The Apostle Peter shows us in his first epistle that we are …”kept by the power of God though faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (I Peter 1:5).
We are saved by grace, Jesus’ death for our sins which is the atonement. There is no work we can do to keep our salvation apart from faith, as Peter affirms. We are kept by the power of God. The power of God in the believer is the Holy Spirit, which is also Jesus’ Spirit (Romans 8:9, Matthew 10:20). The Holy Spirit of eternal life is united with the soul through faith in the atonement. Without that connection, the soul cannot ascend into God’s presence after the death of the body. The Holy Spirit is retained in the believer through the precious element of faith. Where there is no faith, there can be no salvation. If there is no salvation, there can be no hope for the future, because without salvation nothing good awaits us but death and the cold, icy, outer darkness of an eternity without God (Matthew 8:12,22:13, 25:30). Therefore, our faith is our most valuable possession, our greatest treasure.
When Peter penned these words, the church was experiencing severe persecution. Peter was eventually martyred by Nero, the instigator of those atrocities against God’s people. Likewise, today, similar persecutions are taking place against God’s people all over the world. Jesus forewarned us of this persecution, and it would only increase as we draw closer to the Lord’s coming (Matthew 24:9).
In spite of these hardships and cruelty, Peter tells us that we are to rejoice in the salvation that is our assurance of eternity and future blessings. -
“Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried by fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ”
(I Peter 1:6,7).
Your faith is more precious than gold that perishes. Your faith is the element that enables the power of God to preserve your soul, your person – you. Gold, we are told, will cease to exist. In relation to eternity it has no real value and is incapable of keeping your soul from perishing. Only the priceless treasure of your faith is worth holding onto at any cost.
There are many who want to see you and your faith destroyed. They want you to deny your Lord and Savior, Jesus the Messiah. Jesus said, that whoever denies Him, He will deny before the Father and the angels (Matthew 10:33). When the atonement is eliminated, faith is vain, our treasure is dissipated, for “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Our faith must be in the Jesus of the Bible, the One exemplified by the apostles, and not someone else’s version of Him.
The atonement, Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins, is the foundation of the Christian faith. Without it, there can be no salvation, no hope for the soul. Your faith is your lifeline. Fight for it, treasure it, and be willing to endure anything to keep it. Guard it jealously and refuse to let anyone take it from you.
Cleave to the words of Jesus and His apostles; let them surround you with their wisdom and their protection. God has orchestrated His words through them to keep you safe.
And always remember that your faith in Jesus makes you rich, no matter what your financial situation is in this life. You cannot be wealthy without it, no matter how much perishable gold you have managed to acquire. Learn to value your faith more than the earthly gold that perishes.
Copyright 2020 by H.D. Shively
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