Yesterday, I heard a sermon from 1 Peter entitled “A Living Hope”. Last night, I talked with a friend who shared her excitement that she may be able to adopt a little 1 year old boy after the first of the year.
She knew that was the hook I needed to keep me on the phone when the Survivor China finale was on!
She and her husband have two other adopted children and they have been praying for a few months about this particular little boy and how all the finances and other considerations might be worked out.
Well, the “God story” piece of this call was that the little boy has an inheritance! His college education will be paid for as well as all the adoption costs! When my friend protested that this was not necessary…the response she got was, “You don’t understand, you cannot say ‘no’, it is an inheritance!’
That conversation must have been meant to seal the sermon on 1 Peter deeper in my heart because I have pondered it all morning.
This letter written to exiles whose lives were anything but hope filled was built around the idea of the sure hope that one can have in an inheritance.
Peter’s heart was as full as my friend’s when he spoke the truth to suffering saints as deep encouragement and powerful help to persevere.
He wanted them to see with the eyes of faith to the other side of the persecution and alienation that they were enduring.
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade—kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time.
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
1 Peter 1:3-9
I was struck by the interweaving of hope and faith in Peter’s words.
Hope has come to us as part of the new birth–we do not have to work it up–it is a grace gift!
- it rests not on a vague feeling or wishful positive thoughts–it rests on the sure evidence that death was not the last word for Jesus–He was resurrected victoriously over death!
- since He lives eternally–we have a living hope–one that knows no end.
- since the inheritance is being guarded by the power of omnipotent and eternal God, we need not fear loss or that we will come to the end of our days and face bankruptcy.
- he describes the inheritance as imperishable, unspoiled, and gloriously and permanently brilliant — life eternal.
- Peter assures the readers that their hope is as secure as an inheritance–and gives them perspective on the present by reminding them that an inheritance is something you wait to receive.
However: The life he was promising as an inheritance contrasted with the reality they were living in the moment–their eyes saw people perishing, beauty and goodness spoiled by evil and light fading into suffocating darkness.
- Faith is introduced as the instrument that would give these suffering saints the “eyes” to “see” a greater reality than the one before their physical eyes.
- Faith would be the instrument through which they would receive God’s sustaining grace as they suffered and anticipated their secure inheritance that was being shielded and protected by the power of God.
Why? Peter’s answer is that what we cannot see is more precious to God than what we can!
- We don’t have eyes to see the dross of unbelief mixed in with faith–God does–faith is precious to Him so He refines it with the fires of suffering.
- We don’t have eyes to see the praiseworthiness of the Living One–Jesus —God does and He uses persevering faith through suffering to gain praise and glory for His precious Son!
How grateful I am for my friend’s phone call!
God used her words to reorient my vision…there was a real Survivor finale that took place over 2000 years ago and His victory–having survived death– secured my inheritance—I have a Living Hope!
Though I have not seen Him — I love Him and the unbeckoned joy that wells up and generates inexpressible delight as I ponder Peter’s words is evidence that I am receiving in the present an installment on my future inheritance.
I can’t say “No” it is an inheritance!
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!