Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Peter 1:3-5)
Rejoicing As A Christian
There is so much to be filled with joy and praise in being a Christian. The Bible begins with the fall of man but it ends with the eternal hope of redemption through the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Peter lived in a period of persecution under the tyrannical rule of Nero yet his message was filled with an amazing spirit of blessings. His first epistle is addressed to the pilgrims of the dispersion who were scattered abroad due to persecution. He writes a positive letter of hope to say to the faithful of God not to be overcome by the difficulties of life but to remember that God has promised eternal life in the joy to come and there is no reason to be downcast. It was hard to live a consecrated life in a world given over to bigotry, prejudice, and hatred against Christians. Peter would speak of the genuineness of faith necessary to maintain the courage to face severe trials because it was more precious than anything life had to offer. If the saints would prepare their minds for action and exercise self-control they would do well. He exhorts his readers to put all their hope in the salvation that will come when Christ is revealed to the world in His glory. The promise of joy was yet to come if they would remain faithful. Peter begins his epistle by showing the basis for this joyful hope. The abundant mercy of God made certain promises that could not be taken away. Believing Jesus had risen from the dead instilled in the hearts of the persecuted saints the living hope of eternal life. There was a greater expectation in life than the peripheral happiness of this life. It was transcended by the knowledge and assurance that in death something greater was coming. A living hope contrast a hope that is a maybe or chance event. It becomes a promise without bounds. What kind of promise has God made?
The joy of being a Christian is to know that through faith in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, there is a birthright that is priceless. God has promised eternal life as something that is incorruptible and undefiled. It cannot be tainted by human affairs or false hopes given by the wisdom of men. While the child of God may suffer in his earthly life, there is no suffering in his eternal life and that is a guarantee by the hand of God. Inheritances can be challenged through the courts of men, changed, dismissed or lost. This is not the case with the promise of God who cannot lie. The Bible teaches the security of the believer and those who believe in the resurrection of Jesus must embrace it. Sadly, the idea of the security of the believer has come to be known as the impossibility of the saint to fall from grace which is false teaching. However, the pendulum has swung so far in opposition to the doctrine of ‘once-saved-always-save’ than many discounts the security of the believer as a Biblical fact. What other kinds of hope is Peter describing than the realization that the Father has promised His children an inheritance that is reserved in heaven for them? It is a blessed assurance that is beyond the reach of change and decay. It does not fade away. There is no corruption. This promise is undefiled. The elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, those sanctified of the Holy Spirit and to all who obeyed the will of the Father through the blood of Jesus Christ has been assured, promised, reserved and guaranteed eternal life. No reservations or doubts. Salvation is waiting for its revealing in the day when Jesus will return with His holy angels and take home the redeemed.
Satan has done well to convince the saved they are lost. He has embedded in the minds of the faithful that God would never consider them worthy enough to live with Him and only by a slim margin of victory would eternal life be given. There is no boldness of hope to believe that eternal life is real. When the people of God live cheap lives of imperfect hope they dim their lights of faith in a world growing darker by the minute. It seems the most perfect tool of Satan is not to convince the child of God to engage in some immoral act but rather to live fearful lives of distrust to their Father. If the feelings of fear become strong enough then the Christian will abandon their hope. As a result, death is feared and life is wasted. Hope is found in life now instead of the life to come. Peter wrote in a time of incredible trial to be a Christian yet he writes the positive message of eternal security in the promises of God. The great mercy of God has promised an eternal life that is incorruptible, undefiled and that does not fade away. It is reserved in heaven. He has kept His promise. This truth gives every Christian the confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—pledged before the world began. There is great joy in being a Christian because death is only a quiet sleep to awaken in eternal life and that is a promise of God.