“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. . . . As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Peter 1:3-9, 14-16)
Now we come to the great benefit of the New Birth – our new relationship to God. We are not mere servants or subjects of God, though every believer is, but we are sons of the most high God. Just as our first birth made us sons of Adam, and subject to corruption, so our second birth made us sons of God. Our natural birth clothed us with sin but our spiritual birth clothes us with righteousness. As sons of Adam we inherited judgment and Hell – As Sons of God we inherit all spiritual blessings. This standing is already a reality for the Bible says, “Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God. . . .” (I John 3:1,2) Yes, if you have been born again, you are now, presently, a child of God.
Peter tells us, in our text, that we have been begotten again to a lively hope. Our hope as the children of Adam was only a fearful looking for judgment but now since we are born again we have a living hope. It is not a dead, lifeless, and useless longing for something that may not be, but it is a hope that is present, alive and full of substance. Peter identifies two important facts concerning these blessings. First, the New Birth is only a product of the mercy of God, and secondly, the New Birth is based solely upon the finished work of Christ, which he refers to as the resurrection. We certainly do not deserve salvation and, if we have obtained it, it is not in ourselves that we found the source. It is based only on God’s mercy. All that was necessary for our salvation was finished in Christ. Peter then spends the next few verses describing the blessing of the new birth, at which we will briefly look at. We will discuss the inheritance, security, hope, and calling, which we now possess the as sons of God.
I. The Inheritance of Sons:
As we think back to the words of Christ, in His discourse with Nicodemus on the subject of the New Birth – He touched upon the inheritance. He said, ” . . . Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3) Here Christ sums up the inheritance of the saints, the kingdom of God. Notice the comparison of the third and fifth verse of John three. Here Christ uses two different verbs in relationship to the kingdom and those that receive the New Birth. In the fifth verse it says it is something that they enter into, and in the third verse it says it is something which they shall physically see. In this Christ explains the two different aspects of His kingdom. When we are born again, at that very moment, we enter into the kingdom of God. ” . . . Who hath delivered us from darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son . . . ” (Col. 1:13)
This is the inward reality in which Christ reigns in us through the Spirit. (Col. 1:27; Luke 17:21) It exists only in a mystery form, spiritually. (Rom. 14:17) And it is this which man is commanded to seek instead of fleshy desires. (Matt. 6:33) This is the kingdom into which men press, but which the unrighteous cannot enter. (Matt. 11:12; I Cor. 6:9) This is referred to as the “gospel of the kingdom”. (Matt. 4:23; 9:35, Mark 1:14; Acts 28:31.)
Note: There are not two different gospels – Anything but the true one is a counterfeit (Gal. 1:8) We must remember that the gospel starts first with a person, Christ the King, (I Cor. 15:3) The rest of the gospel message, the death, burial, and resurrection, Christ both preached and pictured for us in His water baptism, (Matt. 16:21; John 2:19; Matt. 3:13-17) But the message began with the person, the King, for this is what Christ preached when he said, “. . . the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matt. 12:28)
This is the heart of the Lordship salvation debate because when we receive Christ He becomes the Lord and King over us. If He is not Lord of all, He is not Lord at all. Christ will reign. It is up to us if it be now or later. The Bible says, “. . . every knee shall bow. . . .” (Romans 14:11) The inheritance is for them which bow now – because destruction is awaiting those that put it off. This is the aspect of the gospel that we must still preach today – the need for men to surrender to Christ the King and enter His kingdom through the New Birth.
Christ, in His discourse, also says that if we are born again then we will physically see this kingdom. We should bear in mind that only those that have made a stake in the kingdom here and now will have a stake in the kingdom after the judgment. (Matt. 7:21-23) Shortly before Christ ascended into heaven the disciples asked Him about when He would set up this kingdom? He replied that it was not for them to know. (Acts 1:6) This kingdom does not exist in a spiritual blessing only, but in a physical reality. It will begin when Christ physically sets up His throne here on earth and will continue throughout all eternity. (Rev. 12:10; Matt. 25:31; I Cor. 15:24)
We inherit this kingdom in which we will enjoy fellowship with our Lord for all eternity. (Matt. 25:34; 26:29; James 2:5; Luke 22:30; I Thess. 4:17) For this reason the sons of God watch and wait. John told us that we are now the sons of God, but “. . . it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.” (I John 3:2) O, how glad I am that this is not all there is to it here on this earth. I have something much better waiting for me when I see Christ at His coming.
The problem with this inheritance is that we can not legally partake of it as long as we are in our sinful flesh. That is what John means when he says it does not yet appear. Paul told us that “. . . flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. . . .” (I Cor. 15:50) In Roman and Greek culture, if a man had a son, in order for him to be the heir of his estate the father would have to legally adopt the son when he was of full age. Without the son being legally adopted he could not possess the estate. It is the same with us and our heavenly estate. We have already been made sons of the most High, and have received the Spirit of adoption in our hearts. (Rom. 8:15)
The Holy Spirit which we have received is only the foretaste of glory, the down payment which guarantees our future holdings. (II Cor. 5:1-5; Eph. 1:13,14) One day, in the future, we will be legally adopted and made full heirs of our inheritance. (Gal. 4:5; Rom. 8:23) This is the redemption of our bodies. When we put off this body of sin, and put on our heavenly body, just like our Lord’s, we will be finally fitted for Heaven. This is our hope and longing. But it cannot happen until we are changed, and our corruption has put on incorruption – mortal has put on immortality. (I Cor. 15:51-58) It is enough for us to know right now that we are God’s children, and if we are His children then we are heirs. (Rom. 8:16,17)
Now we come back to our text. Peter gives us a beautiful description of the inheritance we will obtain as those who have been begotten again to a lively hope. He gives us this description in four particulars; it is incorruptible, undefiled, will never fade away, and is reserved in heaven for us. Let us now examine these truths:
Incorruptible: The Scripture uses a unique, almost unimaginable (to us now) word to describe our future state – The word simply means un-decaying. The dead in Christ will be raise incorruptible (1Cor. 15:52); “…not of a corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, (1Pet. 1:23); believers obtain an incorruptible crown (1Cor. 9:25); To an inheritance incorruptible … (1Pet. 1:4) – The meaning is also applied to God’s Word; God Himself. Quite a contrast, when compared to the things of the earth!
Everything on this earth is corrupt and decaying. Not too long ago I bought my first new car. It did not take long for it to start falling apart. Now the doors creek and the carpets are dirty. In a few more years it will be time to scrap it, and find another means of transportation. So many people put so much stock on the things of this life which they are not going to last. People will spend their whole lives trying to possess houses and lands that only fall apart. From the moment you receive anything it begins to decay or, better yet, it is already decaying.
Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matt. 6:19-21) Someone said, “you are not a fool to give up that which you can not keep to gain that which you can not lose”. How strange then that so many act as the fool, and set their heart upon things that will fade away, only to refuse the incorruptible inheritance offered by God!?!
From the moment we are born we begin to die; this body will decay and turn to dust. And yet, people will live for the pleasures that this body can experience and forsake their soul. Jesus asked, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36,37) Why do people spend so much time gratifying their decaying flesh? Will they not one day be willing to trade every pleasure, every piece of wealth, to escape an eternal fire?
O, but praise the Lord that we are born again. When we die, as children of the King, we will inherit all things. (Rev. 21:7) We will receive a crown that will never rust or tarnish. (I Cor. 9:25) We will have a mansion of gold that needs no repair. (John 14:1-4) We will walk upon streets of pure gold, transparently pure, which will never need maintenance. (Rev. 21:21) We will live in a city which also requires no maintenance which will have walls that will never be broken down. (Rev. 21) We will eat fruit from trees which will never rot. (Rev. 22:2) We will have brand new bodies without corruption. There will not be a need for hospitals nor grave yards because these bodies will never be sick, feel pain, nor will one hair fall from their heads. It will be free from death and sin. (Phil. 3:21, Rev. 21:4) This is our inheritance, and it is incorruptible.
Undefiled: This is a joyous word. It is a word that has been ascribed to our Savior Himself when it says, “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens. . . .” (Heb. 7:26) The word means unsoiled. It is therefore a perfect description of our Lord Jesus Christ. This fact should be taught in our churches that Jesus was unsoiled by sin. This is known as the impeccability of Christ. I heard somebody say that Christ could have sinned because He was tempted. This heresy should be put to flight wherever it shows its ugly head. Do not think that Christ is such a one as we, remember that we are speaking of God in the flesh. (John 1:1,14) Scripture says that it is not possible for God to sin. (Titus 1:2; Heb. 6:18) If God was able sin it would be against His very nature (for He is, by nature, Holy), and He would therefore, cease to be God! No, God can not do whatever He wants to do (I say this with the utmost fear and reverence), for He can not do anything contrary to His nature!
In simpler terms, His will is bound to His nature, just as our will is bound by our nature. Furthermore, we see it evident in the Scriptures that Christ did not know sin, and was completely without sin even though He was tempted. (II Cor. 5:21, Heb. 4:15) While it is important for us to know that Christ was both man as well as God (the mediator, I Tim. 2:5) we must be careful to remember that He was God and therefore unable to sin. Beware that we do not overemphasize His humanity to the point that we deny the fact that He was undefiled by sin. And so we also see the description of our inheritance. It is a joy unspeakable for us to know that we are going to a place that sin has not (and can not), touched or entered into. We see our present state and how it is marred by sin. We do not have to go very far before we see or feel pain, and suffering, and it reminds us that we live in a world that is soiled by sin. When we shed our tears over a loved one’s grave we are reminded that the curse of sin is upon everything we see.
We look unto our own frailties, and it reminds us that we too are soiled with sin. Nature itself now bears thorns, and briers, to show us the stain of sin which this whole earth bears. O, glory to God, one day we will put off this sinful body, and put on a body like unto Christ’s glorious body! No more will we feel pain, and death, or shed tears. For then we shall be sinless, spotless, or better yet – undefiled. O, what a glorious state that will be! How much more then our heavenly home itself will be which Christ has prepared for us. The Bible tells us, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth . . . .” (Rev. 21:27) No, my friends, we are going to a place where sin has not touched, therefore, it says, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.” (Rev. 21:4) Praise God, that we His children, have an inheritance which is undefiled!
Fadeth Not Away: This thought is a lovely one – that to which we will inherit, will never end. It will not wilt away or ever cease to be. Right now, in this world, just the opposite is true. “For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth . . . .” (James 1:11) “And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish: but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment. . . .” (Heb. 1:10, 11) Look and see now what things there are about us that will last. Do we not see that they all have an end? That is why Paul exhorted us to “. . . look not at things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” (II Cor. 4:18) All these things by which men live and die for are one day going to have their end.
Why do men set their hearts on these things to the despising of their eternal soul? (Mark 8:36) Just as Esau sold his precious birthright for a morsel of meat but afterward thought that he could receive the blessing, there too in that great day of wrath, shall be much weeping and wailing for those that gave up the eternal inheritance for that which can not last. But there will be no place for repentance then. (Heb. 12:16,17) Our hearts need to ponder this point, that the life which we have received of Christ will never come to an end. (Matt. 25:46, note: those that refuse Christ will have punishment forever without end but this is not referred to as life but death) Our fellowship with Christ will never know end. (I Thess. 4:17) Our reward and our home shall be eternal. “And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away. (I Peter 5:4) Rejoice now Christian, we have an eternal inheritance that will never fade away.
Reserved: What a promise is contained in these words, “reserved in heaven for you.” These words do not need to be expounded for they speak for themselves. We have an inheritance that is waiting for us. I once made reservations at a fancy hotel for me and my wife, in my name, and I secured it with a down payment. I knew that when we arrived we would have a room waiting for us. Sure enough, when we showed up we had a room prepared for us. All I needed to do was to prove my identity. This is what Christ did; when He made the payment on the cross, he secured and prepared our room. Now all that waits is for us is – to arrive – Just like the empty seats at a wedding reception inscribed with the word “reserved.” It waits upon the one that was worthy to sit there.
Through Christ I have been made worthy, and now I only await for Him to send His angels to escort me to the seat that has been “reserved” just for me. (Luke 16:22; Matt.22:8-14, note: only those that have come to Jesus Christ by faith are robed with the robes of righteousness and are worthy) What a great cure for heart trouble these thoughts are! In fact, the very words of Christ told us, “Let not your heart be troubled . . . . In my Father’s house are many mansions . . . I go to prepare a place for you. And If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” (John 14:1-3) We need not despair, for the promise of Christ is to us. He promised not only that there is a place reserved for us but that He Himself would come again to take us there. We should be longing in our hearts for Christ to come and receive us. What have we here, in this life, which could compare with our heavenly inheritance which we have – as the sons of God?
This world is not my home, I am just passing through, my treasures are laid up somewhere beyond the blue, the angels beckon me from heavens open door, and I can’t feel at home in this world anymore.
II. The Security of Sons:
Peter moves on from the subject of our inheritance which we have as the sons of God, and boldly speaks of the security which we who are born again, have in Christ. There are many Scriptures which proclaim this truth but not many do so as plainly as Peter does here, “Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” (I Peter 1:5, notice again how that salvation is by faith alone) We have no fear of losing the salvation which we have received through faith. There is no possibility that we can be, being now born of God, unborn. This cannot be true concerning physical birth, and neither can it be true concerning the spiritual birth. No, as sons of God, we are secure in our position. It was not our power that saved us, but the power of the Holy Spirit – through the gospel. (Rom. 1:16)
So also it is not our power that keeps us but the power of God. How securely can we rest in that power? This is the same power that spoke the world into existence and that holds the universe and the world in place. (Col. 1:16,17) Is this power not enough to keep us as well? If there is to be any part of Scripture which will be attacked, it will be this section. Prideful men will not allow for such a faith that is not based at least in part upon their own power. Let us then look to the Word of God. Let us do this under three headings, all of which we, who are truly saved, should be glad to defend: the perseverance of the saints, the preservation of the saints, and the eternal security of the saints.
Perseverance of the Saints: The doctrine of perseverance is the belief that while a Christian can and does sin he can not finally and completely fall from his profession in Christ. Perseverance deals with the heart of the matter of sin in a believer’s life. Can a Christian sin? Yes. Can a Christian sin horribly? Yes. For we have examples in Scripture, such as David, Solomon, and Peter, who sinned indeed, and did so, in a horrible fashion. But, as we see in each of these cases, they did not finally and completely fall from their profession. This is at the heart of our text, in Peter. We can not finally and completely fall from our profession because we are “kept by the power of God.” This is stated again, in Hebrews, where it is said, “But we are not of them that draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul.” (Heb. 10:39, see again Phil. 1:6, Jude: 24) There we have it; we that believe on Christ will not draw back to the point of damnation. We are indeed kept by the power of God.
Some may now say, “Is this not a license to sin?” No, this in no way gives the Christian leave to sin. The Bible says, “For a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again. . . .” (Prov. 24:16) It is not part of the character or nature of a true Christian to wallow in the mire of sin. Those that wallow in the mire are sows who have never known grace and have only their sinful nature. (See Chapter 4) But even beyond that is the real reason why a true believer does not continuously practice sin. For he is now dealt with by God as a son, and not as an unbeliever. This is the heart of the doctrine of perseverance. An unbeliever who knows not God is well able to continue in debauchery without the slightest fear of judgment, but this is not so with those that are God’s children. God is our loving Father and, out of His love for us, He will keep us from falling into the power of sin. (Prov. 13:24) Thus we are kept by the power of God.
If we love our children we will lovingly set boundaries for them and teach them to obey us. (Prov. 22:6) Similarly, the Lord deals with us when we sin to bring us to the place we need to be. He does this in three ways.
First, He speaks to us through His Word. This is also the first step when we deal with our children. If my son is doing something which is wrong, I would tell him, “No!” I would first use the word of my mouth to try to teach the child that he is doing wrong. If the child is obedient, out of love for the father, he will cease from the act. So it is when we, God’s children, do wrong; God speaks to us and tells us that we are wrong and need to repent. Whether it be through a preacher, a godly friend, or the “still small voice” of the Holy Spirit within us we will be told by God that we are sinning. If salvation is ours, then we will know when we sin, for our Father will bring conviction through His Word.
Secondly, for those of us who persist in sin, we see Him as a Father who spanks His own. This is something that all His children will experience. “For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he recieveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not. But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.” (Heb. 12:6-8) Now we know that the Lord has many reasons for chastening His children. Sometimes it is to guide us and teach us the way we need to go when the chastening rod is applied in the form of trials in our lives. It is not always because of some sin in our life that we meet with adversity, as Job’s hypocritical friends believed. But it is always for the reason of protecting us. It is not out of anger or hatred, as some would say, that God spanks His children but rather out of love. Which one of us, who has children, would not, if our child was to run towards a busy street, spank that child, to teach him not to run into the street? It is not done out of hatred, but love, when we spank them, for we do not want them to perish.
That is why God said that if a parent does not chasten his children he hates them. So it is with sin in our lives. God sees us heading toward danger and sends His chastening rod to stop us. If we see someone continuing in sin with no apparent chastisement in their life they may be a false professor, a bastard, and not a son of God. We may count the stripes we receive as our comfort, for then are we assured that God is working in us, and we are His children. (Heb. 12:11) “. . . Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” (Ps. 23:4)
Lastly, for those that even then persist in their sin, despite the Father’s speaking and spanking, God will call them home, just as we would do to our own children who may, in their stubbornness, follow after that which may hurt them. We would bring them home, that we may keep them close to us, that they may not shame us anymore.
The Bible says, “. . . there is a sin unto death. . . .” (I John 5:16) It is hard to believe that this is something that is years in the making but rather swift for those that stubbornly disobey God. We could stop here and name names of people that professed Christ, and have gone home, because of open sin. None of them died of old age. Paul said concerning a specific sin at the church at Corinth that, “For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.” (I Cor. 11:30, see also Matt. 5:13) God will not allow His children to bring a blot on His Holy name but He will be glorified in us in our life or death. These are the reasons that all God’s children will persevere, for He deals with them as with children. Therefore we cannot fear ever falling completely or finally from our position in Christ because our loving Father will not allow us to do so.
Preservation of the Saints: When we say that we are kept by the power of God, we understand that it is based on the fact that He it is that does the work of keeping us. This we call preservation. “For the Lord loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved forever . . . .” (Ps. 37:28) Praise the Lord that we, as His saints, may never fear being lost or turned away, for we have the promise of God that He will keep and preserve us. This is based upon His work, not on anything that we can do, or that we can keep ourselves from doing. (Phil. 1:6, Heb. 10:14, when we speak of Saints we mean all that are saved or born again or sanctified by the blood of Christ, see Rom. 1:7) All the work that was necessary to save and keep us was completed in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We need not seek an assurance anywhere else save in Christ. We need to rest in the fact that He is able to keep us. Paul said, “. . . for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” (II Tim. 1:12) Therefore we rest in the finished work of Christ where we are preserved forever.
Eternal Security of the Saints: Where is it that we find our security? We do not rest all of this upon our own foolish reasoning and our fallible opinions. Our security is to be found in God’s perfect Word. For we know that it is impossible for God to lie. (Heb. 6:18, Titus 1:2) And also that the Lord is not slack concerning His promises that He has made. (II Pet. 3:9) Therefore it stands to reason that if God promises that we are secure, we will never be condemned, for the character of God would be marred as well. To mar God’s Holy character is for God to cease to be God. This can never be. Let us then quickly study some promises of God, knowing that He cannot lie.
Jesus Christ told us, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” (John 10:27,28) Is that promise not a comfort to our soul? God in the flesh tells us that when we become one of His sheep we have eternal life given unto us. Eternal life is not something that we wait upon receiving but is something that we possess the day we pass from death unto life. (See the promise given in John 5:24, note the present tense “hath everlasting life”) Christ promises His sheep that they will never perish. For one to lose eternal life for any reason would rip these words right out of the pages of God’s Perfect Word.
Christ told us, “. . . I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” (Matt. 28:20) We have the promise of His constant presence. How could we ever forsake a God that says He will never forsake us? “. . . I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb. 13:5) If we, who are saved and born again, would ever be, for any reason, forsaken by God, it would make God a liar. No, I would rather that my belief vindicates the holiness of God. We are secure in His promise. Let God be true and every man a liar!
There are many more such promises which we find in the Scripture. Time would fail us to try to touch on all of them. (John 3:15, 16, Acts 16:31, Rom. 8:38, 39, 10:9, 10, 13, Eph. 1:13, Phil. 1:6, etc.) Let us not then make light of God’s “exceeding great and precious promises.” (II Pet. 1:4) We are not saved by our works nor kept by our works. (Gal.2:16, 3:2,3) Let us then rest fully upon the promises of God. For He promised, “. . . because I live, ye shall live also.” (John 14:19) Our salvation is solely resting upon the finished work of Christ. We are saved because He lives. (Heb. 7:25) We are eternally secure because we are kept by the power of God – standing on the promises of God.
My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. I dare not trust the sweetest frame but wholly lean on Jesus name. His oath, His covenant, His blood support me in the whelming flood. When all around my soul gives way, He then is all my hope and stay. On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
III. The Hope of Sons:
Returning now to our text, we are reminded that we have been “begotten again to a lively hope.” As we read verses six through nine, Peter describes the condition of our hope. We do not hope in this present world, for, as we have already seen, it is passing away. In this life the Christian is compassed about with many trials, or as Peter said, “manifold temptations.” O, there is much sorrow in this sin sick world. Peter compares the life in this world to that of a furnace in which gold is tried. Our life is like gold ore which is taken out of the mine. We are to be placed in the fire of the world, and tried, so that all the dross may be consumed. This is the process in which Paul said to be “conformed to the image of Christ.” (Rom. 8:29, it is said of gold when it is perfectly purified the refiner can see his own image in it.) Remember that God has a purpose for each trial we face in this life. (I Pet. 4:12-19)
We see not only the condition of our hope but also the object of our hope. Our hope is not just in Christ – our hope is Christ. “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” (I Pet. 1:8, 9) Our hope is not based upon us but on Christ, therefore He is our hope. Our source of joy and glory here and now is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Our trust in Him has already guaranteed our full salvation, therefore it is said that we have already received the end of our faith. Hope is only as good as the object on which it is based.
The substance of our hope is Christ. “Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.” (Jer. 17:7) “. . . Christ in you, the hopeof glory. . . .” (Col. 1:27) This is not the flimsy hope that the world speaks of, for the object hoped for is Christ, the greatest of all. He who cannot lie, who promised to us our full salvation, He it is that is our hope. Therefore, we “lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil. . . .” (Heb. 6:18-20, note the personification of hope)
Lastly, as we have considered the condition and object of our hope, we also see the realization of our hope. Peter tells us that it is “the appearing of Jesus Christ.” (I Pet. 1:7) If we truly believe the Scriptures we must confess that Jesus Christ is going to bodily return to this earth and reign for a thousand years. We, as Christians (true Christians), are not looking for this sinful world to get better and better. We do not believe that we, by our own efforts, can cause the world to change. (This is not to say that we do not believe Christ can bring revival) But we are waiting for the King of Kings to come. (Rev. 19) There will be no peace on earth until the Prince of Peace comes. There is nothing right now that we look for any more than to see Jesus, the one that loved us and died for our sins.
“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13) Then we are forever delivered from sin, we put on a glorious body like our Saviour’s, we see the mansion Christ prepared for us, and we dwell forever with Him. (I John 3:2, Phil. 3:21, John 14:1-4, Rev. 21, I Thess. 4:13-18) O, how we long to see Christ! You may ask, “When shall these things come to pass?” The answer is, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. . . .” (I Cor. 15:52) We believe that Christ could come any moment, and pray that He does no longer tarry. Until then we look for Him. “Even so, come, Lord Jesus.” (Rev. 22:20) Why should we be discouraged when we as sons of God have such a lively hope?
It will be worth it all, When we see Jesus, Life’s trials will seem so small, When we see Christ. One glimpse of His dear face, All sorrow will erase. So bravely run the race, Till we see Christ.
IV. The Calling of Sons:
Peter asked the question at the end of his second epistle, “what manner of persons ought ye to be. . . ?” (II Pet. 3:11) He answers his question here, within our text, saying, “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (I Pet. 1:14-16) It should be enough for us that it is written in God’s Perfect Word. We are to be holy, but this goes further than that. We are to be holy because our heavenly Father is Holy. Being born again, being a child of God, should instill a desire for us to be like our Father, and to do that which pleases Him.
As He is holy so should we be holy. We should not desire the filth, and muck, of the world but rather we should desire purity. “. . . Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (II Tim. 2:19) “For God hath not called us to uncleanness, but unto holiness.” (I Thess. 4:7) We should not use our members to serve our own lusts but rather let our whole being be set apart for Him. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord . . . .” (Heb. 12:14; see also the conclusion of chapter three) Holiness is the fruit of the New Birth which identifies us as His children. Like Father, like son.
As we close I beg you to consider your condition. Are you born again? Look to the Scriptures, and see if the things which you have read are true. If you are not saved, do not put it off. Go to the Father in the name of Christ, and ask for forgiveness and salvation, and be saved. If you have been born again take heed to these things which you have heard and give yourselves, your whole selves, to Christ, so He can use you. For you are now a child of the King.