1 Peter 1:7–9
1 Peter Lesson #029
October 1, 2015
“Father, this evening we are all quite stunned by what has happened in Oregon, especially if what these reports that are now coming out in the news are actually true that this gunman was targeting Christians. We know that things are shifting so rapidly in this culture and there are many in this nation who are hateful towards Christians.
Father, we know that as we may face persecution, which is the topic of 1 Peter, that we have You to comfort us and strengthen us and that these are opportunities we have to really demonstrate the reality of Jesus Christ in our life and the walk by the Spirit.
Father, we pray for comfort that You would comfort those family members of these who were shot, these who were killed. We pray for the situation there in Oregon that it would be a tremendous opportunity to be a witness for the grace of the gospel and for forgiveness and that you would be working in and through those families and others throughout the country, pastors and Christian leaders, to focus upon the spiritual issues of this situation.
That this might be turned in to many, many cases to bring people to a saving knowledge of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Father, we pray for our nation that so readily wants to disarm its citizens instead of recognizing that if there had only been armed citizens there, this could have been stopped when it got started.
Father, we pray for us that we might be faithful as believers, that no matter what happens we might turn to You and that our immediate response would be to turn to You and to trust You. Father, we pray that tonight as we study Your Word we might be challenged by how we are to think and live to glorify You.
We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
We’re continuing our study in 1 Peter pointing out similarities between 1 Peter 1:6–9 and James 1:2–4. Both of these epistles are written, interestingly enough, to Jewish background believers, Jewish believers in Jesus as the Messiah.
James, as I pointed out last week, was probably written very early in the Church Age. I believe it was the first epistle to be written, before you really had the breakout of the Gentile-based church, probably A.D. 42–43. Peter, on the other hand was written much later because Peter is well aware of Paul’s writings. He is well aware of the inclusion of Gentiles and Jews together in the body of Christ.
He is the apostle that opened the door to the Gentiles in Acts Chapters 10 and 11, as we’re told. He took the gospel to the household of Cornelius. So this epistle, though it is written specifically, as James is, to Jewish-background believers, is written in the Church Age for Church Age believers. Even though the initial environment, the initial circumstances that surround the writing of the epistle, have to do with Jewish-background believers, nevertheless, the principles here apply equally to all believers.
Paul is re-iterating the same principle as James, that our faith is tested. The Lord allows our faith to be tested. That means to be evaluated, to be examined. This happens in a lot of different ways.
It happens to us every day in many, many different times. Testing that comes, PEIRASMOS, the Greek word that refers to testing or temptation, is a word that basically indicates an opportunity to make a decision—whether you’re going to apply the Word or not apply the Word.
As we look at this section it is important to understand again that we find words that we generally want to think of in terms of initial salvation, Phase one is what we describe as justification. It takes place at a point in time. A person responds by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior, understanding that Jesus Christ alone paid the penalty for all sins on the Cross. There’s no sin He did not pay for. He solved the sin problem.
The fundamental cause of sin is what? The fundamental cause of sin was Adam’s original sin. So we’re all condemned. We’re condemned for Adam’s original sin. Jesus paid the penalty for that and thus, He paid the penalty for all sin.
I think the fact that He paid for all sins flows logically out of the fact that He paid for Adam’s original sin and that took care of everything. But that doesn’t save anybody.
As I pointed out many times, there are three basic problems. We have a judicial sin penalty which is spiritual death that is imputed to every single human being, except for Jesus Christ. Secondly, we are still experientially dead. We are born spiritually dead and we lack perfect righteousness.
Jesus Christ took care of the first part. He paid the judicial penalty, but experientially we’re still born spiritually dead as Ephesians 2:1 says and Colossians 2:12–14 expresses. We are born dead in our trespasses and sin. We are born spiritually dead but physically alive.
That has to be taken care of. That happens when we believe in Jesus Christ. We are made regenerate. We are born again. Then the final thing is that we receive the imputation of Christ’s righteousness at that point. So Christ paying the penalty for all sin doesn’t make people savable or His death automatically saves people. That is the doctrine of limited atonement.
It pays the penalty for sin so that they can make a decision to trust in Christ or not. That is phase one. We get into this when we get down into 1 Peter 1:9, “Receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” That really sounds like that is talking about justification and the final realization of our salvation and glorification.
As we’ll see, that is not how the language is used there. It is really used in phase two to talk about deliverance from trials in our spiritual life. Many times the word “souls” simply refers to lives, a person’s life. That when a ship goes down, I used the illustration of the Titanic, so many souls were said to be lost. That is an idiom for lives.
We have one sentence here. This is a packed sentence. It is not as long as some of Paul’s sentences. I like to review it. Peter says here, “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness [the quality, the evaluation] of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested [or evaluated, the noun DOKIMAZO, exposing the quality of something] by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love, though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation [the deliverance] of your souls [life].”
You see “genuineness” on this slide is the noun DOKIMION and the word “tested” is the verb DOKIMAZO, from the same root. It has to do with exposing the quality of something.
That is what this is talking about. I pointed out last time the similarities between 1 Peter and James. The words circled are all words you find in James 1:2–4. This is great because so many believers have struggled with suffering, struggled with adversity, and struggled with the difficulties of living in the devil’s word. What Peter tells us is that the reality for every believer is to expect that they should rejoice in the midst of the present fiery trials because of our knowledge of the Word.
It comes down to our knowing the Word of God, letting that infiltrate our soul and our love for Christ which enables us to look to a future deliverance in this life. We are not going to be in that trial forever. As well as the glories to come. A lot of us have read this initially as a recognition that we’re in this for a short time and then we’ll be in Heaven.
The deliverance that’s spoken of here is that the difficulties are not going to last forever. I know that in some cases they are difficult. We face health issues perhaps that we are born with or something that happens. I know that my mother had polio when she was about 26 or 27 years old and she was in a wheelchair and dealt with that for the rest of her life. Those are difficulties.
But for the most part things will change. Circumstances change. Difficulties shift. We go through times of testing with one thing and later on we move through that and we think, “That wasn’t as bad as I thought.” God is teaching us and God is training us.
In 1 Peter 1:6 Peter says, “In this you greatly rejoice.” As I pointed out this looks back to understanding verses 3–5 from regeneration to rewards, we understand the plan of God. He has regenerated us. He’s taking us to an eventual inheritance in Heaven. Because we understand that framework we can rejoice even though for now we are suffering, grieving by various trials.
I pointed this out last time that when we live the Christian life, people get the idea just like you hear nonbelievers say, “Look at that Christian. He sinned.” They just don’t understand that the essence of Christianity isn’t that we are perfect or that we become perfect. The essence of Christianity is that we are forgiven on the basis of the possession of Christ’s righteousness, simply because we trust in Him.
It doesn’t guarantee that we’re a nicer person, that we’re less obnoxious, that we’re always wonderful, that we never fail, and that we never sin. In fact most Christians still sin egregiously but they may not be overt. It may be a result of various mental attitude sins.
So we go through life. We still grieve. We still have sorrows. We still have sadness. We still struggle with things. Even though we do we can still have maximum joy. These are not two different things. Our emotions may change due to circumstances but the joy we are given in Christ is a mental attitude joy that involves stability, tranquility, and a real excitement about our life because we understand how that fits in God’s plan.
Jesus experienced sorrow and deep distress in the Garden of Gethsemane, yet He never sinned. He never lost His joy. He always shared the perfect happiness with God.
Paul, as I said, in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 says that when someone dies we sorrow but not like those who have no hope.
So we do sorrow and we go through various trials. As I ended last time I pointed out that in both James 1:2 and in 1 Peter 1:6, the same term is used. The Greek reverses the word order but it means the exact same thing.
POIKILOIS is the word for various or different or variegated and it is the word from which we get our English word “polka dot”. It means many different kinds of trials and tests. The purpose for that is to evaluate our faith. It is the purpose that comes up.
Back in James 1 it brings out something that is the focal point of 1 Peter 1:7 which gives us the purpose. It begins in the Greek with the purpose clause so here we learn the purpose for going through these various trials. It’s not just random. It’s not the idea that there is just this random, impersonal, immaterial universe and things just happen totally outside of anyone’s control and life is rather meaningless.
What this is saying is that it is designed by God. There is a purpose in how God allows us to go through suffering. If we read through the book of Job, he was a patriarch of the Old Testament. He wasn’t Jewish. He lived about the same time as Abraham and Isaac, somewhere around 2000 B.C. and he lost everything dear to him. He lost his seven sons and three daughters. He lost the home they lived in. He lost cattle. The raiders came and stole everything he had.
He lost everything that he had but his wife, who really didn’t seem much of a treasure. Her advice to Job was to just curse God and die. She wasn’t very pleasant in this whole story. That’s all that God leaves him with, along with three friends who basically have human viewpoint and say that if these bad things are happening to you, it is your own fault.
Finally Job begins to succumb to their human viewpoint. He says that he just wants to be able to stand and talk to his Creator. He and God have a little conversation that is recorded in Job 38, 39, and 40 where God basically says, “Now if you just look around and examine the details of the creation around you, you’ll discover you don’t have a clue what’s really going on. Where were you when the foundations of the earth were laid? Where were you when this happened or that happened?” All referring to things of creation, and the creation of different animals. God is just pointing out that Job has an infinitesimal knowledge about life and creation and the world. He couldn’t possibly understand God’s purposes and plans in his life because he lacks omniscience. God says he has to learn to just trust Him. That goes back to a previous statement Job had made regarding faith where he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”
That’s where God wants us, to understand that no matter what happens we trust Him and because we trust Him we’re going to have joy. So that He can demonstrate something about our faith. We’ll come back to that, but the idea of faith we see here in these Scriptures talks about the content of our faith, not just the act of believing. People say, “Just believe.” No, the Bible says believe the promises of God. It’s what we believe.
This is what James talks about in James 1:3. The issue in testing is going to come down to what you know. Whenever I go through testing the issue is always, “Why didn’t I use what I know? Why didn’t I pay attention to what I know? I know I shouldn’t do that. I know I shouldn’t respond that way. I know I shouldn’t think like that.” It comes down to operating on what we know.
So in James 1:2 it says, “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials.” Now how can you count it joy? The first word in verse 3 is this word “knowing”. In English that is kind of ambiguous. How exactly does the word “knowing” relate back to the main command which is to count it joy. In Greek it’s a little more precise but it’s not objective. You have to think through various options.
The word there for “knowing” is the word for “know”, to come to know something, to recognize something is true. It’s the verb GINOSKO but it’s a participle. We have to talk a lot about participles because participles can either function like a noun or they can function like a verb. We’re going to forget about the noun part tonight. We’re going to focus on how they function like a verb. They are called adverbial participles.
Remember an adverb further defines the action of the verb. What happens in an adverbial participle, it says something related to the action of the verb. It may tell us what the cause is. So you have causal participles. You may have a participle of means that is telling you how to do something. So it’s translated “by means of” and it’s an instrumental participle. Sometimes it has to do with time and it talks about “when” or “after”. There are about ten different categories of adverbial participles and when I’m teaching pastors Greek, I tell them what they do is go through and do a process of elimination, saying, “Well that won’t work. It’s clearly not manner. It’s clearly not time. It could be cause, possibly. Oh, means really works and opens up the passage.” So you just work it through with the process of elimination.
In this case we “count it all joy” not by knowing but because we know something. It clarifies it. It is a causal participle. How are you able to count it all joy? Because you know something. You have knowledge of the Word of God, knowledge of doctrine in your soul, and you know a principle. You know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
That may be all you can grab hold of in your mind when you go through a difficult time. “God is testing me and the purpose of this testing is to develop endurance and steadfastness in the Christian life.”
Think of a sports metaphor. You get someone who is trying out for a sport, whether it’s tennis or football or soccer, it gets tough. It is physically demanding in just about any sport. There are days when you come home and you say, “I’m hot and I’m sweaty and I just don’t want to do this anymore. I just want to quit.” Well, you’re never going to become good at it. You’re never going to excel at it unless you stick with it, unless you endure.
You take the same thing of some recruit who has just gone into the military. He goes into basic training. He gets introduced to a culture he has never seen before in his life. He’s got this guy yelling at him. I don’t know if drill sergeants still yell at them anymore. I hear rumors that they don’t but anyway he’s got someone telling him what to do, waking him up at four o’clock in the morning and having him scrub out toilets that he’s never had to do before. He wants to learn things but he wants to quit after a while because he’d rather go back home and be a couch potato. But if he’s going to excel, if he’s going to do well, he has to submit to authority and he has to stick with it. Endurance is critical in any area of life.
If you’re an unbeliever and you want to excel in anything and do well in life, you have to endure. If you’re a believer it takes it from the realm of just everyday human viewpoint principle that applies to everybody to a spiritual principle. Endurance is the Greek word HUPOMONE, that second part is MONE. That’s from that Greek word abiding and it means to abide. Jesus says if you’re going to bear much fruit you have to abide in Me. HUPO just adds a prefix of intensity to it meaning to stay or to remain under the situation.
The testing of your faith here, the knowledge is necessary to be able to endure. It’s not without knowledge. You have to understand and know some things. This is what Peter is saying.
I’m going to go back to James 1:3 here. “Knowing that the testing of your faith.” Faith can either refer to the act of believing where it is a noun that describes an action. The action is believing. Or it can refer to the content of faith. It can refer to what you’re believing. This shooter in Oregon essentially was asking what faith they were. If they answered Christian, then he shot them. So the issue is the content of your belief. That’s what James was essentially saying here is that the content of your faith is being tested.
If you don’t have any content or you don’t know anything about the Bible, you’re going to fail the test. So God is evaluating, exposing the content of doctrine that is in your soul and the value that it has in your life. James is going to talk about that later on when he says if a man has faith but no works, is that faith any value to him? He answers no. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have it. It just means it’s been reduced to academic faith that has no application in terms of his everyday life.
James is saying here that because you know God is going to test or evaluate the doctrine that is in your soul, He’s going to expose what’s there. Peter is talking about the same things, “The genuineness of your faith is going to be tested by fire.” It’s the same words that are used over here in James 1:3 DOKIMION, a noun, the DOKIMION of your faith. It’s the act of evaluating or testing your faith and then it’s tested by fire, which is the verb DOKIMAZO.
On slide 19 we’re looking at James 1:3. James is using the verb for testing in DOKIMAZO. He’s testing faith.
There’s that slide. Faith can refer to the act or trust of believing or it can refer to the content of what is believed. The Lord wants to evaluate and expose what you’ve got in your soul and whether it’s profitable to you. James will bring this out when he gets into chapter 2. And it produces endurance.
There’s the word HUPOMONE and it means to keep on doing. I have a CrossFit coach who likes to say, “Keep working. You can rest later.”
The first time I heard that I thought that’s a great motto for the Christian life. Keep at it. What does the writer of Hebrews call the Millennium? It’s a rest. Keep working. You can rest later. That’s a great motto for the Christian life. So keep on doing. Keep on enduring and you can rest later. One hundred thousand years from now you’re not even going to remember this life.
It’s going to be evaluated. Evaluation today through the things we go through is really a foreshadowing and is preparation for an evaluation that is going to occur at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
2 Corinthians 5 talks about the fact that we’re going to appear before the Bema Seat. Bema was just a raised platform on which the judges sat. You go to coliseums of the ancient world, there were always raised seats, a special kind of bench where the judges sat. In fact in Judaism, if you go to a synagogue, the place where the rabbi sat upfront is referred as the bema. That would be an appropriate term for what’s up here in the pulpit. This is a bema. It’s just a raised platform where a speaker speaks or a judge evaluates.
So this evaluation of our faith the word DOKIMAZO shows up in a very important passage so I want you to turn with me to 1 Corinthians, chapter 3. This is one of the key passages on the Judgment Seat of Christ. If you’re taking notes and you should be, you ought to have underlined the word “testing” in James 1:3 and put a note in your margin to take a look at 1 Corinthians 3.
We’re going to begin in 1 Corinthians 3:10. 1 Corinthians 3 is an important passage because Paul comes out of 1 Corinthians 2 talking about the fact that there are believers and unbelievers. Unbelievers are called natural men and unbelievers are spiritual. But when he then shifts and starts to talk about believers, he indicates that there are two different kinds of believers.
There are believers that are operating on the Holy Spirit [Romans 8 uses the term “according to the Spirit”; in Galatians 5:16 he uses the term “walking by the Spirit”] and these are called spiritual. In contrast you have Christians who he describes in 1 Corinthians 3:1–3 as carnal in the old King James. If you have a New American Standard Bible, it probably calls it fleshly. If you have the New International wrong commentary, it translates SARKIKOS as worldly. Worldly is KOSMOS. It doesn’t have anything to do with this.
That is an interpretation and it’s a wrong interpretation, one of the many reasons I’m not real fond of the New International Version. It may be easy to read because it’s written at a more basic reading level which is fine if you’re just reading the Bible for content. That’s fine. It’s good. It’s easy to come to understand the basic trends of history within the Bible but it’s not something I would study by, even though the study notes in the NIV Study Bible are pretty decent. They’re not as good as some others because Ryrie is a dispensationalist, Scofield was a dispensationalist, and the Tim LaHaye Study Bible is dispensational, but it just deals with prophetic issues.
So the New King James translates it carnal. The contrast is two types of believers. You have those who are carnal and those who are babes in Christ. This throws a lot of people off because babes in Christ makes them think he’s talking about a maturity issue. But the word that’s translated babe in Christ is an interesting word. It’s not the word BREPHOS, the word typically used of an infant. It’s the word NEPIOS which has a literal meaning that can mean a young child or infant or baby but it was used a lot with sarcasm.
It’s a pejorative term like let’s say you’re speaking to your eleven- or twelve-year-old child who is acting like a brat and you say, “Quit acting like a baby.” You’re not saying they are a literal infant but they are acting like they are totally ignorant and have no knowledge of anything. That is the word that’s used here.
Paul is being deeply sarcastic and insulting to them and if we read and understand 1 Corinthians these are not godly, mature people. They are people characterized by divisions and arrogance and all manner of sexual licentiousness and antinomianism. They ought to know better because they have been saved, Paul says, for three years but they are still acting like an ignorant, spiritual infant that doesn’t know anything about spirituality.
He goes on to say they are walking like mere men. That means you are not acting according to the supernatural endowment or the supernatural provision of God, the Holy Spirit. You are walking like a man, a human being apart from the Holy Spirit. He says you are producing envy, strife, and divisions. This is all indicative that it is sin nature control. He uses the word SARKIKOS which is related to SARX, the flesh, which is how Paul talks about Romans 8 and 1 Corinthians 5 saying they are walking according to the flesh.
He is setting up this contrast between two different kinds of believers. Some people just think they can just let their sin nature go and all they have to do is confess sin and they’ll be back in fellowship. The Scripture doesn’t emphasize the fact that you are to just constantly get back in fellowship. You are to stay in fellowship. That’s what Jesus meant when he said to abide in Him and you will bear much fruit.
I used the illustration of a house. When people confess sin it’s like going outside to inside. Inside is where there’s fellowship with God. Inside is where there’s a rich relationship with God the Holy Spirit. Inside is where fruit is borne. Outside is where it’s darkness. Inside is where it’s light. A lot of Christians are just going in and out of the door. They are so used to it that they’ve put a revolving door on the front door. They are just spinning around.
The place where there is real spiritual life and spiritual growth is abiding in Christ, staying in the house and staying in fellowship for more than twenty seconds. That would be good for some people. Some people, they’d have to stay in fellowship for three seconds. I’ll give you a clue: turn off Fox News. Turn off talk radio. Then maybe you can stay in fellowship a little bit longer.
So you have these two categories of believers: those who are spiritually growing and spiritually productive because they’re walking according to the Spirit and those that are spending most of their time spinning around or just not even confessing sin. There’s going to be an end result of evaluation.
This is what is described starting in 1 Corinthians 3:10. Paul says, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder.” So he’s using the analogy of a construction project in order to talk about how God is building your life and my life. The foundation was laid by apostolic truth of the gospel that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins.
So he says, “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation.” The foundation is Christ. He’s the Chief Cornerstone. It’s the gospel. That’s what builds the house. Christ is the foundation. So Paul says, “I have laid the foundation.” He gave the gospel. You got saved. Someone else came and built on it. That’s edification. Building a structure on the house. That’s spiritual growth.
Then he says to take heed, watch, and be careful how you build on it because there are different kinds of building tools. Some building tools are wood, hay, and straw. They don’t have much strength. They won’t last long. Others are more substantive and will endure. That’s gold, silver, and precious stones.
In 1 Corinthians 3:12 he says, “Now if anyone builds on this foundation…” He lists all the building products: gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, and straw. We can’t really evaluate that on our own. We can’t look at our structure of our spiritual growth and decide what’s gold and what’s just wood painted like gold. Then he says, “Each one’s work will [future tense] become evident for the Day will declare it.” He uses that term Day to refer to the Day of Judgment, the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Bema Seat.
See, believers are not judged to determine where they are going to go when they die. Because you are regenerate when you die you are “absent from the body, face-to-face with the Lord” instantly. Your body goes into the grave. You receive an interim, immaterial body until the Lord reunites you with your resurrection body at the Rapture.
After the Rapture, there will be the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Bema Seat. “Each one’s work will become clear, for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test it.”
DOKIMAZO. We’re being tested now to expose the value of our faith. This is to prepare us for the eventual and ultimate evaluation when we are evaluated at the Judgment Seat of Christ.
This isn’t a literal fire. He’s using an analogy here of a building project. You build something but the only things which have enduring value is that which can pass the tests, the examination. That which is of eternal value in your life will be exposed by fire, in a sense. Just as fire is used to refine precious metals. They are put into fire which burns off the dross. It burns off the impurities. The gold is heated up. Silver is heated up and this purifies the metal. What’s bad goes away. It is destroyed.
At the Judgment Seat of Christ the point isn’t, “Well, let’s see where you failed.” Where you fail is related to the sin in your life, related to disobedience, and that which was not walking according to the Spirit. God is not focusing on exposing your failures. He wants to expose our successes and our growth. That which has value that will last for eternity.
It’s on the basis of that we are rewarded. There are other factors that will come into rewarding. Rewarding isn’t just based on divine good alone. The wood, hay, and straw is referred to as human good which are good things done in our own effort. Divine good is that which is produced by God the Holy Spirit. Other things enter in. Perseverance, other things related to the overcomer in Revelation and other things related to the different kinds of rewards that are passed out. That’s part of a different aspect of this doctrine.
The fire will evaluate each one’s work of what sort it is. I didn’t put 1 Corinthians 3:14 here but it reads, “If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures…” And it endures because of what? Because we endured in obedience and in walking by the Spirit. Remember, the Word of God plus the Spirit of God enables the child of God to be conformed to the character of the Son of God.
That’s the whole plan of the Christian life. Right there. It’s the Word of God plus the Spirit of God. Not plus Prozac. It’s not plus your 12-step group. It’s the Word of God plus the Spirit of God enables the child of God to develop the character of the Son of God.
1 Corinthians 3:14 says, “That which endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned.” That means if you build a house and strike a match to it and everything burns up there’s nothing left. There’s nothing rewardable. He says, “If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss but he, himself, will be saved, yet as through fire.” He is still going to go into Heaven. That’s glorification. He will still be glorified. He will still go into Heaven. He will still have eternal life. He will still have a resurrection body. He will still be in the kingdom but he won’t have any role or responsibilities because he was a spiritual failure. He will be in Heaven where there is no more sorrow, no more tears, no more pain for the old things have passed away.
Another way in which this word DOKIMAZO is used is in Romans 12:2 where we are given the great summary of the ministry of the church. In verse 1 we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. Verse 2, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” That’s the focus of the local church ministry, to teach the Word of God so that people can have their thinking overhauled, renovated, transformed so that they can live on the basis of divine viewpoint, applying God’s Word to every problem in their life and thus, demonstrate to the angels and the human race that God’s will is good, acceptable, and perfect.
That word “prove” is demonstrating the value of God’s will. That it’s good and acceptable and perfect.
In 1 Corinthians 3:14 the word for endure is MENO. It means if anyone’s work abides or continues, he will receive a reward. It reminds us of abiding in Christ. It’s the same word group as HUPOMONE.
1 Corinthians 10:13 reminds us that no test, “no temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.” The categories are all the same. Your test in one area will vary a little bit from my test in one area because I believe God sort of tailors these exams for each one of us. Some of us don’t go through some kinds of test because God knows that’s an area of strength in our sin nature and it’s not really going to be a problem. But others of us keep going through the same kinds of tests over and over again because that’s where our area of weakness is in our sin nature and it’s really hard for us to learn those lessons.
So we go through these tests but God is faithful. He’s the One who gives us the strength to help and the knowledge to go through it. This is what is known and I’ve emphasized this and I’ll continue to emphasize the sufficiency of God’s grace. The doctrine that is really not understood any more. It has fallen on hard times since the post-World War II period. It was falling on hard times before that but we have so many aids to life today. Whether it’s psychology or medicine or motivational principles, whether it’s reading from Maslow or Freud or Jung, we forget the Bible.
Up until the early 70s it was a shame and an embarrassment if you had to go to a psychologist because you had failed. In Christianity it was still the understanding up through the 70s that if you went to a psychologist, you had given up on God. That was absolutely accurate. We have to get back to that. People think they can make life work without being dependent upon God and letting God the Holy Spirit rip up their sin nature control and teach them to live on the basis of the Word of God and the Spirit of God.
That’s the way that God has given us to escape. It’s the Word of God so that we can endure it. That’s HUPOMONE. So that we can bear it. So that we can continue and stay under the difficulty. It used to be up until the mid-part of the 20th century that pastors were called the “doctors of the soul”. A medical doctor could fix what ailed you physically but if you had problems, mental problems, emotional problems, that was ultimately a spiritual problem. It was the people who understood the Word of God and the grace of God and the sufficiency of God’s grace who could give you the real tools that would give you eternal victory over these problems. Ultimately they’re grounded in your sin nature.
That doesn’t mean they don’t have consequences in your physiological makeup. They certainly do. It’s a case of what comes first. The chicken or the egg? Scripturally, the chicken came first. Scripturally the problem comes from our sin nature. We have to address that problem and that problem can only be addressed by the Word of God.
In 1 Peter 1:7 we’re tested to expose the quality of our faith. Some of us are looking around when we go through certain tests thinking, “My faith didn’t have much quality there. I know better but I sure didn’t act like I know better.” What matters is that faith. The quality of the content in the next phrase… I don’t really need to tell this to a lot of you. You’re faithful. You come to Bible class Sunday morning, Tuesday night, and Thursday night. You listen to many lessons online throughout the week.
This is saying that the doctrine in your soul is more valuable than gold, precious gold, because gold still perishes. The doctrine in your soul is what will last into eternity. You may be a homeless person with nothing to your name except you may have a great possession of doctrine in your soul. That’s what goes on into eternity. That’s what has value. Unfortunately, it takes a lot of us a long time to realize how valuable doctrine really is to us. As the Proverbs say, we need to be willing to buy truth and sell it not because that’s the only retirement plan we should be investing in.
We have to live through this life, but the retirement plan that goes on after physical death is what I’m talking about. When we retire from this life and go in to eternity, the only thing we have left in our spiritual 401K plan is the doctrine in our soul. That’s what survives so that’s what we have to pay attention to.
We’re going to have joy in this life. We can rejoice because we understand the framework of God’s plan even though at times it may be fairly onerous. There were times when it was tough for Paul. There were times when it was tough for the Lord Jesus Christ. But they didn’t give in to those external pressures. Or in the place of Paul because he had a sin nature, the internal temptation. The Lord Jesus Christ just had negative external circumstances.
It’s designed ultimately to bring praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Now that’s the Judgment Seat of Christ. That’s when it is revealed what is gold, silver, and precious stones and what will last on into eternity.
Then we get into the next verse. Now remember this is all one sentence so Peter is going to go on from here that this brings glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ and he’s going to bring us back to the fact that our lives need to be Christ-centered and Christ-focused. A phrase we use to describe that often is occupation with Christ. We need to have our eyes fixed and focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. Hebrews 12:2.
In verse 8 he says, “Whom [referring back to Jesus Christ mentioned in the previous verse] having not seen you love; though now you do not see Him, yet by believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory.” There’s a lot packed into this verse. He starts off talking about the focus is on Jesus Christ and we haven’t seen Him. The generations who came after the disciples did not have that one-on-one appearance with the Lord Jesus Christ. They didn’t see Him.
The Lord told Thomas that he was blessed for recognizing this but there would be greater blessings for those who believe without being able to physically touch the scars, and physically touch the resurrection body of the Lord Jesus Christ. We love Him on the basis of someone else’s testimony. None of us have had a direct encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ, not the living Word of God, only the written Word of God.
We have the testimony of the disciples. We have the testimony of the Apostles, of Paul, and we fall in love with the Lord Jesus Christ because He is the focus of the Scriptures. He becomes the One we are occupied with.
When we start with this phrase “having not seen” it is a participle. It’s what is called a concessive participle which means it’s stating something that expresses a circumstance that might be expected to preclude the action of the main clause.
Let me tell you what that means. Loving someone is usually based on having a personal, experiential relationship with them. We see them. We talk to them. We spend time physically with them. In a concessive clause, you’re expressing the fact that there’s this circumstance that would seem to negate being able to love Him. We’ve never seen Him. It’s expressed that way, though, or although you’ve never seen Him, you love Him. Why? Because you understand His role in salvation and what He has provided for us. The verb there means to look at Him, to focus on Him.
It’s not BLEPO, which means just to glance at Him, but it has to do with perceiving Him, focusing on Him. That’s the same word that’s repeated again in the next phrase. It’s another concessive participle but notice there’s a difference. “Whom having not seen [an aorist or past tense participle] now [present tense] though you do not see Him, yet now, you are believing.”
I put that bracket in there with the word “by” because this expresses the next word there which is the word believing which is another participle. This is a participle of means.
We’ve looked at a causal participle tonight, because you know something. We’ve looked at a concessive participle, though you do not see Him. Now we’re looking at a participle of means. The way that we rejoice with joy is on the means of believing. So the believing, which we sometimes refer to as the faith-rest drill, the believing is the means by which we are able to have joy, rich joy, and exultant joy, in the midst of difficult circumstances.
That’s why I love participles. Participles, by breaking them out like this, give us the specifics of the action. That’s where the application comes from by understanding what these participles mean. Unfortunately, they’re not always talked about in messages or sermons to help break open the meaning of a passage.
Though you’ve never seen Jesus in the past you love Him. You learned about Him through the Word. Though now you don’t see Him [present tense; you still don’t see Him] yet, by believing. How do you activate this? What’s the foundation for the love and the joy? It’s believing in Him. That’s the faith-rest drill.
As a result of the faith-rest drill, day in and day out, you can exult. You can exult. You can have rich joy, no matter how bad it is. You can be like Thomas Cranmer being burned at the stake, holding his hand out in the flames to be burned off, because that’s the hand that signed his recantation of faith. He is casting it aside because his hand has betrayed him. At the same time, he is singing hymns to the glory of God.
That’s grace in action. That’s the grace of God enabling him to do that. He’s got joy in the midst of a horrible trial, a horrible test. That’s because this joy, as I pointed out, is not a natural happiness. It’s the joy that’s the result of walking by the Holy Spirit.
Let’s just wrap this up before we come back in a couple of weeks. It’s by believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible. Then we have another participle.
“Receiving the end of your faith.” Now what is this word “receiving” related to the verbs that have gone on before. I think that it’s when. It should be understood that by believing you rejoice with joy inexpressible when you receive the end of your faith. Now this phrase end of your faith is then described as the salvation of your souls. In this slide I have a parallel to this in James 1:21, “Save your souls.” It means saving or delivering your life from a test, a trial, a difficulty. It doesn’t mean getting into Heaven.
It’s talking about how your life is delivered from a situation that seems to be overwhelming and seems that you’re never going to get out from under it. It seems like the best way out is maybe committing suicide. “Let’s just end it all and then I’m face-to-face with the Lord.” I’ve known some Christians who have done that. They’ve been under such pain and misery that they just said they were going to check out on their own because they wanted to go on and get to Heaven.
Here he says, “Receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.” The end result of the faith-rest drill. Then your life will be delivered.
As I put it on this slide, “Yet by believing you rejoice with joy inexpressible…when you receive the end result of your faith [faith-rest drill] the deliverance of your life.” So we go through life. We go through a horrible experience of testing. We come out the other end. When we come out the other end and we’ve been trusting the Lord, trusting the Lord, and trusting the Lord, finally whew! We can rejoice with joy inexpressible when we receive the end result of our faith.
We see that in this life. Not waiting for the Judgment Seat of Christ or when we’re in Heaven but in this life when our life is delivered.
That brings us to a point where we need to do some summary and we need to focus on some of the other aspects of this section just to tie it together in terms of application. We’ll come back and do that in a couple of weeks.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things and to be reminded that You have as part of this plan which takes us from regeneration to rewards, You have a plan that includes refining us. It includes evaluating our faith. It includes taking us through a series of procedures that are going to expose the immaturity, the self-reliance, the human viewpoint so that we can replace that with dependence upon You. So that we can move from immaturity to maturity so that at the Judgment Seat of Christ we will have gold, silver, and precious stones, that which will glorify and honor You because of what You have done in our lives in this life.
We pray that You would challenge us with the need, the vital need, to know Your Word, to apply Your Word, to drill ourselves in Your Word that we might apply it consistently in difficult times that we might grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. We pray this in His name. Amen.”