The Sixth Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 Peter 1:6-7

A Faith More Tested

Peter is writing to Christians who are suffering—so was James, and Paul, and Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, and all the writers of the New Testament.  I once heard that the New Testament is a martyrs’ theology, a martyrs’ book, for that was precisely the context in which it was written and precisely the way in which it was read the first three-hundred years of the Church’s existence and at various other times, most of which have been in the last one-hundred years under Communism and more recently under Islam.  It was written by those who suffered martyrdom to those who suffered the same.  This is why I fear that much of the New Testament is incomprehensible to American Christians—though that may not be for long.

So the Christians to whom Peter was writing rejoiced over their heavenly inheritance and that they themselves were guarded by God’s power through faith “for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  But then Peter speaks of the present struggles of his readers: “Though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials.”  Asia Minor was a scene of horrible persecution in the second century and we have every reason to believe that such was gearing up in the first as Christians and their odd behaviors became more noticeable to their pagan neighbors and the authorities.  But let us read further on: “…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.”  The “revelation of Jesus Christ” is the equivalent expression of “a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” of verse five. 

Christian faith is built upon the Christian hope—the sure hope that our redemption draweth nigh.  And Christian hope is built upon the conviction that God’s word is true.  And the truth of God’s word rests upon our God’s holy character which is pure, unadulterated love.  Armed with faith, hope, and love, we can endure any struggle—indeed, how many Christians over the centuries have been fleeced of possessions and lands, and bereaved of dear and loved ones?  How did they ever bear up?  By looking to the One who made the promise, so that though tested by fire—and millions have been literally burned—the fire only burned away the dross and residual debris of a life reaching for greater holiness and union with God through Christ—lives that ended up shining far greater than gold and precious metals, lives ready to be meet Christ at his revelation when the Day appears.  Yes, they rejoiced.  Will we?

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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