Tag: 1 Peter

Reflections on Christian Trials and Persecutions, Part 2*

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

Perhaps the lack of suffering for the cause of Christ in the modern Western church is due to the lack of nerve on the part of the church to challenge our contemporary world with the message of the cross and to live uncompromisingly according to the teachings of Jesus. Those who live faithful lives in an unbelieving world will find opposition to both their ideas and their practices, even if it doesn’t result in actual persecution or physical danger.

Peter also says there are “various trials, or “all kinds of trials.” The word is sometimes translated “manifold” (KJV). James uses the same word, “trials of many kinds” (Jas 1:2). It is lit. “variegated,” or “many-colored.” You’ll get through one trial, only to find that another of an entirely different hue is waiting around the next bend of life. 

From whatever the source, whatever their “color,” trials may sometimes come that are particularly hard, or crushing. When they do, there’s no point in trying to pretend there’s no pain, or to put on a brave front just to appear more “spiritual.” And neither should one ever try to minimize or explain away the suffering of another who is going through some fiery trial.

” . . . though now for a little while . . . you may have had to suffer.” (I Peter 1:6).

Trials don’t last forever. They are “for a season” (KJV).  One writer says, “When God permits His children to go through the furnace, He keeps His eye on the clock and His hand on the thermostat” (Wiersbe).

If we resist the trial, if we only seek a way out of it, then we work against God’s purpose in it. He may have to “reset the clock.” The important issue is not “that” we get out of a trial, but “what” we get out of it. If we submit to God, He won’t allow us to remain one moment too long in it. The important thing is that we learn the lesson He wants to teach us, and that we bring glory to Him in our trial.

These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed  (1 Peter 1:7)

Helen Keller said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” That is certainly true of Christian character, and particularly true of the faith that undergirds it. God wants to strengthen your faith and make something beautiful of your life. He sees the impurities there, and He leaves you in the crucible long enough to burn away everything that mars you, or that keeps you from being perfected in your faith. This is because He sees your faith as being the most important thing in your life. 

… The person who abandons his faith when the going gets tough proves that he really had no genuine faith at all. God doesn’t allow trials to come to you to destroy your faith, but to validate it, to prove its genuineness to you.  He sees your faith as precious, and He wants you to see it that way also.  

…Whatever trials you may endure in this life can’t begin to compare to the glory that God has in store for you. And these very trials are an essential part of the process.

Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:8-9)

…We rejoice because we’re not just waiting for glory, we’re already receiving it. Such rejoicing is absolutely impossible apart from faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Believers, while perhaps not rejoicing over their trials, can nevertheless rejoice in their trials.  When you truly love and trust Christ, you can experience joy even in the worst of times. And each new trial can be an opportunity to learn more about Him, to learn how sweet and sure and sufficient He is. And in that experience He produces a joy that Peter says is “inexpressible and glorious.” Think of it! In your trial comes a joy so great you can’t describe it. Charles Spurgeon used to say, “Little faith will take your soul to heaven, but great faith will bring heaven to your soul.” No matter the trial, if you have the faith to love and trust Christ in the midst of it you can actually experience some of the glory of heaven.

The prophets foresaw the entire panorama of the ministry of Christ. They didn’t know how much time would separate the Lord’s sufferings from the full manifestation of His glory, but they clearly saw the future in those terms. Christ is the center of history! He is the One by whom history is defined. And Peter makes the history of Christ the pattern for the history of every Christian when he says, “But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed” (1 Pet. 4:13). This is the meaning of history, the flow of history, this is the direction everything is headed, the final unveiling of the glory of Jesus Christ! Everything else is meaningful only in relation to the facts concerning the work of Christ. That ancient prophets can look forward to the coming of Christ with such accuracy should cause us to look back to His First Coming with confidence and forward to His promised Second Coming with assurance and hope. This is a matter of Divine revelation. 

*continuation of Richard’s study of 1 Peter  

©Richard L. Blake  

February 2022

Reflections on Christian Trials and Persecution

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (1 Peter 1:6-9)

1 Peter was written to Christians who reside as aliens (NAS) who are elect exiles ((ESV) God’s elect, strangers in the world (NIV), pilgrims of the Dispersion (NKJV), God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners (NLT).

My husband, Richard, loaned me his notes on 1 Peter. With his permission, this month’s devotional contains his reflections – excerpts from that teaching – on trials and persecution for Christians. All of the following quotes are from this teaching.

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It’s time for Christians to wake up to the fact that we’re not in a playground but a battleground. There is a form of Christianity that is acceptable to the world, a watered-down religion of niceness. But if you take a stand upon the truth of the Word of God, if you live according to its principles, you will pay a price. It could affect your career, your social standing, your relationship with friends and even with family members. But that’s inherent in your calling in Christ who said, “Whoever would be my disciple must be willing to die.”

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As believers, we have an address in this world but our citizenship is somewhere else. We’re citizens of the land where King Jesus is in charge and who loves us with an everlasting love. Whenever we face rejection and persecution, we’re strengthened by the knowledge that we are His chosen ones.

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God loves you and has a perfect plan for your life. He’s not sitting on a throne of perplexity, wondering how it’ll all turn out. All that happens to you, good or bad, is known to God. But our assurance is that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Rom. 8:28).

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When you’re rejected or suffer ridicule for your values, you can know that God is at work in it to make you stronger, purer, more holy. It’s said that refiners of precious metals, gold and silver, heat the crucible until all the impurities have been burned away. They know the process is complete when they can see their reflection in the liquid. God is sanctifying your life, using the fire of rejection or affliction for His purposes though the world thinks it is in charge. And when He can see His reflection in your life, He’ll take you out of the fire.

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The result of the Spirit’s sanctifying process in your life is obedience to Jesus. The hardest time to obey is when things aren’t going well. We want to take charge, to do something to get ourselves out of the trial. But you aren’t free to do as you please. In every trial, you must ask, “What does Christ want me to do?”  This may go against your natural instincts.

We’re being set apart for obedience to Christ. “You are not your own; you are bought at a price” (1 Cor. 6:20). You are to obey, no matter what the world says or thinks. “Why do you call me Lord, and do not do what I tell you to do?” God’s superior purpose in your life is that you obey Jesus.

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No matter how many times you’re rejected or attacked, remember, those who reject you are not the final authority. You have been sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb of God. 

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Whatever our trials, whatever our predicament, we have a new start in life. We face each day with a living hope because in Jesus “all things have become new.” You don’t have to be bound by your past. Jesus gives you a new start every day.  That’s shouting ground. Praise God that you’re born again.

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…Only Christianity has a God of hope. In Rom. 15:13, Paul said, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope.” Our new birth into a living hope is “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” Christianity is responsible for bringing to the world the possibility for real hope.

The reason our hope is living is because it’s based on a living Savior, because it’s founded on the historical reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Hope makes no sense if Christ has not been raised from the tomb. The apostle Paul witnessed to that reality: “For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living . . . Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also . . . ” (1 Cor. 15:3-8). 


Our hope isn’t built on the absence of difficulty, or a positive mental attitude. It’s built on the unassailable fact of the historical resurrection of Jesus Christ. We know living hope because Jesus lives. And for that, we can praise God even in the worst of times.

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© Richard L. Blake

February 2022

Stephanie B. Blake

Reflective Focus