It was going to get worse before it got better. And for many, there was the very real possibility they wouldn’t live through the worse and never see it get better . . . at least not on earth. That’s why Peter wrote his first letter.
They were already the “exiles of the Dispersion” (1:1), because of their faith. Now Peter was preparing them to be those who would be the “endurers” through the persecution, for their faith. So, in order to encourage the brothers and sisters to keep on keepin’ on; to try and prevent a bad taste from forming in their mouths concerning their decision to follow Christ; Peter encourages them to live in light of the foretaste of grace.
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.” That was to be their focus. That was what they were to lock and load on. The grace that’s coming.
They had already experienced amazing grace. Sins forgiven. Debt paid. Righteousness credited to their account. Hearts of stone replaced with hearts of flesh. Once far from God, now able to draw near. Once strangers concerning the promises, now adopted as children and made joint heirs with God’s own Son. Wretches, they once were lost but now were found. All because of amazing grace.
What’s more, they had started to experience and understand something of abiding grace. Becoming more and more used to what a “personal relationship” with the Creator and Sustainer of the universe looked like. More aware of being transformed and conformed into the image of Christ. More aware of the Spirit’s leading. More attuned to picking up on the whisper of His still, small voice. More accustomed to recognizing His active agency in their lives. Increasingly able, by His power, to follow as He led. More and more familiar with what it looked like to rest in Christ through abiding grace.
And, they had known what it was to receive sustaining grace. To recognize their weakness as the perfect platform to encounter His power. To accept those “thorns in the flesh” which the Lord determined not to remove, so that they might know what it was to walk not by their might, nor by their power, but by God’s Spirit. They were learning what it was to boast not in themselves, but only in His sustaining grace.
But as great as amazing grace was . . . as intimate as abiding grace was becoming . . . as real as sustaining grace had become for each trial and testing . . . it was all just a foretaste of “the grace that will brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”
My reading this morning reminding me that, as much grace as we have known, experienced, and come to appreciate, it is but a sampling of the grace to come. It’s just the appetizer.
There awaits an inheritance, “imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1:4)–the treasures of His grace. A place He is preparing where “death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain anymore” (Rev. 21:4)–the final deliverance of His grace. But more than all that, a time and place where we will, up close and more personal than can be imagined, behold the glory of God and the face of the Lamb–the fullness of His grace.
Our enemy would want to take our struggles and use them to put a bitter taste in our mouths, causing us to murmur and wonder if it’s worth it all as we sojourn sometimes through very dry lands. But our Savior would have us live in light of the foretaste we have received. The grace experienced but a “teaser” of the grace that will be brought at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Until then, we’ll keep on keepin’ on . . .
With the foretaste of His grace. For the sake of His glory.