Christians have hope in the promises of God and the future glory of His Kingdom.
Success is built on who He is not who we are!
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS (1 Peter 1:1-9)
1. What is the difference between wishing and hoping?
2. What is the difference between an uncertain hope and the certain hope the Bible speaks of?
Although there may be some disagreement on the process of salvation, all Christians believe that salvation belongs to the Lord. We do not save ourselves; God saves us. In this section of verses we are going to be told that God has done some things for his people. We are recipients of his grace. Because God has done something, we can be confident he will continue to do what he promised. This should build our hope to soaring heights.
3. What is the result of being born again? What are those who are born again brought into?
4. What is kept in heaven for you?
5. You have an inheritance that God is keeping for you, and not from you. He will not fail to bring you into the very thing He has promised. What are some of God’s promises about your future? How does thinking about His good plans for you bring you hope?
6.What are some of God’s promises about heaven? How does thinking about heaven bring you joy?
What are some of God’s promises found in Scripture that you can pray over yourself this week?
What can you do to remind yourself that God’s promises are trustworthy?
1 PETER 1:3-9
1:3. Peter piled up expressions in verses 3-5 to talk about a believer’s relationship with God through salvation. His opening words are those of worship and praise, reminding us that salvation did not come because of who we are or because of what we have accomplished. Salvation came as a gift of mercy. Salvation represents a new birth (see John 1:13), a changing of who we are. Salvation makes us dead to sin and alive to righteousness in Christ.
Peter linked our salvation relationship to what he termed a living hope. Amid present and difficult dangers we are justified in viewing the future with optimism because we are securely attached to the God who deals in futures. Furthermore, our hope is a living hope because it finds its focus in the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Our living hope comes from a living, resurrected Christ.
1:4. Peter used the word inheritance to describe our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Inheritance emphasizes the believer’s eternal home in heaven. Peter used a triple word picture to describe this inheritance. Our inheritance can never perish, spoil, or fade. These three verbal adjectives indicate that the inheritance is untouched by death, unstained by evil, and unimpaired by time. Our inheritance is death-proof, sin-proof, and time-proof. This inheritance is kept in heaven, for believers. Kept means “to guard or reserve.” The tense of the verb emphasizes the state or condition and underlines the fact that the inheritance already exists and is being preserved. God Himself has reserved this inheritance in heaven for believers, and it continues to be there, still reserved for us. The difficulties we experience cannot undermine the certainty of our coming inheritance.
1:5. The salvation that is ready to be revealed is synonymous with the inheritance described in verse 4. Believers are cared for by God the Father. We are shielded by God’s power. Shielded means “to guard” or to “watch over.” This military term describes how soldiers guard someone. The present tense emphasizes the continual nature of this shielding. It does not suggest that believers are shielded from pain, difficulty, or anguish. It means that God Himself guards and watches over our salvation, our inheritance. Our relationship with God now as we grow more like Christ is a foretaste of that salvation which will be revealed when Christ returns.
1:6. This kind of care from God the Father suggests a response of great rejoicing. Verse 8 repeats this emphasis on joy, calling it an inexpressible and glorious joy. Such joy springs from the contemplation of God and of the salvation that comes to us from God.
This joyous response occurs even in the midst of grief caused by suffering through all kinds of trials. Suffer grief forms a metaphor derived from a military expression for being harassed. It includes the inner mental distress or sadness that comes because of painful circumstances. All kinds of trials literally means “varied, multicolored, or diversified” trials. This takes on a depth of meaning against the background of the ghastly persecution led by the Roman emperor Nero. In that persecution, Christians were wrapped in freshly slaughtered animal skins and fed to dogs and wild animals. They were dipped in pitch or tar and set on fire as torches to light Nero’s gardens at night. This persecution was the first of nine that took place under the Roman Empire during the next 250 years. Peter himself very likely died during this first persecution.
1:7. Why does God allow this suffering to occur? Faith is being proved genuine through the trials. One purpose of trials is to sift out what is genuine in a person’s faith. Followers of God, in both the Old and New Testaments, know that God uses trying circumstances to test the hearts and lives of His people in order to mature them spiritually. Through difficulties God often tests whether our faith is genuine. Peter cemented his point with the illustration of a goldsmith. To form a useful object, raw gold must be cast into a mold. For that to occur, the solid ore must be melted, requiring a temperature of 1,900 degrees Fahrenheit. When the gold is melted, the impurities rise to the surface, where they are skimmed off or burned off. A goldsmith knows the gold is ready to cast when the liquid gold becomes mirror-like and he can see his face reflected in the surface.
The parallel in a believer’s life is obvious. Through the refining heat of trials, we as followers of Jesus Christ grow spiritually and thus reflect more of Christ’s character in our lives. The language of this illustration may also refer to the first-century process of making pottery. Potters baked clay pots to give them strength. The process sometimes cracked pots that had flaws, but the ones that survived the process were then marked with the same Greek word that Peter used here (dokimos) for “genuine.”
1:8. How could these Christians face their suffering? They chose to love Christ and to believe in Him even though they had not actually seen Him in the past and had not encountered Him visibly in the present. Most of Peter’s readers had no personal contact with Christ while He lived on earth. They were a generation removed from the time of His earthly ministry. This did not become an excuse. Instead, by accepting the testimony of those, like Peter, who had seen Christ, they entered into a personal relationship with Christ marked by love and belief.
1:9. Not only our joy, but also the assurance of salvation is not contingent upon our circumstances. We are marching, even though in pain, toward the final goal of our faith—our place in eternity and in heaven. One day believers will enjoy salvation to the full in the presence of Jesus Christ. Pain and suffering will be no more.