It does not seem like we read very many encouraging words these days, does it? Most of the newspapers (does anyone read them anymore), or news feeds or, for certain, social media feeds are filled with gloom and doom and all kinds of bad news. What’s a person to do? Well, I have a suggestion. Open up the Word of God and turn to the first five verses of First Peter, chapter one:
“Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:1-5 KJV).
There are a lot of BIG words in there. Not only in size but also in meaning. Words that encourage. Words that mean something. Words that allow us, as Christians, to have hope in a world that has seemingly gone mad. Words like elect, foreknowledge, sanctification, obedience, grace, peace, mercy, hope, faith and salvation are not just words; they are the very foundation of which we build our hope on. It is the theology that helps us control how we act as we navigate our way through this world day by day.
This entire chapter, and part of chapter two, talks about the upcoming persecution of the church. If you do not think that persecution of the church could be coming to this nation, you are not paying very close attention. Noted author and pastor, Warren Wiersbe, writes, “Persecution usually cleanses a congregation and separates the sheep from the goats. It strengthens the true believers and the rest grow weaker and afraid.” It is passages like this one in First Peter that we need to study and understand. They keep us going when times get tough. They are the foundation of our faith.
Jesus is still very much in charge, as the A. W. Tozer quote so eloquently says. However, there is no promise that we will not go through some rough times and persecution. Even so, if we know who we are in Christ, we are equipped to face any circumstance and situation. We need not fear … God really is in control, even when it does not seem that way.
Written By: Scott Evans (web designer for Final Harvest)