I’ll be quite frank, I was not too excited to be looking at these four verses. But as soon as I thought that, I also thought about how much has changed in how I view these verses, let alone the whole book since last fall. This year was not a catastrophic year by any means. It was was more a year of life-change. As humans we have to change and embrace the everyday hum-drum experience. When change occurs, it is often unwelcomed and harsh. Change can be for the good, or it can also be for the bad depending on what we are changing for.
As Christians, trials to us should not be something overbearing, too grievous, or faith diminishing. Looking at 1 Peter 1:6-9 places perspective on the trials we go through. We experience trials because they test the foundation of our faith.
A trial is not always due to our individual sin. For example, if we were to cheat on an exam and feel guilt afterwards, that is not a trial. A trial shows people God’s glory. It is the ending point.
Job is a perfect example. He has everything he could want and is a faithful servant of God, but all of that is taken away when God allows Satan to step in and do some damage. Job said this, “God knows the road we are on and when he has tested my heart it will come out as gold.” (Job 23:10). You see this analogy over and over again in the Bible. Fire refining gold (Ps. 66:10, Prov. 17:3, 1 Cor. 3:13-15). We want to be refined, we want to be pure like gold. Like Job, we must face the hard stuff. I see it as sort of our duty as men and women. We ought to look forward to these times when we can hunker down and fight. We do this not for our own glory, but for the glory of God.
This can be better understood in 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12. We know we ought to endure sufferings, but when we do, how do we act? Verse 6 says we need to rejoice because of our inheritance. This makes obvious the fact that whatever we are going through will not last forever. God uses our circumstances and bring glory to His name.
– He chooses us
– He allows us to experience conflict
– We acknowledge Him
– He comforts us
Verse 7 says our sufferings will result in praise and honor when Jesus returns; glory for him and inheritance for us and praise for enduring our time here on earth. Through all we went through we still held on to faith.
Verse 8 uses the testimony of those in Asia Minor who never saw Jesus yet still believed in Him. John 20:29 says they are blessed because they do not see Him, yet they still believe. This is true of us. We have great faith in someone we have never seen. Some of us, like those in Asia Minor, face much terror and anguish because of our belief. They teach us that we should rejoice with joy at all costs because of His might and grace. For those of us who are experiencing joy, whether enduring trials or not, the joy we are feeling is a taste of what is to come. So until then, God asks us to be fruitful (Romans 6:22), for those living for His glory and will obtain salvation, must bear fruit or be faith-filled.