Eternal Security: by a Fallen Disciple
Who better to write about eternal security than a fallen disciple? After setting forth a string of reasons for the believer’s eternal security, such as protected by the power of God (1:5), Peter shifts his focus to the believer’s faith. “In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith or (your proven faith), being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (1Peter 1:6-7 emphases added)
Proven faith or faith that stands firm when tested will result in praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ returns. Such a faith is not manufactured by fallen sinners, who are alienated from God by inborn sin and sins of choice. Such faith is given by God who saves by grace alone, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen and establish you.” (1Peter 5:10 emphases added) However, what if a Christian’s faith fails him; he falls into sin, and denies the Lord who suffered for him, can he remain secure in the knowledge that he possesses proven faith?
Peter is the New Testament’s supreme example of a failed faith and a miraculous restoration. When Peter was feeling secure in his position in Christ’s kingdom, the first among three in the inner circle, he arrogantly said, “even if I have to die with you I will not deny you.” Peter’s denial of Jesus is one of the most famous stories in the gospels. In the midst of Jesus’ horrific trial and Peter’s tri-fold denial of Him we read, “The Lord turned and looked at Peter;” can you imagine the effect of that glance? “And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, "Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times." And he went out and wept bitterly.” (Luke 22:61-62)
Peter’s sorrow for having denied Christ was no small whimper; in the Greek, he wept violently. When I was about 10 years old, I heard a car on the next block roar down the street; it was followed by a very loud screech and a thud. As I ran out from between the houses, I saw a woman in her fifties come out of her house with her hands in the air and screaming, “You killed my mother.” Her deaf eighty-year-old mother could not hear the car as it approached; slumped and leaning on his car was a teenager, who needed protection by several men from a woman frantic with grief. Her cry was one of the most violent I have ever heard.
Peter did not lose His mother; he lost the Son of God, love incarnate, the lover of his soul, who forgave his sins, of whom he said, “"Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” How does one recover from loosing God, especially after having denied Him in His greatest hour of need? A person cannot recover, except God comfort, console, and restore him as Christ did for Peter. In John 21, while on the shore having breakfast, Jesus said to Simon (his name means shifting sand); “Do you love me sacrificially?” He replied, “You know I have fond affection for you.” Christ said a second time to Simon, “Do you love me sacrificially” He responded again, “Yes Lord, You know that I have fond affection for you.” Jesus said a third time, “Do you have fond affection for me?” The scripture says, “Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you have fond affection for Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I have fond affection for You." Jesus said to Simon; feed my sheep.
Because Peter denied our Lord, he learned not to trust in his own ability to serve God. In addition, he became a humbler servant, which is why he could not say, “I love you sacrificially” when in fact he had not. Peter was broken under the weight of his sin, and once restored he could focus his faith more clearly on Christ and not himself.
Is it any wonder that Peter, who was so wonderfully restored in faith by the Lord Jesus, would write so convincingly of the power of Christ to strengthen and restore our faith, which is the proof of our love and devotion to Him?
The believer is protected by the power of God, who infuses him with faith that withstands trials, or restores it when He allows it to fail!