Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Protected by the All-Powerful Protector (1 Peter 1:5)

“who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (1 Peter 1:5, NASB95)

As I was sitting in an empty room at our home church thinking about 1 Peter and a brief devotion I was to prepare to give Thursday night at Trail Life USA meeting, my eyes were drawn up to a poster on the wall concerning the attributes of God. Each of the fifteen attributes listed came with a very brief description intended to help the children grasp each of them. Among the attributes were eternal, immutable, omnipotent, omniscient, sovereign, and wise. And with them were the descriptions….

Eternal – Always was and always will be.
Immutable – Will never change.
Omnipotent – All powerful to do whatever He wants.
Omniscient – Knows everything—past, present, future.
Sovereign – In complete control of everything; does all that He pleases.
Wise – Does everything perfectly without mistakes.

In 1 Peter 1:5 we read that we are protected to receive our eternal inheritance by the power of God. I am so thankful that it is not my power or the power of anyone else that does this. Every created human being is born and then dies. We are not eternal, and therefore any power that we have cannot extend beyond the length of time that we have to wield it. We are not immutable. We are born infants and grow to maturity. We learn, and then we even forget. We are in a constant state of change. We are not all powerful. Our strength and ability to do the things we desire to do is severely limited. I don’t’ think we have to dig too deep to figure this one out. We don’t know everything. Though we may continue to grow in knowledge and understanding, we again are limited in our ability to know. And, we are definitely limited in our ability to see into that which we do know, leading only to cloudy speculation. We are not sovereign. We are not in complete control. We cannot do everything that we please, regardless of any intense desire or compulsion. We simply are not in charge in the big “in charge” sense of things. And, we are not all-wise. We don’t do everything perfectly. We make mistakes, and that’s just the way it is. We are not God.

But God, He is all of these and so much more without any limit. He is them infinitely, and when His Word tells us that we are kept by His power it means that we are kept by a power that cannot be corrupted, eroded, or changed. God made a decision to call us with perfect knowledge and according to His infinitely wise plan. He will not change His mind, and we are securely His, if….

The big “if” is, if we have been saved. We go on to read that our response to God choosing us is to by faith believe that He will do exactly what He said He would do. Faith is more than believing that a chair will hold you when you sit in it. You may have thoroughly examined it, but until you plop your fanny on it, the chair it will not hold you. Faith is a response of trust based upon belief. And the belief we have is in the promises of the Word of our God who cannot lie Who told us that if we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ we will be saved (Acts 16:31). And, the incredible thing is that even this ability to believe or to have faith is itself a gift from God as we read in passages like Ephesians 2:8-9. “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9, NASB95)

We have been saved from the just penalty of our sin, which is death, and we have been saved to life, which is eternally held for us by God. Every day that we live in between that moment of salvation and the moment we step into His eternal presence is continued proof of His ability to keep us according to His power. Sure, we will continue to sin and we may rebel at times, but we are to remember that we are kept not by our power to hold onto Him, but by His power to keep us firmly in the center of His hand. As we walk, seeking Him and growing in Him according to the power of His Spirit in us we are living proofs of His work—His infinitely powerful and awesome work. We are even blessed to have those moments where we get a glimpse into the glory that is to be revealed to us in the last day as we see Him work in our lives and the lives of those around us. We live with a certain hope because our God has made His certain promise, and it is not in His character to change His mind or in His ability to lose His grip. When Scripture says that we are kept, we can believe that we are truly kept because we belong to Him based upon the salvation we received as we responded to His choice and call on us by believing by faith.

The past few weeks have been very difficult, and I know of many others who might echo this. Aside from the current political climate and signs of social unrest, we all have things in our lives that can push us to the brink and even give rise to thoughts of hopelessness. But we need to remember in these tough times that God is faithful and He is in control. Knowing this makes all the difference. He will bring us through on the other side, and He will do it in such a way that He is glorified in the process.

Later in this letter Peter wrote, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:10, NASB95) And, the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians, “For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison,” (2 Corinthians 4:17, NASB95) Our God is our refuge and our strength in troubled times, and He is our hope for the future and all that He has in between.

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