The Protection of Faith
1 Peter 1:3-9
“Who are protected by the power of God through faith.”
How do we navigate through all the contradictory information and perspectives in our world today? In Matthew 24:24, Christ warns that we will see a significant increase in false teachers claiming to be from God as we get closer to His return. So deceptive will be their message that it will threaten to “mislead, if possible, even the elect.” We certainly see a hint of that prophecy being fulfilled in our culture today. There are many teachers today who proclaim the righteousness of a new morality and a new understanding of Scripture. Some are eloquent preachers who affirm Biblical doctrines but fail to live according to the message they proclaim (2 Peter 2;1). Others uphold aspects of Biblical teaching but deny or ignore other parts that do not fit their narrative. They teach only the portions of the Bible that support their twisted ideology (1 John 4:1). Others come teaching what people want to hear, drawing crowds rather than making disciples (2 Timothy 4:3-4). These false teachers promise prosperity and salvation without transformation, a new, more enlightened morality that rejects Biblical truth, or a view of God that conforms to our characterizations rather than Scripture. With all the false teachers today, how do we discover the truth?
For Peter, the answer lies in a life of faith. Throughout the Bible, we discover that God takes personal responsibility for the spiritual care of His people and protects His people from the subtle deception of false teachers (John 10:28-30; John 17:15). In 1 Peter 1:5, Peter presents God as an attentive watchman keeping us under His protective gaze. However, the link between His protective care and our daily life is faith. When we walk by faith, then we are embracing His care and purpose for our life. The result is that our faith becomes the basis for a joy that is inexpressible and full of glory and enables us to “obtain as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls (vs. 9).
To be protected by God from the onslaught of false teaching, we need to live by faith. Our faith affirms two essential truths. First, it is riveted upon the unchanging Word of God. By faith, we accept that God has clearly spoken in His word and that the Bible comes to us because “men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God” (2 Peter 1:21). Because the Bible is from God, it is without error (Psalm 119:140; John 17:17; Isaiah 40:8; Matthew 5:18; Hebrews 6:18). Therefore, it becomes the basis and standard of all truth. If anyone teaches a message different from the message of Scripture, rejects any part of Scripture, or alters the message in any way, they are false teachers to be rejected (see Galatians 1:6-9).
Second, faith accepts God for who He is as He has revealed Himself rather than who we want Him to be. We cannot pick one aspect of God (for example, His love) and then reject another attribute (for instance, His justice and wrath). To deny any attribute of God is to create an idol—a different god we worship. Faith recognizes that God has revealed Himself in His word, and we are to accept Him for who He is. When we trust in God’s Word and acknowledge God in the totality of His character, then we will be able to identify and avoid the deception of false teachers. Living by faith means we evaluate morality and truth, not by popular culture or popular ideology, but by the Bible and the revealed character of God.