Peter writes to the “elect exiles”–those driven from their homes by persecution. They were those of “the Dispersion”–the going had gotten tough and it had forced them to get going. They were on the run for their faith. They were cut off from their families, friends, and livelihoods. And it certainly sounds like Peter may be understating their situation a little when he says, “Though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials” (1Peter 1:6).
Oh! Is that what they were experiencing? Temporary and various trials? “Opportunities” for testing their faith (1:7)?
Felt more like their lives had been turned upside down. With no going back, they had no idea where they were going. They were on the opposite side of popular opinion. Even worse, they were on the wrong side of the rulers who should not have been governing as “a terror to good conduct, but to bad” (Rom. 13:3). Instead their good conduct was being declared bad. Their “right” was officially being legislated as wrong. But, these were just “various trials” for a “little while.”
Why would Peter say that? Because he knew that dealing with the here and now is so dependent on keeping focused on the there and then.
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.” That’s what I’m chewing on this morning.
Far from minimizing the harshness of their suffering, Peter is led by the Spirit to remind them of the fullness of their salvation.
They were abundantly blessed because they, by God’s great mercy, had been “born again to a living hope” (1:3). Though they had been forced to flee and leave everything behind, Peter reminded them of the promised inheritance yet to come, one “that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1:4).
Though it often felt like they were on their own, in fact they were ever being guarded by God’s presence and power. Through faith, they were being kept and protected “for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1:5). And when that salvation, which at present seemed so veiled, was laid bare, then they’d know grace like they had never known grace before. The grace that is yet to come.
Doesn’t that mean that the grace we know today is but a sampling of the grace we will encounter at the return of Jesus? That as amazing as the grace that saved a wretch like me is, we ain’t seen nothin’ yet? That as sufficient as His grace is for our current weakness, it pales in comparison to the grace that will enable us to stand when we stand before His throne. That as sustaining as His grace is for our current storms, trials, and testings, it is but a sneak preview of the bright and shining grace that will envelope us when we fully enter into our inheritance.
The best is yet to come. Might sound cliché, but it’s a true cliché.
That’s why Peter says to these exiles of the Dispersion, prepare your minds for action. I like the more literal margin rendering, “gird up the loins of your mind.” Take every thought that is distracting, every introspection that is discouraging, and every reflection that is depressing–take all that head-game stuff that is hanging around your ankles ready to trip you up, and pull it up and tuck it into the belt of truth. Take every consideration that impedes you from keepin’ on keepin’ on and bind them up within the reality of the Savior, and the salvation, yet to be revealed.
In various trails, through the testing of your faith, set your minds on the grace that is yet to come.
Possible because of the foretaste of grace that is now ours.
For His glory alone.