Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The cause of great hope

1 Peter 1:20-21 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Yesterday we contended that Christianity derives its joy from being centered on the WORD and The Word.  We have seen that enjoyment of both is germane to saving faith at the beginning of salvation and that this joy is central to the believer’s continuance in Godly living.  Let’s now notice the third reason why Christianity’s enjoyment of the Word and the Word is so crucial:

Great Hope is unending in the Enjoyment Word and the word 1:17-25
Peter now begins to lift us from the realm of current circumstance to viewing our current circumstance in light of eternity.  It is in this final section where we see the character of the Living Word and Written Word as determiners of our joy and hope.  Notice how Peter unfolds for us the character of Christian hope in the context of enjoying the Word and the Word:

Driving Hope for Enjoying Godly living in the Word. 1 Peter 1:17-19
By knowing who we and “whose we are”, we enjoy Christ the living Word as we live on the basis of the price he paid with His blood for us.  Living the Godly life does not come merely from considering His example, but more so from that fact that His gladness in purchasing us with His blood is imbedded deep in the Christian’s identity.  Quite literally, what Christ did for us in His humanity drives us to hope and enjoy Godly living. 

Divine Hope for Enjoying God-centeredness in the Word. 1 Peter 1:20-22   
Peter speaks specifically of Christ as being “foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for your sake”.  This language mirrors quite closely with what John writes in John 1:1 of “the Word was with God” and in John 1:14 of “the Word being made flesh”.  Only through our partaking of Christ’s Divine nature (2 Peter 1:3-4) can we enjoy centering our lives on God.  When we center our lives on God, we will enjoy loving others from the heart. (1 Peter 1:22)  This is why centering ourselves on Christ the Word yields a truly enjoyable Christianity. 

Enduring Hope brought about by the Living Word through the written Word
1 Peter 1:23 is a transitioning point in Peter’s text, because He is going to switch from talking about Christ, the Living WORD to the Bible, the written Word.  In 1 Peter 1:23 we find it hard to know which one He is talking about.  We know that the new birth is brought about by Christ the Living Word calling us from the darkness to light. (John 5:24-25)  However the scriptures themselves have this quality of being the instrument through which the Holy Spirit brings about the conversion of men and women to saving faith. (Romans 10:17) 

The Hope of the Christian is enduring because of its beginning and ending point.  In Christ, by His Word I hear His voice calling me to “follow Him”.  It is in Christ, through His Word, that I can and will endure to the end. 

Illustrating what is unfading
When I have gotten my wife flowers, I usually will include a little card.  The card will have a little phrase or term of endearment written by me attached to the flowers.  The flowers themselves are beautiful, and their scent and visual appeal delight my wife.  But  after about 5 days they begin to lose their color.  How quickly they do fade.  Yet that card doesn’t fade in comparison.  My wife can see that my love for her as not faded, even though the tokens of my affection may have. 

Christ’s love for you never fades, neither does the power and enduring quality of the Written Word.  Our hope endures because His Words will never pass away. (Matthew 5:18)

As we close, let me summarize what we have looked at these past several days.  We explored this main thought: “why Christianity must be joyfully word centered”.  We discovered through 1 Peter 1 that Genuine salvation, Godly Living and Great Hope hinge upon our enjoyment of the Word and the Word in the three headings drawn from Peter’s statements:

1. Genuine Salvation begins with enjoyment of  the Word (and the word) 1:1-12

2. Godly Living continues with enjoyment  of the Word (and the word) 1:13-16

3. Great Hope is unending in the enjoyment of the Word (and the Word) 1:17-25

May we make it our duty and delight to enjoy Christ, and His Word, and thus be the type of Christians that are a joy to be around. 

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