Phil Cox

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Some Things are Permanent

9th April 2010

Some things are permanent.

1 Peter 1v3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade — kept in heaven for you

If you are truly a Christian, truly born again of water and the Spirit, if you are one of the people Peter describes in verse 1 as "God's elect", then your new birth has given you a living hope. Because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, you, too, have begun a new life, and that new life is eternal. You have an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

How many things perish, spoil or fade! Our new clothes, or cars, or other possessions, many of our relationships, many of our hopes and dreams, even our very bodies. But your inheritance in heaven is guaranteed!

Verse 4 doesn't end in a full stop. The sentence continues...

1 Peter 1v5
who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.

That's right! You are shielded, not by your own goodness, or religious observance, or popularity, or success, but by GOD's POWER! So it's absolutely safe!

Peter continues:

1 Peter 1v6
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.

And who hasn't known all kinds of trials? All Christians - all people - endure disappointment and pain, although those around them are not always aware of it. But Christians can rejoice, even while suffering trials, because we know that our inheritance is secure. Compared to an eternity with God, our time on Earth can truly be described as a little while and many of our trials last a lot less than a lifetime. In the midst of severe trials, we would despair if we didn't remember that our inheritance is shielded by God's power - guaranteed!

1 Peter 1v7
These have come so that your faith — of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire — may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed.

It can seem scant consolation that there is a purpose to our trials. And someone like me can't speak with authority about undergoing trials; many of my brothers and sisters in Christ have suffered far more than I have. But I do believe that God has a purpose in everything.

Do you realise that your faith is of greater worth than gold? One day, when Jesus returns, this Heaven and this Earth will pass away and there will be a new Heaven and a new Earth (Revelation 21v1). All the gold in this world will disappear for ever, but your faith will live on for ever!

1 Peter 1v8-9
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

Somewhere in your heart, even in the middle of the worst trial of your life, there remains a glimmer of joy. That joy is inexpressible and glorious. And I pray that you'll find it.

Joy is not the absence of pain. Joy and pain co-exist in every one of us. They co-existed in Jesus, and in Paul, and in all God's people. If we wait for the absence of pain, we wait until we die. May God help you find life-sustaining hope and joy, even in your present situation.