New Birth 1 Peter 1:3-5 NIV Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. I am so thankful for God’s grace and mercy, aren’t you? Where would I be today, if it were not for the grace of God? I hate to even imagine. For, I am so grateful that he delivered me, not only from eternal damnation, but that he delivered me from my slavery to sin, too, and that he set me free to walk in his righteousness and holiness, all in his power and strength within me. All Kinds of Trials 1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Life gets hard sometimes, doesn’t it? Whether you are a Christian or not, life has its challenges. Because of the curse of sin on the world, due to the sin of the first man Adam, we are all born into sin, we all have the propensity to sin, and we are all tempted to sin. Also, we get sick or hurt, or we are born with birth defects, have illnesses, or we face abuse or mistreatment, etc. We may go through hardships of many kinds, such as financially, or due to the death of a family member, or due to a natural disaster, etc. Yet, as followers of Jesus Christ, if we are truly following him, and if we are doing what he says, and we are living lives which are separate from the world of sin, and unto God, and if we are sharing the message of the gospel with others, then we will also be hated, persecuted, rejected, abandoned, gossiped about, slandered, falsely accused and/or maybe even killed for our faith and for our testimonies for Jesus Christ and for his gospel. But, when we go through these difficulties, we are to rejoice, because God has allowed these trials in our lives for a purpose, and they are ultimately for our good, even though they don’t feel good. For, these trials are given to us both to test and to refine our faith, so that it may be proved genuine, and so it may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. The End Result 1 Peter 1:8-9 NIV Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls. I believe it is essential to our salvation that we understand what all this is saying here with regard to our eternal salvation. We are not saved based upon some prayer we once prayed, or based on some intellectual or emotional acknowledgment of who Jesus is, and what he did for us. Our salvation is also not based on some acceptance of his forgiveness of our sins, absent of true repentance (turning from our sin) and absent of obedience to Christ (following Christ in righteousness). Yes, our inheritance can never perish, spoil or fade, and it is kept in heaven for us, who THROUGH FAITH are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation, which is future. In other words, we are saved (past), we are being saved (present), and we will be saved (future), depending on our faith being continuous, depending on it proving genuine in trials, and depending on it resulting in us walking according to the Spirit and no longer us walking (living, conducting our lives) according to our sinful flesh. For, scripture teaches that if we love God that we will keep (obey) his commandments, i.e. his instructions to us, his church. If we repent of our sins, he will forgive us our sins. If we know him, we will walk according to his Spirit. But, if we walk according to the flesh, we do not have the hope of eternal life with God. If we sow to the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life, but if we sow to the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. The kind of faith which saves us is divinely persuaded as to God’s will for our lives, and it submits to God and to his purposes. What we believe to be our salvation from sin is not a “living hope” if it leaves us still in slavery to our sin, living in sinful addictions, and making sin our practice. If that is where we are, that is a dead hope. So, if you are being told that your faith requires no repentance, obedience or submission to Christ, then you are being fed a lie, resulting in a dead hope. Set Your Hope 1 Peter 1:13-16 NIV Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” So, we need to set our hope on things of eternal value, not on the things of this earth. We need to be spiritually alert, and fully serious about our walks of faith. We cannot take God’s grace for granted, or think that his grace is liberty to keep on in our sinful addictions without guilt. We need to live lives which are alert to the enemy of our souls and to temptation and to the traps of the devil, putting on the armor of God daily to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against us, so we don’t fall prey to his traps, and fall back into sin. God’s grace to us is not just deliverance from hell and the promise of heaven when we die. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await our Lord’s return. His salvation, his grace to us, turns us from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God so that we can receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in Jesus Christ. So many people have the wrong idea about our salvation, and think that they can continue in their sinful addictions because of God’s grace, but they have it all backwards. Because of God’s grace, we can now walk in freedom from conformity to evil desires, and we can now walk in holiness. And, holiness is living lives separate (unlike, different) from the world of sin, because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. In Reverent Fear 1 Peter 1:17-21 NIV Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God. In the time that we yet live on this earth, we are to live it in reverent fear of God, not in the sense of being afraid of him, though we should be if we are still walking in sin, but in the sense of honoring, respecting, and obeying him. Jesus Christ gave his life up for us on that cross that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, but also that he might purchase us back for God with his blood, so that we are no longer our own, but we are his, and our lives are to be lived for his praise, honor and glory. With his blood, shed on a cross, He redeemed us OUT OF the empty way of life in which we lived before we trusted in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior. So, we are not to continue in that empty way of life, where there is no hope. But, we are to live now in the Spirit, according to the Spirit, walking in holiness and righteousness. And, this is true hope! Jesus, I am Resting, Resting Jean Sophia Pigott Jesus, I am resting, resting, In the joy of what Thou art; I am finding out the greatness Of Thy loving heart. Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee, And Thy beauty fills my soul, For by Thy transforming power, Thou hast made me whole. Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus, I behold Thee as Thou art, And Thy love, so pure, so changeless, Satisfies my heart; Satisfies its deepest longings, Meets, supplies its every need, Compasseth me round with blessings: Thine is love indeed! Ever lift Thy face upon me As I work and wait for Thee; Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, Earth’s dark shadows flee. Brightness of my Father’s glory, Sunshine of my Father’s face, Keep me ever trusting, resting, Fill me with Thy grace. Tuesday, April 24, 2018, 6:00 a.m. – Thank you, Jesus!