Summary: When we turn to Christ, especially in times of trial, we get to know God, we get a new life in Christ and we get a future in heaven.
Have you ever had problems or trials in your lives? We often have times of trial and difficulty in life. Sometimes they are the result of things we have done, and other times they are caused by God. All of us know what it is like to be hurt. It is part of all cultures, and it can only be cured by a powerful potion. In the case of believers, that potion is faith. Christian hope is grounded on the reality of Christ and his resurrection. Christ will protect us from persecution. He will protect our souls while allowing our trials to strengthen our faith. Trials humble us and prove the genuineness of our faith, but we can rejoice in suffering because of our faith.
All of our trials are temporary, because our life on earth is like a snap of our fingers-over in a flash. Our sufferings pale in comparison to the glory we will receive in heaven. We do not have to wait to catch a glimpse of God, because Jesus has told us about God. If we have faith in Jesus, we have faith in God. Faith makes us certain of the realities we can’t see, including God. When all seems hopeless, faith gives us the strength we need to keep going. Faith gives us hope.
God tests our faith so that we can experience his love. God will be with us as we face life’s challenges. We must not let our trials take away our joy. In fact, a good sense of humour can help us cope with life’s challenges. We can receive joy in the midst of our trials because God is with us. The power of God keeps us strong through faith and will continue to do so until the Second Coming. Our faith might be weak, but God is strong. This joy is unspeakable and full of glory because it comes from the Holy Spirit within us. This knowledge comforts us along with the knowledge that our trials are temporary. Our hope is in Christ alone. Hardships can strengthen our faith, and suffering can strengthen our character. Suffering can make us more sensitive to others. All of these refinements cause us to be more like Christ.
No matter how bad things get, we are to keep trusting in God, because God keeps his promises. He promised to be with us always, and he is with us always. We who trust Christ must praise God for keeping his promise of salvation. We must also live out that salvation in our daily lives. Salvation is a gift from God, and he gives believers this gift because of his mercy, grace and sovereignty. The world puts its hope in things that decay but Peter reminds us that our sure, secure hope is in Jesus. This hope allows us to face life’s challenges. Having hope does not mean that we won’t have problems, but it does mean that our sorrow will not last and that joy is central to our hope. Suffering leads to praise, honour and glory.
Peter wrote his first letter at a time when early Christians were being persecuted. The early Jews gave a living testimony to Jesus as the long-promised Messiah. Thousands came to Christ, but the early Jews were under a lot of heat. Christians are still being persecuted today, especially in the developing world. Like the early Jews, they can take hope in the knowledge of Christ’s resurrection. When we are asked why we have hope, we can say that it is because of Christ’s resurrection experience in our lives as we are born again in the Spirit. The rebirth gives us a heavenly inheritance that will never perish, will never be polluted and will always be bright. That living hope is also our shield against the perils of our sin-filled world.