Monday, February 28, 2011

7 ways to think about my salvation

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1 Peter 1:3-5

I absolutely love the enthusiasm Peter has for the depths of our salvation in Christ. Several things are noticeable in Peter's opening praise to God for the salvation we enjoy. It will be easiest just to list the observations from this short text.

1) We have been saved by a great mercy. God acted in mercy on us by sending His Son to die for our sins. God gave sinners what they did not deserve. God is merciful by nature, and the work of God in Christ is the pinnacle of the revealed mercies of God toward all the human race.

2) Salvation is a work of God. Peter uses the term "he has caused us to be born again". This is not a locked down determinism, but it clearly shows that the work of salvation is not ours, but God's. We are powerless to save ourselves. God is the cause of it... for His glory and purposes alone.

3) It is a new life. Peter picks up on Jesus' metaphor to Nicodemus to describe our salvation as being "born again". The Christian life is a new life, a reboot, a second chance spiritually given by God. We are regenerated in faith in Christ. This is significant. It is not just another piece of our lives that we can pick and choose. It is a total overhaul... a rebuild... a new life.

4) We gain a sure and living hope. It is not about wishing real hard that our future is secure. It is a living hope. I know here and now in the new life that I have been "reborn" to experience hope.

5) The resurrection of Christ is crucial to our experience. It is not just a fact of history. It is the kingpin to our salvation. Without the resurrection there would be no living hope. With it, we know that we too have victory over the death that is the wages of sin.

5) There is an eternal inheritance waiting for us in heaven. Again, without the resurrection there would be no inheritance. With the resurrection we know that heaven is a glorious future. We can rest secure in this fact. It comforts and strengthens us throughout life, and when we are at death's door, we pass through the valley of the shadow of death into a glorious future prepared for us in Christ.

6) God secures this salvation, this living hope, and this glorious inheritance. We are being guarded by God's power "through faith". I like this interesting way of putting it. God's power assures me, but my faith compels me. God keeps me as I believe and guard my heart. Both my faith and God's power keep the experience of security before me. God cannot be robbed, so I can be sure in my salvation. When my faith grows, I "feel" secure.

7) We should be living for an eschatological salvation. What I mean is that we will find our salvation finally fulfilled in ALL of God's plan. We of course will know it with security in our last days on this earth. But also, we know that the course of this planet has been determined by God. God has a plan for the end of all things (even this universe), and our salvation is key to what will happen when He recreates a new heaven and new earth, the home of righteousness.

- Prepare your minds for action.
1 Peter 1:13

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