Many of us may still have good memories of the New Year service and celebrations on January 1, 2020. But, none of us imagined that 2020 would be challenging in so many ways. We love our schedules and especially our control over them. We love a sense of security that we have everything figured out and there is nothing that is going to trouble us. But in God’s providence, COVID-19 has had some other lessons to teach us. Suddenly, the most important questions became, “How long is this going to last? How many of us are going to remain alive? How bad is the economic effect going to be? Will our kids ever go back to school and lead normal lives again?” It seems like our smoothly sailing lifeboats have been rocked by an unexpected storm. How wonderful to know that the Bible can anchor our souls and stabilize our worried hearts even in these times!
The word of God is such an endless treasure because God is so great and His work toward us is unimaginably great.
Believers around the world have found comfort in tough times by meditating upon the Psalms. But, 1 Peter 1 also can have a tremendous anchoring effect upon our lives. Peter is writing to scattered aliens (temporary residents) who were living in Asia Minor. Peter knew that the readers had begun to experience trials and tests of their faith. For these believers, the future did not look so bright. Instead of ‘binding and releasing’ their trails, Peter gave them some wonderful gospel reminders that would keep them anchored.
In verses 1-2, Peter reminded them about their identity as elect aliens. We are pilgrims and temporary residents when it comes to our identity according to this world, but God sees us differently. He sees us as His chosen special people, according to His eternal foreknowledge. His love was set upon us from before the foundation of the world. Our God is good to all in a general sense, but His unique and relentless love is upon His chosen people. We, as His chosen people, are being sanctified and are set apart by the Spirit at the moment of our salvation. We have been drawn and changed by His grace to love Christ as both Saviour and Lord. We have the blood of His eternal covenant sprinkled upon us to mark us as God’s covenant and forgiven people. Even though from our perspective life seems to have taken a sudden turn into the rapids, verses 1-2 remind us that the truth has been settled forever in Christ. We are His chosen people, called to be His and called to love and yield to our great Lord.
The word of God is such an endless treasure because God is so great and His work toward us is unimaginably great. Peter goes on, in verses 3-5, to praise God for His gracious new birth given to His elect through the work of Christ. Sometimes when life is difficult it seems impossible to praise and thank God. All we can see are broken dreams and unexpected problems. But, Peter is inviting us to the front row to behold the wonder of God’s great saving grace. Some of us, like Peter’s Jewish readers, were born into believing families physically, but needed the new birth spiritually which comes only from God. We were far away and never heard the wonderful gospel and were in need of the very same life from God. A baby never gives birth to itself; the birth of a child is entirely the work of another. So also, God who set His love upon us sent His Son for us, so that through Him we may live. In Adam, we were sitting lifeless, desireless and hopeless awaiting our final doom.
We are temporary residents on earth with a permanent, unshakable inheritance awaiting us in heaven.
But God sent for us the last Adam who was born for us, lived for us, died for us and rose again, so that we can partake of His resurrected life. It gets even better! Peter tells us that we have a living, unshakable hope that looks forward to an amazing inheritance. We are temporary residents on earth with a permanent, unshakable inheritance awaiting us in heaven. Imagine those first moments when we will see the fullness of that inheritance. We will be in the company of the saints made perfect and have the most loving welcome from Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Imagine never having to fear any disease, never having to drag our tired bodies, or never having to fear the future. What makes our inheritance such an incredible gift is that we will be caught up into a loving fellowship with the triune eternal God.
Dear believer, our earthly life is unpredictable, but our eternal life is secure. Earthly possessions are not forever, but our inheritance in Christ is! Even the present trials are not a waste, but are being used by God to prove our faith and conform us to the image of Christ. May we be people anchored in gospel hope in these uncertain times.