I was flipping through a collection of readings by John Wesley early this morning, and came across a message that fits in perfectly with the post I made yesterday. His sermon is based on I Peter 1, in which Peter discusses various trials and temptations that befall us.
I Peter 1:3-9 3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade-kept in heaven for you, 5who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7These have come so that your faith-of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
Here is the message from Wesley on that passage:
There is a near relationship between the darkness of mind in the wilderness state and heaviness of soul, which is more common among believers. The resemblance is so great that they are frequently confounded together. But they are not equivalent terms; far, far, from it. The difference is so wide and essential, as all the children of God need to understand, to prevent them sliding out of heaviness into darkness.
The manner of persons to whom the apostle Peter wrote the above words were believers at that time. He expressly says (I Peter 1:5) you are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation. Again (I Peter 1:7), he mentions the trial of their faith; and yet again (I Peter 1:9), he speaks of their receiving the end of their faith, the salvation of their souls. So, though they were in heaviness, they were possessed of living faith. The apostle prays (I Peter 1:2) not that grace and peace may be given them, but that it may be multiplied.
They were also full of a living hope. For he speaks (I Peter 1:3) of their living hope of their inheritance that fadeth not away. In spite of their heaviness, they still retained a hope full of immortality. And they still rejoiced (I Peter 1:8) with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Their heaviness, then, was also consistent both with living hope and inexpressible joy!
Our God is good. It’s through this message by Peter that God tells us we are kept by His power through our faith unto salvation. No matter the burden, trials, temptations, or sins, Christ died for us once, for all. I Peter 3:18 Satan wants the burden of our sin to cast doubt with our faith to lead us into darkness, but we are given the living hope through Jesus and as such we should be rejoiceful, not disheartened.