Exhortation. Identification. Affirmation.

A month ago I wrapped up Isaiah and give it my vote for consideration as a prophetic book that the church would do well to study in this season (you can check that post out here). A month later I’m wrapping up 1 Peter, and kind of feeling the same way about it — it gets my vote for the practical book we might take to heart during times that are hard. If Isaiah is a call for God’s wayward people to let times of trouble lead them to repent and return to their God, then 1 Peter is a primer for God’s faithful people on how to endure through those purifying times of trouble.

Stirred this morning by Peter’s closing exhortations to these “elect exiles of the Dispersion” (1:1).

Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. To Him be the dominion forever and ever. Amen.

(1Peter 5:8-11 ESV)

Exhortation. Identification. Affirmation.

Exhortation. Be sober-minded. Be watchful. Resist the devil. Think carefully. Think clearly. Recognize the enemy. Be calm, collected, and circumspect. Give strict attention to what is true. Remember the ultimate fight isn’t against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces of evil (Eph. 6:12). The devil is a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. How does a lion do that? He culls individuals from the herd. Peter has spent much of his letter encouraging believers on how to remain a herd. So, resist his lies. Resist his dividing schemes. Resist trying to go it alone.

Identification. The God of all grace has called you. The God of ALL grace. The infinite God, God without limits, is in Himself grace without limits. Not only grace sufficient to save you from past sins, but grace also sufficient to sustain you in your present suffering. With unlimited grace left over to secure you in your future setting — His eternal glory. Supplying grace to stand firm in a increasingly secular, pagan world. Ready to impart grace as we interface with a hostile word. Abundant grace available as outside pressures cause inside, family tensions. Just like our brotherhood throughout the world, we’re gonna suffer — though relative to eternity, for just “a little while” — but the grace available from the God of all grace is sufficient to carry us through all our difficulties.

Affirmation. Ours is to be sober-minded. Ours is to be watchful. Ours is to resist. Knowing that God will be the One who restores, confirms, strengthens, and establishes. Faithfulness in seasons of suffering will be used of God to advance His sanctifying work within us. Correct thinking about the chaotic world around us will be used of God to stabilize a firm resolve to pursue the coming world beyond us. As we lean into another day that will likely continue to sap our strength, the indwelling Spirit of God builds up our walk-by-faith muscle which ultimately renews our strength. And by resisting the enemy’s whispers to abandon ship, our Father patiently, lovingly works in us together to firmly plant our feet on the Rock of our salvation, His Son.

Rather than just being battered by the storm, we can actually get better in the storm.

Not in our own strength, but by the grace of the God of all grace.

Not that we would boast in how well we endured. But that He might receive all the glory for His faithfulness and power.


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Do We Need to Fight?

It was a quick conversation. A passing comment / counter-comment chat in the restroom quickly conducted between washing and drying our hands. Used to be those were light chats about the weather or the local sports team. Now, seems every moment, even those side conversations, are preoccupied with the season we’re in, the signs of the times that are so apparent, and what we need to be doing when Jesus comes. And this brother said something to the effect, “We need to fight.”

Really? Is that what we need to do in the end times? Fight?

While I am tempted to ask that question with an air of incredulity, I’m hearing it so often from so many these days that I honestly need to consider I may be missing something. Is the right response to an increasing age of antichrist beliefs and behaviors to fight those who, dead in trespass and sin, are walking in the way of a world in rebellion so that we can reverse those beliefs and behaviors? Or, are we called to double down in being light amidst darkness? Or, is it both? Don’t know.

I recall that John talks about the spirit of antichrist in his letters. Had a quick look. Seems his exhortations are more to do with making sure we are abiding. “Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father” (1Jn. 2:18-24). That in the last days we need to remember that we have overcome the world, “for He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world” and double down on loving one another (1Jn. 4:3-7). That in the ends times we need to be extra diligent to “watch yourselves, so that you may not lose what we have worked for, but may win a full reward” (2Jn. 1:7-8). And we do that not by fighting back against the world but standing fast with the whole armor of God, particularly the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (2Jn. 1:9, cf. Eph. 6:17).

That’s all in line with what’s hit me from my reading in 1Peter this morning.

Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time He may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.

(1Peter 5:5b-7 ESV)

Peter’s writing to believers who feel like they’re in the end times (1Pet. 4:7). That’s why, I think, Peter refers often to Christ’s second coming in the letter (1:7, 1:11, 1:13, 4:5, 4:13, 5:2, 5:4). And you read the letter and you don’t sense Peter thinks they should double down on fighting back against the world, but on loving, caring, and serving one another. The problem, I think, in adopting a fight attitude, is you end up not just fighting the world, but everyone else that doesn’t see things they way you do.

Not saying we all need to see things the same way. Christian unity is not uniformity nor is it unanimity. But, seems to me, it is a transcendent commitment to a transcendent community based on a transcendent calling for a transcendent cause — the gospel of Jesus Christ.

And, while I’m not bright enough to know for sure how to navigate differing views and divided opinions within the church, I do wonder if fighting the system needs to be our focus. Or, if it starts with clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another. If the tensions we’re feeling, as the pressure of antichrist seems to be more prominent, shouldn’t find their release casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you rather than by turning on one another.

Do we need to fight? I don’t know, maybe. But I do know we need to stand fast. And everything I’m picking up from what Peter seems to be laying down is that it is best done together, as we abide in Christ, His word abides in us, and we love one another.

As we humble ourselves under God’s mighty hand. As we cast all of fears on Him. As we rest in His promised care for us.

By His grace. For His glory.

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Doing What’s Right

Would it be accurate to say that our natural tendency when doing what’s right is that we want what we’re doing to be deemed as right? That it’s hard to stand for what is true when the world around you views the truth as old-fashioned or irrelevant? That taking the high road can often be unsatisfying when it isn’t culturally accepted that there even is a high road, but that any road, as long as it’s your road, is a good road? I’m thinkin’ . . .

No matter how much we might want to embrace a reality, or try to legislate a reality into being, that the people of God should be “a moral majority”, if these past few years have revealed anything it’s that those who hold fast to the way of Christ are actually more like “a prophetic minority.” And I’m reminded in my 1Peter reading this morning, that’s kind of the way it’s going to be if you’re going to follow Jesus.

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when His glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. . . . Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.

(1Peter 4:12-14, 16 ESV)

Don’t be surprised if you end up being on the wrong side of history. Don’t think it strange that the world will treat you as they treated your Savior.

But bear the name of Christ. Walk in the way of Christ. Even if it’s not the popular way. Even if it increasingly becomes the persecuted way.

Do so, not because it’s seen as right in the eyes of the world, but because it is right in the sight of God. Stand for transcendent truth in a culture that increasingly embraces it’s own truth. It won’t make us popular. But would we dare to believe it will be used of the Spirit to glorify God?

Therefore, keep on keepin’ on. Hold fast to what is true. Continue to follow Jesus in the way of the cross. Be ready to give an answer with loving compassion, respect, and patience. Do what’s right even if it isn’t seen as right. That we might rejoice when His glory is revealed.

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.

(1Peter 4:19 ESV)

Only by His grace. Always for His glory.

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In the Right

I have an early morning airport run to make, so gonna be quick to jot down a few thoughts after starting in on Lamentations this morning.

The city is empty. The sounds of weeping echo in the barren streets. Most of the people are in exile, learning what real hard labor is all about — reminiscent I wonder of bondage in Egypt. The roads leading to Jerusalem, once filled with people coming to the city to celebrate the festivals, are now dotted now only a few scattered mourners.

What’s happened?

Her foes have become the head; her enemies prosper, because the LORD has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.

(Lamentations 1:5 ESV)

Jerusalem had “sinned grievously” and had become filthy (1:8). “She played fast and loose with life, she never considered tomorrow, and now she’s crashed royally” (1:9 MSG). And so, the Lord gave her “into the hands of those whom I cannot withstand” (1:14b). The Lord rejected her, summoned an assembly against her, and had trodden her “as in a winepress” of judgment (1:15). Heavy sigh!

And here’s what’s grabbed me this morning:

The LORD is in the right, for I have rebelled against his word.”

(Lamentations 1:18a ESV)

The LORD is in the right.

Slice and dice it anyway you want. Go over the game tapes. Play it over and over again. Assess, process, and re-address — but in the end they had to confess, “The LORD is in the right.”

What comfort! What a concrete foundation. There may be much I don’t understand about the current state of affairs, much I can’t reconcile about prolonged seasons of suffering, but at the end of the day — at the end of each day — I can know that the LORD is in the right.

Our God is, by definition, a righteous God – a God in the right.

Not only is He the definition of righteousness, but the very source. In Him is righteousness. All that proceeds from Him is righteousness.

Thus, I can rest, in whatsoever state, in His righteousness (Php 4:11-13).

By His grace. For His glory.

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On the Contrary, Bless

A rerun from 2016. Timely for our times I think.

It’s been my experience that when the circumstances of life get difficult it often puts strain on relationships. Show me a couple in the pressure cooker of financial need and it won’t surprise me if, from time to time, they blow off steam at one another. Or consider the impact of a chronic illness within a family–tiredness can give way to testiness or fear of the unknown might manifest itself in fights over the unimportant.

This morning I’m continuing to read about a group of believers who lived under the constant pressure of persecution. Peter calls them the “elect exiles of the Dispersion” (1Peter 1:1). They were the elect, called to be holy. But there were also the exiles, on the run for their calling. Life wasn’t easy and, it would seem, wasn’t about to get any easier anytime soon. And so Peter writes to encourage them. Reminding them of who they are in Christ, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,” and what they have been called to do for Christ, “that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness and into His marvelous light” (2:9).

But Peter also knew that the constant pressure of persecution and suffering would conspire to test the peace and tranquility of their fellowship. That as the going got tough it would be tough to not get going on one another. That even though they had all been ransomed with the precious blood of Christ (1:19) and had been born again through the imperishable seed of the living and abiding word of God (1:23), there would still be the temptation to yield to the old ways of dealing with all these new troubles.

After addressing servants, wives, and husbands as to how to deal with the stress of their daily circumstance, Peter turns to the whole fellowship of believers. Knowing that just as hard times impact people’s homes, Peter was also aware that hard times can also conspire to fracture God’s household. And so he exhorts God’s people to bless.

Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.

(1Peter 3:8-9 ESV)

Let’s face it. Even if we don’t live under the same pressure cooker of persecution that these early believers endured, if we are serious about doing family with other Christians, at some point we’re going to know some friction with at least a few of them. If we believe that we’ve been called to go deeper than, “Hi, how are you?” on a Sunday morning with other believers, if we are willing to not just call them our brothers and sisters but actually live with them as brothers and sisters, then we probably should be prepared for a family spat from time to time. We shouldn’t be surprised when, for whatever reason, things get a bit tense between Christians. It’s then we should remember Peter’s encouragement to bless.

Peter addresses all of them. No one is exempt from the propensity under pressure to turn on those they share Christ with.

And it starts with a unity of mind. Not that they would see eye-to-eye on everything. That would be uniformity, not unity. But that, through the Spirit’s ever-present enabling, they would be committed to a common attitude concerning one another. An attitude marked by compassion, a willingness to suffer alongside with each other. A mindset that recalls these are not just other people but that they are blood relatives, as in brothers and sisters bought by the blood of Christ, and thus are to be treated with a familial type of love, just as Christ loved us.

An attitude towards one another sourced from a tender heart, a heart sensitive to the needs and feelings of one another. A heart that refuses to, despite the pressure to do otherwise, shutdown or go cold concerning a fellow sojourner.

And finally, an attitude cultivated by a humble mind. A mind that puts others first. A mind resolved to be kind, courteous, and considerate of others, even when it wants only to watch out for itself.

And when this attitude of mind prevails, then follows the resolve to act. Rather than repaying evil for the evil perceived against me, or determining to win a war of words with a brother or sister who has offended me, I will, on the contrary, bless.

Bless. To speak well of. To seek the welfare of.

When the going gets tough. When the pressure cooker is about to blow. When paranoia is just smart thinking ’cause everyone IS against you–even in the family of God . . . by God’s grace, we determine to bless!

For to this we were called. As recipients of blessing, we are to be the distributors of blessing. As benefactors of grace, we are to extend grace. As children of God, we have been called to love the family of God.

Even when life puts a strain on relationships, bless.

Perhaps not a natural reaction, but hey, we are supernatural new creations. The mind of Christ and the love of Christ so implanted in us that, if we have been so blessed, we ought, in turn, bless one another.

Because of God’s grace. For God’s glory.

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Not For Wives Only

It really is outstanding how much emphasis the Spirit leads Peter to place on right relationships in addressing a people who are experiencing increasing pressure amid persecution. And I can’t help but think that, knowing our frame and the nature of our flesh — having experienced our humanity and been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 2:18, 4:15) — the Lord knows that when the heat gets turned up on people, people have a way of turning on one another. And yet, it’s in such times — when being “crabby” towards others is a natural by-product of crushing concerns, when back-biting becomes the fruit of bad times, when tribalism emerges from tension — that right relationships can draw people to a Righteous Savior “without a word” by our conduct.

And so Peter talks first about right relationships to “every human institution”, even exhorting these believers to “honor the emperor” behind their increasing persecution (1Pet. 2:13, 17b). Then he talks about right relationships between servants and their masters, regardless of whether their masters are “good and gentle” or “unjust.” He lays out a high-road posture modeled after Him who walked the road to Calvary (1Pet. 2:18-25).

This morning, I’m hovering over Peter’s exhortations of how to hold it together in the home when the pressures of the world take people to a breaking point. In particular, I’m chewing on something that I’m pretty sure isn’t for wives only.

Likewise, wives, be subject to your own husbands, so that even if some do not obey the word, they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see your respectful and pure conduct. Do not let your adorning be external —  the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear — but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

(1Peter 3:1-4 ESV)

What caught my eye was the word “imperishable.” Incorruptible in the NKJV. Unfading in the NIV. In essence, undecaying.

The word isn’t used a lot in the NT. Paul talks about an imperishable wreath for those who run the race well (1Cor. 9:25). In 1Corinthains 15, he uses imperishable 5 times to describe the nature of the resurrected body (1Cor. 15:42). An imperishable body is the only body fit to inherit the kingdom of God (1Cor. 15:50), and will be the eternal testimony that “death is swallowed up in victory” (1Cor. 15:54). Peter uses imperishable three times in this letter. The first two times to describe the nature of our inheritance “kept in heaven for you” (1Pet. 1:4), and then the nature of the seed of the word of God by which we’ve been born again (1Pet. 1:23). The third time, talking about the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.

Hmmm. Respect and pure conduct sure seems to carry an eternal weight in God’s economy. To adorn oneself with a gentle and quiet spirit apparently rivals other unimaginable beauties of heaven. Gold jewelry and fine clothing will perish, but not so putting on the beauty of the Savior.

“Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart . . . ” ~ Jesus

(Matthew 11:29 ESV)

A gentle and quiet spirit. Oh, how this isn’t the natural me. Especially when the points start piling up on my stress chart. In fact, how easy it is for me when I’m feeling maxed to be “crabby in heart” and reckless with words.

But praise God for a supernatural gospel. A cross where confession can be made. Blood once poured out as the just basis for a holy Father to forgive all sin and cleanse from all unrighteousness. A righteousness credited to my account, and an indwelling Helper to lead me in drawing from that account, so that my heart can, in practicality, know the adornment of the imperishable beauty of a gentle quiet spirit even as it is more and more reflective of His gentle and lowly heart living through me.

Respectful and pure conduct. Gentle and quiet spirit. An imperishable beauty. Not for wives only.

By His grace. For His glory.

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Mindful of God

It was overdone, over merchandised, and, eventually, over trivialized. Four letters that seemed to be everywhere in cool Christian culture, but eventually faded away. Some of us may still have the wristbands, but not many of us are still wearing the wristbands. Four letters which, it often seems, have been forgotten. But while WWJD isn’t something you see much any more, I’m reminded that asking “What Would Jesus Do?” is still some pretty good advice to heed — especially when the going gets tough.

Servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust. For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in His steps.

(1Peter 2:18-21 ESV)

Mindful of God. That’s the phrase I’m chewing on this morning.

Tough counsel to these servant who are already taking it in the teeth as “exiles of the Dispersion.” Life on the run is already hard enough without having to work for an unjust boss. But be subject to them, says Peter. Show them all respect, says Peter. Suffer unjustly, says Peter. For this is a gracious thing in the sight of God when done mindful of God.

Earthly actions filtered first through heavenly attitudes. Daily practices shaped by eternal principles. Every day efforts informed by one, time-transcending example. What would Jesus do? Before doing what seems right to you, or right to the world around you, be mindful of God.

It starts with having our minds set on the things of God. Regularly informing and reminding ourselves of the way of God through the word of God. Taking in truth that can inform our reality. Providing material which the Spirit in us can work with as we navigate this pilgrimage through hostile territory. The Spirit of God, taking the word of God, enabling us to be mindful of God.

So that we might emulate the Son of God by the grace of God.

And that, only for the glory of God.


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A Magnifier Against God

Reminded this morning that the OT prophets weren’t sent just to warn unfaithful Israel of wrath to come but some of their ungodly neighbors as well. While these weren’t nations in rebellion to an irrevocable covenant spoken by a holy God to them, they were people willfully rejecting the internal compass placed by a holy God within them.

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness . . .

(Romans 2:14-15a ESV)

And it’s Jeremiah’s pronouncement of judgment on Moab that captures my attention this morning.

For, because you trusted in your works and your treasures . . . We have heard of the pride of Moab — he is very proud — of his loftiness, his pride, and his arrogance, and the haughtiness of his heart . . . Moab shall be destroyed and be no longer a people, because he magnified himself against the LORD.

(Jeremiah 48:7a, 29, 42 ESV)

Underlined each of these verses with my black colored pencil — it’s what I do to take note of sins to beware of. And I look back, hover over the black on the page, and there seems to be a progression here. Trusting in their treasures, pandering their pride, magnifying themselves against the Almighty. Relying on their works, abounding in arrogance, exalting themselves above the Eternal. Might be something to take heed of for someone living in a nation and surrounded by a culture known for its great works and abundant treasures.

Self-sufficiency and pride have a way of going hand-in-hand, I think. Unchecked pride has a way of trying to dethrone God, I think. Danger, danger, danger!

A wealthy people, it seems to me, need to be extra careful to be a humble people. To have need of little, is to be tempted to esteem self too much.

Honestly, that’s where a daily does of truth and reality from the Scriptures can be really helpful. Reminding me of the flesh within me that wants to trust in itself and awakes every morning at war with the indwelling Spirit who says walk by Me (Gal. 5:16-17). Reminding me pride is unbecoming, not to mention inconsistent, for one who claims to follow a Master who “humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Php. 2:8). That, unwittingly or not, becoming a glory-grabber may not be the smartest thing to do before a God who has declared, “I am the LORD; that is My name; My glory I give to no other” (Isa. 42:8).

Nope. Don’t want to be a magnifier against God. Don’t want pride to find a place to reproduce. Need to be careful about trusting in my works and my treasures.

Only by His grace. Only for His glory.

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Counsel That Transcends Circumstance

Whatever it meant to be one of the “exiles of the Dispersion”, you sense life isn’t easy for those Peter is writing to in 1 Peter. Life’s not going “swimmingly.” Far from it, you sense. Instead, it seems kind of intuitive that life in “dispersion” means life that’s been severely disrupted, life that’s hard, life where it’s becoming more and more evident you’re not going to back to doing the old “normal” anytime soon.

So, it’s interesting to note the kind of things Peter is led by the Spirit to write to exiles. People who no longer feel at home in the land around them. People who feel more like pilgrims than permanent residents, more like sojourners than citizens, more like foreigners than friends to the world around them. And what Peter says has little to do with trying to fight to restore the old order they had known, but to continue to live into the new order they had been redeemed for and born again into.

After reminding them of the “living hope” that is their’s through the new birth (1:3-9), Peter also reminds them of the abiding call put upon their lives to “be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy'” (1:15-16). Though without a home, in a sense nothing has changed, they’re still to be focused on “an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you.” Though life has been turned upside down, it doesn’t change how they are to live life, holy as God is holy.

While everything has changed for these believers, actually nothing has changed. That’s what hits me in the opening verses of chapter 2, this morning.

So put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation — if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.

(1Peter 2:1-3 ESV)

Watch how you behave. Grow up in your salvation. How come? Because you’ve tasted that the Lord is good.

That’s counsel that transcends circumstance. Advice that cares little about struggling to hold on to the “old normal” and isn’t even so much concerned with figuring out a “new normal.” Instead, Peter exhorts these pilgrims to be holy regardless of the normal.

Get rid of malice, deceit, hypocrisy, envy and slander. Don’t waste your energies on them. Not only are they not becoming of a child of God, in the end they’re unprofitable.

Rather, with the determination of a newborn wanting to feed, focus on growing up in your salvation. That’s the major “to do” on any spiritual “to do” list regardless of what’s going on in our world — either our immediate world or the larger world around us. You’ve tasted the Lord is good! Keep on feeding deeply on the Lord who is good. Grow up into your salvation.

Keeping the main things the main things. Seems to me that’s job one when everything else seems to be shifting sand.

Only by grace. Always for His glory.

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The Grace to Come

Know a thing or two about all-sufficient grace? You’ve just scratched the surface. Experienced saving grace, redeeming grace, justifying grace, adopting grace? Just a few drops in the bucket! Come to appreciate abiding grace and abundant grace? You ain’t seen nothing yet!

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

(1Peter 1:13 ESV)

The grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. The gift you’re gonna know when Jesus returns. The unmerited favor you will realize when you behold the glorious King. Set your hope fully on that, says the Spirit.

Whatever we know of grace, whatever we’ve already interacted with of divine favor, whatever real-life experience we have had with unmerited blessing, it’s just a foretaste of what’s to come. The grand slam of grace will be brought to us at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

To whatever degree grace for the day has evoked a response of thanksgiving, to whatever measure unmerited favor has evoked unrestrained praise, it’s just a rehearsal for the well of worship that will be released when we experience the gift of seeing our Savior face to face.

So set your hope fully on the grace to come.

Not just some pie-in-the-sky in the sweet-by-and-by, I-wish-I-may-I-wish-I-might hope. No, we’re talking about faith fueled, substantive hope (Heb. 11:1). We’re talking about Father promised, Son prepared hope (Jer. 31:33-34, Jn. 14:1-3). We’re talking about Spirit sealed, Spirit guaranteed hope (Eph. 1:13b-14). A fully persuaded hope. A hope that prepares minds for action because it recognizes the season for the temporary sojourn it truly is. A hope that leans into life here and now in anticipation of an unimaginable grace there and then.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

(Titus 2:11-13 ESV)

The grace of God has appeared. The grace of God will appear. This is our blessed hope.

This is what we have tasted of, barely. What we have seen, dimly. What we hope for, fully.

By His grace. For His glory.

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