Why is there so much pain and evil in the world? To help us tackle that question we are going to look at 1 Peter chapter 1.
1 Peter 1:1, “1 Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen”
- Scattered: The word “scattered” is used in verse 1 because the original audience was going through heavy persecution from the Roman Empire, and personally experiencing pain and evil in their lives.
- Do a quick google search on the life of Nero!
- Key: It is important to remember that what we see today is not what the God of Scripture created in the very beginning. If you look at Genesis 1 you will see the God of Scripture created everything to be perfect. But then in Genesis 3 we see our sin show up and ruin everything God created to be good, so that today we see pain and evil.
1 Peter 1:2, “2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, by the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to obey Jesus Christ and be sprinkled with His blood: May grace and peace be yours in the fullest measure.”
- Foreknowledge of God the Father: The word “foreknowledge” means God the Father chose those who are in Christ to be His before the foundation of the earth. Jeremiah 1, in the Old Testament, says it like this, “The Lord says, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.’” The word “know” doesn’t mean “He knew about you”, but it means God the Father “Has His mind on you on you before the foundations of the earth.”
- Key: Remember, the original audience is living under the persecution of the Roman Empire. They are losing their homes. They are losing loved ones. They are going through life altering events. It would have been easy for them to conclude, “I guess God doesn’t care. I guess God doesn’t love me. I guess God didn’t know this was going to happen.” But, the Apostle Peter assures them, “No, God the Father is not okay with the pain and evil in this world, He has a plan, He is working, and He has had you on His mind from the very beginning.”
1 Peter 1:3, “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,”
- Living Hope: The words, “living hope” isn’t like a “positive attitude” where we hope everything is going to work out in the end, but the word “hope” is quantified as “living hope” because Jesus Christ has conquered pain and evil through the resurrection.
- Key: Please don’t misunderstand; the Apostle Peter is not glazing over the pain and evil of this world, and simply saying, “Jesus take the wheel!” No, pain and evil is real. The Apostle Peter at this moment is living through that pain and evil in his own life. In verse 1 the Apostle Peter writes, “You have been scattered to and fro throughout modern day Turkey.” There is sorrow. There is grief. There is sadness. We never want to glaze over pain and evil like it isn’t painful and evil,but, at the same time the Apostle Peter is gently reminding them of their “living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
1 Peter 1:4-5, “4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”
- Inheritance: An inheritance to be received through faith in Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection we are adopted into His family. We are made Sons and Daughters of the Most High.
- Imperishable: It will never rot, never spoil, never expire, never grow old and tired.
- Undefiled: It will never be manipulated by human hands.
- Unfading: It is briliant in glory, radiant in beauty.
- Reserved: It is unaffected by the financial markets, theives, disease, death, or destruction.
- Power of God: It is yours!
- Key: I walk myself through those truths all the time. Right now my mom is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and Schizophrenia, and I visit her once a week. Probably every other visit when I leave I am just trying to make it to my car before I break out in uncontrollable tears. It isn’t necessarily because of watching my mom go through these horrible diseases, but because I am also watching 25 other men and women from all walks of life who live in her facility go through similar pain and evil of this world. It’s crushing! Therefore, in those moments I weep. The heart of God weeps. This world we see isn’t what He created this world to look like. When Jesus engages Martha and Mary about their brother Lazarus who had just died it says, “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) And at the same time, I walk myself through these truths in 1 Peter, “There is pain and evil, we grieve pain and evil, but in Jesus Christ there is a living hope that is greater than the pain and evil in this world.”
1 Peter 1:6, “6 In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials”
- This: The “this” is the reference to all that is being described in verses 1-5, so that the Apostle Peter is writing, “In this living hope you greatly rejoice.”
- Key: It doesn’t mean we don’t grieve. It doesn’t mean we need to fake it till we make it. It doesn’t mean we need to grin and bear it.I n fact, the word “distressed” at the end of verse 6 means grieve, so the Apostle Peter is describing this supernatural effect of the gospel where we greatly rejoice in this living hope we have in Jesus, and grieve at the same time. How does that happen? I don’t know!
I am sorry for the pain and evil you have experienced in life, but but don’t let pain and evil win. Please, don’t harden your heart. The God of Scripture loves you. He chose to put His love upon you before you were ever born. He’s not indifferent. He does care. He is working and in Him there is living, never ending, eternal hope.