3 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, 4 and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, 5 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. 6 In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 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, 9 for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
When I think of ‘saved’, I think of a past act that happened once and for all. The Christian lingo for that would be ‘justification’. I am justified, and it means that it’s just if I’d never sinned. There is some truth to that, but it is not the complete picture. The complete picture is that God’s salvation was given to me once and for all, but it continues to cover me. It is saving me as I write this. It will save me from all the consequences of my sin in the future. It is cleansing me and creating in me a new identity. If I leave salvation in the past, I can not allow the new identity I have in Christ to become a reality. It is like the cleaner that I put on my bath. It is applied once, but as it sits there it cleans away all the scum that tries to hide underneath. I am covered by the cross of Christ, but as it sits in my life it wars with my desires and my false identity to reveal the reality of God’s purpose for me.
When I see the descriptors in the passage, I know that they are all mine. They are given to me by the cross. However, dwelling with Jesus in an intimate relationship cleans away all the lies that cover them. I am able to rejoice more now than I could last week. I feel more secure today than I did yesterday. Why? Because a person who is saved is secure, accepted, forgiven, has hope and rejoices. Who I will be has not been revealed, however, at the same time I know who I am. I want to declare that to myself so that it becomes a reality as Peter’s first recipients also had to do.
Jesus, bring your salvation in such a way that your cross cleanses me in the way it was designed to do. help us all not to shy away from admitting where our ambitions and our will falls short. help us to endure the pain of washing away the corruption so that our true identity shows through.
- What is the role of salvation in the passage?
- What words define the recipients?
- Why do they need to hear who they are?
- How does a false sense of self hide your true self from you?
- How does salvation strip away your false ideas of self over time?
Salvation is not a one time event, it is a continual process of becoming our true identity in Christ. The recipients of this passage are inheritors, protected, rejoicers, those who endure, lovers of God, and believers. They need to be reminded of who they are as encouragement that this temporary life does not truly matter. The trials will make us more like Him but will never change who we are in Him. All the hardships of life can only benefit us because what matters cannot be taken away from us. A false sense of self self-justifies and prevents you from seeing your desperate need of being justified by God through Christ alone. Our salvation allows us to kill our flesh (no power to do this on our own, only through the Holy Spirit), which is focused on self, and conform us to the image of Christ – making us new creations.
Today in chapel “Acts of Renewal” performed. There theme yesterday was forgiveness, today it was stress. One thing they talked about was the benefits of Jesus’ resurrection. Because Jesus has risen from the grave that means He’s alive today and He;s present in our lives. Part of Matthew 28:20 was quoted, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
Here we see that it’s “through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” that we are “born again to a LIVING HOPE” (emphasis mine).
I think I’m often thoughtless when it comes to Jesus’ present work, meaning I’m thought-less; I don’t think much about it! But how that would help decrease stress I’m sure to simply believe God’s precious truth that the presence of Jesus is with me! It’s funny but even now as I write this I feel how humbling it is actually believe Scripture. In my flesh I don’t want to find my hope in another Person, in God’s words.. It seems to easy, my pride wants to accomplish something in order to earn Jesus’ presence. No, He’s just with me because I’m His and because He loves me? Even still my flesh resists the gospel.. I think, He couldn’t have done it all. No wonder Jesus said those startling words, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom.” Matthew 18:3
Isn’t it awful how we can think we are “too good” for the Scriptures? So often we approach them with unbelief. Because Jesus rose from the grave we’ve been born again to a LIVING HOPE. We have a hope that endures, that perseveres, that goes on and on- We will see Him, whom we love and believe. We do not hope in vain because this hope has been given us by God and God keeps His word. He is protecting us by His power for salvation.
Salvation in the passage is described mostly in future terms. Peter is reminding his readers that their future salvation is something to cling onto as their hope and identity. He describes the recipients as protected, heirs, saved…
They needed to be reminded of who they were because they were uneasy and living in a time period of sporadic and intense persecution. Giving them the picture of where their identity is and therefore how they are to get through trials was vital.
A false sense of self brings with it a false set of values. To believe that I am a failure is the bring with it the cultural values to bear on what it means to be successful in life. We live in the world which is filled with a self identity which is focused on performance, outward appearance, social popularity, etc. But to understand one’s self in these terms is to identify with what is in enmity with God, with what we have been bought out of.
Saturating ourselves in the word of God, meditating and embracing its truths–this is what renews our mind and transforms our heart so that we subsume the identity God intends for us, the identity which we already have and yet ignore.