How Then Shall We Live?
As we continue in this series ‘How Then Shall We Live?’ Remember that the Apostle Peter is writing from Rome to a group of people in Asia Minor that will soon feel the force of the Roman Empire brought down on their heads. The persecution under Nero was horrific.
In his greeting to those he has already described as ‘Scattered Strangers’, he reminds them from the outset that theirs is a living hope based on the resurrection of Jesus and that they are destined for an inheritance that is literally not of this world.
This inheritance is described as “incorruptible and undefiled that faded not” Just yesterday I heard a commentator on the radio bemoaning the fact that the unrealized assets of wealthy people are going to be taxed. In Washington-speak that means that politicians are once again trying to find a way to take what you have earned…or will earn…if you are fortunate enough to have a property that has increased in value. So, you play by the rules, pay taxes when you buy a home…live in that home long enough for equity to be built up… and then your heirs have the inheritance that you worked so hard for taxed yet again.
Peter knew about the Roman military and the realities of being under occupation. He knew what garrisons looked like. He knew that the Romans set a guard on what they valued…a sentinel to keep watch. Peter uses this imagery to communicate to the believers that in Heaven there are sentries standing watch; guarding what the Lord has prepared for them that love Him.
He then gets to the point about the sufferings they will have to endure. He prefaces this hard statement with a reminder that we/they are ‘kept’ by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed at the last time. It is vital that we understand that this is not going to be a test or trial of our innate tenacity or courage…No, it going to be proof that it is through the power of God that we will stand. We will access this salvation though faith in that power of God.
He doesn’t sugar coat it… There will be heaviness through manifold temptations. In other words They will undergo afflictions of various kinds and durations and severity.
Why? Because the Lord uses manifold trials to display manifold mercies
The late, great Andre Crouch wrote a song titled “Through it All.” In one of the lyrics he wrote
And if I never had a problem,
I’d never learn that He could solve them…
I’d never learn what faith in God can do
Through it all…Through it all
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus
I’ve learned to trust in God
Through it all…Through it all
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word
The trial of fire is a refining fire. In the process of assayal (burning) dross and impurities are removed so that the what is left will be current after process…we are more familiar with the word ‘currency.’ The value is not diminished and the supply is guarded by God.
I worked one summer at a steel mill. Talk about hot! The safety man would come around and make you take salt pills so that you wouldn’t pass out due to the excessive heat. It was not unusual to lose 10 lbs. in a shift, if you were working near the open hearth.
Our faith is more precious than gold wrote Peter which though purified was still perishable. The inheritance of the ones who trust in God’s power though faith in His salvation? Their inheritance is ‘Kept’ under Guard, imperishable in heaven.
As our dollar is being devalued and inflation is eating up all that we have accrued. We can literally take this to the bank. Our inheritance is safe and secure waiting for us in heaven
The martyred missionary Jim Eliott wrote in his diary,
’He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
How then Shall we live? We should regularly consider what the Lord has to say in His word about eternal life, and comfort each other with the thought that there are angels whose duty it is to protect the inheritance of the saints.