Peter writes to the elect exiles. Groups of believers “of the Dispersion.” Scattered throughout the provinces of Asia Minor because of persecution. Who they were and where they were was according to the foreknowledge of God . . . it was part of their sanctification in the Spirit . . . it was so that they might demonstrate obedience to Jesus . . . all sustained by the power of Christ’s cleansing blood (1Peter 1:1-2). And what’s grabbed me this morning is that while the going was getting tough it was their faith that would keep them going.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to His great mercy, He has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by Gods power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
(1Peter 1:3-5 ESV)
Ours is a living hope. Ours is an unfading inheritance in heaven. Ours is a salvation ready to be revealed. But we’re not home yet.
So, in a sense, ours too is a dispersion. A living in an increasingly foreign land. The norms, the values, the goals of this world at best inconsistent, and more and more often incompatible, with the ways of our kingdom. Thus, tough times are inevitable. Throw in the fact that we have an enemy who goes about seeing who he can devour . . . add in the daily battle the Spirit wages with the flesh . . . and perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised that from time to time it gets hard . . . and sometimes really hard.
But we are being guarded. Guarded by God’s power. Guarded by God’s Holy Spirit.
The Spirit . . . “the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it” (Eph. 1:14) . . . the Helper (John 14:26) . . . the Spirit of truth (John 15:26) . . . the power that raised Christ from the dead residing in us (Romans 8:11). And what is the fuel that feeds His fire? What is the anchor from which His grip will never let go? Faith. By God’s power we are being guarded through faith.
In every difficult situation the Spirit is ready to set a guard about us. And His beachhead is our faith. That what we say we believe, we really believe . . . especially when it gets hard.
Peter says that the genuineness of our faith is tested through “various trials” (1Peter 1:6-7). He knows, and we know, that it’s the real meal deal because we keep on keepin’ on. Our faith, though even as a mustard seed, the ground upon which the Spirit manifests His power and guards our walk.
That’s why often we end up handling more than we thought we could (or should)–by faith and through God’s power. The stories are added of the times we felt like the outer man was down for the count only to have the inner man renewed, restored, and revitalized–through faith by the guarding ministry of the Spirit. And this genuineness of faith, beyond getting us through the day, is going to “result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
Mine is to believe, His is to guard. Mine is to look up, His is to come down. Mine is to be faithful, His is to fuel the fire.
Guarded through faith . . . because of grace . . . for His glory.