Hope, Not Hopefulness
Scripture Text – 1 Peter 1:3-9
God’s protection has meant that He would not leave His people in the lonely hours of decision and pain. We can barely comprehend that. There may be some exception here and there, but most of us don’t know what it is to suffer for our faith. More than likely, no one threatened us as we made our way to worship recently. Some of you may have been threatened for just the opposite, for trying to stay in bed or trying to participate in some sabbath recreation by someone who felt strongly that you should be in worship. Some persons in the world were, and others will be threatened for their association with Christians and places of Christian worship. We were stunned a few years ago when a right-wing guerrilla group in El Salvador devised a “Baptist Hit List.” Two of the four persons on that list were murdered. More recently six Jesuit priests have been murdered under similar circumstances. This is not the extent of it either as we are seeing radical situations like this cropping up all over the globe.
Enduring suffering is one thing, but do you recall what else the writer indicated about suffering in the context of Christian hope? He makes it plain there is joy in adversity when it comes because of one’s faith in the Lord. He says that faithful suffering refines one’s faith in God and brings honor to Him. Suffering for Christ’s sake is like a refiner’s fire, bringing about a purer, more precious product according to the Apostle. We have to be refined in this way for pure gold to result. If you have to suffer for the cause of Christ, don’t despair. The end result will be a purer faith. In this way, we can see Christian hope as related even to suffering.
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