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The book Dr. Dean references in this class is called The State of the American Mind: 16 Leading Critics on the New Anti-Intellectualism.
Dr. Dean also quoted from Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America by Robert Whitaker.
God Has Already Provided
1 Peter 1:4–5
1 Peter Lesson #026
September 10, 2015
“Our Father, it is a great opportunity to come together tonight to focus on You. In the midst of a world where there is so much chaos and so many bad decisions and poor leadership and actually destructive decisions that are being made at the highest levels throughout the world, we know that there is security and confidence in one place. There is one place of stability and hope and that is Your throne of grace. We know that You have put us here on the earth that we might be a witness, a light shining in the midst of a wicked and perverse generation. Certainly that describes our generation.
Father, we pray that You would open our eyes and enlighten us to Your Word of truth that we might understand these things and see how they apply to our lives. Challenge our thinking that we might be willing to change and conform our thoughts to Your thoughts rather than to the world around us. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”
We’re in 1 Peter, chapter one. Sometimes when you are a teacher, if you are paying attention, you realize that sometimes you are covering passages or talking about something that really turns peoples’ brains inside out. I did that last week when I got into this. We are going to start off pretty similar to where I started last week, just to bring our thoughts back into this passage. Although a certain amount of this is similar to last week, tonight we are focusing on a clearer understanding of 1 Peter 1–5.
Last time I tried to present an overview as to why I was interpreting verses four and five the way I did. I was focusing on understanding context. I saw a great little cartoon that came out somewhere this last week. I posted it on my Facebook page for people to enjoy. A couple, having visited a new church, are coming out of church on a Sunday morning. They are shaking hands with the pastor. The man says to the pastor, “This was our first time here. I was just wondering. Do you always take Scripture out of context like this or is this a special series?” That is probably true for about 95% of the churches in this country.
Last time, I talked about this idea of context. I focused on the power of God. I am emphasizing the same thing today. In fact, we see in 1 Peter 1:5, that God has already provided the solution to our problems, and that is the focus in tonight’s lesson.
Meaning is determined by context. I used this illustration of a jigsaw puzzle. I think most of us have put together a jigsaw puzzle. If you are from some states in the union you call them picture puzzles, but down here we call them jigsaw puzzles. The way you orient where that piece is supposed to be, when you have a billion pieces to put together that do not seem to make a lot of sense, is to look on the box top. You have to understand the overview. That is what I was trying to do last time because the overview, as you look at the big picture, informs you about the details. By itself, the detail, like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle, could be taken in and of itself to be a representative of just about anything.
It could be a blue sky. It could be an overall blue-hued picture. It could be mountains in the distance. It could be sea. It could be a fish. It could be a plant. It could be any number of things, but the only thing that is going to tell you what that blue piece is, is the context. In these pictures of different jigsaw puzzles, it could be a piece in this one, or in this mountain scene. It could be a pattern on a balloon or the sky in the background. It could be part of this undersea picture. It could be the water. It could be a plant. It could be fish so the only way we know what that piece actually is, is if we put it into context.
Even though you could look at it and say, “In and of itself, it could be blue sky.” It only has that meaning if that is the context it is in. Too often what people do is say that this verse sounds like it could mean this. In and of itself it might mean that, but it only means that if that is what the original context says, because God has revealed these verses as parts of sentence, parts of paragraphs, and parts of the structure of an epistle. We have to understand this.
I talked about this last week. My point was that when you come to this particular section, and you take a look at it, there are some certain key words that stand out. One is the word “salvation” and another is the word “faith.” Faith is mentioned several times. It is mentioned in 1 Peter 1:5 and 1 Peter 1:7. Believing is mentioned in 1 Peter 1:8. Faith is mentioned again in 1 Peter 1:9. Salvation is mentioned in verses 5, 9, and 10. In all of these particular verses we have to ask that question, “Does this refer to (in evangelical lingo) obtaining eternal life, moving from spiritual death to spiritual death, being justified? Or does this refer to something else?”
We have looked at this many times. This is a diagram that shows that the word “saved” in used in what some people call three “tenses.” Sometimes I have said three “stages,” tonight I’ll refer to three “phases.”
The first phase is salvation in terms of justification. We are saved from the penalty of sin. [Ephesians 2:8–9] That is how the word “saved” is used in salvation and in that sense, refers to a person who has been regenerated and is justified. In phase 2, the word is used in terms of working out your salvation. In Philippians 2 we work out our salvation day to day, thereby working out the consequences of our salvation.
In the whole epistle of Romans the word group “salvation and saved,” never refers to justification. Paul always makes that distinction. We saw that when we went through Romans. We have to be careful. Sometimes the writers of Scripture will use it in both senses within the framework of their epistle. I think Peter does, but here it is talking about phase 2.
It can also refer to phase 3. When we look at this at first blush, especially when we look at 1 Peter 1:5, “Kept by the power of God for salvation,” that’s an end goal. It really looks like that would be the ultimate end of phase 3, which is glorification.
However when we look at the context, which is like the picture on the top of that jigsaw puzzle, the context throughout Peter is really focusing on living today in light of eternity—handling and facing the trials and difficulties and challenges of life today with a view to the end game.
I used the illustration about dessert. Every time you go to a restaurant, like I did this week, I said I had to know what the dessert is so I could begin with the end in mind.
Then I used the illustration of the guy who had died. He is in a casket and he has a fork in his hand. Everyone wonders why he has a fork in his hand. Well, his wife told him to always be prepared for the good things to come. There’s more to come so always be ready for the dessert. He is ready for the dessert, his reward is in Heaven. This ties it all together.
If the context of the epistle is talking about facing deliverance from trials today, then salvation is a phase 2 concept, not phase 3. If the faith we are talking about is faith in the deliverance in the midst of trial, then it is phase 2. Whenever we run across these terms, even though it looks like it could be talking about working out salvation in terms of glorification, it doesn’t mean that because nothing in the context is talking about that. That causes us to have to go back and rework the cogs of our mind.
So often we have heard 1 Peter 1:5, “… who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” Doesn’t “last time” sound so much like it could be the end-time judgment? We want to make sure that we are in Heaven. But that does not fit any of the context. We have to go back and re-evaluate it.
Just for clarification, let me just go through this by the numbers. Point number one, we saw last time that the context of 1 Peter is to encourage and strengthen readers to hang tough in times of fiery trials. The theme is very similar to James—to persevere and endure in times of crisis. To trust in God now so that we can experience that salvation in the midst of these fiery trials. That is the overall message of 1 Peter.
Secondly, the immediate context sets a directional flow. Verses 3, 4, and 5 represent one sentence in the Greek. Those three verses are setting a trajectory into verses 6–8. Okay?
If you are driving down the highway in your car and you want to make sure you get off on the right exit ramp, you do not point left, you point right. Does that communicate? If we take verses 3–5 as pointing to phase 3 glorification, but then in verse 6, we are going to the right in terms of deliverance from fiery trials, then 3, 4, and 5 as a sentence does not prepare us, doesn’t direct us, doesn’t put us on the right trajectory to hit the target of deliverance from fiery trials in verses 6, 7, and 8.
The purpose of that first sentence is to start orienting us to what Peter is talking about, which is deliverance from difficulties. We can experience the power of God on a day-to-day basis when we face challenges, difficulties, temptations, testing, and all of these things. Verses 3–5 have to be pointed in that same direction. Otherwise, we are just going to be misdirected.
Unfortunately, the way we have versified the Bible, people just tend to look at verses. They say, “I am going to have my quiet time. I am going to read verses 3–5.” Tomorrow they have their quiet time and they read verses 6 and 7. They don’t try to connect the dots between verses 6, 7, and 8 back to 3, 4, and 5.
When Peter is writing this there are no verses. He is writing this to orient or direct our thinking in a particular direction. That is the nature of writing and the nature of reading. The immediate context is talking about suffering and adversity, and how they face and address that suffering, so they can have real joy in their life in the midst of horrific circumstances.
The third thing we saw is how the introductory verses 3, 4, and 5 orient the reader toward deliverance from current trials. We saw that the overall context is to encourage and strengthen believers in times of trials. The immediate context in verse 6 and following talks about suffering and facing trials. That tells us that verses 3–5 orient us to that topic.
That leads to the fourth point which is that the key words such as “faith” and “salvation” are referring to the faith-rest drill. Faith and believing, all through this, are basically talking about the faith-rest drill in the believer’s life after salvation. That is how we handle adversity.
Salvation here really should be translated deliverance from difficulty. The word SOZO can refer to any kind of deliverance. Deliverance from bad health even, so sometimes it is translated healing in the gospels. Sometimes it can be deliverance from a physical disaster. Sometimes it is talking about being saved from the penalty of sin, in which cases it is translated as salvation. Other times it is talking about being saved from the power of sin and that is phase 2. That is really what we are talking about here.
When we look at verses 3–5, we read, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope ...” Now this is important. Is this living hope focusing on phase 1, phase 2, or phase 3? Here is a test question to see if you are engaged. Living hope is what? Hope is present confidence in a future reality. It is a present confidence, which is going to be phase 1, phase 2, or phase 3? It is going to be phase 2.
It is a living hope. Again that modifier there means a present reality. A “living hope” is really talking about living today in light of eternity. We classify that as a problem-solving device. Living today in terms of our eternal destiny. Or living today in terms of our personal sense of eternal destiny. This is done through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
We look at phase 2, which is to deliver us from the present power of sin. Think about that, just a little bit. The goal of the present Christian life is for us to be experientially delivered from the power of sin right now. If you talk to most Christians they’re saying one of two things. One is they have just given up completely, in which case they have gone to pure antinomianism and they say I am going to just keep confessing my sins because that is all I can do. I’ve just given up. When I get tempted, I just engage and then I confess.
The other extreme is legalism. They are not experiencing any kind of joy of the spiritual life. They are living the whole spiritual life on the basis of legalism. Those are your only real two options. When we think about the Christian life, it is always presented in Scripture as a struggle.
It talks about wrestling against these powers. It is a battle. The metaphor throughout Scripture talks about warfare. It talks about using really violent imagery in Romans 6, that we are put to death the deeds of the flesh. That is a strong, violent image that we are to engage in. We are not to pet the sin nature. We are not to give strokes to our sin nature. “Now, don’t be quite that bad.” That is where a lot of Christians are. They have sort of reached détente with their sin nature.
What we have in the Scriptures is the presentation of three enemies of the Christian life. Everyone here knows what those three enemies are. We have heard them forever and ever, though not in the correct order. They are usually summarized as the world, the flesh, and the devil. That’s not the right order. The primary enemy we have is the devil. What is the devil trying to do to each and every one of us? What is Satan’s goal? What is his real-time mission, day-in, day-out twenty-four/seven in terms of your spiritual life? How does the Scripture present that?
It is a graphic, violent image. In 1 Peter 5:8 we read that Satan wants to swallow us up. He wants to totally consume us. He is described as being like a lion, your adversary, and the devil. It is an adversarial relationship that we have with Satan. “Your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” That word means to swallow up or to consume or to completely gobble up. He just wants to gobble us up so that we are internalized in his way of thinking. That is the devil’s mission. That is a violent image.
When we are internalized in Satan’s way of thinking, that way of thinking is described by the word KOSMOS, the world. The world also seems to have a bit of a violent image there. It is attempting to conform us to itself. It wants to press us into its mold and wants to completely dominate us so that there is no room for independent thought. We think like the world thinks. It is peer pressure on steroids. Romans 12:1 warns us that the world wants to conform us to its norms and standards, to its values, to its thinking, and to its ideology.
Those two enemies are outside of us. They are external. They are attacking us from the outside. They have a friend, a spy inside of us called the sin nature. It is described in Scripture as the flesh. The terminology used to describe the operation of the flesh toward us and God is the one who used this image is first depicted as a wild animal. It is a carnivorous, untamable creature that is crouching to trap us and to engulf us and to destroy us. That is seen in Genesis 4:7 when God is talking to Cain and tells him to beware because “Sin is crouching at the door.” Waiting to get you.
We have these three enemies and they have an orientation of violence toward us to completely control our lives apart from the grace of God. We have these three enemies of the spiritual life, two external, and one internal. The internal is the one that is the most dangerous. The internal one is the one that is allegedly under the control of our volition as Church Age believers, but we still want to act like all we have to do is follow its dictates because it is not easy to do otherwise.
That is the habit pattern we develop from the time we were born until the time we were saved. If you were saved like I was as a little kid, you really didn’t know any better until maybe you got into your early teen years and began to really grasp the significance of temptation and all these other things that were going on. You wondered how you could really deal with it.
Unfortunately, Christianity has never done a good job with this. Christianity has often been mired in legalism so that the early church through the Middle Ages, rather than trying to deal with it on the basis of Scripture, they tried to deal with it on the basis of legalism or mysticism. They were literally trying to scare the hell out of people by saying “if you commit these sins you are going to lose your salvation” or “you never were saved to begin with.”
This is what happens with people who think that if you commit sins involving immorality, whether it is homosexuality or heterosexual immorality such as adultery, or whether it is murder or duplicity or lying or any number of other sins like creating factions, arrogance, all these things are told that if they do those things they are going to the Lake of Fire.
That is not what the Bible says. It says that we all come under the guilt of those sins because we all have a sin nature. The solution is that Christ died for our sins but as Paul says in Romans 6 we have been identified with Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection so therefore, that power of the sin nature is broken.
Romans 6:11 says we are “to reckon ourselves to be dead to sin.” Later in Romans 8 it says we are to put to death the deeds of the flesh. We have to be actively engaged, but we can’t just do it out of our power. We have to do that through the Holy Spirit.
That is what Paul is emphasizing in Romans 8. We put to death the deeds of the flesh by walking according to the Holy Spirit. The solution to our enemies is always the same. Whether the enemy is the world, the flesh, or the devil, it’s the Word of God plus the Spirit of God is going to enable the child of God to be conformed to the image of Christ.
Let me go through this one more time and say it a little differently. The Word of God plus the Spirit of God is going to enable the child of God to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. You can memorize that or tattoo it on the inside of your eyelids. It’s the Word of God plus the Spirit of God that enables the child of God to be conformed to the image of the Son of God. That summarizes the spiritual life as we understand it.
We are to have our character transformed, not conformed, pushed, shoved, and made to look like the world, but it is supposed to be transformed. We are supposed to be changing as a result of the intake of the Word of God. As we learn it, then we apply it. That gives us our background.
Now what I want to do is walk us through these verses so we understand the structure of Peter’s thought as he sets us up for the main part of this introduction that comes from 1 Peter 1:6 down through verse 12. In the first part he says that every Christian is born again to a living hope. Every one of us. That is the first thing.
Every one of us is born again to a living hope. The emphasis there, as I pointed out, is present-time reality. We are born again to a living hope. It is real-time. Right now this hope is ours. It is a real-time event that we can use to face the problems and the difficulties and the challenges that we have.
We face a lot of problems. We face these three enemies: Satan, the world, and the flesh. They manifest in a lot of different ways. They manifest in terms of internal temptations from our sin nature to the enticements of the culture around us that supply us with lots of rationalizations to justify just going with the flow, just going with our sin nature, just doing what feels right to us. We have temptations to compromise, to find solutions instead of trusting in God alone, in His grace alone, in the sufficiency of His Word and His grace.
We are tempted to add something to it, to help God out. That is really tough to depend upon the Word of God alone. “I just don’t know it that well.” Or the grace of God. “I just don’t understand. I still struggle.” Yes, I think we have missed the point there.
Even after we are saved and we are walking by the Spirit, the Spirit isn’t going to make it easier but He is going to give us the ability to overcome. That is the issue. Without the Holy Spirit there is no ability to overcome unless you just are trying to pull yourself up by your own moral bootstraps. The Holy Spirit enables us to do it but it doesn’t make it easy. It never makes it easy when we are dealing with sin because that is such an internal habit pattern or as a hangover from our time before we were saved.
That’s why Paul says in Romans, chapter 6 that we are slaves of whomever we obey. If we are obeying the sin nature, then we are slaves of the sin nature. We weren’t born slaves to the sin nature but after we are saved, the default position is to go back to what our comfort zone is. Our comfort zone is carnality because that is what worked for us, or seemed to work for us, for the first seven, eight, nine, twenty years of our life.
The longer you go before you are saved and get on doctrine, I think the more difficult it is but that is a matter of probably infinitesimal differences. That sin nature is such a present reality. It seems like such a present overpowering experience that we just want to give up. We don’t really want to trust God that we can win those battles.
The Bible tells us, though, that we have a present reality. It is this living hope that is going to enable us to get past these tests and these temptations. The second thing we have seen is that every believer has an incorruptible, unfading heavenly inheritance. Every believer has this inheritance. We are heirs of God. Every believer has that.
We see that in 1 Peter 1:4–5. We are all born again (1 Peter 1:3). We all have a living hope (verse 3). Then verse 4 tells us we all have this permanently reserved future inheritance.
It doesn’t matter if you are a complete failure in the Christian life or if you are doing well in the Christian life. You can relax because the end result is that you have an unfading, incorruptible inheritance that is reserved in Heaven for you. So this is what we saw in verses 4 and 5.
The third thing that we see here is that not only is this inheritance reserved in Heaven for us in verse 4 but it is related to those of us who are currently being kept by the power of God. Heirs of God refers to every believer but there is something additional for those heirs of God who are implementing the faith-rest drill. First of all, we need to look at this term about being kept by the power of God.
We looked at Romans 8:16–17, that we are all heirs of God which applies to every one of us. We are all heirs of God and we all have that permanently reserved inheritance. In addition to that, if we are walking by the Spirit we have this inheritance that is reserved in Heaven for us. That refers to phase 3.
The word TEREO is the translation of “reserved.” It is a perfect tense which I pointed out last time. It is a completed action. It is reserved in Heaven and that is talking about phase 3. It is reserved in Heaven for us. We are going to realize it only after we are absent from the body and face-to-face with the Lord. It is reserved for each and every one of us. That is the significance of the plural “you.”
In your notes you ought to put down that is a “y’all,” or “everyone.”
This is further defined, in addition to that, if we are implementing the faith-rest drill, we realize the power of God that is explained in verse 5.
In the Greek it is PHROUREO. This is really an interesting word. It is only used four times when we look at the New Testament. One time, it is used to refer to the guards who are physically guarding the Apostle Paul in Damascus. The second time, it is used in regard to how the Law guarded the Old Testament saints. That is in Galatians.
Third, it is used a passage that is familiar to most of us in Philippians 4:7, that the peace of God which surpasses all comprehension shall, and I usually translate it as “defend” or “guard.” It is really a military concept. We do not use this word this way so it is a little antiquated—it will “garrison” our hearts. It will protect us. It provides a fortification for our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. That is that same word there that is translated, guard or garrison or protect or preserve our hearts in Christ Jesus.
Then the fourth use of the word is here in 1 Peter 1:4 where we are guarded, we are garrisoned by the power of God. That is such a powerful image of what protects us in times when we feel so threatened. It may be a temptation or an adversity or when everything seems to be falling apart around us, we see that what is still enveloping us and enabling us is the power of God. It is the power of God that we are kept by. This is an important concept here because we have this phrase “by the power of God” and that indicates the most immediate or primary basis for this guarding. It is God’s power that keeps us.
When we face situations, maybe it is an internal situation. Maybe you are the kind of person where your sin nature really runs to mental attitude types of sins. Maybe it has to do with phobias or fears or anxiety or worry. Maybe it has to do with depression and a lot of people seem to struggle with depression for one reason or another. I think a lot of that has to do with the wrong focus in life. Then there are other times when it is just related to the ebb and flow of life itself.
We know that our bodies are made up of certain chemicals that are affected. Maybe it is the result of certain things we eat. Maybe it is a result of the way we have been thinking in terms of our mental attitudes that these kinds of things can generate certain chemicals that cause us to feel down. We have a case of the blues. Sometimes we haven’t had enough sleep. Maybe it is related to a lot of different causes.
Everyone goes through times when they are a little bit happier and sometimes a little sadder. Whether you are a believer or an unbeliever, everyone goes through these trends. I really think that how you react to those things can set habit patterns and chemical patterns in your thinking. I touched on this a little bit the other night, quoting from an article, chapter 3 called The Emerging Epidemic in this book “The State of the American Mind”. It is talking about the role that drugs play in chemically altering our thinking. I really encourage you, that if are a believer who is taking anti-depressants or anti-psychotics, to read this.
I am just amazed by the number of people in our culture, and probably how many people I know, who are taking these kinds of drugs. I had a woman say one time, and she was a person who had been a believer for much of her life. You would think she should know better. She hit menopause. I understand that a lot of women when they hit menopause and hormones start going crazy again, a lot of doctors just default to prescribing anti-depressants. Her comment was “It just made it so much easier to follow the Holy Spirit once I got on Prozac.” Totally missing the irony there. Drugs are not necessary to help us become more spiritual. If they are, give me lots of them.
What do you do with people who for 1900 years don’t have drugs? God the Holy Spirit provided for every one of us and it is the same basic provision, the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Those are the tools. Depression, schizophrenia which this article talks about in rewiring the chemicals in the brain when you get on anti-psychotics for schizophrenics and manic depressives. I think he’s right. That is my opinion but I am telling you that there is a lot of research that he quotes. If you are a person on any of these kind of drugs then you need to take some time to really research this. He has a whole book.
The whole book is “The State of the American Mind” and he goes through all the research and all the data. He is not the only one. As I mentioned on Tuesday night, Gene gave me a book in the late 90s and even then it was already out of print. It was called “Toxic Psychiatry”. This was written by a top secular psychiatrist from New York, not a Christian. He taught in medical school and was going through the research at that time. He said that when we take any kind of drug and it can be expanded beyond just these kinds of drugs, it changes the chemical structure of what is going on in our bodies and in our minds.
The way God has built us as believers is that the brain reacts to these other chemicals coming into it by treating it as an invasion. The brain then produces compensatory chemicals to bring things back to normal. It creates more and more of a dependency. Doses have to go up. As this article I quoted the other day says, studies over a long period of time have shown that people who take these drugs say, “See, I’ve got these problems and I’ve got to solve them by taking drugs.”
Here’s another thing that Franklin came up and reminded me of after class. He has been going to a lot of workshops and studies on these things as part of his nursing responsibility is about the framework. What is the worldview framework of the doctors who are promoting all of this? What is their worldview? Is it materialist or Biblical theist? They’re materialists. They evolutionists. They don’t believe you have an immaterial soul.
The framework that is being taught on human behavior today is entirely physiological. You don’t have an immaterial soul. Whatever comprises you is caused by the chemical structure of your brain. It is all chemical. They think they can fix it by just changing the chemicals. There is no sense of personal responsibility and volition, no sense of divine institution number one. That is just a façade, an illusory idea that we played with until we understood the chemical makeup of the brain. Then we realized that everything you do and I do is really a result of the chemical structure of our brain. We have to get past that, they say.
The Word of God is saying that change is possible and change is real, but it comes by the Word of God and the Spirit of God. What protects us when we go through these tests, and the adversity we face, is going to be the power of God.
This term “power of God”, DUNAMIS, is a strong term. It is often used in the gospels to refer to Christ’s miracles: His healing of the lame, His cleansing of the lepers, His mighty works that give sight to the blind. This is DUNAMIS. It is the omnipotence of God; that He is more powerful than anything in His creation and He can handle the problem.
Jesus is addressed by the Sadducees in Matthew 22 with this made-up little conundrum about a woman who is married to a man and he dies. She marries another one and he dies. Then she marries another one and he dies and they keep dying until all seven have died. Then they ask this facetious little question of Him, trying to trap Him, “Whose wife is she going to be in the resurrection?” They do not even believe in the resurrection.
Jesus directs His answer straight to the problem. He says, “You are mistaken because you don’t know the Scripture and you don’t know the power of God.” The problem is there is no doctrinal orientation in their thinking. When you don’t have doctrinal orientation in your thinking, then you are not going to be oriented to the power of God, that God can solve your problem. That is going to drive you back to the faith-rest drill, as we see.
Then we have another passage we’ve seen not too long ago in Romans 15, “Now may the God of hope.” Any time you see the word hope, it is emphasizing the personal sense of our eternal destiny. Our future destiny becomes a present reality that is so great it helps us and strengthens us to make the right decisions.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy [perfect happiness, sharing the happiness of God] and peace by believing.” It is not “in believing” as it is translated in the New King James but it is “by believing”. The faith-rest drill really under girds all the problem-solving skills or problem-solving devices. “That you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Believing is believing what? How many times have you heard someone say, “You just need to have faith?” We have this human viewpoint thinking that we are to have faith in faith. That faith, in and of itself, is a power. But that is not what the Bible says. It is faith in the Word of God. Faith in the Spirit of God. Faith in the promises of God. Faith in the grace of God. Faith in the Cross of Christ. Faith is always directed toward something with content. It is not faith in faith itself. Faith doesn’t do diddly. Faith is just a means to focus on an object and it is the object of faith that has the significance.
We can only really understand the God of hope and have joy if we are believing and trusting in Him and living by the power of the Holy Spirit. One of my favorite passages and situations is when Paul is tormented by this demonic messenger. This demonic messenger comes and it is a messenger of Satan. An angel of Satan, which is a demon. He prays to God several times to remove this thorn in the flesh.
Finally God says He is not going to do it. It is there for a purpose, to teach you and train you in your dependency upon Me. In 2 Corinthians 12:9, God says to Paul, “My grace is sufficient for you.” We have to understand that grace functions like a power. It enables us. God’s grace is freely given to us. It is sufficient for you. “My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Paul says, “Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”
You are only going to admit and boast in your infirmities if you have a healthy dose of humility which was part of which this test was attempting to teach Paul. We have to understand it is not in our power. It is not in our intellect. It is not in our skills. It is not in our thinking abilities. It is not in our ability to have the right mental attitude.
It is simply trusting in the power of Christ and we can surmount these problems. Does that mean it is easy? No. Does that mean it is going to go away tomorrow? No. Does that mean we are going to have to engage the enemy in hand-to-hand combat with the Spirit of God and the Word of God on a day-to-day basis? Yes, it does.
Paul concludes in 2 Corinthians 12:10, “Therefore I take pleasure.” That’s joy again. We are going to see this every time the Scripture talks about handling tests. It talks about joy. “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions.” He is saying that he gets up in the morning and says, “Bring it on. I want to be persecuted today because that is going to enable me to trust God more.” That is our mental attitude.
We rejoice in the battle. As Jim Myers used to always tell me, “You have to learn to love the battle.” It is a process to learn to love the battle. That is not what we want to do. We want to roll over and play dead. “In infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
Ephesians 1:18 talks about the power of God. “That the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know [doctrinal orientation].” The Holy Spirit opens our eyes so that we can learn and know, “What is the hope [personal sense of eternal destiny] of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance [related to our personal sense of eternal destiny].” We are living today in light of eternity.
Ephesians 1:19, “And what is the exceeding greatness of His power [His omnipotence] toward us who believe.” That is not phase 1. That is phase 2, the faith-rest drill. “According to the working of His mighty power.” Verse 20 just talks about this being exemplified in the resurrection. We are kept by the power of God; we are preserved by the power of God. It is done through faith. The immediate means is the power of God.
The secondary means is expressed in the Greek using the preposition DIA with the genitive. That is like the pipeline that brings the power of God from His throne into our life. It is not through faith for justification but this is going to be faith for the spiritual life. “Through faith” is a phrase, as I pointed out last time, as a phrase for phase 1 [Ephesians 2:8–9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith] but it is also used in passages like 2 Corinthians 5:7 for phase 2.
We walk by faith is DIA plus the genitive. We walk through faith. That is how we appropriate the power of God in our lives. It is also seen in Hebrews 6:12 and Hebrews 11:3.
God’s power is the primary basis that we are able to surmount our problems, whatever they are. Whether they are emotional problems, whether they are physical problems, whether they are external problems, or whether they are circumstance problems, whatever they are. God’s power is primary and we access that through the pipeline of faith. It is through the pipeline, through faith, that that is actualized in our life.
Now this is what we see in the context. As I pointed out last time, in 1 Peter 1:6 the context is talking about being grieved by various trials. It doesn’t say that the trials make us happy. They hurt. If I walk up to you and kick you in the shins, that hurts. If you go through a situation in life that kicks you in the emotional shins, that is going to hurt.
What does Paul say in 1 Thessalonians 5:13? We grieve, but not like those who have no hope. It doesn’t say if you are a Christian and you are sharing the happiness of God that it is a sin to grieve. Some Christians get that idea that somehow it is wrong to feel bad, to be tired, to be emotionally weary, to struggle. But these phrases are used of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before He went to the Cross. But He didn’t use that emotion in a way to justify sinful responses.
When we get slapped upside the head with some really bad circumstances, we feel bad. That is normal. The feeling bad is not a sin. It is letting the feeling bad drive us to some sort of wrong way to solve the problem. Drugs, alcohol, anger, jealousy, resentment, vindictiveness. All of those can be ways to solve the bad emotions the wrong way.
1 Peter 1:7 says “That the genuineness of your faith.” That’s the faith-rest drill, the context.
1 Peter 1:8 says it is by believing which is the faith-rest drill. 1 Peter 1:9 says “Receiving the end of your faith.” That is the faith-rest drill again. All through here, that is the box top on top of the jigsaw puzzle. We are talking about the same thing that informs us. That tells us that 1 Peter 1:4–5 have to be talking about phase 2.
2 Peter 1:3 emphasizes this as well, “His divine power.” I pointed this out last time at the very end. God’s divine power is His omnipotence. He has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. How do we know what those things are that He has given to us? It is through knowledge, doctrinal orientation.
We have to learn the Word of God. Tuesday night I said that you have to have that general body of content. Biblical content provides the pegs or the coat hangers on which we can hang all the details of the Scripture and doctrine and theology. We have to have that knowledge.
Here it is the knowledge of Him, knowing God, who called us by glory and virtue. “By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these,” It is through the promises. That’s the faith-rest drill. It is by knowing promises, memorizing them, making them part of our consciousness and applying them. Mixing our faith with the promises of God.
Back to 1 Peter 1:5, “Who are kept by the power of God [His omnipotence] through faith [faith-rest drill] for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” That salvation is a phase 2 salvation. It is a deliverance through these trials. It is really better to translate this “through faith for deliverance.”
Then that deliverance is through the fiery trials which Peter talks about in 1 Peter 1:6, “various trials.” 1 Peter 4:12, “fiery trials.”
Now this is what is really interesting. The next phrase in 1 Peter 1:5 says this deliverance is “ready to be revealed in the last time.” That word “ready” obscures the meaning of the text. The word that is there in the Greek, HETOIMOS, can mean ready but it means to be prepared, something prepared ahead of time. If you are going to have guests over for dinner tomorrow night there are certain things you can prepare today so you don’t have to take up your time with everything tomorrow.
God prepared certain things for us ahead of time. Long ahead of time. In eternity past He provided us with, and planned, a spiritual life that would sustain us through whatever problems we might face. We should translate this “through faith for a deliverance prepared from eternity past to be unveiled in the last time.” We are going to get there, but the “last time” refers to this current dispensation in our lives. God prepared it so it can be revealed in our lives. We can take what He has planned potentially and we can see it realized in our life.
This is 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able” (tested beyond your ability). In the flesh we don’t have any ability, but walking by the Spirit we have every ability. This applies to every believer because we all have the potential of walking by the Spirit. That is our way to be able to handle the temptation. Then it adds, “but with the temptation will also make the way of escape.” This is not to avoid it, but to endure it. That salvation or deliverance is prepared from eternity past to be revealed, or disclosed, in our lives in the last times.
This is a really unusual phrase. It is only used this way one time in terms of the exact precise grammar. The singular noun and that kind of thing. Other terms for “last” are used in other passages. 2 Timothy 3:1 talks about this Church Age as the “last days.” Hebrews 1:2 even more says in even more precise terms, in “these last days.” This was written when? In the early 60s. Already they are talking about that they’re in the last days.
The whole Church Age is the “last days”. 1 Peter 1:20 in our immediate context makes it just as clear that Christ was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in “these last times.” It is almost the exact precise phrase that we have here but it is a little different.
From Peter’s perspective the whole Church Age is the last times. When he says in verse 5, “to be revealed in the last time,” he is talking about right here and now in this Church Age. God has a plan and He has provided us with all the resources to solve whatever it is we are facing, if we will only trust Him, walk by the Spirit with the Word of God, then we can manifest His power in our life in overcoming the sin nature and overcoming whatever these problems are that are in our life.
Next time we are going to come back and look at 1 Peter 1:6 which is a new sentence. Remember verses 3, 4, and 5 are one sentence in the Greek. Then his next sentence is “In this you greatly rejoice.” To what does the “in this” refer? Does it refer to the salvation ready to be revealed in verse 5? Or does it have a broader reference? I think it has a broader reference.
“In this you rejoice.” What do we rejoice in? We rejoice in the fact that God has begotten us again to a living hope that He has secured for us from eternity past, an inheritance that is incorruptible, undefiled, and unfading. And that He is keeping us [present tense] by His power through faith. So that is up to us to exercise our faith and then His power is realized in our life. We rejoice in all of that even though for a little while, if need be, we are grieved by various trials. We’ll start into that section next time.
“Father, thank You for this opportunity to study these things. Challenge us with the need to trust in Your sufficiency. Your grace has provided it all. Your power strengthens it all. What is necessary for us is to completely, totally trust You, and engage the battle with our three enemies according to the principles laid out in your Word. We pray this in Christ’s name. Amen.”