“But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 ESV
The Lord Jesus was warning Peter and the other disciples that Satan wanted to pick them apart and destroy their faith. Jesus would soon be arrested and the disciples would all flee, as He foretold: “You will all fall away because of me this night. For it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be scattered’” (Matthew 26:31 ESV).
Of all the disciples, Peter would be the most devastated. He protested Christ’s prediction, yet Christ told him he would deny knowing Him three times that very night. And as that rooster crowed, Peter wept bitterly, overwhelmed by the shame of his denial of Jesus.
But there was a seed of hope sown into Christ’s words to Peter. Jesus had told Peter that he would turn again and be restored to a place where he would strengthen his brothers. Peter’s fall would be temporary; his faith would not fail fully or finally. Peter’s faithfulness to Christ would survive.
Why did his faith ultimately not fail? What kept Peter faithful despite such a spectacular setback?
The answer is found in those hope-filled words of Jesus before Peter’s fall: “But I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” The reason Peter’s faith did not ultimately fail is that Jesus interceded for him so that his faith would not be wiped out. Jesus was not telling Peter that he would have no temporary failure; rather, He was telling him that his faith would not ultimately disappear. The shell may be broken and crushed, but the seed will not be lost. And so Peter’s faith survived.
Christian, have you ever wondered why your faith in Christ does not ultimately fail? Sure, we all have setbacks, but we keep coming back. We repent and return and show our continued loyalty to our Lord and Savior. We keep believing. How is it that our faith is sustained? Why don’t true believers ultimately fall away?
It is because Jesus does the same thing for us as He did for Peter. As our Great High Priest, He intercedes for us, praying for our safe-keeping (John 17). And His intercession is always successful for His people (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25). The ultimate reason our faith will not fail is that Jesus will not allow it.
John Gill, the 18th century English Baptist pastor, comments on Christ’s gracious sustaining of our faith:
Satan in his temptations strikes principally at the faith of God’s people; that being a grace which gives much glory to God, and in the exercise of which believers have much peace, joy, and comfort; both which he envies and grudges; and it is also a shield which keeps off, and quenches his fiery darts, and is a piece of armour he is sadly harassed with, and therefore endeavours all he can to weaken and destroy it, or wrest it out of their hands: but though, through the power of sin, and the force of temptation, it may fail as to some degree of the steadfastness of it, as to the acting and exercise of it, and as to the sense believers may have of it; yet never as to its principle, it being an irrevocable gift of God’s grace; a work of his almighty power; a solid and substantial grace, even the substance of things hoped for; an immortal and incorruptible seed, and of which Christ is the author and finisher; and to nothing more is its security owing, than to the prayers of Christ, which are always heard, and to his powerful mediation, and prevalent intercession; Christ is the advocate of his people; he prays that they might have faith, and then he prays, that it may not fail; and it shall not, notwithstanding all the opposition of hell, and earth, unto it.
Our faith is an “irrevocable gift of God’s grace.” Therefore, Christ, in His continual grace to us, will never let our faith fail. Which is why we can be assured that, by faith, we will safely make it home.