Sunday morning I will conclude the series through First Peter. That sermon will be the forty second message from this short letter to churches suffering for Christ. One major theme has shown up time and time again. Christians can and must endure all afflictions because of the faithfulness of God. God was faithful to keep His promises to send the Savior who would deliver us from the power of sin and death. God is faithful to secure to eternal life those who trust Him for redemption. God is faithful to secure heavenly reward for those who trust Him.
First Peter is filled with practical exhortations to obedience. The book calls hurting Christians to live holy lives not joining in the wickedness of the world, not following the lusts of the flesh, not rebelling against rightful authorities and not living self-centered, pleasure seeking lives but living for the glory of God and the eternal rewards He promises. The Christian does not live obedient to God in order to gain eternal life. Christian’s live like this because they have eternal life.
A godly life of self-denial is possible because God is faithfully doing the work in us. We ought to live this kind of life in imitation of our gracious Lord. You can live a Godly life because you have a Savior who has endured far more than you will ever suffer. We can live this kind of life because it is worth it. All the things the unsaved cannot imagine living without are just cheap baubles. The treasures of this world are not able to give lasting joy, happiness or contentment.
God has reserved eternal joys for all those who trust Him for salvation. The Christian has an eternal hope, a hope that is not empty, false or dead. The Christian has a living hope because our hope is the One who died and rose again. God through Jesus has secured us to an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled and unfailing. (1:4-5) When Jesus returns He will give glory, honor and praise to those who have been faithful. (1:7) When Jesus returns He will judge the wicked and reward the righteous. (4:5) When Jesus returns all Christians will have a part in the glory He brings with Him. (5:1) The Christian hope that fuels a holy life is the confidence that God is bringing us through the tribulations of life into the eternal glory He has called us to. (5:10)
Eternal rewards are ours because we have been purchased to them by Jesus. Eternal life cannot be bought with temporal goods. The soul of man cannot be redeemed with dollars or deeds. The Christian’s eternal joy has been purchased through the suffering and death of the eternal Lamb of God. He was reviled. He suffered. He died and bore our sin in His flesh that we might live in His righteousness. (2:21-25) He suffered to secure our eternal life and everlasting joy. Those who trust in Him will never have reason to be ashamed for their faith. (2:4-7)
First Peter teaches us we can live holy lives in a world hostile to God and Christians because God has something waiting for us that is far better than anything we may lose in this life.
“But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you. To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
1 Peter 5:10-11