B. Verses 6-9
1. Great rejoicing.
a. Peter teaches that great rejoicing is the result of knowing the promises of God. Read 2 Peter 1:2-11. These verses speak of knowing what God says in His Word.
b. These promises are given in verses 2-5. Rejoicing is a matter of knowing the Truth, not a matter of how one feels. It has been said rightly that faith cannot come after feelings, rather feelings can come after faith. Faith is believing what God has said regardless of the situation. This takes time, experience, learning.
One should never stop learning the truths of God’s Word. There is no one who should stop learning. The Word of God is deeper than any person can ever fully know.
2. Necessary suffering
a. Peter now begins to launch into one of his main themes: suffering well as a Believer. Suffering is a part of growing as a disciple of Jesus Christ. The rest of this letter is dedicated to encouraging the Church to rejoice, believing God’s Word, in spite of whatever suffering might occur.
Can God stop all suffering? Yes, He could. But, should He? God uses various types of grief to bring spiritual growth and strength to His people. If He removed all hardships and pain then His people would not grow, not learn to trust Him in all situations. In fact, if in becoming a Believer was assurance of a good and easy, comfortable life, then people would become “believers” only for their own benefit.
How, then, does God’s sovereign choices affect these particular Believers? In their scattering? In their new homes? In the sufferings they endure for Christ?
Peter, then, writes to encourage these scattered sojourners so that they will encourage one another, support one another, and continue to spread the message of salvation in the Lord Jesus Christ. All, even their suffering, is for the Glory of God and for their spiritual health and strength.
b. “for a time IF NEED BE”
This is a conditional phrase, from “It is necessary”. There is a greater purpose.
1) Heaviness – distressed, sorrowed
2) various trials – of many kinds, from many sources.
c. “In order that” – here we see that there is a reason, a purpose. God does not allow things in the life of His people randomly or without knowledge. His greatest desire for His people is that they grow to be conformed into the image of Christ, Romans 8:29.
Imagine what this will require in our lives; imagine how much He needs to remove, correct, and instill.
d. Proving of your faith
This is a a purification process, removing the bad and making what remains pure.
1) Gold undergoes an assaying process, but faith is more precious
2) The trying is done by “fire”, that is, through things that bring pain. 3) Yet, rejoicing is still possible, when God is truly known.
4) God knows your faith; it is the Believer who needs to know how strong his/her faith is. The “proving” is not for God, but it is for self.
e. Found to honor and glory
1) To whom does all praise and glory and honor belong?
2) The appearing of Christ is when trials, testing ends, not before
One day each Believer will stand before Christ, alone, and answer for what he/she did as a Believer. This is referred to as the “judgment Seat of Christ”, the “Bema seat”..This comes from the concept of a judge who sits on a special throne or chair, lifts up above people, to judge their deeds. Once the judgment is completed, there are either rewards or loss of rewards. You can read some about this in Romans 14:10-12 and 1 Corinthians 3:12-17.
This is not a judgment of sin, for that is accomplished at the Cross. Those who have trusted in Jesus Christ by the Gospel are freed from punishment of sin. However, the works of the Believer are yet to be judged.
3. Not seeing yet believing
a. We have not seen Jesus Christ with our physical eyes, but we believe through the preaching of His Word.
b. We show love for Jesus Christ by obedience – read John 14:23,24.
c. Rejoicing is “unspeakable” – indescribable
d. Full of glory – invested with dignity and majesty. It is not flippant, momenta, based on circumstances or emotional responses.
Why is it difficult for people to rejoice during hard times?
4. Receiving the end of your faith
a. This “receiving” is a present reality, not only a future hope.
There are three tenses of “salvation” already spoken of up to this point: the new birth is the past, shielded by God’s power is the present, to an inheritance is the future. Yet, we live in the present with the knowledge of all three of these.
Peter is not only writing to individuals, he is writing to churches. The congregations can realize this things and live accordingly. In fact, this is is what church should be like.
b. Salvation will be ultimately realized once leaving this earth. However, the reality of salvation is NOW, not just heaven.
We as Gcd’s people are not simply trying to “hang on” until we get to Heaven. We are to live in the present reality of salvation now. Again, tis is the reason for attending a church, to be encouraged by others and to learn God’s Word.
C. Verses 10-12
1. Prophets – these are the Old Testament prophets to whom God spoke. This shows us that the Gospel is not new, but has been God’s plan from eternity.
2. The sufferings of Christ were foretold – read Isaiah 53. Again, this has always been the plan of God. He did not have one plan for the people of Israel and another for the people of today.
3. The Gospel is from eternity, hidden in the Old Testament but revealed in the New Testament.
4. The Holy Spirit is the Teacher, the One Who reveals the Truth.
5. Even angels “lust” to learn the message. Yet, it is we today who have been given that great privilege. Take advantage of it.
What should be learned from this section?
A. God is in complete control, shields His people.
B. Suffering is not random but is part of God’s overall plan for His people.
C. Rejoicing is possible when one knows what God has said, studies to understand.
D. God alone is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory.
E. The Church has the tremendous privilege to search out the Lord Jesus Christ through His Word and through obedience.