Last week we understood that we are in a literal brawl with the devil. He is a roaring lion. This is why shepherds within the local church must look after the flock. Everyone we meet within the body of Christ has the same afflictions. You are not alone.
In verse 10, Peter refers to the Lord as the Lord of all grace. This means that there is more than one type of grace. Anything good you see in me, God did it. Anything rotten you see in me, I did it.
(In that time, Nero was persecuting those of the Christian faith.)
You can never out-sin the grace of God. Grace never says, “I told you so.” It forgives and forgets. Jesus Christ is the one and only way in which we enter into the eternal presence of God.
1. Jesus Christ is the only entrance into the eternal glory of God. There are no words in the English language to describe how marvelous God is, nor how marvelous heaven will be. One day, sin and flesh will be done away with. We will then be pleasured only by the eternal glory of God. It makes all the momentary sufferings worth it in the end.
Jesus Himself proclaims in John 14:6 that He is the one and only way to heaven. He was very clear. It is not by works of righteousness, but only by His mercy. Salvation is not something that we merit or earn, because Jesus has already earned all of it for us.
The gospel provides exclusivity. It is offensive by its nature. Jesus also said narrow is the way. He is the exclusive one to gain access for us into heaven.
We don’t get the finality of eternal salvation until we have endured our earthly sufferings. We inhabit a body that is dying and decaying. Death is a reality for all of us.
Those believers during Peter’s time were literally dying for their faith. After we have “suffered a while” — and God never wastes our suffering — He will make us perfect, established (focused), stronger, and will settle us. He will use affliction in our life to make us better than we were yesterday.
2. Momentary suffering is being used to bring about growth in 4 major areas of my life.
We are locked in a battle with our enemy, the devil. If you don’t fight the right enemy, you’ll never win the right battles. It will only wear you out.
If your foundation isn’t solid, then you will wash away with the first affliction. We all endure the same storms, but life’s storms produce different outcomes based on our foundation.
Sometimes God will tear our entire “superstructure” apart to see what we’re made of underneath.
3. The closer we walk with Christ, the more credit and control we will give Him. There is no room for both me and Jesus at the controls of my life. It will either be me or Him. And He will have dominion one way or another. Letting go of things scares us. We like to control things. And we also like getting credit for things. Yet it is God who ultimately deserves all the glory and honor.
Unfortunately, we take a lot of the credit for things that rightfully belongs to God. The two things God wants most — credit and control — are often the things that are the most difficult for us to relinquish.