1Pe 1:3-9 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, (4) to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, (5) who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (6) In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, (7) that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, (8) whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, (9) receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls. (NKJV)
The above was the text for our second men’s group meeting on the book of 1 Peter. Delving into this passage, we found a fairly strong hint that Peter was probably thinking about his own experience with trials, how he had failed, but his faith did not. We kept in close view the passage about Peter’s denial of Christ in Luke. Notice in the passage below that after the Lord had told Peter his faith would not fail, He tells him, ‘when you have returned to Me.’ You may well ask, ‘Why is that important?’ It is important because Jesus told him ‘when’ and not ‘if.’ Peter’s faith was in the hands of God. We may fail in our trials and temptations, but our faith will not if it comes from God.
Luk 22:31-34 And the Lord said, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. (32) But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” (33) But he said to Him, “Lord, I am ready to go with You, both to prison and to death.” (34) Then He said, “I tell you, Peter, the rooster shall not crow this day before you will deny three times that you know Me.” (NKJV)
Just to throw this in, I made the point in our group that too many times men who would serve in their church are restricted from service due to sin in their past, even sins committed while they were Christians. This however is a terrible wrong to the body of Christ. Men whom God have restored, should not be thrown aside as the refuse of the Christian faith by ‘well-meaning’ church leaders. To disqualify people because of sin – sin which has been repented of – would disqualify every last one of us. Saying all of this, I understand that time will tell if someone has truly repented and God will put His people where He wants them when He wants them there. So I offer this question for thought: “When Paul is giving the qualifications for deacons and elders in 1 Timothy, is he basing these qualifications on who they were, or who they are now?”