I have been spending a little time in I Peter again this week. I just love that letter and the more I study it the more that I see everything important is there.
Yesterday in Bible study we looked at the first 13 verses of the book.
Peter is writing to the elect exiles of the dispersion scattered in Asia Minor. These folks were uprooted from their homes in and around Jerusalem and forced to run for their lives around the time Stephen was stoned. see Acts 7-11.
The key bits are here in verses 3-9:
3(G) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!(H) According to his great mercy,(I) he has caused us to be born again to a living hope(J) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4to(K) an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and(L)unfading,(M) kept in heaven for you, 5who by God’s power are being guarded(N) through faith for a salvation(O) ready to be revealed in the last time. 6In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by(P) various trials, 7so that(Q) the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes(R) though it is tested by(S) fire—may be found to result in(T) praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 8(U)Though you have not seen him, you love him.(V) Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, 9obtaining(W) the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
he reminds them of the work God did in saving them and the thing for which they have been and are being saved. A living hope, to an inheritance of epic proportions. Then he references the terrible things that have happened to them and will continue to happen to them (see chapter 4) because of their following Christ. (as an aside, isn’t it interesting that he mentions that we are guarded by God’s power through faith for salvation. Thank God and His mercy and grace that we had the faith to believe in Him when we woke up this morning. what a wonderful blessed relief that my faith doesn’t depend on my power.)
then he gets to verse 13 which is one of my favorites.
13Therefore, girding up the loins of your mind, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
the italicized portion is the word picture Peter used to mean gathering up the loose ends and tucking them in your belt so that you are ready for action. Can’t be tripping over the dress tail of our mind as we engage in setting our “hope fully on the grace” that will be brought to us when Jesus Christ is revealed.
So here are my questions for the guys yesterday and for all of us today:
Is it even possible for us christians who make up the modern evangelical church in America to “set our hope fully on the grace to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ”?
Can we do it if our faith hasn’t been tested in fire and found to be genuine?
Can we do it if we continue to be torn between our stuff here and our own vision of the way the world ought to be for us here and the imperishable undefiled unfading inheritance that is yet to come?
If so, how?
If not, what does that mean needs to happen to us?