“By His great mercy we have been born anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and to an inheritance which is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading; kept in heaven for you.” 1 Peter 1:3-4
I need some good news. As stories mount of wars, plane crashes, ebola, etc. I need something to give me a shot of hope. I long for some sustaining good news that will help me balance the relentless bad news. I find it this week in an normally overlooked place. It’s called salvation.
How often do you think of your enduring identity as a son or daughter of God? In the opening verses of his first letter, Peter gave carefully consideration to the fact that he is saved. His description is vivid and even exciting.
“Born anew to a living hope.” There’s that word: hope. It’s good news. The world does not provide much hope (more on that later), but we have hope because we have been “born anew.” People sometimes treat the phrase “born again” as obsolete or intellectually deficient (the same way they view “saved”). I suggest that every Christian is, in fact, born again, or born anew as Peter put it. There simply is no better description.
We have a new life in Christ. God has placed us on a different spiritual plane and trajectory. We’re headed to eternal life. Actually, eternal life has already begun from the moment you confess your faith in Christ and become His follower. You’re different. Frankly, I cannot think of a better description than born anew. I thank God for my new life, the depth of which continually unfolds before me if I take the time to look.
The guarantor of my new life is Jesus Christ Himself who by His resurrection is a living Lord and constant companion. Peter was so certain of this new identity in Christ that he piled up the adjectives. The inheritance we have through faith is imperishable, undefiled, unfading, and kept in heaven. It is completely secure. We need have no doubt about our eternal identity or destiny. Jesus has secured it.
Of what value is this to you today?
Salvation enables you to have an eternal optimism. I find two competing opinions about the general state of the world. One camp is relentlessly optimistic (if you have faith, life is going to go your way). The competing camp pronounces a dire and imminent apocalypse. So which is it? Is everything getting better or worse?
Frankly, I subscribe to neither. The world simply is. People are historically adept at finding and creating trouble. People are also capable of extraordinary good. The world is and it will be. Unrealistic optimism is like meth. Unrealistic pessimism is simply boring.
Faith in my new life enables me to have an entirely different outlook. I know I’m not alone. I know my life has purpose. I can look for someone to help every day, and I can look for the people God sends to help me. And most importantly, I know where I’m going.
An abstinence from current events is impossible. Bad news will find you. I would add here that you can choose what to dwell on. Worry is a form of meditation! And you certainly can’t bank on changing events to suit you. That is exhausting and frustrating.
The truly good news is that you have new life. In that new life you will make steady progress and endure occasional large setbacks. Your destiny does not depend on your performance. God keeps your identity safe.
So His words to us, based on this scripture, would be “You’re safe in my love. You are mine and nothing will change that. Rejoice in Me. And do not become overwrought in your imperfections. Your desire to please Me pleases Me.”
That’s good news.
Dr. Terry Ellis
July 27, 2014