#13 SHIELDED BY GOD’S POWER

Peter has already affirmed that those who believe in Christ possess a sure and certain salvation. Peter’s certainty is grounded in his unshakeable confidence in God.

In 1Peter 1:4 he affirmed that the believers’ inheritance is kept in heaven for them. Now in verse 5 he tells us that believers are themselves ‘shielded by God’s power’ pending the return of Christ, and the fullness of salvation that will be revealed at that time.

‘Shielded’ contains all the meaning of ‘kept’ in verse 4, but with an additional, stronger aspect. It is used to refer to a military guard; it is used to refer to a military sentinel or lookout. God is watching over us. He is ‘on guard’. He is alert. He is watchful. He is protecting us.

But Peter is more specific. Those who believe in Christ are ‘shielded by God’s power’.

The same almighty power by which God created the entire universe, is the power that shields every genuine Christian.

The same almighty power by which God continues to sustain the entire universe, is the power that shields every genuine Christian.

The same almighty power by which God has worked amazing miracles, is the power that shields all true believers.

The same almighty power by which God raised Christ from death to life, and seated him at his right hand in glory, is the power that shields all who truly acknowledge Christ.

The same almighty power that is embedded in the Gospel of salvation and has raised us also from spiritual death to eternal life, is the power that shields those whom God has set apart as his own.

Peter is not talking in this context about any power that God may have given to believers – such as empowerment to teach his Word, to perform miracles, to live godly lives. Rather he is clearly speaking of the power of God which is active for or on behalf of believers in saving them and keeping them saved. It is God’s power by which God deliberately and actively keeps believers safe. It is God in powerful action watching over his people; it is not our use of any powers or gifting he may have given to us.

Nor can we understand that this protective, shielding, keeping action of God towards his people is primarily to do with the things of this life, though it may, at any moment, include any of these:

It is not about God shielding us from physical danger.
It is not about God shielding us from physical illness.
It is not about God shielding us from financial disaster.
It is not about God shielding us from relationship failure.
It is not about God shielding us from religious persecution.
It is not about God shielding us from death.

God can, and at times does, shield us from these physical, temporal things. And he certainly does limit them to what we are able to bear, as Paul testifies in 1Corinthians 10:11-13. In this sense, when God shields us from physical harm he is also at the same time shielding us from spiritual harm in the sense of which Peter speaks: that God is shielding us by his power, keeping us spiritually safe by his power, pending the return of Christ and our ultimate salvation. The shielding by God Peter speaks of is God shielding us, his dearly loved children, even in the midst of any or all of the above traumas and tragedies, and making sure that we will be there with Christ on the last day. Still believing. Still standing firm. Despite the circumstances of our lives.

Peter has thus reminded us of a double barrelled assurance, a double-sided certainty:

That salvation is kept safe by God for those who believe in Christ – verse 4. It is kept in heaven.

That those who believe in Christ are kept safe by God for salvation – verse 5. We are kept for heaven.

Let us join with Peter in this glorious confidence – ‘Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ who ‘in his great mercy’ established us in this ‘living hope’ [verse 3].

© Rosemary Bardsley 2017