Today you should read: 1 Peter 2:18-25
Apparently, Peter isn’t a fan of the prosperity gospel. If the previous chapter and a half didn’t give it away yet, chapter 2:18-25 surely will.
The lie that many Christians have bought into — and many poor Bible teachers have propagated — is that if you walk with God, you’ll be free of life’s troubles. You’ll get more money and fame. You’ll have the picture-perfect family. You won’t face anything difficult. The problem with that is, well, Jesus. No one walked more closely with God than He did. Where did it take Him? To the cross. His treasure wasn’t here on earth; it awaited Him where He is today, at the right hand of the throne of God.
When you look at most of the faith-filled Bible characters we deem heroes, their devotion to God led to suffering for God. Ultimately, this brought glory to God and advanced His kingdom, which we would wisely see as God’s ultimate goal. Prosperity gospel proponents must do some serious hermeneutical gymnastics to get around passages like today’s reading. These passages bring so much clarity to the Christian life. They teach us that a true life in Christ is more about Jesus being our treasure, not the stuff He gives us. But in a culture where gift is elevated above Giver, this becomes increasingly more difficult to keep in proper perspective.
The reality that we need to keep, at least in the back of our minds, is this: our faith will become difficult at times, and we may be met with persecution and suffering. Please don’t misunderstand me: nowhere in scripture is the desire for suffering condoned, but we should expect it to come not only in spite of our faith, but at times because of it. Yes, you heard that correctly. Living for Jesus may lead to suffering. Sounds a little different from the misguided foolishness of the prosperity gospel, doesn’t it?
We must all be reminded that we deserved to suffer for all of eternity. We chose our own way, and sin has devastatingly marred our planet. God could have left us to our own devices and damned us to hell for eternity. Instead, He offered us hope. Let’s rejoice today in the fact that the most harsh suffering we would have faced was taken on by Jesus in our place. That’s the hope Peter gives us in v.21-25:
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:21-25, ESV)
What do I apply from today’s passage? A few simple ideas:
1) Rejoice in the truth that you won’t suffer for your sins for eternity. Jesus already did that for you!
2) Don’t allow sin to rule in your life! Jesus didn’t die so you could continue to enjoy your sinful lusts. His resurrection proved that, through Him, sin is defeated. Don’t love what God hates.
3) When suffering comes, keep the gospel in mind. Suffer well. Others are watching. How we respond to suffering reflects how deeply we believe in Jesus.
4) Steer clear of prosperity gospel teachers. They do little to help us keep our grasp on the true gospel. Health, wealth, and prosperity is promised to us in the gospel, but not here on this planet until the New Heavens and New Earth arrive. Anyone who teaches that if you follow Jesus, you will prosper in any other way but spiritually is peddling claims that Jesus never made. More on false teachers is coming in 2 Peter…
Much love to you CPC!
Posted by: Todd Thomas