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Praise God for His Mercy

October 7, 2003

Dear Friend of Mary Craig Ministries,

Are you weighed down with discouragement because of suffering? Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for His great mercy. You can know a living hope, the assurance that you are being kept by the power of God. You can know it and worship the Creator/Redeemer for it.

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 fades 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. (1 Peter 1.3-5)

Peter knew and lived what he wrote under the superintending influence of the Holy Spirit. He was kept by the power of God through a great time of testing and suffering. He knew Godís grace, and he knew the glory to come.

"Blessed the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ" praises God with a name never revealed in the OT, namely, "Father of our Lord Jesus Christ." The phrase reminds us of many such praises to God in the OT, e.g., Psalm 28.6,7: Blessed be the LORD, because He has heard the voice of my supplications. The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoices; and with my song will I praise Him.

The term "Father," as applied to the first person of the Trinity, does not imply that the Father in any way created the Son or caused Him to exist. Passages like John 1.1-3; 8.58; 17.5, 24; and Revelation 22.13 clearly reveal that the Son has always existed and was never created. God the Father relates to the Son as a father relates to a son normally, i.e., the Father plans and directs, the Son responds and obeys. The Father sends. The Son comes from the Father (Galatians 4.4; John 3.16, 18; John 5). The Father creates "through" the Son. All things come from the Father through the Son. (John 1.3, 2 Corinthians 8.6; Colossians 1.6; Hebrews 1.2)

If you are weighed down with discouragement because of suffering, consider. Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ for His great mercy. According to His foreknowledge, according to His great mercy, we have been born again. This is not God knowing that we would believe or seeing ahead of time something desirable or meritorious in us, but simply that according to His great mercy, He gave us new life.

In considering the work of the Godhead in salvation, we might look at it like this. The Father chose me in Christ before the foundation of the world. When Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for me on the cross and rose from the dead, I was saved. But the Holy Spirit moved into my life to save me in September, 1972, applying the work of Christ and the plan of the Father to me in time and space. God ordains the means as well as the ends.

Being born anew refers to a fatherís role in birthing a child, whether literally (Matthew 1.2-20) or figuratively (1 Corinthians 4.15). We have been born again into the sphere or realm of a living hope, i.e., the eager, confident expectation of life. This hope grows and increases in strength year after year. The resurrection of Christ out from among the dead secures for Godís people new resurrection bodies and new spiritual life. We have renewed spirits and spiritually, we have been "raised with Christ" (Colossians 3.1; Ephesians 2.6; Romans 6.4, 11). 1 Peter 1.23 tells us that this living hope is grounded on the living Word of God as well.

Weíve been born again into this living hope and also into an inheritance. We share in Christís glory and are included in His last will and testament. Nothing can ruin it. Itís incorruptible. Nothing can stain or cheapen it. It remains undefiled. It doesnít grow old and wonít wear out. It is part of what we are saved to. 1 Peter 1.7 calls this hope "the appearing of Jesus Christ." Paul calls this "the blessed hope." (Titus 2.13)

We are born for glory and have some partial present enjoyment of our heavenly inheritance into which, in the spiritual realm, we have been born. "Imperishable" is a word used in the NT only of eternal heavenly realities, such as God Himself, Godís word, and our resurrection bodies. "Undefiled" means "unstained by sin." In the OT being defiled made a person or thing unfit to come before God in worship. Defilement not only spoke of ceremonial defilement but also moral defilement of the land by sin. This inheritance contains nothing unworthy of Godís full approval.

It is unfading. It never withers, grows dim, or loses its beauty or glory. It is kept in heaven for us. Iím talking about a verb tense that indicates a completed past activity with results that are still continuing in the present. God has stored up and reserved this inheritance in heaven for believers and keeps it there.

In the OT Israel had their earthly inheritance taken from them in the exile and later in the Roman occupation. Even while possessing the land, the rewards decayed and the glory faded away. Defilement marred the beauty of the landís holiness before God because of repeated sin. (Numbers 35.34; Jeremiah 2.7; 3.2)

This tells us that in the New Covenant, Godís rewards are less material, physical, and earthly. The emphasis switches from earthly wealth (James 2.5), enjoyment of enduring physical health (2 Cor. 4.16), freedom from persecution (1 Peter 4.14), and having many children (1 Cor. 7.7) as indicating the favor of God to spiritual realities and rewards. Faith recognizes New Covenant rewards as better: present sufficiency for material needs (Phil. 4.19), present spiritual fellowship with Christ (1 Peter 1.8), and a future inheritance both material and eternal that is glorious (1 Peter 1.4). See 2 Corinthians 4.16-18 for Paulís paradigm.

How do believers stay faithful to Christ when persecution and suffering intensify? By Godís power (dunamei Theou) believers are being guarded (kept) through faith for salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. The word here means "kept safe, carefully watched," and carries with it a military context. It can mean both "kept from escaping" and "protected from attack." This guarding happens by Godís power, which is working through the believerís faith.

Thereís a goalÖsalvation. Here it is the future full possession of the blessings of our redemption, salvation final and complete. Itís ready and prepared, but in the last time God will reveal it.

This should fill us with hope and confidence as Godís guarding preserves and protects. What are we guarded for? Glory. Having the privilege of being adopted and holding the status of sonship legally bestowed by grace, every believer can rejoice in salvation by considering his/her constituted status as a child of God.

      1. He/she has placed upon him/her the Fatherís name. (Eph. 2.19; 3.14, 15)
      2. He/she has the Fatherís protection and provision. (1 Pet.1)
      3. He/she has the seal of the Holy Spirit. (Ephesians 1.13)
      4. He/she becomes Christís brother or sister (Romans 8.29), heir of God and co-heir with Christ. (Romans 8.17)
      5. He/she has an inheritance waiting in heaven "imperishable, and undefiled, which will not fade away." (1 Peter 1.4)
      6. He/she has assurance of coming into this inheritance because of being guarded and protected by the power of God through faith. (1 Peter 1.5)

Dr. Robert L. Reymond comments: "Adoption is the highest privilege available to fallen children of Adam, with all its privileges accruing to the one who enjoys the status of being an heir of all the promises of God and of everlasting salvationóaccess to the Fatherís throne of grace, his pity, protection, provision, and chastening, and the seal of his Spirit unto the day of redemption."

(Reymond, Robert L. A New Systematic Theology of the Christian Faith, Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1998, page 762)

If you have hopes that time has destroyed, hopes that fade and die, think about your life in Christ. Think about the hope that does not fade and die and that time cannot destroy. Do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ out from among the dead? How does it form the basis for a living hope? Check it out in the Word!

Do you have a safe deposit box? Whatís in it? Why are these things being reserved by you and guarded? God is reserving things for you in safekeeping, spiritual rewards and spiritual realities with much greater glory. They are reserved in a place which cannot be touched by decay, disaster, or death. Think about it. Praise God for His mercy.

When things get tough, we become absorbed with our circumstances. I encourage you to read 1 Peter (here at Craighouse weíve been studying it for some time). Peter addresses how to live in the face of issues like death, ridicule, persecution, suffering, and Satanic attack. He knows that blessing God for the living hope we have and knowing that we are being kept by the power of God encourage a positive attitude and exuberant faith. That living hope can be yours today!

In His love,

Mary Craig

Grace to you and peace from Him who is, and who was,
And who is to come, and from the seven Spirits
Who are before His Throne, and from Jesus Christ,
Who is the faithful Witness, the Firstborn from the dead,
And the Ruler of the kings of the earth.
To Him
Who loves us and released us from our sins by His blood,
And has made us to be kings (a Kingdom) and priests
To His God and Father; to Him be the glory and the
Dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1.4-6)

Copyright © 2003 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.

mary@marycraig.org

 

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