“He will also keep you firm to the end, so that you will be blameless on the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 1 Corinthians 1:8 (NIV)
Our verse today is a promise from the first letter the Apostle Paul wrote to the believers in Corinth. The Christians at Corinth had become God’s children when they listened to Paul’s preaching to them and believed in Jesus as a result. Paul knew that as he traveled he would leave believers behind and he knew that they would face trails and temptations and that God would take care of them. None of us can live our Christian lives by ourselves in our own strength but we can trust in God to help us stand firm in the face of testing. His promise is that He will keep us firm and He will keep us that way until the very end when because of Him we will be counted blameless. No matter what the situations are that we face today our Lord knows our needs. He knows when we feel weak and we can receive strength when we remember that God has promised to keep us firm in our faith to the end – and He will do it.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” – 1 Peter 4:12-13 (ESV)
Suffering is no fun. But there is a suffering that comes to every faith believer. It’s an unjust kind of suffering. All who truly follow Christ, are recipients of accusations, slander, maligning, and unwarranted actions by others who do not know Jesus as Savior and Lord. As we factually consider the causes and actions and lay them out, our reaction typically is; “They have no right to think or say that. We’ve done nothing to deserve this treatment. Yet it happens. It’s just not fair!” Why do we react that way and cry out for fair dealing? We do so because it’s easy to expect that our life of following Christ to be free of such treatment – it should be easy. For a while in our western world we have happily gone along with that assumption. However, our promise in 1 Peter 4:12 is that fiery trials will come and we shouldn’t be surprised when they do. As the Apostle Peter wrote, we should not think “something strange” was happening to us. Instead, if our suffering is a response from the world to our boldly professing the name of Jesus as Lord and Savior, our reaction should be rejoicing.