  Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.”  Peter commands believers to be seriously watching, because the devil wants to kill them.

Satan prowls like a lion, but he also roars like a lion.  But why is this lion roaring?  If a lion wants to eat someone, you’d think it would sneak up on them instead of roaring.  In fact that’s the way the devil is described in other places in the New Testament–he’s like a snake.  He’s subtle.  A snake doesn’t roar–it hides, slithers, then bites you, sneaky snake.

The devil is like that.  He’s dangerous because he is subtle, quiet and hidden.  Peter says the lion prowls.  But God also says the lion is dangerous for another reason.  A lion is also dangerous because he’s so strong.  Even if you know it’s there, you’re a goner unless you have some power more than your own–like a rifle, a gigantic net, or God Himself.

So Peter’s point here is the devil’s craftiness, but also his power–what power specifically?  Verse 9, “But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”  What this says is that the roaring jaws of the lion are the suffering of believers. Read it carefully and you’ll see this.  “Resist him . . . knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.”

“Same”—same as what?  Resist the lion because the same suffering–the same as you are facing with the lion.  Resist this lion because Christians everywhere are in this fight of suffering.  The roaring jaws of the lion are the sufferings of the saints, designed by Satan for their devouring.

We see a clear picture of this in Revelation 2:10, where Jesus says to the church in Smyrna, “Do not fear what you are about to suffer.  Behold, the devil is about to cast some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and you will have tribulation ten days.  Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

In other words, Satan will throw some in prison and some Christians will die there.  But if they are faithful unto death (thus, resist him firm in their faith like Peter is calling for), they will live forever–or as Peter says here in verse 10, they will be “perfected, confirmed, strengthened and established.”  Which means successfully resisting the devil does not mean that he can’t kill you.  It only means he can’t do you any ultimate harm–no eternal harm, no heavenly harm.  He can only kill you.  Plus, he can’t harm you, touch you or kill you without God’s permission (1 Peter 4:19).  No one ever dies prematurely, because Christ holds the keys to death and Hades.

Now you can see the difference between Satan as the snake, and Satan as the lion.  His snake-likeness is his indirect sneakiness.  But his lion-likeness is his direct attack in suffering.  The hardest thing about suffering is not that it sneaks up on you–it usually doesn’t.  The hardest thing about suffering is that it can overwhelm your faith with fear and pain.  It can destroy your trust that God cares, or that your God has any power to help, or that God even exists.  That’s exactly what Satan wants to happen, and that’s why Peter says the lion is roaring.  The roaring of the lion’s jaws is the power of suffering to destroy our confidence in God and test you about God, who says He cares for us in verse 7.

So the point of saying in verse 8, “Be sober, and be on the alert,” is not merely because the lion might sneak up on you.  But watch out when you know he is there–when he’s roaring.  The point is–when you fight a lion roaring with hunger, you better not be drunk or distracted.  You need all your spiritual faculties–stay sharp, stay alert.

So how does God follow up his preparation for battle in verses 8 and 9?  Peter offers words in verses 10 and 11 to bring confidence to our hearts when life is unfair.  Verses 10 and 11 are a doxology–words of praise, but it is worship with a purpose to encourage you, equip you, and give you confidence in God and in His care for you.  God wants you to trust Him when life is unfair–it brings Him glory when you trust Him, and it brings you blessing when you trust Him, especially when your situation feels unfair.

It could be an unexpected health issue, a medical crisis, a family member melting down, an unsaved child, harsh parents, financial crisis, emotional trauma, friend betrayal, an attack on your faith, the loss of your job or some other trauma that leaves you with that unfair feeling.  Choose to bring God glory by trusting Him right now and welcome the Holy Spirit’s encouragement through verses 10 and 11 to move you to rest in Christ when life is unfair.

Look at these two powerful verses, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”

The Greek text is much more celebrative then the English.  Peter starts with a contrast–but or moreover, then begins with “The God of all Grace who called you into His splendor in Christ.”  Only after this does the Greek mention “after you have suffered awhile.”  Peter encourages his persecuted readers with the character of God, first thing out of his mouth.  And out of your mouth when trying to encourage a true believer should be God’s character, not, “God is sovereign, get over it,” but “Your merciful Savior is gracious and has a purpose in all He does for those He loves, like you.”

Notice in verse 9, the word “being accomplished”–this literally means to be thoroughly completed, perfected, finished/refined.  Peter finishes verse 9 with “every brother in the world is being completed and perfected by this suffering brought on by men.”  Now verse 10 starts with a contrast–but/moreover the God of all grace has a bigger plan, a sovereign blessing in store.

God is always in control and He uses trials, suffering and unfair circumstances to accomplish His purposes for your good.  Like a surgeon using the scalpel of unfair suffering, our Lord is going to cut out the sin disease, radiate the cancer of selfishness, scrub out the infection of pride–everything that keeps you from trusting Him and from you getting spiritually healthy.  How does God encourage us and cure us?  Walk through verses 10 and 11 with me, like we’ve been doing since October 4, 2009, and let’s find out.

#1  Accept the necessity of God allowing unfair

The NASB begins verse 10 with “after you have suffered.”  Now I realize this is unpopular, and is not heard in pulpits today, but the Bible clearly promises all Christians–God has suffering planned just for you.  He promises suffering and persecution.

Read 2 Timothy 3:12, “Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.”  Read Philippians 1:29, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.”  You’ve been promised suffering–it comes to all believers.

So in verse 10, Peter reminds his readers who are suffering under Roman antagonism toward Christians that they are going to experience active, ongoing suffering—“after you have suffered.”  The verb “you have suffered” is stating a general truth, clearly declaring you will experience unfair pain in this life.

Just like verses 8 and 9 stated, you are opposed by an enemy who wants to kill you, and he directs his army of demons and his children on this planet to go after Christians.  He is behind the scenes, but never forget, Satan can’t do a thing without God’s permission.  He can’t touch you unless God allows it and defines it–nothing happens to you that God has not caused or allowed.

Job proves this, and Peter made this clear back in chapter 4.  He told you that God uses suffering to discipline his children, to correct you, shape you, heal you and ultimately bless you.  Look back at 1 Peter 4:16 to 17, “But if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.”

Suffering feels unfair, but when circumstances hit, remember God is at work doing surgery.  As God’s true child, you are transformed internally, given a new nature that wants to obey, indwelt with the Holy Spirit–justified, redeemed, forgiven, loved, blessed, washed, and all of it because of the sacrifice of God the Son, who offered Himself as payment for your sin by dying on the cross.

But to prove His internal work to bring you blessing and Him glory, He is now going to shape you, mould you, and sanctify you into the image of His Son–and it will require you to go under the knife of suffering to make that happen.  If you are going to be like Christ, who suffered for you, you are going to have to suffer like Christ.  Accept the fact, embrace the truth, and cooperate with God as He allows unfair circumstances in your life to mould you into the image of His Son.  And the more you become like Christ, the more you are blessed and God is glorified.  Accept God’s refiner’s fire in your life, the necessity of unfair, and . . .

#2  Acknowledge the control of God over unfair

Verse 10 adds, “After you have suffered for a little while.”  What you are going through is not forever, and unfair suffering or persecution is not all God has for you.  You’ve heard this–when God turns up the heat, He has His hand on the thermostat and His eye on the clock.  When He takes you into surgery, it is not to leave you on the table, but to cut out the sinful cancer and make you healthy so that you can serve Him, represent Him and proclaim Him to this world.  When God puts you into the smelter to purify your metal, He will keep skimming off the impurities in order to eventually let you cool, polish you and make you shine for His glory.

Your season of unfair is for just a little while.  You remember Joseph–his own brothers threw him into a pit, considered killing him, but unfairly ended up selling him as a slave.  Joseph did well as the steward of Potipher’s house, but was unfairly accused by the wife of the house and thrown in jail.  He was there for years, unfairly overlooked when he helped others, but eventually, when the time was right, he was elevated.  His suffering was unfair, yet it was just a little while.  So Joseph said to his brothers when it was all said and done, and the family of Israel was saved from starvation, in Genesis 50:20, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.”  Was it God who caused Joseph to suffer, or his brothers?  Yes!

You already know that Jesus Christ is perfect God, who was born as a man, lived a perfect life, and went to the cross to die for our sins, take the punishment we deserved, and be our substitute so that we can be made right with God now, and be able to live with God forever in heaven.  But was it God who planned out this unjust, unfair suffering, or was it evil men?  Who put Christ on the cross to suffer?  Answer—yes!

In Peter’s first sermon, he says of Jesus in Acts 2:23, “This Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.”  God designed it, planned it, predetermined it in every detail–but godless men did it.  God is sovereign and man is responsible.  God is in control of the unfair and ordains every detail of your life, good or bad.  He allows or causes every crisis, trial, suffering, difficulty and unfair circumstance—every one.

So is suffering Satan’s attack, or is it the discipline of God?  Is suffering God working with His children and on His kids, or is it the jaws of the roaring lion?  Answer—yes, it’s both.  Stop blaming your parents, your teacher, or your coach and realize who is behind allowing or causing your difficulty.  Even Paul’s thorn in the flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:7 was given to Paul to keep him humble, implying it was given to him by God.  Yet he calls this thorn a messenger of Satan.

Understand, if God is sovereign over all things, including Satan, which He is–then God has a different sovereign design in all the designs of Satan than Satan does.  When Christians suffer, the devil’s design is destructive pain.  But God’s design in the same suffering is constructive purification, holiness and power.  The devil aims to devour–to kill.  God aims to empower, purify and prepare us for glory.

So acknowledge God’s control over unfair circumstances.  Tell your own heart, God is at work in this pain.  It doesn’t matter who started it, who caused it, or which bad person lit the fuse.  God is in control no matter how much it hurts, and He has designed your trial to result in your good and His glory.  But how can I trust Him when it hurts?

#3  Reflect on the character of God during unfair

Verse 10 again, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace,”—reflect on God’s character.  The God of all grace is not cruel, is not mean, is not heartless, is not indifferent, is not passive and is not unwise.

When He puts you on the surgery table of unfair suffering, it is not unfair–it only feels unfair.  He is not experimenting on you.  He never says, “Oops–shouldn’t have done that!”  He does not think, “Maybe I should try this?”  Nor does He wonder just how much you can take?  No, He is the God of all grace–that description is found only here in the Bible.

“Of all grace” characterizes your Lord as the source and giver of all grace–all the undeserved favor bestowed upon you in your unworthiness.  When life is unfair, know that God is at work, and not only does He care for you, but He gives to you, bestows grace on you, extends to you abundant blessing in the midst of hardship.

Peter’s letter has been filled with God’s grace.

In 1:2, Peter prays that grace be yours in fullest measure

In 1:10, coming grace was prophesied by the Old Testament prophets

In 1:13, to keep your hope fixed on grace coming to you when Jesus returns

In 3:7, your spouse is the grace of life in marriage

In 4:10, your ministry through your giftedness is a manifestation of the many-colored grace of God

In 5:5, God gives grace to the humble, and

In 5:12, we are to stand firm in God’s grace

Your God is the God of all grace.  God has not deserted you in your pain, or difficulty, or background, or suffering–but He is and continues to be the God who gives graciously to His children.  And the many-colored and vast variety of His graciousness will be a help to every unique need you have, and a help in every unusual situation you find yourself in.  God being all grace, does not mean He is only grace–He is also love, mercy, kindness, as well as angry, wrathful and just.  But He is the source of all favor and blessing showered on believers–the God of all grace.

As Paul challenged Timothy, let me challenge you with 2 Timothy 2:1, “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.”  Are you strong in grace?  Do you live by it, speak to others with it, think about it so you are strong—you stink with grace?

Peter says in verse 10, yes you are going to suffer in this life, but God is in control of what you are going through, and is very gracious to His children.  Trust Him to come through for you.  But how can I?  How can I trust Him when it hurts so badly?  Let me tell you.  You can trust Him now with all your present needs of grace, because God has proven Himself rich in grace in the past.  How?

#4  Rehearse the salvation God gives when unfair

Verse 10, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to [into] His eternal glory in Christ”–Peter reminds you of God’s gracious action on your behalf in the past.  You can trust Him now for the grace needed to get through your trial, loneliness, hardship and unfair circumstances now, because at some time in the past God was incredibly gracious to you through His Son Jesus Christ.

Have you ever helped a homeless man or woman?  How many of you have given the homeless some food, or bought them a meal, or even sat with them and tried to get to know them?  That is a very loving thing to do–it is gracious.  But it is not as gracious as God was to you–He was more gracious.  Have any of you ever tried to help a criminal who hated you and was hell bent on harming you?  Have you tried to serve another who didn’t want your help, but wanted you to leave them alone?  No one?  Yet that is how gracious God was to you.

You can trust the God of all grace now in your unfair trial, because God has already been super gracious to you in the past.  When Peter says God is the God who called you, he’s talking about when God called you to salvation.  That verb “call” always refers to the effectual saving call.  It is the irresistible call, the call that awakens us to our need and never fails to save the dead, fallen, helpless, hopeless heart.  “Who called you” is passive voice, it is not something you do, but something that happens to you.  God does this.

That call refers to the moment you received saving grace–when God reached down into the crowd of rebellious humanity and awakened you, gave sight to your blind eyes, gave you a new heart that wants to follow the Lord, made you a new person that wants to please Christ and you became a Christian.  God has proven He’ll be gracious to you now, because He already has.  God saved you–that’s proof of His grace.

He called you to salvation.  Theologically, there are two kinds of calling.  There is the general external call, like Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”  This general call can be rejected, like when Jesus said in John 5:40, “You are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.”  Or Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, … I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling.”  This general call can be rejected.

But in verse 10, Peter is describing the internal, effective call.  This calling is when God awakens His own in time.  This is God’s irresistible ministry of drawing men to Himself.  John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent me draws Him.” The word draw is used in the book of James as drag, when someone drags you into court–an unwilling draw.

Romans 8:30 says, “Whom He predestined, these He also called.”  Those who respond to God’s efficacious call are the elect.  This is what Matthew 22:14 means when it says, “For many are called, but few are chosen.”  And 2 Thessalonians 2:13 to 14 says, “God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. 14 And it was for this He called you through our gospel.”  If we come to Christ, God called us (which none of us deserves).  If we don’t come to Christ, God did not call us (which all of us deserve).

Peter invested a lot of time reminding his readers and us just how gracious God has been in the past to us by calling us to Himself.  Peter has talked a lot about God’s irresistible call to salvation in 1 Peter.

1:15, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behaviour

2:9, “But you are … a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light

2:21, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps.”

3:9, “not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing

God has proven He’ll be gracious to you now, because He already has.  In calling you, God not only delivered you from your past sins, but also turned your faces toward the future, calling you (verse 10) “to His eternal glory in Christ.”

God is not done blessing you.  The God of all grace is not finished being gracious to you.  He has a future of gracious blessing all planned out for you.  Again Peter turns your focus off of your unfair suffering and difficult trial, to your glorious eternity with Christ forever in perfection and bliss in heaven.

Peter is in your face here.  Hey, your unfair suffering will be for a little while, but your heavenly reward in Christ is forever.  But understand, the word eternal not only stresses the endlessness of forever, but also the untamed, untainted quality of unmeasured satisfaction.  Why?  Because salvation is in Christ–not with Christ or through Christ, but in union with Christ, immersed in Christ.

To His eternal glory in Christ, being as joyful, full, loving, peaceful and satisfied as Christ Himself–we are so immersed in Christ that eternal glory refers to all that Christ is.  In heaven you taste of all the greatness and delights of God Himself, all His glorious character and perfection.

The big question is solved–this is where we get our confidence when life is unfair.  Verse 10 says, “after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will get you to glory.”  God promises, if He called you to His glory, He’s going to get you to His glory.  A little suffering in between is not going to stop God.  And it is “the God of all grace” who makes this promise.  You may say, this promise can’t be for me–I’m not qualified.  I’m not spiritual.

Peter says you don’t start with being qualified.  You start with the God of all grace.  Grace precedes qualification.  You merely exchange all that you are for all that He is.  You receive this promise when you trust the God of all grace.  But what about now–what is God going to do while I am suffering unfairly, or going through this difficult trial?

#5  Review the goals of God in the midst of unfair

Verse 10 again says, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.”  There are four verbs here–each describes future timing, stating a fact and pointing to God’s direct involvement, telling us . . .

God will accomplish His goals–indicative fact

God is actively pursuing these goals in your life–active voice

These goals will be accomplished in the future–all future tense

And notice the phrase, “will Himself perfect.”  Before you enter glory with Christ, in the meantime God Himself personally will be moulding you into the image of Christ.  In the midst of the devil’s attacks, God Himself will mature you and conform you into less-of-you and more-of-Christ.

Himself is emphatic, meaning it is in front of the verbs, giving it a big emphasis.  “God will Himself” is telling us God’s concern and personal activity on behalf of His children who are suffering.  “God will Himself” is telling you of His active intervention and personal presence.  You will sense God’s presence more during times of suffering and hardship than at any other time in your life.

God promises His presence to His children as He begins surgery.  So what will God accomplish in your life while you go through the surgery of unfair suffering?  What’s His purpose for your pain?  What are His goals for your growth?  There are four.  It took me hours to figure out what these four verbs meant, so I am excited to share with you what God’s goals are

First  To complete what’s lacking

Verse 10 says, “God will Himself perfect

He will equip you with whatever is lacking in your life.  He will complete what is missing–He will put things in order.  Like a jigsaw puzzle, He will fill in the missing pieces to make your life a clearer picture of Christ.  The verb is similar to Hebrews 13:21, “equip you in every good thing to do His will.”  First Corinthians 1:10 says, “there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind.”

When God allows unfair suffering in your life, He fills in the gaps of your life.  Christian, you have holes that need patching.  It could be relationally, communicatively, personality quirks, or areas you are blind to.  And God allows suffering to heat things up so those areas are exposed and repaired.  I still have huge gaps in my life, you too?  But I can tell you that suffering has made me more compassionate and patient.  God uses unfair trials to complete what is lacking, and perfect you.

Second  To fix what’s broken

He will also confirm”  Confirm is to fix firm, to make firm, or to make solid.  You know how when you are at a restaurant and the table wobbles, so you take a stack of napkins and stick it under one of the legs of the tables so that it fixes the table–remember that?  That is not what Peter is describing here.  He is talking about turning the table over, unscrewing the table leg or sawing it off so that he can put a brand new leg on it and fix it permanently.

The word “confirm” is to permanently stabilize something so that it will not totter anymore.  Ephesians 4 warns of Christians who are tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine–to confirm here in verse 10 fixes that.  No more tottering or tossing–you’re confident, no longer enslaved to your emotions, dependent on your ideas, your thinking, or wisdom, but only in God’s Word.  You are fixed.

Suffering drives instability out of your life–you become more reliant, more dependable and less unstable.  You have broken areas in your life. Past issues that haunt you, choices you make not to use a budget, not to faithfully attend church, not to invest in others or not to allow others to invest into you–suffering drives those from your life and fixes what’s broken.  So complete what’s lacking, and fix what’s broken.

Third  To strengthen what’s weak

Verse 10 uses the word strengthen.  The word is used only here in the New Testament, and means to impart strength, to make strong.  Like a weightlifter, you are strained by multiple reps with the weights of suffering, and as a result your spiritual muscles grow stronger–you get big spiritual guns.  So when the enemy attacks, God the Son’s out, so guns out–meaning, it is not your own strength, but the strength of God through you.  It is as if the suffering makes you a cleaner, clearer, bigger vessel for God to work through.

Each of you have areas of weakness, areas where you easily fall into sin–a short temper, an emotional personality, an unwillingness to actually study the Word of God, or an idol of money, your family or sports in your life that continually gets in the way of faithful growth.  Suffering and trial will shake up your life and make you more dependently strong in Christ.

Fourth  To ground what’s unstable

Verse 10 ends with “and establish you”.  The noun form of this word establish means foundation, and here the verb establish means to lay the foundation of, to found, to give a firm base, to be grounded.  It points to the fact that now you can be depended on, you’re reliable, you are faithful.  It describes a person that can’t be moved away from his first love, won’t be moved from obedience to God’s Word, doesn’t mess around with sin, and is one who is stable in his or her faith in Christ.

They have a solid spiritual foundation–don’t flee when attacked, don’t panic when everything falls apart, don’t move when the truth is compromised, immovable, their faith is solid.  Suffering has taught them that God is in control, and His purposes are full of grace and goodness.  They trust Him in the midst of the fire, and in the midst of fun.  They are established, grounded, solid, and trustworthy.

God’s goals for your current trial and unjust circumstance is to complete what’s lacking, fix what’s broken, strengthen what’s weak, and ground what’s movable.  God is going to use painful events in your life to carve out every defect.  God is going to mould you to look more like His Son.  The result will be blessing in this life and eternal joy in the next.  You can have confidence that He is a gracious God, and will never ever waste pain.  Pain always has a purpose that is good–so much so that Peter ends this section with celebration.

#6  Express praise for God when life’s unfair

Verse 10 and 11 again say, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you. 11 To Him be dominion forever and ever. Amen.”  I love this–as Peter reflects on the God of all grace, our current sanctification and ultimate glorification, he breaks into praise.  He blurts out a short doxology, rejoicing over two great truths.

First  Praise for God’s strength

Verse 11, “To Him be dominion” means praise for God’s superior strength.  God created Lucifer and the angels who fell.  God is the Creator, they are the creature.  God is stronger than the devil–our God has dominion over the devil, his demons, all lost people and even those who would seek to harm Christians.  Evil people often think they’re powerful when they appear to have the upper hand over Christians, but just one single thought on the part of God, and they are toast.

Praise God for His ability to dominate, to have everything in the universe under His sovereign and unassailable control.  Praise Him for creation, for holding creation together, for being in control of every molecule, every event, every person.  But also praise Him that He is strong enough to redeem, to save, and to forgive even the most wicked sinner like you.  Praise Him.

Second  Praise for God’s eternality

Peter adds verse 11, “To Him be dominion forever and ever” in the midst of unfair circumstances, suffering and persecution.  Make certain you maintain the long view.  Difficult trials are not out of God’s control.  God is using them to grow you on earth to be more like Christ, and God is using them to reward you in heaven when you will be with Christ.

Sufferings that feel unfair all have a purpose and Peter has already reminded us that unfair harsh trials are just for a little while.  You will be with Christ forever and ever.  Praise Him for His eternality–celebrate His power.  Praise God for His salvation, that we were called to eternal glory in Christ.  Thank Him He is the God of all grace and we didn’t have to earn our forgiveness or our home in heaven.  And say with Peter, “Amen,” meaning so be it, I agree.  No matter what is happening in my life, I can praise God–I can say, “Amen.”  And all God’s people at FBC said, “Amen!”  Let’s pray.

 


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ABOUT THIS PREACHER

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.
Tough Stuff
Membership @ FBC
1 Peter
FBC iTunes podcast