The Shield of Faith

 “Praise 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, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade – kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.”  1 Peter 1:3-5

Most Christians know what God has done in the past to give us eternal life. The sacrifice of His Son Jesus on the cross satisfied the wrath of God against sinners. His resurrection from the dead made a way for us to be reborn, adopted into God’s family through faith.  God poured out His anger on Jesus so that we might be forgiven and cleansed from all unrighteousness.

Most Christians also know what God will do in the future to complete our salvation.  Christ will return for His bride, the Church. We will spend eternity in the presence of God, where an imperishable inheritance awaits all who persevere in the faith. There will be no more tears, sickness, injustice or death.

But what about now? What about the period of time between our conversion and final salvation? What about all of the temptations, struggles, anxiety, fear, suffering, and battles? How many Christians know what God is doing for us right now, in the midst of our journey on this earth? 1 Peter 1:5 says that God is shielding us by His power until the coming salvation that will be revealed in the last day. Furthermore, it says that we are shielded through faith.

What an amazing thought – that God Almighty has not only acted on our behalf in the past to save us, and will not only act on our behalf in the future when He gives us our inheritance, but is also actively protecting us now by His great power through faith. It is no coincidence that among the pieces of our armor, as listed in Ephesians 6:16, is the “shield of faith.” And we are instructed to: “Take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all of the flaming arrows of the evil one.”

What is God protecting us from? It isn’t death, because for a believer that would just be an instant entry into heaven. It’s not suffering, because in the next few verses Peter explains how suffering builds our faith. He does protect us from Satan, but he does not threaten our inheritance. There is only one thing a believer needs protection from…only one thing that can keep someone from heaven – unbelief. God’s power protects us by sustaining our faith. We must stand firm in our faith until the end to be saved (Matthew 10:22), and it is God’s power alone that makes that possible.

Perhaps this is why Hebrews 12:2 exhorts us to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, “the author and perfecter” of our faith. As long as our eyes are on Him and not our circumstances, our faith will continue to deepen. He is all the security we will ever need.

Dear God, I am awed by Your active work in my life. Not only have You given me life, You are sustaining me daily. You have not promised me an easy life, but You have promised to protect me by Your power. Help me to keep my eyes on You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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