It’s been a tough week. Not sure if you feel this way, but I’m sure you can relate. To be honest, I have no desire to write . . . Some rather heavy news from my former church (#bringbackLexi), friends, family, church family, and trials in friend’s lives have made this a rather sober week. Sheesh, it’s only Tuesday . . . bar none, one of the longest weeks of my life. I’ve cried more this week than in the last year but also prayed more too. I’m going to confess at the start . . . I’m not editing this. I need to pray more, spend time with my wife, and rest. But I suspect some of the 3 readers that read my posts are struggling this week too. (my humor may be bad, but I’m literally the funniest guy I know)
Despite the anguish of this week, I have joy, peace, and hope. I don’t say this to brag. In fact, I can’t be the hero because God is sovereign. In His providence, He decided before the pains and trials of this week that I would teach a Fundamentals of the Faith class on salvation. He decided months ago, when I organized the two part lesson, that we would first focus on the timing of salvation. It’s essential we never fail to remember God predestined believers before creation (eternity past; Eph. 1:3-5); at one point I was dead and not saved, then I was saved at a specific time (past ; Eph. 2:5); I am being saved (present action, habitual, on going 1 Cor. 1:18 or 2 Cor 2:5); I will be saved (future action Rom. 10:9).Which is it? Past, present, or future? All three.
Thinking about my future salvation promises causes me to echo Paul, “[This trial] is a momentary light affliction compared to the eternal weight of glory” (2 Cor 4:17). When I think about my salvation, I realize first, I did not save myself. God saved me. It’s completely, 100% His work (Col 1:12-13). He did it. Not me. He chooses believers before the foundation of the earth, why? “Because of the kind intention of His will” (Eph. 1:5). Humbling? It is for me. The only thing I can say is, “Thank you Lord, to you be glory, honor, dominion, and praise.” God says my greatest treasure is salvation (Matt 13:44). “Greatest!” Simply put, when I think about the trials, effects, changes, results, and what I have . . . I have the greatest treasure in the universe and nothing can change that reality (1 Peter 1:3-5). “My inheritance is imperishable and undefiled, reserved in heaven for me.” Putting it in perspective I realize nothing else is more important than what I already posses and no one can take from me.
Second, this isn’t as good as it gets. There is a future salvation. One day I’ll sit around the table, in a chair that already has my name on it, next to Jesus and fellowship with Him. There will be no sin, struggle with sin, trials, punishment, or other ill I face on earth. No more social injustice: racism, political exploitation, foster care, child abuse, corporate greed, greed, taking advantage of the poor, or abortion. In fact, I won’t even need fad diets because I’ll be glorified in my resurrected body rewarded to me because of Christ.
I think about the ills of these present trials and I realize life is but a vapor. What, 50 years or more at best? That’ll be over before I know it. But it won’t be over. Eternity will just begin. The trials end. When I think about the end, eternity, and ever lasting life . . . everlasting makes 50 seems so, small . . . like a stubbed toe. Small pain . . . momentary light affliction. Eternity . . . eternal weight of glory. This produces hope. The Gospel is greater than whatever earthly problem and solution we face. This is reality. I have hope! I have eternal life! I have the greatest treasure on earth, EVER!!
Peter teaches us this exact point (had to learn it somewhere) 🙂 Notice the timing of events, the commands, and the foundation. The future produces a desire for holiness. Christ’s work is the foundation, not me. Hope?
“Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” — Andy Dufresne Shawshank Redemption. “I hope to make it across the boarder . . . I hope” — Red.
1 Peter 1:12 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”
1Pet. 1:17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 20 For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times for the sake of you 21 who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.