1 Peter 1:5, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
There is a marked difference between being kept and being spared. Though many today hope against hope that there was a misprint in the Bible, or that the translation from the original Greek got a little wonky along the way, nowhere in the Book does it say we will be spared trials, afflictions or tribulations, but rather that we will be kept through them by the power of God, through faith for salvation.
I realize full well that many believers today feel as though they are entitled to be spared trials and tribulations. They feel as though they are deserving to not be called upon to endure hardships or afflictions, but oddly enough this sort of believer is mostly clustered in western nations, who have, as yet, not had to endure for the cause of Christ, or suffer what so many throughout the world are currently suffering today.
There seems to be a total disconnect between what other Christians are going through in many other nations on the globe, and what we feel we are entitled to or believe salvation, reconciliation, and redemption to be.
We have redefined salvation over and over again until all it means for many people today is God giving us stuff, making us rich, improving our self-esteem and giving us our dream spouse. Never mind the fact that none of these things were either implied or inferred in the Bible, nor were they promised by Jesus in any way. Never mind the fact that all our expectations seem to be geared toward the earthly, the banal, the temporal and the meaningless; it’s all good as long as we can find a way to spiritualize greed and covetousness.
It is because of the false view and understanding many have concerning salvation and the promises of God that I believe the soon coming falling away will be shattering even to those now considered pessimists and doomsayers.
When we look at what much of the church is expecting of God – because the leaders are teaching them over and over again that these are the things they ought to expect – we can see a perfect storm brewing, wherein a great majority of today’s professing Christians will feel as though God failed them, abandoned them, and left them to suffer needlessly. They will not blame the men they followed, and they will not look to the Word to see that what they believed was a lie. They will simply shake their fists at God as Israel of old, deranged by their anger and bitterness toward Him.
Understanding the difference between being kept and being spared is necessary in order to be in the right frame of mind so that one might endure to the end. If I perceive my trials and tribulations as God’s means of refining me and proving the genuineness of my faith, then I will suffer joyfully towards this end. If, however, I perceive my trials and tribulations as something I ought to have been spared from, as something I was promised I would be spared from, then I will inevitably grow bitter and disillusioned while going through them, doing my utmost to spare myself and avoid said trials altogether.
Peter was not a novice when it came to trials, or the notion of being kept through them rather than being spared from them. It was to Peter that Jesus said, ‘Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith should not fail.’
Why not pray for him that he might be spared the sifting? Why not pray for him that he might be able to avoid the trial altogether? Why just pray that his faith should not fail? Because the genuineness of our faith must be tested, that it may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
What keeps us is not ourselves, it is not our own strength, it is not our own tolerance for hardship or pain, but rather the power of God, through faith, for salvation.
We are kept by the power of God, and knowing that the power of God is supreme above all powers, we rest in the knowledge that He will carry us through, being ever faithful and true.
With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.