For many the state of our country and if truth be told, the state the world in general, is one that leads some to believe the future seems hopeless. I am not referring to the politics of the day, it is a situation of “the world is ok…I just don’t like the people in it”. God did not create us to be solitary creatures devoid of any contact with people and things around us. Relationships matter, interaction among all people is important. The attitudes and the discord of the day marginalize our ability to take the gospel to others. For many Christians this can be a time of hopelessness. We need the assurances of others of the faith to strengthen us and we need to share with others, we need to be doing the work of the kingdom. With this in mind I return to 1 Peter this week, Chapter 1: 1-9.
Peter brings hope to us of the faith in the first two verses of this chapter. These people, the Gentiles had no hope, they lived a very futile life. Now the conceptions of those who lived outside the mercy of God no longer applies to them. They had become believers, they are now a part of the family of God, hope, mercy and salvation are now theirs through the cross and the blood of Jesus Christ. This applies to you and I this very day and all the privileges that once belonged to Israel now belong to us and the Christian Church. There is a point to be made here. During the Diaspora the Jews were scattered to all the countries outside of Palestine. During these times of trouble they were forcibly deported from their native lands, thus they were different from other people and treated as such. Now things are different and the ones who are different are the Christians. We are in a sense exiles in the world, for our home is in eternity, with our God. This world for the most part is hostile to us and our God and faith. The uplifting thing here is we are now a part of the Family of God. Of course there comes with that honor a challenge and serious responsibility. He honors us by choosing us to be a part of His purposes for his creations. We are the exiles of eternity. We are not expected to withdraw from the world but it is our responsibility to remain apart from the sins and temptations of this world.
Christians, when we pray… ‘Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ’ we are praying to the God who is like Jesus Christ. It is through Jesus Christ that we have come to know our God and in whom we put our trust, faith and confidence. We have been reborn into a new life. The changes in our lives should be so great that the only explanation could be a re-birth, fueled by God and the Holy Spirit. We have asked that the Holy Spirit possess and re-create us. It is one of our responsibilities as children of God to ensure that the word of truth prevails in this world and among all the people. We are the first fruits of a new creation. We have been lifted from this world of sin and defeat. We are now in touch and aware of this promise of eternity and salvation. We have been reborn into a state of living hope. Righteousness is reborn and should we fall, we have in us now the power and grace of God to rise again. We are free to love all people because the power of unforgiving bitterness and self-centered attitudes has been replaced with the sacrificial love of God. We have learned how to have a victorious life in living and serving Jesus Christ. The points of hope for Christians are many. There is the hope that is now a reality, the great inheritance….that word inheritance means something we will possess in the future. To the born again, those in the faith it means something different. Biblical meaning is a secure possession now, for all God’s children, repeat all God’s family. We belong to and serve God and because of this, The Inheritance, will endure forever. As we make our way through this world we are protected by the power of God.
Peter lays before them the fact that their Christianity will bring upon them certain persecution and at times agonizing experiences. Endurance…rejoice! But you can stand anything brought against you. At the end there will be the inheritance, every trial is a test but there will God’s Grace to strengthen our endurance. There is the undeniable truth that at the end Jesus Christ will appear and we will hear that wondrous ‘well done’.
Don’t give up hope, never surrender to the evil of unbelief, keep the faith.
1 John 3
1 See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 2 Beloved, we are God’s children now; what we will be has not yet been revealed. What we do know is this: when he[a] is revealed, we will be like him, for we will see him as he is. 3 And all who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure.
As the hymn has it:
Jesus, these eyes have never seen That radiant form of thine;
The veil of sense hangs dark between Thy blessed face and mine.
I see thee not, I hear thee not, Yet art thou oft with me;
And earth hath ne’er so dear a spot As where I meet with thee.
Yet, though I have not seen, and still Must rest in faith alone,
I love thee, dearest Lord, and will, Unseen but not unknown.
When death these mortal eyes shall seal, And still this throbbing heart,
The rending veil shall thee reveal All glorious as thou art.
Thanks for joining us in the Pew
Life is Good