Serving You

1 Peter 1:10-12

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. ESV

Message

by Andy Murray

Introduction: On God’s Heart

First Peter 1:10-12 shows us the breathtaking character of God Almighty who cares for His people. He has been actively working to bring us to everlasting joy and peace in His presence – since before the foundation of the world (Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 13:8). This passage reveals that the God who called the universe into existence has had you in His thoughts and plans even from the earliest pages of the Bible. He has been preparing for your faith for ages so that what has now been announced to you about Jesus the Messiah might be received with joy.

Peter’s Argument:

In 1 Peter 1:3-12 Peter is building a case for why you and I should join him in rejoicing and praising God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ even as we are now grieved by various trials.

In verses 3-5 we were told that God, according to His great mercy, has acted; He has caused us to be born of again to a living hope. God has had mercy on us and has rescued us from spiritual death and so we have a living hope because of what Jesus Christ accomplished in his death and resurrection. We have become heirs of God. The Spirit of God has been given to us as the down payment of our imperishable, undefiled, and unfading inheritance, which is kept in heaven for us. Our eternal inheritance is safe and secure. And we were shown that we ourselves are safe and secure, guarded by God Himself for that eternal inheritance. What is crucial to see is that the means God is using to guard us and bring us safely to glory is faith.

In verses 6-9 we were told that as we wait for this salvation, ready to be revealed, Christians will experience real and diverse suffering during this short time before Christ appears. But even this suffering and grief is intended by God for a good purpose. God is in the business of keeping His children in the faith – clinging to Christ – and getting them to glory. So, He is lovingly getting our hearts off the treasures of this world and unto The Treasure, Jesus the Messiah. Tested genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is the most valuable thing we can posses in this world. God cares about us and is even at work in your pain for your everlasting good.

In verses 10-12, Peter adds to his case for why you and I should be rejoicing and praising God even as you may suffer for a short time. Peter wants us to consider how incredibly privileged we are to live when we live and to posses what we possess in this hour of history. God has not abandoned you in your hour of pain. Rather He has made provision for your faith.

As we come to this third section of Peter’s argument about why we should be rejoicing in God our Savior, Peter is speaking about the very great salvation, which has been announced to us in the gospel. One of the things he is doing is drawing our attention up to the very great value of this salvation, but more than that he is drawing our attention up to the very gracious God who has loved us across the ages. Let’s see if we see that in our text.

Unpacking Our Privilege:

Salvation Has Come

First of all, we should note in verse 10 that Peter is not changing subjects. He says, “Concerning this salvation…” This is what Peter has been focused on since verse 3. And even as he is, indeed, thinking about the final salvation of our souls ready to be revealed in the last times (vs 5 and 9), he has and continues now in 10-12 to connect that future day when Christ appears to the means by which that final salvation comes to us.

So notice in verse 10 he says, “Concerning this salvation, the prophets prophesied about the grace that was to be yours…” Note that Peter does not say, “they prophesied about the grace that will be yours, still yet in the future.” He says, “[they] prophesied about the grace that was to be yours.” There is implied here a now present reality to this grace. It has come to us. It is now ours. And this implication is made explicit in verse 11 as we find that this grace, about which the prophets of old prophesied, came in the sufferings and subsequent glories of Christ.

So the salvation of our souls is not something wholly in the future anymore. Yes, we are waiting for its completion at the appearing of Christ, but the grace about which the prophets foretold has already arrived in Jesus. The Old Testament prophesies about the sufferings and subsequent glories of the Messiah were pointing to Jesus of Nazareth. As Peter says in verse 12 these things have now been announced to you in the preaching of the gospel. The gracious salvation of our souls has been accomplished in the life, death, and resurrection of the promised Messiah, Jesus, even as we still await His return and the final and full glory of that salvation.

The Holy Spirit Predicted

So Peter is calling us to get our attention up on the very great salvation that has come to us in Jesus Christ. But, Peter is also concerned here to show us the incredible preparation of God for us in ages past. So look at verse 10 again. Beginning there, Peter tells us that,

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from Heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Peter is alerting us to the fact that what has happened in the sufferings and afterward glories of Christ – is the very thing the prophets of the Old Testament were eager to search out and understand.

Now, Peter gives us a chance here to better understand how the Old Testament Scriptures came to be written. It is crucial to notice who the Initiator was in the prophecies of the Old Testament. In verse 10, you have the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours but in verse 11 it says the Spirit of Christ, that is the Holy Spirit, who was in the prophets was the One predicting the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. So let’s make sure we understand what was going on. The Holy Spirit was the One at work in the prophets and He was the One predicting the then future gospel.

And so as Peter says in 2 Peter 1:19-21,

And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Men spoke, yes. Men prophesied, but it was the Holy Spirit who carried them along. No prophecy was ever produced by the will of man. Every prophecy was produced by the will of God as He carried the prophets along, revealing just exactly what He wanted to reveal.

Indeed, the prophets themselves did not know everything there was to know about what the Spirit of God was predicting. So, verse 10 of our passage says that the prophets searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person (it may better be translated “circumstance”) or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating. Even the prophets who spoke from God were not given every detail about the time and circumstances of the Messiah’s work. God is the one with the definite plan and with perfect knowledge of what He would accomplish and how. The prophets of the Old Testament spoke what God had given them.

Not For Them; For Us!

But here we come to an amazing thought. Peter says in verse 12, that it was revealed to the Old Testament prophets that they were not serving themselves with their prophecies. The text says that it was revealed to the prophets that the prophecies given to them were intended to minister to people yet in the future. And here is the really amazing thing: Peter says that the Old Testament prophets were told they were serving you! We are the benefactors of their prophetic ministry.

Don’t miss this. Who was God serving through the Old Testament prophets? You! God had you in mind when He carried the prophets along. The things revealed in the OT are there so that when the Christ came we would recognize Him. They were written down so that when the glorious gospel was accomplished and then preached to us, we might believe that Jesus is indeed the promised and predicted Messiah.

The coming of Christ in the gospel is not Plan B. The coming of the Messiah Jesus is the grand fulfillment of God’s foreordained purpose to ransom people out of every tribe, tongue, people, and nation. And the Scriptures of the Old Testament, as they point us to Christ, were written with you in mind. They were written for your faith.

Even as God promised all the way back in Genesis 3 that the seed of the woman would have his heel bruised by the serpent but that He would bruise the head of the serpent that was for us who now know that the Seed is Jesus of Nazareth who defeated Satan at the cross and rose victorious over death. The entirety of the Old Testament as it reveals and unfolds and foretells the redemption accomplished by the Messiah was written for our faith. The Holy Spirit had you in mind. God has been making preparations to strengthen you faith in Christ for millennia. And it is the same Holy Spirit by which the gospel announcement has come to you.

I want you to listen to how Peter addresses the men of Israel in Acts 3. They are astounded that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth a man lame from birth has been made well. I bring this up because of how Peter understands God’s gracious preparation. Peter uses the Old Testament Scriptures to show that Jesus is the One God had promised and it is through Him that restoration with God comes. Peter says to them,

Acts 3:12-26

Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we have made him walk? The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. But you denied the Holy and Righteous One, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, and you killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses. And his name—by faith in his name—has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all.

“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things – about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people. ’ And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed. ’ God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.

This is addressed to the men of Israel, but as Acts 10 and following records, this salvation – consisting of the blotting out of sins and times of refreshing in the presence of the Lord and restoration – this salvation has broken over the banks of Israel and has come even to the Gentiles. This salvation in Jesus the Messiah has come to us.

But what we need to see in this passage is that God used the prophets to proclaim the gospel before hand so that when it came to pass we would see and understand and love the Redeemer when He came. God has prepared the former words for your present faith.

Blessed in this Age:

In our passage this morning, Peter is saying, “Set your mind upon the depths of God’s love for you. His provision for you in Christ Jesus was foretold and that prediction was His preparation for your faith. This very great salvation all the prophets of old longed to understand and longed to see come to pass but it was revealed to them that their prophetic ministry, given to them by the Spirit of God, was intended to serve you, a generation when the prophetic word would be confirmed. And it is indeed this longed for salvation that has now taken place in the sufferings and subsequent glories of Jesus the Messiah. And this has been announced to you by the Holy Spirit. Consider the quality and depths of God’s love and wisdom and mercy toward you!”

You and I are incredibly privileged to live in the days of the fulfillment of the predictions of the Messiah and in the days when the good news is going to the nations in the power of the Spirit, in the days when the announcement of salvation in Jesus the Messiah has overflowed the banks of Israel and come to us.

God planned, God predicted, God prepared, and then God sent His Son and God accomplished His very great salvation in Jesus Christ, and now God has sought you out and announced the good news to you – if He has done all this, you can trust Him to finish what He started. He will return for you.

Closing Questions:

These things lead me to ask two questions. The first question is this: do you love and study the Scriptures that were written for you? They were written for your faith. Do you know what the prophets wrote?

Consider the last phrase in verse 12,

It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

Angels long to look into this gospel. Angels are interested in what God promised and revealed before, and, what God has done and is doing for your salvation. They are interested to know the glory and richness of salvation in Jesus Christ – Are you?

Do you long to look into these things? Angels understand that this is were the glory is – and its not even for them – God did not take on an angelic nature to redeem the angels that fell, but He has joined Himself to the human race to bring us to glory! Are these things, the things you long to look into?

Let us be people of the Scriptures. The prophets were serving us. The Holy Spirit wrote the Old and New Testament for our benefit, for our faith and salvation.

The second question is this: does 1 Peter 1:8-9 describe you?

1 Peter 1:8-9

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Peter is writing to stir the affections of believes, reminding us of the wealth of God’s grace toward us in Christ Jesus. Peter’s intention is to strengthen us, encourage us, and draw our hearts again to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The question we need to ask ourselves is this: as we live awaiting the appearing of our great Savior and the inheritance He has purchased for us, as you live in this time when we don’t yet see Him, do you love Him? Thought you do not now see Him, do you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory?

Here is a truth we need to come to grips with: without genuine faith in Jesus of Nazareth there is no salvation, no refreshing, no restoration with God. He is the Man who God has appointed, the Lamb slain and the Lion triumphant.

If we do not love Him, if we do not believe in Him, if we do not rejoice in Him with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, than we will not obtain the outcome of faith, the salvation of our souls, because we do not have faith. It is faith in Christ that will result in praise, honor and glory at the appearing of Christ. It is love and affection for Christ; it is joy in our inner person as we consider His Person and work for us that will result in the salvation of our souls. The question is does 1 Peter 1:8-9 describe us?

Now, if you are hearing this and you don’t know if 1 Peter 1:8-9 describes you. You fear that it does not. Or perhaps you know that you love Christ but you feel that your faith is weak and your love is not what it should be. What should you do?

I’ll tell you what you do: pick up the Scriptures which have been written for those loved by God to strengthen our faith – and you pray that the Spirit who wrote these words would convict and convince and strengthen your faith in Jesus the Christ. Pray that the Spirit would give you eyes to see the glory of Christ Jesus in the Scriptures. And you get around people who love and know the Scriptures and who love and know Christ. Do not let this provision of God lie unknown and unstudied and uncherished.

Conclusion:

The salvation that has been accomplished by Jesus Christ is the very salvation which the prophets of old foretold and longed to see take place. These Old Testament predictions were given by the Spirit of God for our faith. The Spirit revealed what would take place so that we, now, would love and rest upon the Messiah Jesus. The grace shown to you in Christ Jesus is not some whim or fickle decision of God. It has been long planned and long foretold and long hoped for.

Are you experiencing trials and grief? God has not abandoned you in your hour of pain. He has made provision for your faith in His wonderful Word. The God who planned and foretold and sent and accomplished and announced grace to you in Christ Jesus will bring that grace to completion – no matter what trial you may be facing.

Brothers and sisters, the end of the ages is upon us. The salvation long promised and predicted has come in Jesus Christ our Lord. The promised Holy Spirit has been poured out on all flesh and everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved (Joel 2:28-32).

~ Andy

About Andrew Murray
Andrew “Andy” Murray was born and raised in New Hampshire. His father, pastor Loren Murray, served Fellowship Bible Church in Chester, NH. At six years of age Andy trusted in Jesus Christ and was baptized. He was brought up “acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” At the age of 12 his father was in a fatal car accident. Reflecting on the loss of his dad Andy writes; “I see now the wise and loving hand of Christ in my life, as He used this event to, shape, mold and press me toward Himself. It was this event that sparked in me an earnest desire to know God from His Word. By His grace, this desire has continued to grow.” Andy met his wife, Elizabeth, at Philadelphia Biblical University (now Cairn University). They have four wonderful boys. Visit Windham Bible Chapel.

Precious Faith

1 Peter 1:6-9

In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 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. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9 obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. ESV

Review

Andrew MurrayIntroduction: What is Precious?

If you were to sit down and write out your plans for the day or the week or the next month or year or five years – what would you write? If you were to sit down and write out what you would like to see happen before the end of your life, what would you write? If you could let yourself dream about a really good and successful life, what kinds of things come to mind? Excellent weather, good health and safety, close friends and family, abundant and good food, financial success and stability, being appreciated and praised, being effective in all your endeavors?

Or to think about it another way, what kind of things wouldnt come to mind? What sort of things would be excluded from your plans? Icy roads, disease and illness in ourselves or in those we love, loss of loved ones, strained and broken relationships, poverty, hunger, persecution, pain any kind, failure and futility?

If we were to write down our dreams about what we would like to see happen before the end of our lives, and we were honest, I wonder if our hearts desires would reflect the priorities that we find in our passage this morning.

A Text About Value

Our text this morning is calling us to renew our thinking about what is most precious in this life. Peter is really helping us thing carefully about what really matters here during the time of our sojourn. He is giving us the truth we need to understand this life that dont often match the life we would have planned. If we ignore the truth of what Peter is saying here we are going to be more discouraged and more susceptible to stumbling. This passage is teaching us about Gods good purpose for every difficulty we face.

Last week Peter began by praising God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, for what He has done in causing us to be born again to a living hope through Christ, who lived, died and rose victorious over sin and death. And Peter praises God for what He is doing right now in guarding and securing our imperishable, undefiled, unfading inheritance in heaven and in guarding and securing us by His Spirit for that promised future inheritance. And He is doing it through faith.

Rejoicing Yet Sorrowing

And here, verse 6 begins, In this you rejoice…” I pray that this is true of you. I pray that as you hear the wonderful news about what God has done and is doing for your everlasting joy that you taste that the Lord is good. I hope that your heart is filled with love for God and love for Christ and love for the Spirit. God has caused us to be born again, born of the Spirit, to an inheritance in the heavenly country forever and ever in life and joy through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Soon the Lord of glory will be revealed and we will receive our promised heavenly inheritance – I pray that you do rejoice. I pray that your life is marked by joy! Joy in the Father. Joy in Christ. Joy in the Spirit. Joy in our living hope. Christians are a people who rejoice in the gospel.

But Peter makes it plain that even as Christians greatly rejoice in Gods work for them in Christ Jesus and what that work means for our future, Christians are not without grief in this life. He says in verse 6, In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials…”

There are few things that Peter highlights here about Christians and suffering.

Suffering is Real

The first is that suffering is real. Pain is real. I think we need to note the fact that being born again does not mean we have ceased to feel pain. Even as Peter says these Christians rejoice – he follows that immediately affirming that they have experienced real grief.

It was the apostle Paul who said in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18,

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

But he also said in Romans 8:23,

we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.

I think it is important that as we eagerly wait for the Day of the Lord that we dont pretend that all our pain and heartache has evaporated. Even as we always have reason to rejoice there will also be times when we are weeping in this life. Is this a contradiction? I dont think so.

Heres an example:

Lets say a little boy and his father are walking down the street together. The little boy sees something on the other side and manages to pull his had free from his father and runs into the road. A car is coming. The father only has time to throw himself in front of the car. The man wakes up in the hospital in a body cast. His whole body is raked with pain. And there before him is his wife holding their son and he is perfectly healthy and safe. In that moment there is both joy and groaning.

We should not deny that life is painful and difficult when it is, but for the Christian there is always abundant reason to rejoice in Christ our Savior. Suffering is real and so is our joy.

Suffering is Varied

But suffering is also varied. Peter says these Christians have been grieved by various trials. There are many ways to suffer and many different kinds of painful circumstances. Consider the description of the early Churchs varied sufferings.

Hebrews 10:32-34,

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one.

We may not all be martyrs for our faith, but some might. We might not all go to prison, though some might. We might not all have our property plundered, but some might. We may not all get cancer or loss a home or a job. We simply dont know what sufferings will be required of us.

Suffering is Short

But, even as Christians suffering is real and it is varied, Christian suffering is short. Peter says in verse 6, In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials…”

Peter is helping us gain perspective on our suffering in this life. Peter is not saying that Christian suffering is short when compared to this life. He is saying that this life is short – and we know this because he points us to relief at the revelation of Jesus Christ” in verses 7 and 9. This life time is when we are grieved by various trials and it is this life that is short. I dont care how old you, everyone of us is icing on the cake of human history and all of human history is not even dust on the scales when compared to the endless ages prepared for those who are in Christ Jesus. This life is short.

2 Corinthians 4:17

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison

Romans 8:18

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Christian suffering is short.

Suffering has a Purpose.

As true as all these observations are, we have not yet reached Peters true point here. The point that Peter is making in this section is that Christian suffering, which is real, varied, and short has a purpose.

Notice the little phrase, if necessaryof if needed.Peter is alerting us to the fact that, in some way, our real, varied, and short sufferings are needed for something. Why would it be necessary or needed that Christians are grieved by various trials? This question is getting to the heart of what Peter is trying to tell us. Verse 7 gives us the answer to this question,

…so that the tested genuineness of your faithmore precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by firemay be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

Verse 7 lets us in on some very important facts, the first being that God Himself has a purpose in our suffering. You may be asking yourself, Where do you see in this text that God has a purpose? God isnt even mentioned.Well, think carefully about what Peter is saying. Christians rejoice in the glorious hope of the gospel, though now for a little while, if necessary, they have been grieved. So Peter is saying that grief in the Christian life may be needed to accomplish something. It is needed for some purpose.

What is that purpose? We are told that the purpose is so that the tested genuineness of our faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at Christs appearing. Suffering and trials are used to test our faith so as to show the genuineness and reality of our faith – and it is tested genuine faith that results in praise and glory and honor when Christ appears. Suffering in you life has this purpose: to test your faith and to prove it to be genuine so that when Christ arrives we will receive praise and honor and glory.

So whose purpose is that? Whose purpose is it to ensure that our faith is tried and true so that it results in praise and honor and glory when Christ appears? Its not our adversary the devils purpose. Its not our persecutors purpose. Whose purpose is it to bless us with praise and honor and glory to us at the revelation of Christ?

It is Gods purpose.

God Intends Good

Verses 3-5 were all about praising God for causing us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead to an inheritance imperishable, undefiled, and unfading kept in heaven for us, who by Gods power are being kept through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Peter is tell us that all this is true, that God is abundant in mercy toward us and seeking our everlasting joy in Christ Jesus – even when we are grieved by various trials and in fact that grief has a purpose in Gods gracious plan to bring us to glory.  

I want to make sure that we are hearing this. God has a gracious purpose in all our suffering. Whatever pain you have experienced or are experiencing, whatever trial you are walking through, God has a kind intention in that suffering. Even as the devil and evil people have evil intention toward us and are seeking for evil reasons to multiply our sufferings (and that is exactly the context into which Peter is writing – these Christians were experiencing persecution), God our loving Father in Christ Jesus intends good through those same sufferings.

How can this be? How can evil things happen to us by the hands of evil people and those same things be intended by God for good and kind purposes? Is that possible? Yes.

Remember Josephs words to his brothers after their father Jacob had died and the brothers were nervous that Joseph would now take revenge for the evil things they had done to him. Joseph says,

Genesis 50:20

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.

The same actions, intended by the brothers for evil, were intended by God for good.

Or, take for example, the crucifying of our Lord. Was it evil to deliver Jesus up and crucify the Lord of Glory? Oh course it was! And yet as Peter makes plan in Acts 2:22-23 all those things happened as God had planned and all Gods plans are good.

Acts 2:22-23

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves knowthis Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Peter wants us to know that even as we face horrifying and painful circumstances and even as they may be done to us by the hands of evil people – God has a good intention in all your suffering. The grief you are experiencing is not without purpose it’s not outside God’s control and this text tells us about that good purpose.

The Treasure of a Tested Faith

So lets make sure we understand this good purpose of God in our suffering. What is Gods intention in our suffering? Well, verse 7 says it is so that the tested genuineness of our 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.

This verse tells us something very profound about Gods priorities and it should inform our priorities.

Gods priority is your faith, not your finances. What is most precious in this verse? Gold? Riches? Comfort? No. Tested genuine faith. It is more precious than gold refined in the fire. Why? Because gold perishes. God is interested in securing your full and lasting treasure, not in making sure you have small and temporary ones. Abundant earthly riches and success and comfort are not what you need and in fact those things can become nothing more than distractions and idols.

Mark 10:25-27

It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.

Our heavenly Father knows what we truly need. God knows the treasure that will really satisfy our hearts forever and it’s not gold. It’s not earthly comforts. It’s not anything this world can afford. We think if God loved us he would make our lives comfortable, but God is far more interested in your long-term comfort in Him.

God is in the business of getting His children to glory. He is not in the business of making them comfortable on their way to hell.

What is the treasure that will satisfy? It is God Himself seen in the face of Jesus Christ. The only thing that will bring us lasting and full pleasure is God Himself – He is what makes our inheritance glorious. So what God wants for His beloved children is to get our hearts off of the things of this world and fix them upon Christ. He is working to strengthen and refine our faith in Christ and Christ alone.

Tested genuine faith is the most valuable treasure we can possess in this world. When Jesus Christ appears it is the tested genuine faith that will be shown to have been of infinitely more value than all the treasures and comforts this world offered. All the treasures this world could afford will result in dust and ashes. It is the heart that is genuinely clinging to Christ that will result in praise from God and honor from God and glory from God at the revelation of Jesus.

You dream about a successful life. Do you dream about possessing genuine faith which had been tested by the fire, which results in everlasting glory? That is the successful life.

Matthew 13:44-46

The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.

Loving the Unseen

Peter is showing us that God has a kind intention is all our suffering. We have been and will be grieved by various trials so that our faith in Christ will be strengthened and refined. He is getting our hearts off of the perishable and on to the imperishable. He is showing the small value of temporary and limited comforts so that we rest wholly upon the full and everlasting Comfort. We look not to what is seen, but to what is unseen.

1 Peter 1:8-9

Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

This is what our gracious Father is working in us through these very real, short, and varied sufferings. Praise Him!

Concluding Illustration

In 2003 John Piper did a biography of Adoniram Judson, a Baptist missionary to Burma in the 1800s. I highly recommend that message which is available at desiringgod.org. The title of that message is How Few There Are Who Die So Hard!

Adoniram Judson poured out his life in this world to make Christ known among the Burmese people. His life was full of suffering. He said once,

If I had not felt certain that every additional trial was ordered by infinite love and mercy, I could not have survived my accumulated sufferings.

Judson believed what Peter taught here. But it is Adoniram Judsons wife, Ann, who Id like us to hear as we close. She joined this missionary and they had three children, all of which died. Piper recounts, The first baby, nameless, died and was dropped in the water between India and Rangoon. The next Roger Williams Judson dies at 17 months old …And the next, Maria Elizabeth Butterworth Judson died 6 months after her mother, Ann, died.

So Ann was acquainted with suffer. But Ann believed that God was not against her. Rather, she believed that He had kind intentions in all that happen to her. At age 23, after loosing her second baby, she wrote this,

Our hearts were bound up with this child; we felt he was our earthly all, our only source of innocent recreation in this heathen land. But God saw that it was necessary to remind us of our error, and to strip us of our only little all. O, may it not be in vain that he has done it. May we so improve it that he will stay his hand and say, It is enough.’”

2 Corinthians 4:16-18

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

~ Andy

About Andrew Murray
Andrew “Andy” Murray was born and raised in New Hampshire. His father, pastor Loren Murray, served Fellowship Bible Church in Chester, NH. At six years of age Andy trusted in Jesus Christ and was baptized. He was brought up “acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” At the age of 12 his father was in a fatal car accident. Reflecting on the loss of his dad Andy writes; “I see now the wise and loving hand of Christ in my life, as He used this event to, shape, mold and press me toward Himself. It was this event that sparked in me an earnest desire to know God from His Word. By His grace, this desire has continued to grow.” Andy met his wife, Elizabeth, at Philadelphia Biblical University (now Cairn University). They have four wonderful boys. Visit Windham Bible Chapel.