Final Reflections on 1 Peter
Note: Yesterday morning, we finished our sermon series called Sojourners, a 14-week study through the book of 1 Peter. So this week I asked Pastor Matt to share some final reflections on 1 Peter. I hope you’ll take some time to reflect on what God has taught you from his word in this study as well!
– Pastor Bert
Over the course of my fifth grade year, I noticed the sheets my teacher would put on the overhead projector became fuzzier than normal, to the point where I could no longer make out specific numbers or letters. From my perspective, it seemed like the projector was the problem. In reality, my eyes were the issue; I wasn’t able to see the world around me properly.
A worldview helps us see the world in the same way my glasses enabled me to see the slides on that projector. Just as there are many options for lenses in glasses, there are many options for our view of the world. And just as only one prescription could take the blurry letters and numbers and make them sharp again, only one worldview will help us correctly understand the world around us.
Peter’s concern for the Believers who would read his letter was that they would have a correct view of suffering. This is a theme we’ve seen come up repeatedly as we’ve walked through his first letter over the last three months. Peter establishes his point early in chapter 1:
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith- more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire- may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 1:6-7
Then, Peter ends his letter with another reminder of this truth:
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God fall grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” -1 Peter 5:10
So, at the beginning and the end of the letter Peter connects the trials and sufferings of life with an eternal perspective. In doing so, Peter doesn’t belittle the sufferings, but he gives us the proper view of them. In these verses, God is helping us see sufferings as they really are.
Trials and sufferings are something we will all experience. Peter didn’t write his letter for a select group who could possibly experience difficult circumstances. He writes to Believers in a fallen world. His readers were experiencing persecution for trusting in Jesus on top of the other effects of living in a fallen world we all experience. The question isn’t if we’ll suffer, but when. But this question doesn’t break our spirits, instead, an eternal perspective of suffering enables us to endure as those who have hope.
We know that God will make all things right. He has proven this by sending Jesus, who has not only purchased our salvation, but will make all things right when He returns. Suffering isn’t final. Jesus has the final world, and he says the story isn’t over.
Near the end of his letter, Peter includes another beautiful reminder: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” -I Peter 5:6-7. When we humble ourselves before God, realizing that we can’t handle trials in our own power, he carries our anxieties and walks through these times with us. We aren’t alone. Believer, don’t miss this––God not only promises that He will make all things right, but He walks with us until that day comes.
Here’s where it all ties together and where we begin to see the world around us clearly. Suffering isn’t something to merely be endured. Because God has promised he will make everything right, and because God is with us in the middle of hard times, suffering is an opportunity to proclaim Jesus––the one who suffered for us. We see this in chapter 2, where Peter writes, “As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” -1 Peter 2:4-5.
As we walk through rejection, sickness, death, and the other trials of life, we do so following the pattern of Jesus, who went before us. Pastor Bert said it this way, “We are living stones patterned after the Living Stone.” When we endure, we do so not only empowered by the one who has endured before us, but to also proclaim him. Remember Peter’s words shortly after this, “[Y]ou are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” -1 Peter 2:9
The finished work of Jesus Christ is the correct lens we need to make sense of the world around us. This is part of Peter’s purpose for writing; He wants us to see the world as God intends for us to see it. This means that suffering can only make sense in light of the gospel. Understanding this to be true means we will see every moment as an opportunity to trust God and live on mission for him, walking in our identity as those who have received mercy.
“And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” -1 Peter 5:10-11
Amen! May this be the lens through which we see everything around us today and every day!
Matt Hall is an NGU alum who has served as the Pastor of College and Youth at Mountain Creek since August, 2019.