“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
Remember when we got three channels, and they were all in black and white? With all the technology and instantly available real-time information today, it’s inconceivable to present generations that we grew up in such deprivation. I recalled those fuzzy, rabbit-ear days recently when explaining to my son how I used to watch Kentucky basketball games.
Home games were seldom on tv, but they were recorded and replayed the same night at 11:30 (channel 27). If school was out the next day, I would stay up and watch the game after listening to it earlier in the evening. I confess freely that am a nutty Kentucky basketball fan, entirely too wrapped up in their record. I used to cry if they lost, and that was just a couple of weeks ago against Indiana. Anyway, when I was a kid it was much worse. If the game was close, I couldn’t listen.
But if we won that close game, I would stay up and watch it with full confidence, completely unafraid, because I knew how the game would turn out.
Peter’s topic in the passage for this week’s GraceWaves is salvation. He wrote with great passion about the salvation we enjoy as followers of Christ. Having “been born anew” refers to the past initial confession of faith. The “living hope” refers to the present, ongoing experience of salvation. The “inheritance” refers to the future when salvation is fully realized, and our transformation through grace is complete.
This passage is a good illustration of the NT theology of salvation. Literally, in the wording of the gospels and letters, we were saved, are being saved, and will be saved. We are God’s children now, but it does not yet appear what we shall be (1 Jn. 3:2). This gentle tension between “already and not yet” defines us as God’s sons and daughters.
The problem for most of us arises when we let present fears or frustrations blind us to the future certainty. Your salvation was initiated by God’s grace and “activated” by your faith in Christ. It is a gift you have received through faith. What Peter was highlighting was the tremendous certainty we should live with. Your salvation enables a grace-filled trust and confidence in God that helps you to face the inevitable uncertainties of today and tomorrow.
Now what does a taped Kentucky basketball game have to do with a passage from 1 Peter? When I watched that reply I was watching a game I knew we had already won. As a Christian you are running a race you have already won. You know how this all turns out! Your inheritance is certain. You are the child of the King.
Confidence in your eternal future should create confidence during your uncertain present. The new year holds untold challenges and blessings, but we always seem to fixate on the challenges. Don’t let any fear persuade you that God is silent or His providence ineffective. He has not overlooked you or left you out of His eternal purpose.
A line from “Perfect Day” (my daughter will understand) sums up this week’s message very well: “you’re running a race that you’ve already won, and getting there can be half the fun.”
Dr. Terry Ellis
January 8, 2012