Injustice is difficult to endure. Suffering for your mistakes is one thing; but suffering when you are right, and because you are righteous, is another matter. Peter was writing to a people who were suffering because they were Christians. They were suffering for righteousness sake. He did not set before them a long, theological treatise on suffering; nor did he posit a “stiff-upper-lip” counsel. He reminded the believers that they had a hope outside of, and distinct from, this world’s hopes. The nation of Israel had an earthly hope; Gentiles had their vain hopes. We have a living hope, a reality that is absolutely secure. It has been secured by precious blood and is being reserved by the power of God. That hope is deathless, spotless, and timeless: “incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1Peter 1:4). It is reserved for us and we for it (vv 4, 5).
The present may mean the “trial of their faith” (v7) and of ours, but it will eventuate in the fruit of that trial resulting in praise, honor, and glory when He is unveiled to the universe. Nothing that has been of value to Him on earth will ever be lost in eternity. All will have eternal consequences.
What is it that is innate to the human heart and for which it longs? What is it that artists, writers, and even musicians convey in their best works? What does each fairy tale that thrilled us as children, each novel we had to read in school, each poet’s writing, and each news event of the current day contain that resonates within us? We all long for a sense of justice: that right will triumph, that virtue is rewarded, and that goodness prevails.
We recoil at the triumph of evil; we resent when vice is applauded and when virtue is scorned. We desperately want right to triumph over evil.
We all long, as well, for love with the security and significance that it conveys to us; to have a relationship in which the warmth of love so enfolds us as to be made special in the eyes of the one who loves.
Paul sat in a lonely dungeon in Rome awaiting an executioner. He had been unrighteously condemned and was to be put to death. Paul’s mind went to another Who had been unjustly maligned and crucified. His mind rushed onward to the day of Christ’s appearing. He longed for it, looked for it, and loved it (2Tim 4:8). His appearing! His vindication and glory will then be complete. The world that crucified and cast Him out will see Him return in majesty and glory. He will be “unveiled” for wondering worlds to behold. Right will triumph; justice will be seen; virtue will be recognized and worshiped.
In that day, all that is good will be confirmed and valued by those who enter the kingdom.
What will it be like to be loved eternally, with an uninterrupted enjoyment of that love, never to be obscured by clouds of doubt or winds of change?
At His appearing, every hope will be realized and every heart will be thrilled. In the memorable words of the old preacher’s Good Friday sermon: “It’s Friday now; but Sunday’s coming.”